Good Harvest Festival at Nighingale Park
Please come and enjoy a festival put on by the Commoner Council for Good Harvest, with entertainment, games, and a celebration of the bounty of late summer. Meet and mingle with some of your Council representatives. Join us in Nightingale Park in the lowers, come as you are!
Professional and hobbyist brewers, distillers, and vintners who wish to enter their drink of choice in a tasting contest, please contact Nurie Baseborn for more information.
Aug. 9, 2020, 7 p.m.
Arx - Lower Boroughs - Nightingale Park - The Grounds
Comments and Log
Atli, a Whitehold Mountain Dog arrives, following Tanith.
The weather seems to have cooperated quite nicely for the festival this afternoon, with the pleasant breeze only enhancing the lure of the feast offerings, and the sunshine means that probably no one is freezing just yet and it's inviting for residents young and old to come out and enjoy. Nurie has a mug of cider to hand, conferring briefly with some people who seem to be rolling some large barrels towards the park's racing track, before turning back to the entrance.
Autumn is a fantastic season to be perpetually dressed in leather - a stark and happy contrast to the oppressive heat of summer that often leaves such armor sticking unhappily in places. Sydney's helping out where she can, and is one of the aforementioned people who's rolling out additional barrels of cider. "It ain't like it's gonna go bad! Pile 'em high! Ain't no honest person in the world who hates /cider!/ Throw your back into it."
Leather is a wonderful thing. Especially when it still fits!! Raja arrives sporting a nice pair of leather pants, but they seem just a little too tight. She has forgone the leather top all together and opted for a purple silk blouse. However, the best adornment she has brought is a swaddled baby all swaddled in blue. This baby is placed in a sling around her shoulders, leaving her arms and hands free.
Leather is a wonderful thing. Especially when it still fits!! Raja arrives sporting a nice pair of leather pants, but they seem just a little too tight. She has forgone the leather top all together and opted for a purple silk blouse. However, the best adornment she has brought is a swaddled baby all swaddled in blue. This baby is placed in a sling around her shoulders, leaving her arms and hands free.
The smell of breads fills the nostrils of the arriving Gunther and he puts his gnarled mitts on his bulge of a belly and pats it sympathetically. The short (less then five feet tall) and squat older figure wears the cloth of a cheap shirt and occassionally when he lifts his arms up he shows the undercurve of his gut. He squints to see and as he looks around he announces himself, "Hullo!" He cries out cheerfully. He soaks up the sun. His pants are threadbare as his shirt and rope wraps around his worn boots. He carries no weapons. His face shows that of a tired man but his eyes and spirit come out despite his age and apparent soreness. The man sports a few lumps and bruises littered on his person.
There may be such a thing as fashionably late, but it seems Samira doesn't follow it - at least not today. She makes her way into the park, glancing around curiously as final preparations for the event seem to be underway. Noting familiar faces among the crowd, she offers a nod here, a wave there, but the presence of one person in particular draws her full attention. "Hey, Raja!" she calls, redirecting her footsteps toward her fellow Culler and the infant she carries.
Rukhnis has found a deeply shaded spot beneath some trees in which to stand, where she blends in with the shadows that cast dappled patterns on the grass. She does not look remotely festive. Not only is she dressed in exactly the same stark black and grey as usual, but she also has a black look on her face to match. Her arms are folded tightly over her chest, which does at least show off the one not-dark thing about her, which is the pristinely fresh white bandages that wrap both hands. Everything about her expression and posture is a distinct warning to stay as far away from her as possible, and one has to guess that she's only here from a sense of responsibility to the Council and is simultaneously trying to represent and keep herself from spoiling the festivities at once. It's kind of a hopeless combination.
Nurie manages to just barely avoid getting bowled over by a pack of children that's running through from where the food is on offer and towards the area where the track is to curious examine a bunch of the empty barrels placed there--and of course to start climbing on them and jumping off of them. But keep her cider mug mostly aloft she does, though there's some spillage on the ground, and as more people start to filter in, she smiles, especially as she notices Raja and the baby. "Oh, is this the little one that made a most spectacular appearance?" she asks brightly, after taking another sip of her mug. She herself is dressed in dark wine colored wool, her hair loose about her shoulders. She waves to Gunther's hello. "Welcome! Come and get something to eat, you'll want to be full of energy before the games begin!"
There's pie! And cake. So much cake and so much pie. Tanith is the one cutting pieces and setting them on plates, there's a basin nearby for empty plates, and a batch of urchins washing and cleaning and drying and restacking plates at a pretty even pace. Apple pie, blackberry pie, strawberry pie, al fresh from harvest. There's also jars of jam and preserves for sale another booth over, at prices that aren't too far above pre-whirlpool rates.
Lurking in the background is Raymesin Ubran, at least for a little while. Long enough to glare at while he munches on cookies. How a man can make eating desserts an act of quiet warning is beyond anyone's guess. But he doesn't linger for too long. At least, no one sees him in the shadow of Tanith's booth anymore. That doesn't mean he isn't around. Probably. Maybe.
Atli, a Whitehold Mountain Dog have been dismissed.
As the swarm of children goes running past, Sydney hauls the last barrel of cider into place and runs an arm past her forehead, releasing an audible breath of exertion. Still, she clearly can't be feeling it to keenly, for she all but immediately takes after said children. Someone has to bring them to order, after all.
