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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 04:59 PM
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Prologue: Freedom Day


It was just past dawn. More than likely even the older children of Cyremium would not have awoken as of yet on any other day, save for those who had duties to attend to on their parents boats or had animals that needed attention, and they might've even had the chance to sleep in. However, this was not any other day. This was a day of merriment, excitement, and good will between neighbors. Last year at this time, Braxton had bloodied Törsal's nose after the dance.Though there was more goodwill between some neighbors than others. No doubt you've all already begun to stir from your sleep, if not from own your own excitement, than from the moving about of your parents, caretakers, and peers.

Outside, there's already the clamor of several young voices shouting with glee. Anyone with a window in their bedroom might have noticed a few boys and girls several years younger than yourselves hoisting up a banner that announced the Holliday between two large sticks that they were driving into the dirt near the well at the village center. The banner was clearly made by the children themselves as the penmanship was nothing to write home about, with splotches of paint plastering the sheet. They were clearly thrilled with the product, however.

Among the other various games and activities that would be coming in the next couple of hours, there would be a tug-o-war with small trophies on the line (for which many of the oldest and strongest children had already called "dibs" on their pick of the others), a pie eating contest which had the best pastries anyone would taste all year, (and many would promptly heave up again), and a toy boat competition where all the young folk would make something out of whatever they had at hand, and see how far it would get out to sea. But the real festivities were yet to come.

The proud, booming voice of Mayor Bradley echoes up from the square.

"Happy Freedom Day, Cyremium! Be free and celebrate your good fortunes! There'll be time enough for bad fortune the rest of the year, aplenty!"

OOCThe only one that may have still had a reason to be up earlier than this would be Celia due to her duties at the temple. I'll leave that up to Banewolf. Feel free to involve whatever NPCs you wish in your scene except Julian or Jolene (unless you specifically go to seek them out at their homes) and go where you wish in the village. I'll pick up the thread and run with it. Don't stress too much on the timeline of events. If you want to go to an activity, go for it.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:33 PM
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Duties before DawnIt would have been an hour or so before dawn when Celia was roused from her sleep within the temple, a small bell within the building ringing out loud enough to awaken the inhabitants but leave the rest of the town undisturbed (Save for the sharpest of ears, though they would have long since learned to ignore its call). The clanging was soon accompanied by the shuffling of feet that got her to push aside the covers of the bed - Not comfortable enough to be inviting, but soft enough to let the men and women of the cloth be well rested. On a small table beside her, the oil in the lamp had since burned out in the night, leaving only a dancing trail of smoke to trickle through the cracks in the stone above.

Though her raven locks were a mess, little time was given to any of them before they were shepherded into the main area of the holy site and left to pray to whom they would before they could begin their duties and properly prepare for the festival ahead. The young girl had chosen to kneel with the church's healers in front of their depiction of Sarenrae, a beautiful piece of craftsmanship just about lit by several candles. A small part of her considered joining the priest who had took her in, to pray to Pharasma with him, but today was no day for the dead after all. It was to be a day for merriment that wasn't to be soured if it could be avoided.

Once the chants to the gods had faded out, the young priestess was afforded the time to wash herself clean of the day before and also soothe her hair to a presentable degree before donning her black and linen outfit, adorned with embroidered holy symbols around the hem of her jacket, from any angle, front or back, you would see some symbol of a god that was not regarded as evil beyond all reproach. Around her neck hung the spiralling comet of Pharasma in rough iron, a gift given to her upon her 13th birthday the year before. She spent but a few moments looking into a small mirror, allowing some vanity for this day on which she would not be confined primarily to her duties before she set off to do her part for the temple.

Soon the smell of incense was ephemeral in the building as she lit sticks at the shrines to the gods who desired such scents. For the gods of war and violence she sharpened small ceremonial daggers, and for the gods of the harvest and livestock she burnt wheat into ash and tried to hold back her gagging and retching at the sight of guts as she helped in the sacrifices of several chickens that had been offered the day previous to allow the festival to go without problem. But with that, it was over, and she could clean her hands before her release to do as others of her age would and make merry in the streets until dark.


