[AW+] We could sleep under the evergreens
LCSS; Best in Show
[Image: dcg.png] Lancaster Stockshow : Best in Show, Date : Thursday, September 8th IC Voting for Best in Show! This is a non-mandatory thread with no posting order. All characters are welcome to join, regardless if they vote or not. For information on what animals are entered and their specifics, as well as information on voting, please see the newspost linked above.

It was a balmy morning.

The sun baked the paddocks that lined the Arena, sand cast and hardpack mussed from the week’s various activities that had demanded much of its fresh-built and kempt grounds, but such was a sign of life, a sign of competition and camaraderie, the symbols of a life worth living through toil and adversity.

It would be cleaned again, in due time, and set back right, but as far as a christening had gone, the Stockshow had been good for the Arena. The paddocks, too, had gotten a fair shake of use, and, in the pleasant, waxy sunshine, and the subtle autumnal breeze, contestants brought their beloved companions to fill them again, and set up their voting boxes and name plates. The turn out was decent. Alongside the Rey Salvaje, Paninya carted over the baskets – five, in total, all full of numerous acorns, painstakingly carved with tiny, rough symbols, all indicative of the class of animal they went to like a ballot.

"What a pain in the ass," Paninya stated with a sigh as she set them out. "We’ve been out there for days, if I ever see another acorn in my life, it’ll be too soon."

Nazario’s wiry smile twisted at the corners – tight, yet small, and doubtlessly mischievous. ”Does this mean that you won’t do this again next year?”

She cast a withering look to the Rey Salvaje with her grey-blue gaze, expression exaggerated with the scowl, before she tossed her head, and gave a wave of her hand with a sharp little tsk, her tongue sharp against the back of her teeth.

"Maybe I won’t! Who’s to say?"

He thanked her for her efforts regardless and watched as she meandered off back towards the main thoroughfare of Charmingtown, and the slew of games which lined it. As he had turned towards the baskets, he heard Dill’s shuffling footsteps, prompting him to pivot back and ask her if she wanted her votes – but the old woman denied, holding up her hand and continuing her beeline trajectory to where she had been watching nigh all morning’s set up, taking a moment to read the nameplate of a lamb before, with stiff and aching joints, she squat next to the fence and coo. Her hand extended through the fence slats as though to cajole and barter affections, and the Rey Salvaje scoffed softly at the grayed shepherd’s blatant display before he turned back to ready his hand to dole out the votes.

OOC: Good morning, Best in Show! <: There is no post order to this thread, and peruse the submitted animals at your leisure! Should your character want to vote, you are free to reference Nazario handing out acorns - one for every category - and be sure to indicate which animals you vote for you in your posts~
a little less like my father, and more like my dad
first B-)
[823 +8]

Lossë had been excited for the Best in Show -- he liked looking at all the animals that had been brought and shown as the best of what canines could offer. As he was given the acorns he was told only one vote per category, and he'd nodded solemnly. He would take this seriously, and not vote based on silly reasons. He would put consideration and thought into his votes. He began perusing the paddocks and looking at the different animals, acorns clutched in his hands.

He started with the large hoofstock, wandering around the largest of the paddocks. He'd known there were a few New Caledonian animals, but he was trying to keep an open, unbiased mind towards them all. He petted the cows, laughing as Beauford butted heavily against his hand and mooed in a deep, rumbling bass. He admired the beautiful lines and feathering on Bacardi, gave a little treat to Pim, and stopped at Lili. The mare was striking and recognized him, nosing at him for a treat. He laughed and gave her a handful of clovers, petting her along her strong neck. He didn't feel guilty as he dropped the acorn in Lili's box, because other than Belaith, she was one of the best horses he'd ever seen.

He moved onto the small hoofstock, spending more time with the two of them than he intended. It was hard to pull himself away from the goat that headbutted his legs for more pets, who was he to deny such a desire for affection? Lossë only wished he had more treats available -- especially when she made a play for his voting acorns. "Hey!" He laughed, scratching her behind her ears. "Those aren't for you, I'm sorry!" He left with one more pat on her head to look at the sheep. "Sally... forth?" He read the name on the voting box and was startled as Sally bleated loudly and trotted up to him in response. "You're a smart sheep, aren't you! Knowing your own name!" He laughed as Sally bleated back in response. Lossë petted his soft, wooly head and continued. "Chatty too, huh?" Sally bleated again. "I talk a lot too, my mom says sometimes too much. I've just got a lot to say sometimes, I bet you do too!" The young ram bleated again, louder than he had the other times, and nuzzled his nose into Lossë's hand. With a guilty look towards Bill, the merle cast his vote for Sally -- they were kindred talkative spirits, how could he not?