"Rarr! I'm a nasty, toothy bear! If you don't run away, I'll gobble you all up!"
Yes. Order. The pugilist runs after the delightedly shrieking children making unconvincing bear noises and scooping up any of them that fall behind.
Raja pauses to sniff at the air. Her gaze turns slightly to the right where Tanith is serving cake! She immediately begins to salivate. She is just about to indulge in sin when she hears Samira. Turning on her heels, she spies the younger woman and flashes a smile. "Hey!" She alters her pie-going course and heads towards her. Just as she arrives where Samira is, that same group of children swarm around the two Cullers, running a circle around the women to avoid the bear named Sydney!
Gunther watches the children run around and he smiles wamrly, "Thank you kindly." The man's short strides carry him over to the breads and he takes a bun. He bites a hunk and then looks around. He rocks on his heels a bit and settles down upon his feet. The figure munches as he traverses around until he spots a grump sitting in a shady spot. He pauses and holds out his half-eaten bread, "Looks like you might have hurt your mitts some." He peers at the bandages upon Nurie. Gunther shrugs and thumbs towards the food, "Reckon I could get and cut you up a plate. Mayhaps I could do you one more and get you them viddles whats easy to eat. I'd look a might bit sour too smelling that and having mah hands all bound up like that. What do you say, sound like gravy and dumplings sort of day?" He inquires with nothing but the warmest of intentions.
Ras arrives, lurking on the edge of the festivities as if he has something else on his mind. He glances back towards Commons Square at one edge of the park, and then starts to walk around the vicinity as if he's ... patrolling. Which is a weird thing to do when someone's right arm is incapacitated by a sling. At one point he pauses and looks at Rukhnis and Gunther... and his next circuit brings him out of the park.
Samira rises on tiptoe to peek at the baby in Raja's sling. "He's so cute. But of course he is. How could he not be?" She hastily steps closer to her fellow Culler to make room for the gaggle of children running past. "Hurry, hurry. She's closing in on you!" she calls to the children with an amused grin at 'Toothy Bear' Sydney.
It takes a moment for Rukhnis to notice Gunther's approach, and when she does she watches him with great stillness and a sidelong wary look, as if hoping to evade his attention by being motionless and not making eye contact. But then the man unwisely continues to make his way up to her, and her dark eyes settle on him with a dark look. Nevertheless, after a noticeable pause she says very courteously, "I am not hungry, but thank you. It is very kind of you to offer."
Nurie checked luck + woodworking at difficulty 1, rolling 41 higher.
Life is not fair, and Sydney eventually catches each and every last of the roaming children, and then allows herself to be tackled by the stragglers who unfairly rejoin the game. When she finally extricates herself from the swarm, she returns to reap her just reward of a tall tankard of cider, which she drains in a go, then refills it and takes smaller sips. She seats herself on one of the refreshment tables, looking pleased with herself. "Anyone got any favored autumnal pastimes? Other than dragging Rukhnis closer to the rest of the party and enduring her politely withering gaze?"
Nurie checked luck + woodworking at difficulty -2, rolling 60 higher.
Nurie drops a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Rukhnis has joined the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Raja peels back the side of the sling so the tiny face can peer out at Samira. The infant blinks at Samirs and scrunches up his little body. "I named him Skander." She says quietly. "From what I understand, it means protector. So, perhaps he will grow to protect others!" She beams a smile.
She hears Sydney's words and laughs. "Yes! Pie! We should eat pie! Make a contest of it!" There is a twinkle of mischief in her eye. "Or throwing pie! That is fun too!"
Gunther takes his bun that was offered and gobbles it down quickly. He just stands there as he eats and chews. He is looking Rukhnis over and nods, "Reckon, I understand that. Is there anything I can do for you to help you let me know okay? Don't suppose you know what kinda games we got coming here? Onna account I like games but I wouldn't want to scare them kids none. I get a might bit competitive and yanno... different when it is grown folks. You gonna give them games a go?" He asks.
Rukhnis doesn't seem to have politely withering gazes today so much as blackly smouldering glowers, but despite the look on her face her voice continues to be perfectly polite, if rather low and rough. "I am afraid I do not know what the games to be played are," she answers Gunther, then nods her head in Nurie's direction. "That woman over there would be the one to know. Nurie Baseborn. This is her festival which she has planned, and done so nice a job of too. And no," she concludes, as if it really needed to be said, "I do not plan to play any games."
Near the food tables, Nurie is loosening the tied ribbons of the maypole, done up in festive autumn hues for this occasion, dark greens and golds and orange and red; and there's a few other people that start to gather nearby to set up their instruments, tuning them and starting to tinker with a tune. Nothing fancy, and not exactly a band, but a group of locals of all ages who seem to be readying to play just for the fun of it.
It's then that Nurie checks over her notes, before tucking them away, "We've got three games on offer this evening," she announces, to the gathering crowd. "First, a weaving dance, to help make the maypole bright. Next, a barrel race, though people will need to pair up in teams of two! And last, a grand tug of war! No real prizes, of course, except for bragging rights and an extra bounce to your step! And hopefully a little bit of fun before the autumn and winter duties are upon us!"
Raja turns her attention to Nurie as she speaks up. A grin crosses her features and she nudges Samira. "Wanna be barrel buddies?" She says with a laugh.