The merriment that comes afterA short while after dawn’s first light shone through the windows of the temple, Celia steps out and takes a deep breath, a breath free of the thick and choking smells of incense (Though they did linger on her clothes), and a smile found its way onto her face as she heard the mayor’s voice, especially at what was almost a little bit of nearly dark humour regarding poor luck. It wasn’t usually to her tastes, but she could certainly appreciate it as she walked through the morning’s streets, occasionally bowing her head and giving a short blessing to any passerby who might greet her. Even if this was a day to let herself be free of the rituals and rites of the every-day, there was still an expectation held of her and she wouldn’t break too far from it for fear of judgement. Internally, she hopes that some travelling craftsman has caught wind of the celebrations and will bring their work and wares to the town to be appreciated and bought, she would certainly try to do both. Lacking that, she would happily make herself available for the tug-o-war, even with her truthfully mediocre-at-best strength, seeing as she never was all that good at putting together anything and was too dignified to gorge herself messily in front of a crowd. Any word of an archery or knife throwing opportunity would have piqued her interest as well, simply for the novelty of it all, like a story of a grand fair in a far-away city.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:58 PM
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Jonas fought back a yawn as his eyes snapped open once again. Was the light in his room brighter than it had been before? He had asked himself that regularly through the night. His excitement over a day of freedom from chores and responsibility could barely be contained. Soon he would be a man, and would likely go through a coming-of-age ceremony soon. Perhaps this year, or the next. He was sixteen winters already, and was nearly an adult. Then he would be expected to join the other adults in keeping the community running smoothly or to seek his fortunes elsewhere, though he knew his parents hoped he'd stay.

Today he could cast that aside. Today, he would cast that aside. He was still a child, for however long it would last, and today was a day of merriment and fun. Kicking off the bed covers, he rolled to his feet on the floor and threw open his chest of belongings to dress. Outside, a cock crew, a sleepy sound suggesting the rooster wasn't fully awake himself. Smoothing his hair with water, he ran a hand his cheeks, testing for stubble. There was some, but it was not as full as he would like, and it was scraggly to his displeasure. He reached for his shaving kit. Better clean-shaven then have someone laugh if he attempted growing a beard. Torsal was the only one of their age group that could and not look foolish. Though, that was likely because he was a dwarf, and dwarves tended to grow beards readily. Jonas had never asked Torsal or his father, afraid of receiving a punch to the nose, but he heard rumors that even their women grew beards.

Speaking of Torsal, he'd better make sure the dwarf was going to be on his side for the tug-of-war. Even a small prize was better than none, and all of the older teenagers allowed to participate were sure to be picking their teams already. Torsal for sure. Julian, hopefully. Braxton would likely sneer on the sidelines than help. Celia and Immai maybe, if he could get the priestess to unbend a little. Unfortunately, Declan wouldn't likely bend to physical labor at all. Lethen might be persuaded it was worth it.

Rolling up his blanket, Jonas shoved it under the bench where he kept it during the day and moved to the pot on the fire. As the first up, he was charge of breakfast. Despite Cikir's misgivings, Jonas didn't think his porridge was so bad. A mite crunchy, and flavored with a little bit of ash, but a bit of ash was better than the bland porridge Cikir managed. Besides, there was plenty of time for both of them to eat better food today. Jonas did his morning chores at speed; setting the fire, sweeping the floor, and fighting the nasty one-eyed hen for Cikir's morning egg. If she wasn't such a reliable layer, Jonas would have murdered her for supper, and called it an accident.

Jonas opened the door as he cooked, looking out over the village. It was a little town. Not even a town. The population was too small. A quiet village. Every day was much like the one before. Full of little people, not caring about the world outside unless it was pirates. Some people were not so little. Like him, almost adults. Just waking up. The baker's chimney was quiet today. Like everyone else, he had done his pre-celebration work in the last few days, wanting to spend the day celebrating himself. All over the village, there was livestock to feed and make comfortable. Fishing boats went out early, or stayed moored as people slept in for one of the few days they could. Or made merry early with just family.

"Ack!" He said, realizing the porridge was burning. He was woolgathering worse than Lethen! Rescuing the pot from the fire, he scooped himself a bowl and wolfed it without tasting it. Leaving the rest for Cikir, Jonas grabbed his things and bolted from the house. Cikir would be up soon and he didn't want more chores to delay him.