When he was looking through the other animals, he quickly realized there was only one option to vote for the domestic fowl. He thought about abstaining, thought about denying her the vote that was rightfully hers because his feelings had been hurt, but decided against it. He didn't want to become someone that let their hurt inform their actions and be spiteful or petty. He put the acorn in Beetle's voting box and moved on quickly.

There was more struggle with the wild avians. Two crows, a raven, a hawk, and an eagle that utterly entranced him. He appreciated the black birds for what they were and the shine in their feathers, but he had never really been drawn to them on his own. They were beautiful, and he was sure they were intelligent, but they didn't compel him the way Hageshi's hawk and the eagle, Franklin, did. He was caught between voting for the bird belonging to his fellow packmate and voting for the bird that represented his god in the world, with speckled feathers and an apparently awful attitude problem. He didn't mind that it cursed at him, especially when it very graciously allowed him to touch the soft feathers of its wing. Pack loyalty be damned, it was that bird that held his attention and would not let go. He cast his vote for Franklin the eagle and moved on.

For the final category, he was torn. He'd never seen two of the animals before, and the fox was extremely playful. He'd spent some time with each of them, admiring them, but had to step aside so he could think about which of them he wanted to vote for. The weasel was very interesting, but seemed very shy, and the large cat made Lossë feel shy as it stared him down from where it was perched within the paddock. The fox had sought to play with him though, chasing after a stick he'd tossed and returning it with what sounded like vulpine laughter. In the end, he cast his vote for the fox, the spirit of friendliness and playfulness deciding for him. 

He continued wandering around, looking at the animals and petting them. He was confident in his votes, but he wanted to keep spending time with them.
a very speedy reply machine
[Image: 9bRyDDw.png]
signature by eike
The Best in Show was something Silas had heard about in passing, though didn't really see until the morning of the fourth day since his arrival with Aidan. He had seen few others making their way to a certain spot, having followed them. There were certain animals in pens, two standing to the side with what looked like marked acorns. He'd recognized Paninya from her assistance in helping him to find his partner for the Horseshoe event. It seemed she also recognized him as she was heading away from where the acorns themselves were gathered.

Though she looked like she was heading somewhere else, he had hoped she wouldn't mind him asking for help once more. He probably could have asked the orange eyed male left behind, but there would be others coming in. Best not to hold up the line since he had to write everything.

So everyone who came had an opportunity to vote for the best animal per each set category. Well... perhaps he would not be the best judge for this kind of thing. For all the skills his masters had him learn and adapt to... animals hadn't been the highest on the list. What reason would he have to tend to such things? Kruger had others for that, and Aidan didn't have any animals. Who was he to cast a vote on something he knew next to nothing about?

But he was already here. He was working to blend in with the others. It's not like it would take too much effort to return to Aidan's side...

He found himself padding forward anyways. They had until night to spend together. His vote might not matter in the long run, but if he was going to learn to work with animals, especially in Salsola, might help to know what to look for right? Or see how their behaviors were.

Having gathered his set of five, the silent man figured it would be best to just go through them in order of category, which meant starting with large hoofstock first. There were four to choose from with this one: two horses and two oxen. At least when it came to the two species, he at least knew more about horses than he did oxen, so best to cast his vote to one of them. Golden orbs moved between the two equines, falling more on the darker of the two. Perhaps he had not been paying as much attention, but the animal's attention seemed to land on him the longer he stood there. One hand moved up to the black and white horse, letting it smell at him before allowing for a gentle pat. When he looked to the name on the plate in front of this pen, the choice was already made. He recognized the name from one his brother mentioned. He offered another gentle stroke before setting his vote in Lili's box.

Next was the small hoofstock: one goat and one ram. With this one, it might as well have been either one of them for all he knew. Both of them seemed friendly enough. The silent man's attention was drawn to the goat, feeling the animal give a tiny headbutt against his hand. Perhaps it was a small bias to have such an action remind him of looking after young pups, but it had been enough to give Bill his vote.