"Skander," Samira repeats, trying out the sound of the name. "A good, strong name. And the meaning is perfect. If he turns out anything like you, he'll manage to be quite the protective one." She smirks, face screwing up into a perplexed look. "Y'know, I'm not sure I've ever had the enjoyment of throwing a pie at someone before. Guess maybe I'm usually to worried about not letting it go to waste. It does sound pretty satisfying to thwack someone in the face with a full pie pan, though." As Nurie makes her announcement, she falls quiet to listen, scuffing the toe of her boot on the ground. "Barrel buddies, you bet!" she confirms to Raja with a grin.
Sydney offers a light pout in Rukhnis's direction, but doesn't look as though she's inclined to force the issue. She does, however, fill a tankard of cider and trot over and set it down near Rukhnis so that the woman cannot decline it, and she is now dutybound to consume it or pass it off to someone lest it go to waste. The woman's offered a light wink before Sydney retreats back over to cut herself some pie. Nom.
Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound arrives, following Rowenova.
It takes some time, but a young woman in a wolf pelt (below which she wears salve-laden linens and well kept bandaging) shows up. By her side is that soulful hound with greying fringes.
Gunther looks over to Nurie and is just about to head there and leave before she starts up on the games making his leaving unecessary. The man rocks on his heels and listens to the games. "I ain't never danced none, well.. mah Sally she said that I was never born to dance so I don't think I'd do good at it." He observes to Rukhnis as he wets his palm with a lick and pats down the dozen or so strands of hair so they slick against his mostly bald scalp in a comb-over. "Don't reckon I want that there." He motions to the cider set by, "I don't drink none. Not since mah Sally cured me of my wickedness and wrong doing. Lot of it was when I got in my cups I'd just go off and start punching fellas for no good reason." He smiles and then states, "What's your name? I'm Gunther Crownsworn. Squire to the Knights of Solace."
Raja beams at Samira. "Should we go try the maypole dance?" She is in a festive mood today. NOT being pregnant has perked her up! She adjusts the baby sling across her torso and grabs Samira's hands to yoink her to the maypole!
Seeing Raja with a baby has Nova smile. "Congratulations!" bellows out Nova who certainly has Northern volume. She pulls a wineskin from her belt, and then the bandaged scout offers out said wineskin to whoever is handling brews.
Rowenova says, "I might be a bit late. Is the contest over? Does tea count as a brew?"
Sydney offers Gunther a companionable smile from where she's seated, calling, "Don't even need to be in my cups to go off and start punching fellas. Granted, that's what gets me paid, much of the time." She looks over and greets Rowenova, "...I swear, half the city looks like they're in bandages!" ...she may be exaggerating her sample size.
Samira can't help but laugh as Raja grabs her hand and tugs her toward the maypole. "Okay, okay," she grumbles although it's a goodnatured grousing, hinted at by the grin that tugs at her lips. Raja's good humor appears contagious, the younger Culler finding herself in a relaxed, cheery mood. The perfect kind for enjoying festivities.
"You don't hafta be good at dancing. Just need to let loose and enjoy yourself," Samira calls out to Gunther, overhearing his comments. "At least that's my theory on it."
"Well, it is more like dodging than dancing, Messere," Nurie assures Gunther. "Though if you like to dance, you can do it with style!"
There's more people gathering by the maypole now, and as they do, Nurie and a few child assistants hand out ribbons to each dancer, and encourage them to spread wide with their ribbons, and then turn each dancer just so, so that half of the dancers are facing one way, and the others the opposite. "Once the music starts, the goal is to weave your way through all the participants to the rhythm, so that we slowly wrap the ribbons around the pole," Nurie explains. "Without getting your ribbon or yourself too tangled up to continue. But don't worry! I've got some scissors incase anyone really gets stuck to the pole!" The last is said entirely too cheerfully.
Rukhnis frowns at Gunther, the shifting quality of that frown suggesting it's for something that he's said rather than part of whatever had inspired it before. "Everyone was born to dance," she tells him, sounding very serious about this. "Everyone was born to sing. To do so is to be in joyful tune with the melody of the Dream that weaves through everything in existence." The Eurusi woman doesn't look as if she would know anything about being in joyfully tune with anything, but never mind that. Her gaze following Gunther's gesture to the cider, she grunts quietly but makes no move to pick it up, and then she looks back to him again. "Gunther Crownsworn, I greet you," she tells him with rather stern formality. "It honours me to make your acquaintance. I am Rukhnis al-Katibi."
Sydney is a sucker for just about any competition, and she immediately hands over to snag herself a ribbon, making sure she has adequate space around her. "Sounds simple as braiding hair." Says the woman with the absurdly long hair that is conspicuously not in braids.
Gunther stares at Rukhnis, "Them words you just said I sure think they sounded a might bit pretty. But I didn't understand much of what you trying to get through." And as he hears Rukhnis name he just blinks, "Uh..." He chews on his lip, "Reckon its nice to meet you too!" He makes no attempt to slaughter her name. "I reckon I'll go and shake my coin maker after all. Don't suppose I could talk you into running around dancing being that you are all passionate about whatever it was you said? Sounded like a lot of dancing in dreams and what not."
Gunther smiles over to Sydney! "Oh, do you? I did that for a time. Used to give fellas lumps what didn't pay their coin debts none. Sometimes put a little fear in 'em to get them rightly motivated." The man frowns, "Wasn't good for a time. But that's when I met mah Sally." He beams and smiles, "Ain't had much cause for many years to let my hams out against folks' heads but once she took ill and died." He shrugs, "Now I teaches em' how to toss knucks for free mostly. Well, I mean.. I take donations here and there but gives all my coins to orphanages and thems that is in need."