Outside, there were already young children running about, and if anyone was still abed, the mayor's voice would soon wake them. Taking a deep breath of free air, Jonas looked around him for a clue of where to go first.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:17 PM
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Declan greeted the day with an excited grin. Freedom Day; while an ostentatious and frivolous affair, was one that Declan looked forward to. While the hardworking teen was loath to interrupt his studies, this was one of the few days that his father refused to teach him: A veteran of the Goblin Wars, the normally reserved researcher instead spent the day in his military regalia getting drunk with the other veterans and patriots. ”And if my instructor is unavailable,” Declan thought, “then there is no harm in suspending my training for a little fun.”
Finding the least wrinkled tunic from his pile of haphazardly stacked clean clothes. Their location marked by the particular stack of books they resides atop of. “Always the clean ones on Andoran history, dirty on Cheliax.” Declan chuckles as he slips on his book sling and cloak before sneaking out the door.
Seeing the streets full of kids in full celebratory mode the young wizard smiles and hastens down the street with a jaunty step and a ready wave for the locals. Many must of thought it an odd sight, the normally solemn and reserved youth, acting carefree and having fun. Remembering the activities of last year Declan hurries to where they are setting up the pie eating contest, having no intention of winning, but knowing that true victory was savoring one of the delicious pies, without the stomach ache of eating too many.
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:01 AM
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"Its Festival Day! They've got a tug of war!"

"Never mind that, I wanna win the toy boat contest!"

The sounds of shrill, youthful and excited voices gnawed their way into Lethen's brain. His eyes blinked open once, then again as vision focussed in on the dark blue of dawn overhead in the sky. Beneath him he could feel a strange, bobbing sensation.

"Wai, whaaaa...." he mumbled as he jerked upwards. "Where am....."

SPLASH!

The feel of cold water hitting his face as the small fishing boat he was lying on capsized answered his immediate question. A couple of seconds later, Lethen Mursil surfaced with a red, sodden face as he turned the boat back up the right way and crawled back in, dripping wet.

"I fell asleep on the lake again didn't I?"

As he pulled himself back to shore, he found himself thinking about how lucky he actually was that he had tied the boat to a small wooden stump on the shore....

***

A couple of hours later.....

Now dry and dressed in fresh clean clothes, Lethen Mursil found himself walking towards the festival when he heard Mayor Braxton's booming voice.

Quote:
"Happy Freedom Day, Cyremium! Be free and celebrate your good fortunes! There'll be time enough for bad fortune the rest of the year, aplenty!"
Indeed there would be time for bad fortune for the rest of the year for most, and time for bad fortune today for one. For Braxton Bradley would be present as part of the festivities, and there was nothing in the world, nothing that Lethen enjoyed more than winding Braxton junior up.

But there would be time for that later...... The smell of delightful pastries chose that moment to hit Lethen's nostrils. Right now there were more pressing matters at hand. No doubt there would be a tug of war at this years event, just as there was a tug of war every damn year. And just like he had last year, and the year before, and the year before that, Lethen would do his utmost to ensure that he wasn't dragged into it.

Right now though, there was that delicious aromatic smell that asked, nay demanded Lethen's full and undivided attention. He had absolutely no compunctions whatsoever about gorging himself in public as he found himself drifting towards the pastry tent..... They were, of course, supposed to be eaten as part of a contest but Lethen didn't really think anyone would mind if he took one, maybe two to "psyche himself up" for the event of a lifetime. In all likelihood he didn't think anyone would even notice.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:24 PM
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ImmaiThe temple's smaller bell usually served as the wake-up call for at least one more individual, though on this day she allowed herself the luxury of lounging in bed for a bit longer than usual. Festival preparations had been in full swing the past two days, and this year she had been a much more direct part of them, helping to bake a truly ridiculous number of pies. She hadn't been able to spend as much time with each one as she might have liked, but on the other hand they had all gotten enough ingredients that they hadn't had to be particularly stingy with the proportions either. She was fairly certain she had made at least one of each type of pie she knew how to make that didn't involve the word 'pot', and that was just her own contribution.

