The Running of the Krilkar
This year marks the first time that the Thalerith have put into place the infrastructure needed to handle a herd of krilkar for breeding and training. As a result, the houses have put together a unique new tradition. A good stock of the murder lizards has been found and is in prime position to be contained, so a winding path through the city of Nasherat has been set out. The Krilkar will be herded through the streets, and Thalerith brave enough to try can run in front of the lizards in order to proove themselves.
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: Nasherat has had barriers placed throughout the streets in preparation for today's event. There are banners for each of the families, large icons of Rithor and Acharon, hung up across most streets and alleyways. A large breeding pen for krilkar is set up at the far end of the plaza along with a "finish line" of hot coals either side of the path. There is a starting line that has been set up along the path, giving runners about 300 meters of distance to run for it. The krilkar herd is already being guided down the early parts of the course, being whipped into a running frenzy so that they herd themselves towards the finish line.
The morning sun has risen and the sands of the Scorching Expanse are already beginning to take on their name. The heatwave of the summer is only kept at bay by the strong wills of the people who call the place home. One of the things that calls this place home are the murderous lizards we lovingly call pets, or Krilkar for the discerning. Their supply hasn't been an issue, but for the first time the capture of a herd has been turned into a sport for the Thalerith of Nasherat to both enjoy and participate in. A long winding course has been set up through the city towards the breeding pens and when the celebration gets started a huge number of the ornerous beasts are going to flood the streets in partial panic.
Those brave enough, or stupid enough depending on what family they're from, to test themselves against the speed of these lizards have been invited to run ahead of the herd and attempt to make it all the way to the finish line where they can safely cross the hot coal barriers before the krilkar enter into the pens.
Uanthel looks about at the gathering, and works on winding her long wraps up her arms and securing them across her palms as she jumps off the back of her own krilkar and ties him with the other mounts. She pats his side a bit and then sniffs in as she seems to gauge the other runners.
Dunlain is putting up a small banner of Baridon, "Yes, it's just starting I think." he turns around to face the crowd, "Are you planning to try running?"
Belstrom says, "No, I'm just here to patch up the unlucky ones, if it's needed." The priest grins thinly. "And watch, of course."
Uanthel chuckles and says, "Well, I'll run. If today is the day I die, let it not be said I didn't die the way any good Aynarr should, doing something glorious, dangerous, and slightly foolish involving some kind of beast that wasn't quite tamed."
Malice, a lithe and deadly Krilkar arrives, following Sylindra.
There are several runners from various families and walks of life who have assembled at the starting line, hands on the mark in the sand they need to stand behind until the signal.
"Of course. I'm here in case someone tries something stupid with the lizards." Dunlain's hand hovers over the hilt of his falchion for a moment. A grin is flashed at Uanthel, "Today is a good day to die."
Uanthel stalks over and joins the starting line and scuffs her feet against the ground. She flashes her teeth at her kinsmen who stand nearby and makes some kind of gesture and then hunches over and puts her fingertips against the ground.
The Warlord of the Thalerith arrives with little fanfare, only a couple of Blade Sworn guard her ad she takes once of be better sets to watch the proceedigns.
Amassed with the group of runners is Shamash Sedriel, priest of Rithor. The man has stripped himself of his normal armor and adopted a more free-flowing set of silk robes, the flowing sleeves and legs wrapped down with tight bandages. So too has his turban been discarded, all extraneous fabric removed; he is as sleek and brawny as the krilkar themselves. He looks aside to Uanthel, and flashes her a broad smile. "Are you ready, Uanthel?"
Belstrom leans against a cavern wall, off the path where it curves back and forth. His amber eyes watch the runners, and the creatures with them.
Uanthel sniffs in and says over to Shamash, "I can only pray, I'm used to running after them, not running ahead of them." She slaps her hands together and flexes them on the ground again.
Dunlain looks around the street, it's packed with people, but he's able to flag a vendor over to buy something from. He gets two items and then hands one to Belstrom, "Have a snack, this should be fun to watch."