"Ok,okay. I'll try."
When Sydney speaks about not needing to be in her cups to punch people, then Nova quirks a wry grin before she replies back to after latter statement, "Didn't you hear: it is the new fashion statement! Get yours from the Guildmistress of the Physicians today!" She jingles off her silly advertising before dropping off the wine skin to be ultimately added to party refreshments (after which those who try it will understand that it is upriver water with steeped hibiscus and mint from the Defense Lab garden. "I think I might need laying down again. Wanted to come see all of you, though." She does try to get down on whatever carnes might be available.
Once all those who are intent on being part of the dance have claimed a ribbon, Nurie signals to the jam band that's collected nearby. One of the musicians is even handing out bells and clamshell rattles to a lot of the children that aren't participating in the dance, so they can add to the beat. They wait until the last stragglers come to claim their ribbons and more space is found, and then with another signal, the music begins. Fastpaced, joyous, and possibly a wee bit frantic and slightly off beat, from the children's enthusiastic participation.
Raja beams at Rowenova, "Thanks!" She calls out. "You going to come dance?" She takes her ribbon from the assistant as they set up the game. She looks to her red ribbon and then to Samira, "You ever danced at the maypole?" And then the dance begins! Raja turns to participate!
Raja checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 10, rolling 29 higher.
Raja checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Raja checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 10 higher.
Samira checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 10, rolling 18 higher.
Gunther checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 10, rolling 36 higher.
Sydney checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 10, rolling 83 higher.
Gunther checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
"No," is Rukhnis's simple response to that question from Gunther, and apparently that's the end of it. She does pick up the tankard of cider then, but the way she grips it makes it look like she'd rather throw it than drink it. But as it happens, she does neither, just stands there and holds it and watches as people get ready to dance.
Gunther checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 17 higher.
Samira offers a nod of greeting to Rowenova if she should happen to catch her eye. Joining the group clustered around the maypole, she accepts her ribbon and peers curiously at the others nearby. "This oughta be fun, so long as we don't get horribly tangled." The music strikes up and so she obediently flows into movement, weaving gracefully around the maypole, using her small size to her advantage.
Raja ducks and dives around the various dancers, laughing. Her ribbon slips and slides through the other ribbons to make a nice woven pattern. For a moment, the cares of the world seem to fade. She allows the joy of the moment to flow through her. Dip, dive, twirl! She just lets go and has fun!
Sydney looks a touch lost for a moment, until she realizes that all she has to do is weave around the others who are dancing. It's just footwork! She bobs around with her ribbon, making it look like she's been doing this for years.
"Oh, okay." Gunther answers the woman he was chatting up. The small and pot-bellied Gunther takes his ribbon and stretches out. The old fella squints an awful lot to discern who is where. The man starts up and at first looks awkward but soon is watching the other ribbons as he starts going round and round. He goes backwards for a time and laughs as he jumps over one ribbon and then slides under the next. HE is dirty as can be and he grins a bit. His old limbs creak and pop as he slides to the left, slides to the right... reverse, reverse, reverse, reverse, and then he starts forward and claps his knees to a terrible beat. HE is having fun though by the giddy look on his face.
Although Nova normally pilfers party food, she does not take more than her current share. It might be because this is a Lowers party, so there will be those who really need it, unlike a noble party (where nothing is sacred). Afterwards, she hangs out with her plate in one hand and fork in the other, somewhere near Rukhnis with Sir Flop between them as they watch the frolickers over yonder. "Welcome!" she calls to Raja then shakes her wolf-framed noggin. "Another time. Thanks, though." She nods back to Samira with a smile before glancing over to Rukhnis. "Good seeing you. How you been?"
Sydney checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher. Sydney rolled a critical!
Samira checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
Raja, Samira, and Gunther all display deft command of their ribbons, despite some perhaps more inebriated celebrants going the wrong way, stumbling, event a few near clothelinings, but despite the fact that some of the children chased by the 'bear' earlier are clearly gunning to try to trip Sydney up, she dances through the first round with the most flair of all, at least on the first pass.
Sydney checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 50 higher.
Samira checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.
Ras is back at the park, approaching the festivities at speed. He has a moody look on his face and his trajectory is aimed towards the tree under which he saw Rukhnis sitting (also moodily) before.
Rukhnis grunts quietly at Rowenova. "Fine," she replies. This may or may not be a convicing answer, considering the look in her eyes that is as black as it was at the start of the festival. She keeps her tankard held fast in one bandaged hand as she re-crosses her arms, and her gaze fixed on the dancers even though she doesn't really seem to be watching them. "How have you been?"
"Watch it! Other way!" Samira calls out in warning to a rather confused - or possibly drunk - participant, deftly weaving around them to avoid a collision. She continues moving with ease and, although not the most elegant or eye-catching of dancers, she manages to remain light on her feet.
Gunther tries to be creative but he's an old brawler. Much of what he does just looks goofy. But his technique is damn straight on. He can dodge ribbons and weave his way through. At one point his shirt rides up and his gut bounces with every hop and skip. He has a truly hairy disposition with grey-grown belly hair. He mouth-breathes as he dips in and out.