But that was all just preparations for the contest; there was still running the thing to handle, let alone all the other cooking that needed to be done for the celebration. Some might see it as work, and it certainly was in a sense, but for Immai at least it was enjoyable work. Still, if she wanted to have some time to slip away and enjoy the rest of the festival herself, she needed to hop to it. Slipping out of bed, she pulled her clothes on and her hair into a high ponytail, and went about preparing breakfast. 'Twas a simple thing today: hashbrowns and a fried egg each, though she did use a bit of bacon grease to add a touch of extra flavor. By the time the main bell had rung, Immai had finished eating, and Rothgar had begun to stir. "Breakfast is on the table, gotta run!" she called out as she proceeded to do just that, hurrying towards the center of town.

She spared a smile as she saw some of the younger kids and their antics; passion might have brought with it responsibility, but she wasn't an adult quite yet, and the rest of her certainly hadn't charged that far ahead of schedule. She really did hope that she'd have some time to have fun with some of the others - Jonas, Lethen, Torsal... Jolene and Celia too, if she could pull then out of their respective shells. Declan too, assuming he decided to actually keep his nose out of a book for once. Her grin got a bit bigger as she thought about it. Yes, today would be a good day... but first, there was a contest to see to and more food to get cooking!
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:23 AM
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Törsal dashed out of the house, sparing only a quick moment to announce to Father that he was leaving. He almost grabbed one of the pastries from the small pile stacked on the countertop, but reconsidered. Better to save as much room as possible for the pies. A good warrior always plans ahead- even if his enemy is made of blueberries. His mouth watered just thinking about it. The event he was really looking forward to, though, was the tug-of-war. He wanted to get together a solid team this year- himself, Jonas, maybe Julian if he'd agree- and knock Braxton down a peg or two.

He didn't want to waste too much time thinking about Braxton, though. Today was one of the few days he could truly relax and let go. No responsibilities today; even a staunch traditionalist dwarf like his father was willing to take Freedom Day off.

The hungry dwarf slowed for a moment as he passed Immai and Rothgar's home- it seemed she had just left. He caught a strong whiff of something tasty from inside... hashbrowns and eggs... and bacon? He shook his head, steeling himself. Be strong, Törsal. Think of the pies.

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Old 05-20-2019, 06:38 PM
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CeliaWhile Celia might have been initially dissapointed in the lack of travelling traders lining the streets (when they'd come in the past, they had always taken up a place in the village square) her spirits might have been brightened somewhat by the sight of the wares that Julian's ParentsMr. And Mrs. Darrow had on display just outside of their shop. They had clearly imported a few things specially for the occasion. There were exotic looking shells arrayed in a variety of jewelry or laying solitary, fine leather bound journals of a quality normally unavailable to anyone but merchants in the village, and a handful of small mechanical time pieces. All such items were marked down dramatically for the occasion, and they had already attracted the attention of a few other early risers. The real prizes were off to the side, however.

Marked with a sign which read: For Lord Liberty and Lady Freedom, there were a pair of lovely black and deep blue robes which seemed positively regal compared to the clothing of even wealthy individuals in the village, such as the Darrows. Hanging next to each, there were a pair of matching adornments. One was a small emerald pendant hanging from a chain which might have been silver. The other was a ring. These were nearly blindingly ornate compared to anything Celia had seen in Cyremium before, but still delicate and objectively well crafted. She was not the only one to notice them.

Elyssia stood nearby, looking at the necklace longingly. When the Darrows noticed her she blushed and playfully shrugged.

"It's quite beautiful. I suppose I could be forgiven for thinking the green would look lovely with my eyes if I should be so lucky."

Mr Darrow laughed. It was well known that Elyssia was in fact the odds on favorite to win the honor.


JonasUpon leaving his house, looking about for a place to begin his day of jubilance, it became immediately apparent that there were no shortage of places to begin. Aside from toy boat contest, the ongoing but currently quiet chats over who was on who's side for the tug-o-war, and the outright fervor over the pie eating contest, there was simply a whole village's worth of people scurrying about having fun. If he was looking to flag any of his regular compatriots down, it would have been a simple matter.

However, not everyone was getting in on all the fun and games quite yet. From underneath a tree nearby the village outskirts a ways off from the square, Jolene's red hair stood out like a sore thumb. She was looking over the rush of energy and excitement with a look of pensive contemplation. She bit her lip and looked conflicted as her gaze wandered between the village and the direction of her cabin.