Belstrom takes the cone of snack and crunches one, nodding agreeably.
With a laughing toss of his head, Shamash presses his hands to his hips. "This is not a thing many practice," he remarks. "We are, all of us, novices to the sport. That is what makes it such a test of valor!"
"Runners! Ready or not..." A flaming arrow arches into the sky at the same time a bell is struck hard. Krilkar round a corner only a moment later and those elves waiting bolt into a wild sprint, one of them almost immediately jumping over a barricade to escape, tears streaming down his face. People begin cheering loudly as the lizards stampede down the street in a hoarde of limbs, snarls, and flickering tongues.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.
Uanthel checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
At the strike of the bell, Shamash Sedriel breaks into a dead sprint. The athletic priest takes an easy lead on the initial wave of krilkar, the other quick-footed elves alongside him. He turns his head back and watches Uanthel lag behind, shouting out to her, "You fasted too long!" The grin that follows is shit-eating, and then he turns and keeps going, eyes on the path ahead.
Uanthel seems distracted for a moment by watching the first batch of cowards make the bolt from the field. It's not a particularly wise choice given that when she slides and scampers then to try and catch up, she already has the most hungry of the beasts all but on top of her heels.
The krilkar sweep through the small bandwidth of a barrier lined main street, snarling and gnashing at bystanders and each other. Several of them see their prey sprinting ahead of them and break formation to persue with a new found haste for a fresh kill. As in dominoes, when one goes...
One elf is far too unlucky and freezes up when he looks backwards at the hoarde, a krilkar maw closes around his head and that stage performance where the guy smashes fruit with a mallet is formed in the minds of those within the splash zone.
One of the krilkar notices a slower elf and flicks its tongue out at her, closing what distance it can towards Uanthel as she faulters at the starting line. There is still almost the full track to go now, but already six elves are out a head of the pack with Shamash at the current lead.
Belstrom crunches, watching the runners with interest. "Run, Scaly! Get 'em, Horns!" He encourages...the krilkar? Yes.
Dunlain looks over at Belstrom, "Ooof, that's not going to be fun to clean up." pointing.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 13 higher.
Uanthel checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.
Shamash raises his arms as he runs along the barriers and sides of the streets, extending a hand to clap and cheer those bystanders watching on. His hand drums against theirs and then he breaks apart, letting out a wild yell and laugh as he continues on, heedless of the blood and danger behind him.
Uanthel checked perception + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Another one bails out, running for a barrier and only getting slashed by a pair of claws before he's pulled to safety by the crowd. Help /is/ being called for as he bleeds profusely from the calf, muscles uncoiling themselves through the gash marks. Several are still up with Shamash, one actually overtaking his lead and getting further ahead than the Sedriel is currently. Two of the krilkar take to fighting each other over the corpse of the first dead guy, and tamers rush out to deal with them. One of the lizards actually hopped a barrier and is threatening a crowd while warriors, hunters, and tamers are in the process of responding.
Uanthel's bad luck today is only outshined by the good luck of one of the late comers to the race, an elf covered up with tight fitting silks leaps from a rooftop onto the back of one of the krilkar, and then proceeds to slip off onto the ground and run alongside the beast, in a blind spot caused by their cranial ridge.
Uanthel makes her best efforts, but running on foot away from krilkar rather than running with or riding on top of them doesn't seem the fiesty young woman's specialty, and despite her heartfelt attempt, she doesn't notice one barreling krilkar that brushes past her and knocks into her sending her rolling into the dirt in a cloud of sand and swearing.
Belstrom says, "C'mon, Aynarr--get up! Keep going!" Belstrom climbs up on one of the barricades, encouraging Uanthel. "Hunt is Life!""
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.
Uanthel checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.
"You can do this!" Dunlain yells out at whomever it is that Belstrom is encouraging, "Use your head, as much as your legs!" Then he turns to Belstrom and offers a bottle of something cold and alcoholic, "Thirsty cousin?"