Sydney is not deterred by the attempts at sabotage, deftly sidestepping the children who try their best to trip her up. Those who've recently had the occasion to watch her dance might see some of the echos of that performance in the way she turns stagger into swagger, and loose steps into flourishes.
Ras comes to let himself down in the drying autumn foliage on the other side of Rukhnis from Rowenova. He mutters something under his breath, giving the Eurusi woman a sidelong appraisal as his furrowed brows rise into a creased forehead of concern.
Although she is a mess of salve which sticks her linens to her back and legs, along with a few bandages here and there upon multiple limbs, Nova seems to be in good spirits. "Because of your help, I am doing well. Thank you for the helpful salve. Tarik and I been using it." She does wonder the same as Ras and side glances over to him with a nod then back to Rukhnis.
The dance becomes a little more challenging the tighter the ribbons are woven around the maypole--though it looks like Nurie won't have to break out the scissors after all--with the participants thinning a little at every pass, though many continue to march around the pole, spinning and clapping along. When it's finally done, a great cheer goes up, for both dancers and musicians. The Champion is a champion yet again in the dance it would seem, because Sydney is cheered most of all, with a bear like roar from the little ones.
Raja stops breathlessly once the dancing is done. The baby in the sling begins to wiggle and make noise. So, Raja takes a moment to look down and readjust the wee one. The thuggish woman shows a surprisingly soft side as she tends the infant. Once the lil one is satisfied, she glances back up to the festivities. "That was fun." She says to Samira. "But, shows how much out of shape I am. I am going to have to hit the training halls."
Sydney checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
"Good," Rukhnis says to Rowenova on the matter of the wolf scout's condition and the salve, and even if that one-word response is only muttered, it seems sincere nevertheless. When Ras comes to sit near her and she comes under the combined scrutiny of gazes from both him and Nova, the cross of her arm tightens further, and her even more quietly muttered response is brief.
Gunther claps and chuckles a bit. He smiles and congradulates, "You done real good!" He informs Sydney as he wipes his brow a bit and heads over to get himself another piece of bread.
Sir Floppington cares. He leans slightly against Rukhnis if able to do so, but only somewhat, not to surprise her with a full slump, of course.
When she earns the praise of the children she was previously 'terrorizing' as a terrifyingly 'toothy bear', Sydney dips into a low bow and with some amateurish handwork that's enough to fool a child, produces a lovely tiara of all things, seemingly from nowhere, which she rolls down her arm into her hand and then plonks atop her head.
"Sydney Waterfall, Queen of the ribbon dance!" She self-aggrandizes.
Rowenova says, "Congrats!"
Raja cheers for Sydney, "Hip hip HUZZAH!"?
Raja shouts from nearby, "HIP HIP HUZZAH"
Rowenova has joined the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Samira relinquishes her hold on the ribbon, taking a step back from the maypole and slowing to catch her breath. "Not like I know much of anything about it, but I bet that's normal. You'll be back in good shape in no time," she remarks to Raja sympathetically. "I'll train with you." Sydney's nearby theatrics earn a sudden grin, the younger Culler nudging Raja gently with her hip. "Maybe I oughta take aunt lessons from her, huh? The kids clearly love her."
Ras's somewhat stiff scooch towards Rukhnis' other side coincides with the lean of the dog. Then he hears the cheering and puts index and thumb into his mouth to release a truly piercing whistle in support of Sydney's victory.
"Hip hip HUZZAH!" Nurie joins in with Raja's cheer, raising her mug, laughing as the Queen even produces a crown! She takes a moment to have her cider refilled before walking towards the track.
There's been a starting line marked, and several large empty barrels (that could have stored wine, whiskey, rainwater, who knows what else, but thankfully they're at least washed out. Mostly!) lined up along that starting mark. But there's plenty of time for others to grab a drink or a bite in the meantime, as the track is also cleared of playing children, and people gather along its edge for a good viewing point. "The Barrel Races will start in a few minutes!" Nurie calls. "I might suggest not having TOO much to drink first if you're going to join in!"
After saying something quietly to Ruk, within ear shot of Ras and Flop, then Nova waves her fork in celebration of the festivities before she uses it to actually eat some more bites.
Rukhnis's face flinches a little at the piercing whistle from right beside her, and she fails to look any more cheered by the bookending leans of Ras and Sir Floppington. Instead of either saying anything further or cheering for the winner of the maypole dancing, she takes a long drink of her cider, exhaling with a sharp breath through her nose when she lowers the tankard again.
Raja perks up as the barrel race is announced. She pauses and leans to Samira, "Does this mean one of us have to be rolled down a hill or something?" She furrows her brows. "Well. Let's go see how this goes." She smiles to the fellow Culler. She moves up to the racing line and tightens the baby sling around her form. She pushes back the dreads from her face, tying them behind her neck with a leather thong. "Let's do this."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Tarik before departing.
"If so, I can be the one to roll if you want," Samira volunteers with a pointed glance to the infant strapped to Raja's chest. She squares her shoulders into competitive posture while she awaits the start of the race.
Sydney has to vigorously defend her tiara for a good long time until she casually plucks it off of her head and stuffs it back into her bag, meandering over to where Rukhnis and Ras are loitering.