The Legendary Pie Eating ContestTörsal, Immai, Declan, and Lethen all knew where real action was in the early Freedom Day celebrations. As they made their way over to the pavilion which had a heavenly scent emmanating from it, it was already getting crowded despite the fact that they had gotten there promptly. Miss Ambulgen, the deceptively thin middle aged woman who took on the brave burden of cooking most of the pies was looking out at the cacophony filling the tent with something between pride and abject terror. As Immai found her way inside, the matron seemed vastly relieved. She seemed to mouth to herself: Thank the gods!

There were no shortage of folk gathering around to both watch the epic clash of wills that would be shortly forthcoming, and to participate. Amongst all of them, Braxton Bradley was sitting alone at the table, already in position. He looked more prickly than he usually did. More gaunt, certainly. He'd clearly been holding off from eating, though judging from how much he typically ate, he might look that way just from skipping breakfast. His body language did shift when he saw his most consistent target Törsal, however. He straightened up and put on his signature sneer, turning up his nose at the proud dwarf.

Watching over the ludicrous mountain of pies which had been prepared was the Mayor, his old trusty blade at his side. This seemed to be a new addition to the ceremony, as last year, a few pies had seemed to go missing around the time that Lethen had excused himself from the tent. He noticed the lad enter and narrowed his eyes, but in a playful, knowing way.

Declan was the one nearest the entrance as the community's favorite son Julian finally entered. Mr. Darrow the younger didn't have much of a relationship with the reclusive teen, but he did of course recognize him, and did his best to be sociable with everyone.

"Crowds seem to arrive earlier every year, don't they? I barely finished helping my parents set up their stand and got my boots on by the time I saw everyone swarming the tent."


OOCBanewolf or anyone else who wants to check out the merchant's stand may roll an appraise on the prizes. For the other trinkets, feel free to assume you have enough money saved up to purchase one of them, but not more than one.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:22 PM
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Declan knew Julian of course, it was hard not to, even a gifted adept such as himself, someone with high prospects and no interest in martial matters looked up to the older boy.... No, man. Whatever Julian might have been last year now he was clearly a man grown. Nodding his head and adopting his most grown up demeanor and posture Declan responded to the gifted youth as if equals. ”Yes, though with good reason, some of these lads put on quite the spectacle now-a-days, this contest is almost a festival in itself.”
Pointing to Törsal and Lethen, both already gearing for a showdown of epic proportions the young mage continues. “And this year promises to be a doozy, those two have grown more outward than upward by the way they are eating these days, and grumpy ol’ Braxton seems to have been blessed with more stomachs than common sense judging by the way he performed last year.”
Finding a seat and carefully arranging a napkin over his lap Declan signals to Miss Ambulgen who gives an exasperated sigh before handing over to Declan his customary fork and knife. Fun and games were all well and good but it was no reason to make a mess! “How about you Juli... erm Mr. Darrow? Care to make a final go of it with the rest of us lads?”
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Old Yesterday, 07:35 AM
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Jolene! Jonas thought, spotting her red hair. So even the people-uncomfortable ranger-in-training was turning up for the day! However, she seemed rooted in place, and looking about to bolt like a scared rabbit. That wouldn't do, not today. Jonas looked back on the square where he wanted to join in, then looked back at Jolene. The fun could wait for him. Besides, the pie stall looked like it was being guarded by the mayor - with a sword this year! - and the young men currently swarming it wouldn't be able to eat without him.

Meandering over as casually as he could to avoid scaring her, Jonas waited until he was in hearing range before throwing a hand up and calling her name. If he could persuade her to stay, perhaps when the dancing started later tonight, he wouldn't be left without a partner. Elyssia tended to prefer Julian and Jonas wasn't witty enough to keep Elyssia entertained as it was before he stepped on her toes.

"Jolene! Good to see you!" He said, walking closer so he could talk in a normal tone of voice instead of the "fishing pitch". "Coming to join us for the day? Can I persuade you to take our side in the tug-of-war competition? I was going to ask Torsal and Julian."
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Old Yesterday, 11:03 AM
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Celia"Quite beautiful is an understatement" She quietly thinks to herself, coming closer to better examine it, letting her curiosity get the better of herself as she takes a few sideways glances at Elyssia. She was quite beautiful herself, enough to easily rival and beat out herself from the running. Especially when it came to having a distinctly likeable personality... Praying before dawn was hardly something many people wanted in their favourite person anyway, even Celia could admit that.