Shamash's grandstanding with the audience sees another racer overtake him, and that seems to light a competitive fire in the priest's stomach. His grin is replaced by a steely-eyed scowl, and he hurls himself forward, damn near beating holes into the ground with the force of his boots, reclaiming his lead with a decisive show of speed. As he passes by the other racer, he good-naturedly smacks him on the back. "Back of the line," he taunts, and that smirk's back.
Uanthel breathes in and out and whether it's the encouragement from the stands, the direct intervention of the Gods, or purely her own stubborn inner fire for survival, she tucks and rolls and stands back up and then takes back off at a dead heat to stay out of the oncoming carvinerous onslaught.
Belstrom takes the offered bottle and nods, waving at the runners. "Gooo!" he shouts again.
A second fire arrow arches through the sky and the bell is rung again, marking the halfway point for the racers as the finish line looms before them and murder lizards leer behind them. One lizard is able to snag a huge chunk of flesh out of the thigh of an elf who starts to slow down, their legs likely giving out after such a strenuous sprint for the last few minutes. As they scream in pain, a massive force field of radiating electric blue errupts around the poor soul, blocking them from further harm. A priest of Rithor holding a brightly glowing crystal in hand enters the track and approaches the wounded elf, a familiarity between them reminiscent of familial bond.
The elf that had entered the fray late, has taken a position in the lead and is quickly starting to breathe down the neck of Shamash. Her lithe movements and fleet feet carrying her almost weightlessly across the sands. To either side of her are elves built for war, work, or parenthood but all are holding their own well enough.
Dunlain gets out his own cold bottle and cracks it open, taking a swing before hollaring out more encouragements to the racers. He mentions offhandedly, "They agreed to merge," to Belstrom a soft chuckle caught in the noise of the crowd as they watch the lizards storm down the street in front of them.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.
Uanthel checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Belstrom says, "They always do," Belstrom remarks, wincing in sympathy at an injury."
It proves to be too much for three more elves, and two of them are quickly run down and subjected to the razor teeth of the krilkar. A final one just barely manages to scramble over the side of the barricade, losing his foot in the process, as the lizard intent for his life pushes the stone and crowd backwards with its weight. A fourth elf takes the momentary lapse in Krilkar awareness to duck, tumble, and then hop a barrier into an alcove. The final one to break off scrambles over into the crowd and disappears out of sight. It's only Shamash, the late entry, and the one who has been neck-and-neck with Shamash until now.
This newcomer earns a brief look from Shamash. She demonstrates speed and grace to rival, if not surpass, his own - and such a feat earns an approving grunt, then a renewed vigor as he redoubles his efforts. He glances over one shoulder, the wind whipping through his massive dreadlocks and mostly obscuring his rear-view look, but he can see the encroaching horde of beasts and how enormously the crowd has thinned. His eyes sweep from one side to the other, as though searching for something, and then he turns back to the front.
Uanthel tries her hardest to keep up with the race but she slips more than once and has to get up to keep running, the hungry pack is all but on top of her - and then they are. She looks about as the hungry beasts surround her and she puts her hand out and looks at them definately and yells in some commanding voice though the words and lost in the dust of sand and blood and the din of death. She squints at the corners of her eyes as she tries to make steps away from the creatures while keeping them at bay.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Uanthel checked command + animal ken at difficulty 30, rolling 130 higher. Uanthel rolled a critical!
Belstrom pats Deanna's shoulder as she joins them on the sidelines, watching the running elves and wild krilkar speed past, dust clouding up like a sandstorm. "Look at em go! Watch the little Aynarr there!"
The sounds of the crowd are drowned by the wind in Shamash's ears. He hears gasps, and cheers, and howls of approval in a vague and muted sense; as though listening from a world away. Neck-and-neck with this latecomer, the brawny priest leans forward, sucking in a deep breath and focusing on moving faster, faster, arms and legs swinging as he charges.