After whistling so ear-splittingly for Sydney, it's possible Ras feels the flinch from Rukhnis, because he glances towards her in chagrin and then is focused on the Eurusi woman rather than the rest of the festivities. He lowers his voice to speak quietly again.
Ras has joined the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Tarik walks into the park and takes a moment to look around for Rowenova and Sir Floppington.
Sydney has joined the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Scouty senses easily spot Tarik, after which Nova perks up and brightly smiles despite the willow tree shade and the wolf pelt shade across her fair face. "Lovely!" she calls out as she waves her fork. She quickly finishes her meats, then sets the plate and fork aside. She totters toward Tarik none too quickly, briefly clasping Ruk and Ras on the shoulder on her way by to get closer to him.
Meanwhile, Sir Floppington dashes over to greet Tarik, too.
Tarik smiles at Rowenova, "Come on love!" Tarik grins, "I wan to do this barrel race" Tarik winks "It might give us ideas on some future research."
Raja pauses and looks around. "Hmm. I should find someone to hold Skander." She glances up to Nurie and trots over to her. Beaming a smile, "Can you hold something for me?" She then begins to take off the baby sling and offer it baby and all to Nurie. "He don't bite! ... Yet."
Nova finally makes it to Tarik none too quickly, "Well... alright!" She does not sound so certain that she will do any good, what with the latest injuries but she slowly stretches. "I want to make sure we're thorough, indeed." Then, she lets out a hearty laugh!
Rowenova says, "Aright, sign me up!"
Nurie seems only too delighted to hold the baby, laughing. "Of course! It will be my pleasure, and good practice since there will be another new baby in my life soon!" she agrees readily to Raja, and from the way she readies her hands and holds him easily, it would seem that the delicate tailor indeed has much hands on newborn practice. As more people come forward, she explains the game. "First, pick one person to ride inside the barrel. There are handholds and footholds in there! The other team mate will push towards that far mark over there. Then you'll get out and switch and come back, and then switch one final time. The first team across the last finish line will be the winners!"
Micana, an efficient assistant arrives, delivering a message to Rowenova before departing.
Rukhnis checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Rukhnis checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
Rowenova says, "Which of us is riding the barrel?"
Raja smiles a satisfied smile at Nurie before she runs back to her barrel. She glances to Samira, "Want me to go inside the barrel first?"
Nova looks to Tarik, ready to coordinate with him on who rides inside first!
Tarik peers over at the barrel and says, "Hmmm, you should ride first." Tarik says, "You have been on more ships than me, so you are less likely to get dizzy."
Samira nods agreeably toward Raja, gesturing toward the barrel. "Sure. I promise I'll try not to roll you into the crowd or the tables or anything." 'Try' being the operative word, of course.
After Tarik's reasoning, Nova seems to agree and stiffly begins the climb into the barrel there, but it is slow going. She lets out a laugh at her mishap.
Raja laughs. "If you do, make sure it is Tanith's pie table." With that, she climbs into the barrel a bit awkwardly. Once inside, she dips down and grabs onto the handles and slips her feet into the feet holds.
Sydney takes a long sip of her tankard of cider and turns her focus away from Ras and Rukhnis in order to watch the race begin to wind up, throwing an enthusiastic grin on her features.
Of course, Sir Floppington is helping. He is moral support and wagging for the human team with whom he lives.
Nurie waits for everyone to get situated in their barrels--there's a few extra hands there to help, and to keep the barrels still at the starting line. One last check of the track to make sure it's clear of human and pet obstacles, and Nurie takes her place BEHIND the line of barrel rollers. "ONE! TWO! THREE! GO!!!!" Someone helpfully starts to clang a cowbell, and they're off!
Samira checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.
Tarik checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
Nova finally finds her spot inside, and she hangs on for dear life in there!
As soon as the signal is given, Samira launches into action, throwing all her weight at the barrel to get it rolling. As it gains momentum, she gives a whoop of amusement which momentarily turns into a yell of warning as she realizes the barrel is careening off the course toward oblivious bystanders. "Hang on, Raja!" Heedless of poor Raja's comfort within, she manages to shove the barrel back on course and continue toward their intended destination, picking up speed.
Ras seems to be blathering quietly and nervously to Rukhnis and Sydney, but mostly to the former, under the shady willow tree. Who knows why he's acting like that when the flame-haired brawler has a big ol' grin plastered on her face, but it probably has to do with the Eurusi woman's noticeable aggravation this whole time.
Raja checked stamina at difficulty 14, rolling 16 higher.
Tarik lets another laugh from something Rowenova, and her whispers also illicits a quick kiss. Tarik readies himself and starts to roll Rowenova towards the finish line. Tarik lets out a laugh, "This actually reminds me when we were trying to ambush some bandits, and I was hiding in the barrel. We took a sharp turn, and I fell off and roll into a river." Tarik rolls Rowenova towards the finish line.
Rowenova checked stamina at difficulty 16, rolling 0 higher.
As the barrel is pushed through the course, Raja holds on tight! During moments where the barrel is straight and true and going oh so fast, Raja cannot help but to yell! It is not a terrified yell or one of pain, but one of excitement and adrenaline! Welcome to Arx roller coasters! When they cross the line, Raja wobbles as she slithers herself out of the barrel. "Ugh.." She goes to stand up, holding onto the barrel for support. "Get in!" She keeps herself steady as she waits for Samira to get inside.
Raja checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.