"Could I..?" She asks, reaching out to gingerly to pick up the pendant. If she isn't stopped, she looks it over a maker's mark as she carries on talking quietly to herself. "It's amazing craftsmanship. Whoever won it would be lucky to own it." A remark comes, lifting it to her eyes to peer through the gem. With more care than she'd give most of her holy duties, she places it back. Taking the ring and examining it similarly for clues of its origin. "So very lucky..." She mumbles to herself as she puts that back as well. The robes were obviously made for the rich and powerful, she'd never be allowed to keep them with the modest lifestyle she was supposed to be leading. They'd probably find their way to a beggar in fact. Not that that would be a bad fate, and indeed they would probably be appreciated more in that case. Nevertheless, that wasn't what these garbs were meant for.

As she moves over to the side to examine the timepieces, she talks to Elyssia. "I expect you'll be dancing tonight?"
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 PM
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Törsal rolled his eyes at Declan with his silverware and napkin. Was this a pie eating contest or a fancy banquet?

"Declan, if I grew 'upward' too much, people might start mistaking me for a human! A proper dwarf physique should result in one being nearly as wide as they are tall." The comment about Braxton he ignored; there was no sense in getting the hothead more riled up. He was sure Lethen would do plenty of that anyway before the day was through.

So what exactly is your strategy, anyway? Stun us all with your impeccable table manners and win while we're distracted?

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Old Yesterday, 02:15 PM
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As his eyes scanned the tent, Lethen saw a few faces that he recognised.....Törsal, Immai, Declan.....his face turned upwards in a smile as he waved to them.

......Braxton.

Seeing Braxton sitting there in the tent, his face one of stern concentration for the monumental task that was set in front of him. To survive in this most dangerous of contests against foes as wily and unpredictable as they were both tenacious and ferocious. Shooting Törsal a quick wink, Lethen sidled up to Braxton and leaned his right elbow very casually on Braxton's shoulder, propping himself up.

"Saaaaaayyyyy Braxton, old buddy old friend......" Lethen whispered to the bully, his eyes gleaming.

"You know how we're such good mates and stuff, and how I allllways look out for you. I mean, that time when someone wedged a bucket of horse dung above your door that just so happened to fall on top of you when you opened it, well I turned the entire village upside down looking for the said per-pet-rat-or of such a heinous act,"

Turning his most winning smile upon Braxton, Lethen made a sweeping gesture with his hand, taking in the stacks and stacks of pies that were piled on top of each other almost like a mountain.

"I feel it only fair to warn you," Lethen whispered, "That I spiked some of this here pies with laxative earlier on. I would absolutely hate to see you make the proverbial arse of yourself in the pie-eating contest. I'm pretty happy that with my stomach of iron that I can handle it but you.....you're looking kinda peaky my friend. You sure you feeling up to this?"

With a grin, Lethen moved away from Braxton. Sitting at one of the empty seats, he nodded towards Braxton before giving him the thumbs up even as he fastened his own handkerchief around his neck.

 
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Immai"'Scuse me, coming through... Hi Miss Ambulgen!" Immai squeezed past a couple less attentive participants to make her way to the front of the already-crowded tent, feeling a bit chagrined at having taken the few extra minutes that morning. "Good turnout this year, huh?" She scanned the seats as she helped with the final preparations, seeing Törsal, Lethen, Declan - who was predictably just there for a free pie at his own pace - and Braxton - who was predictably looking positively wolfish... perfect.

This was the first time she was participating as a (assistant) baker, and Miss Abulgen had asked her to make 'one of every type you know how'. Immai had intended to make the logical exceptions to that request given the type of contest it was, but then Braxton had gone and made fun of Declan's history at the competition within her earshot. Now, Immai was well aware of Braxton's own strategy, and while she definitely wouldn't stoop so low as to make a bad-tasting pie as a booby trap, a single pot pie, inconspicuously marked, that she could make sure ended up in front of the bully as his second or third pie? Well... it would hardly be her fault if he made a mess by tearing into it like he would a fruit or meat pie, would it?
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