Uanthel keeps her hand out towards the lizards and her eyes flash and after she finally regains her breathing she stands up fully and brushes her hands off. She whispers something to the pack of five beasts that mill around and against her and then with a smirk she gives them a gesture and issues only a single word in the held breath of a beastmaster, "Feast," to catch up with those slower towards the back as she walks along amongst their carnage and settles herself.
"You're starting to slow down there dreds." A sturdy but female voice rises from beneath the silks obscuring her face as she gains on Shamash, amost touching shoulders with the Sedriel while they run. Three elves have decided to try their luck at this late stage and hopped into the race, keeping a good pace in front from the krilkar but not nearly as far in front as the two frontrunners.
Dunlain looks over at Deanna as she joins them, "Ah, Kinlessa. Welcome. Three have died so far, it's been exciting to watch!" he offers over a cold bottle of something alcoholic, "You don't have something in hand, so I assume you're thirsty?"
Sylindra mutters, "We really ought ... do ... with the krilka well ... ... still be goring, trampling, and maiming, ... devouring's as waste of good elves."
Belstrom glances up at the stand where the warlord is watching the race, and takes a swig of his drink before turning his attention back to the runners and lizards.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.
Lenore arrives, following Zaltar.
Lenore have been dismissed.
"You don't look like you could handle yourself if they caught up," Shamash retorts, the woman just slightly edging to a lead in front of him. "I'm being kind not leaving you behind." The two continue at a breakneck pace.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Shamash before departing.
Uanthel wanders in the midst of her temporary krilkar pack and squints off into the distance down in front where Shamash and the front leaders are vying for the lead. She's clearly settled her former glorious stance to accept not winning the race but is keen on survival, waste of good elves and all that, as she paces along.
The Kinlessa is, at least, more modestly dressed for a gathering. Her black curls are brushed back from her dark face and she's wearing something productively simple, long, and not at all warrior inclined. "Only three?" She wonders aloud, scoffs, then regards Dunlain with a wicked smile, "You read my mind, love... Wine please."
Zaltar is silently watching the Krillar race. He is almost unnoticeable as he observes the race unfolding
Sarina, a small grey and white cat arrives, delivering a message to Belstrom before departing.
Belstrom sends the kitten off in another direction, folding a message and tucking it in his pocket.
Deanna traces a nail down the side of Belstrom's jaw, watching the competition absently, "Dear brother." By way of greeting.
Belstrom says, "Pre-race, Sister?" Belstrom kisses her on the head. "Is that why you're late?"
A vendor approaches the Warlord and offers her refreshments and snacks, as well as her personal retinue but after she's been served. As well, more vendors are making their way through the crowds with various delights to be had... things such as bloodcake, frozen fire pops, and a children's favorite: chocolate lizard poo!
As she pushes forward of him, the late arrival slaps something onto Shamash's chest in the process, gently saying in almost a whisper, "With the Kinlessa's /sincerest/ regards, dreds." If ever a wink could be audible, hers was simultaneously playful and sinister. Her lithe form arches forward, arms tucking in, and her legs begin to kick off the ground in even steady strides as her steps become more silent with each passing meter.
Two of the newest to enter the race quickly realize their mistake and run for their lives back over the barriers. Two keep pace in front of the herd, and another two get trampled without being specifically attacked. The finish line is nearing ahead of the racers and lizards.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.
"I've been penning messages all evening, my darling sibling.. I assure you-" Deanna says with her fingers retracting back to lay upon her bent knee curled over the other thigh, "As soon as I was free of the business needed doing, I came straight away to watch people die."
Uanthel checked command + animal ken at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.
Zaltar is still observing the race with a silent curiosity, he over hears the conversation but does not make a comment at the moment. All his attention is on the race
Uanthel checked perception + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.