Sydney calls rather loudly, "I skipped this one for a reason! Don't get too dizzy, now!"
The Eurusi woman's noticeable aggravation has if anything only become more noticeable and more aggravated over the last few minutes, but Rukhnis is nevertheless still sitting there docilely by the tree, even if the burning look in her eyes might almost be enough to start up a nice bonfire for the harvest festival.
Of course, Nova totally kissed Tarik. While being rolled, some of her pops as though this were chiropractic therapy, and a pleased rumble rolls out afterward. "Needed that." Then, she cracks up about Tarik's story. "How far did you float down stream?" she curiously wonders (aloud). Then, it is time for the switch, during which Nova crawls out, doing so with more limberness than a moment ago, except probably still needing some help. She also helps Tarik get situated, too, before she preps to roll him.
Ras checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Samira snickers as Raja pops out of the barrel looking as though she's struggling to maintain her balance. "Good luck. You got this!" Still cheering on the other Culler, she hastily ducks into the barrel and clutches onto the handholds, bracing herself for the rolling about to ensue.
Despite how Rukhnis looks incredibly volatile, Ras does not quickly vacate the premises beneath the tree as any reasonable person might. Instead, he just seems to stop talking, and turns his gaze towards the barrel race.
Raja waits for the smaller woman to get inside the barrel. Once Samira is secure, she heaves! The barrel begins to roll and she uses hand over hand to roll it back to the other side! At one point, her barrel and Samira ricochet off another barrel of NPC number 67 which leaves Raja chasing after the barrel! With a quick jerk of one side of the barrel, she has it aiming true back to the finish line!
"Only about 30 yards." Tarik gets down in the barrel and grasp hold of the inside. Tarik watches Rowenova for a moment, "You are not dizzy are you?" Tarik settles into the barrel.
Rowenova checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
Nova smiles softly and then takes up rolling Tarik down the race track here, "Nope. Not dizzy!" She puts on a determined look and spins him down the way!
Samira checked stamina at difficulty 17, rolling 7 higher.
Tarik checked stamina at difficulty 21, rolling 21 higher. Tarik rolled a critical!
As the barrel picks up speed - perhaps around the time it escapes from Raja's control - Samira can be heard whooping with delight. Once they've crossed the finish line and her ride has come to a complete stop, she pops her head out of the side and steadies herself as she unfolds to standing. "That was quite the ride. Last leg!" She'll wait for Raja to switch places with her before heaving full weight at the barrel once more.
Samira checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.
Tarik starts spinning around in the barrel and lets out another deep laugh, "Yeah, this is just the time I fell off the barrel." Tarik takes a deep breathe and steadies himself. Tarik laughs and does another quick kiss to Rowenova as he switches places with her.
Tarik checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
Raja quickly hops into the barrel. Zoop! She ducks back down inside, grinning from ear to ear. "I wonder if people would pay to get pushed in these things..."
Nova smiles brightly, "I think your prior experience was good practice." and then she smewches Tarik back as she eases down into the barrel once more then gets herself set and ready to be rolled!
Sydney checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
The carnage on the track is impressive. One team gets its barrel stuck in a divot, with both participants so dizzy that they're needing to take a break just resting along side of it. Another team rolls all the way off the course and picks up speed going past some of the larger trees, with many people chasing it down to get it to slow down safely! But then there are Team Raja/Samira and Team Nova/Tarik, and a blacksmith/farrier team that is hot on the heels of the other two, at least until they start veering sharply to the right as the roller gets hopelessly dizzy and off course.
"I mean, it's entertaining at the very least," Samira remarks, waiting just long enough to ensure that Raja has safely tucked herself into the barrel before shoving it forward. This time she doesn't seem capable of gaining quite as much speed or steering as deftly as she did the first time, her stamina waning slightly on this last leg. But her features are arranged into a look of determination and she's gives it full effort until they cross the finish line.
Tarik eyes widen at something Rowenova says to him as they switch places. Whatever it is cause Tarik to quickly roll her down to the finish line with all his strength. Tarik laughs, "I hope you can back that promise up. For the good of the research!"
Tarik makes it cross the finish line ahead of everyone else.
There are ooohs and awws and cheers and laughter from the watching crowd at the track, as Samira and Tarik are neck and neck for a few minutes, before Tarik and Nova cross the finish line first. There's helpers there ready to steady the barrels for both teams, as well as assiting Nova and Raja out of the barrels if they need it, and Nurie announces "Congratulations to Tarik and Rowenova, our first place winners, with Raja and Samira hot on their heels!" There's even cool cloths on offer, to help with any lingering dizziness. "Well done, well done!"
Rukhnis checked willpower at difficulty 22, rolling 5 higher.
Beyond pleased with herself (and Tarik, of course), Nova just grins whilst spinning forth until the eventual stop, after which she crawls out from the barrel contraption with the provided help, doing so as she heartily laughs! "Well, I will do my best, but you might want to hold onto those safety rails, which will be provided for you, or maybe a touch above those." She stands up, unto her full height and dusts off. "Thank you! That was fun! Good job, too!" That last she says to Raja and Samira before flashing a grin to Tarik.
Once Raja is steady and ready, Nurie will be there to gently transfer the baby to her. "Thank you for letting he hold him," she tells the other woman, with warmth, the delight apparent in her eyes. "He's a treasure. I think everyone might need a bit of a rest now!"