The messenger's offering is taken, but the race provides no opportunity yet to read it; Shamash holds the roll of parchment in a hand and continues to sprint, until he blinks a moment and loses sight of the woman in the crowds. He clicks his tongue once, and continues on at his steady pace, breathing still measured and controlled. Others might best him in raw speed, but the man's got the endurance of an ox.
Belstrom leans over, whispering to Deanna under the screams of the crowd and the runners.
Deanna inclines her head along with the well manicured black brow, "Of course I would, anything for you darling." Patting her brothers knee lightly.
In a short span of seconds and heartbeats, the messenger lopes along the ground like a gazelle before suddenly taking the hot coal barrier in a single stride and disappearing amongst the croweds gathered to watch the last of the race. The krilkar have been herded by hunters and tamers into a final frenzied push for the breeding pens at the finish line. It's only about 50 or 60 meters away now and of the five remaining racers, only Shamash is among the originals to start the race and still be running strong. Magical barriers are being errupted around the crowd to protect them from any krilkar too hungry to care about the coals, as well as to keep any lizards from trying to be smart and go backwards along the route. The waves of blue, green, and gold energy vibrate with a loud hum even through the din of all the cheering and screaming.
Dunlain looks over at his family members for a moment before he starts passing out bottles of cold wine, cider, and beer. "Take what you want, drink up. I have plenty and I'll stash it up on the patio when we get back home, compliments of the newest merger I negotiated."
Belstrom stands up on the barricades again as his favorite runner, Aynarr, stumbles. "C
Belstrom stands up on the barricades again as his favorite runner, Aynarr, stumbles. "C'mon! You're almost there!"
Uanthel seems to settle a bit too much on her laurels and presumes to have her new made friends on her side. It's clearly a mistake as the oppurtunist in the pack turns on her and gets a good grip on her arm, seeming more than content to make it his next meal.
The Warlords does not seem particularly interested in refreshments and only some dried fruit.
Zaltar takes a cider, sipping at it slowly his main focus on the race. He doesn't express much emotion watching as the remaining racers battle for victory
The vendor serves whatever is ordered from him and then moves along, stopping to sell Zaltar something to drink before heading off into a denser collection of potential patrons. A man with a thick hood and cloth covering his mouth and nose approaches Zaltar, brushes against him and then continues walking on.
Shamash checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.
Belstrom checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.
Belstrom hucks his half-full bottle of ale at the krilkar yanking on Uanthel's arm with a shout.
Uanthel checked strength + fortitude at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.
Uanthel checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.
Shamash checked willpower + fortitude at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.
Deanna chuckles quietly, be melodically, at Belstrom's thrown bottle. "How delightful." Sipping from whatever beverage she's been given absently.
At the race's tail-end, Shamash's speed falters, and the ever-looming krilkar surge ahead of him. Undeterred, the priest carries on, walking across the coal barrier at the end with nary a sound of complaint. He settles in the safe area at the end and drinks deeply of the air, lightly stretching his legs, and then unscrolls the message he earlier received. His eyes sweep across it once, twice, and then he raises his head, and calls out, loudly, "Kinlessa Deanna Devrien! Are you in the crowd?"
Shamash makes it to the end ahead of the other racers, and technically wins the race itself but he doesn't make it ahead of the krilkar. A huge male fit for combat barrels into the pen and claims the largest of their feast, then the rest of them stampede into the cages which are shut fast. Three elves have died today, first the one whose head was like a watermelon at a Galager show, the second two were like pinata that had their strings break before their bodies did and the kids went South Central on them. A few others suffered severe to minor injuries but have been tended to by priests of various faiths. Only one bystander got hurt and that was a dislocated shoulder when a krilkar bodily slammed into the barricade in pursuit of a runner.
Lenore have been dismissed.
Belstrom climbs up on the barricade again, offering Uanthel a hand as she gets away from the krilkar hoard. "C'mon, Sweetcheeks. That was a good run." He helps her haul herself over and out of the path of the rampaging beasts.
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