Sydney can be seen politely clapping and chuckling under her breath at the less-fortunate participants who look utterly dazed.
Raja takes a moment before emerging from her barrel. After the moment passes, she slowly emerges, looking a bit disheveled. She manages to stand up, accepts a cooling cloth to put on her forehead and the back of her neck. "Ok. Done with that." She says with a grin. "That was fun, but I had my fill.." As Nurie approaches her, she smiles and accepts her son back. "Thank you for holding him and letting me participate."
Tarik is overheard praising Nurie.
Rukhnis's shoulders have taken on a slightly hunched look, but she stays fixed in place beneath the willow tree with an air of almost grim determination. She doesn't clap, whistle, or cheer for anybody, but at least no one who passes within range of her gaze spontaneously bursts into flame.
Tarik is overheard praising Rowenova: For letting me roll her round and round
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Tarik before departing.
Nova curiously regards the tiny baby transfered between Nurie and Raja, and then she softly smiles before she quickly nods, "Very fun!" After saying so, then she casts forth an esteemed smile to Tarik. "Besides having a good time, something popped in my back, and I feel a lot better now. I have a meeting to go to. Would you like to join me?"
"I was too dizzy on this last round, couldn't keep you going in a strange line," Samira admits to Raja with a hint of apology in her tone. She reaches out to offer a hand to Raja, who emerges from the barrel looking rather out of sorts. Smirking, she allows her knees to buckle underneath her, flopping unceremoniously onto the ground where she was standing moments ago. "That was fun. Thank you for organizing it," she calls to Nurie, or to the location where she imagines the woman to be standing since she is now staring up at the clouds.
No commoners were harmed in the making of this race, though some might have some big headaches and sore tummies tomorrow! As some of the participants who are much lighter on their feet move off to take a rest, she goes to help find any of those who need assistance, alongside others, brining everyone back to the celebration area so that they can rest up. "You're very welcome!" Nurie calls back with a laugh to Samira. "Thank you very much for coming, and playing!" Her smile lights her eyes, even when it's not seen, and surely it seeps into her voice as well.
Raja takes the baby and moves back to settle next to Samira. She pulls the blue swaddled bundle from the sling and offers him to Samira. "Meet your auntie!" She says to the wee one. Her gaze shifts to Rukhnis and Ras, looking back and forth between the two under the willow tree.
Tarik nods to Rowenova, "Sure, of course."
Nova waves goodbye to everyone here, and then she hollers out, "Farewell, all! Thank you again!" And then, she eases her hand into Tarik's own, gives him a quick kiss upon his nearest cheek, and then she heads out with him and Flops.
Ras sits quietly right next to Rukhnis under the tree, watching the proceedings from the shade along with Sydney nearby. When he sees Raja glance over, he lifts his chin towards her in a nod of greeting, gaze tracking over the small bundle passed to Samira.
Rowenova has left the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound, Tarik leave, following Rowenova.
Samira pushes up to a seated position, catching sight of Ras and Rukhnis nearby and offering a wave. But then the baby is passed into her arms and she hastily holds her arms out to cradle him. Her spine straightens, her posture suddenly stiff and cautious, her movement settling into stillness as if she hardly dares to take a breath. "Babies are intimidating, Raja," she blurts out, despite her gaze fastened upon the infant's face, her expression softening. "But he is really cute." Seems she may be willing to make an exception for the newest Culler addition.
Raja smirks. "I think you will like this one. He pooped on a noblewoman."
Rukhnis checked intellect + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 27 higher.
Sydney looks as though she's not quite ready to start moving yet, but it's clear that others are starting to filter out. The many varied commoners are starting to fill their last tankard, pocket their last slice of pie, and are beginning to shepherd their children off as the event begins to gradually wind down. Sydney remains in the shade of the tree, but does have to pause when a few of the kids she was mock-terrorizing come over to wish her farewell, to which she awkwardly rubs her neck and gives them a parting 'grr', which seems to elicit the appropriate response.
When that wave from Samira comes her way, Rukhnis's gaze shifts over to fix its full fiery force on her, though it clearly doesn't have anything to do with the artist at all. But as she stares first at the Culler woman, and then around the park at the lingering merrymakers, it seems to gradually, finally dawn on Rukhnis that perhaps her thunderously brooding presence here might be bringing down the tone somewhat. She presses her lips together tightly, then thumps the tankard down onto the ground and gets quickly to her feet. Pausing only to mutter something to her nearer companions beneath the willow, she stalks swiftly off across the park and out to the square.
Rukhnis has left the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Ras hears what Rukhnis mutters, looking up... and then clambers to his feet to unwisely follow.
Ras has left the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
Raja pushes herself up and to her feet. "Well, lets get home. I am surprised he hasn't started squalling yet. I know he is going to be hungry soon."
Sydney bobs her head and offers an expansive wave, "Thank you to everyone for coming out. Take care!"
Sydney has left the a shady spot under the weeping willow.
As the afternoon stretches into the evening, the festivities taper down, though there's still plenty of opportunity for mingling and listening, meeting new people and catching up with the latest concerns. But there's still some lingering in the park a while longer by a smaller group, to ensure some of the shyer residents who might not like the crowded day still have a chance to taste some of the harvest bounty. In any case, nothing is wasted, with food and other items delivered to places that the Council knows it will be put to greatest use, even the decorations divvied up as people ebb away.
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