Domestic fowl was an easy one. There was only one entry.

The wild avians category had the most to choose from. Birds he was somewhat familiar with... if only for message carrying. In Rabenuhr, those that were not slaves used it as their primary form of communication. Each person cared for their own bird, so what would he need to? He found himself drawn to the ravens and crow... even though he really shouldn't have been. The brand on his wrist almost threatened to burn as he looked at them, making him turn his wrist over. One of the birds had a small scar on its leg... a bit like him in a way. It didn't seem like one for pets like the others, but the familiarity made him drop his acorn in Peekan's box.

Now there was only one left, the wild animals. There were three for this one: a marten, a fox, and a wild cat. This one wasn't too much of a hard choice. Again, perhaps it was because of his bias, but the fox reminded him of the one the Boss had in Salsola. His final acorn was dropping in Holly's box.

When his votes had been cast, he didn't spend too much time linger. After all, there was someone else waiting for him.
(800) | NPCs: Reference to Paninya
Let me know if anything needs to be changed.
Silas del Morte
[Image: fWoACZC.png]

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
"Uncle! Uncle!"

Who was that?

His eyes peeled opened from their slumber, rubbing it as the curly-haired Catalina came bouncing in, dragging Tansy with her. Tansy, chopped hair and features in a permanent scowl, twisted free from Catalina's viper grip, and all but gave her uncle a cross glance.

"Wha' time issit girls?"

Tansy scoffed, "Too early!"

The ever cheerful Catalina was inches from his massive face, lithe fingers curling around his biceps. One hand found its way to her shoulder, trying to push her backwards. "Alwight! I'm up, imma up. Wha's the rush, huh? Reckon yer pants was on fire er somethin', Lina."

Catalina leaned back and wrinkled her nose, eagerly gripping Tansy's hand and bouncing in place. Even though she was a year and some odd months, she was as much a child as he remembered.

"The-the-the", it was Tansy who placed a hand on Catalina's shoulder and gave her a small smile, whispering no doubt to take a deep breath in her pseudo cousins ear. "Animal's! They-they're all out! Vo-voting I think!" Lina was twirling her hair now.

"Could-ld... what if they have-e horses? Oh! I wan-want to see them!"

Tansy was giggling now too, seemingly breaking her somewhat stoic expression to gush over birds.

Bennett's mind briefly went to that of his chickens, and he stretched. "Why dontcha girls go an' feed tha' chickens? Lemme get up an' about, yeah?"

Tansy grinned, this time it was her who drug Catalina out with her.

Bennett rose, dawned a bright blue linen shirt, a pair of buckskin trousers, and lazily tied his hair back in a ponytail. Exiting, he gathered the girls who had just got done feeding the chickens, and held each of their hands, walking towards the showcase of the animals.

Once the trio had arrived, it was Catalina who squealed with delight rushing first, to her Mama Nazario to retrieve the acorns for Bennett, then next at a sheep who bleated at her.

To Bennett, he wasn't quite sure what to do with these kiddos, and instead, gathered Catalina up in a hug to his side and walked towards the large hoofstock, his eyes drawn towards the lighter colored horse, a pretty one at that. Biased as he was about the lighter pelted hoss, his eyes couldnt help but draw towards the bovine whos box read "Beauford". Lina was the first to grab an acorn, and Tansy, as well, glanced at the bovine with sparkles in her eyes.

Perhaps, being biased towards the girls' was his weakness.

"One vote for Beauford." Came his reply, the girls already rushing to the sheep and goat. Bill and him had their differences, and being biased, he immediately gave his vote to the sheep. The little lamb bleated at him and the girls' who in turn giggled. "One vote for...Sally?" The lamb bleated again, Tansy and Lina giggled and grabbed his hand, practically pulling him towards the domestic animal.

Part of him didn't want to vote, of course this animal would win, it felt a bit unfair if it wouldn't.

Tansy fed it, Lina pet it, and Bennett put his vote in for Beetle. "Huh, Beetle...interestin'."

The wild avians was next, and while he wanted to vote for Franklin, the girls' were drawn to a particularly molted colored hawk. It glanced at him and the girls', and above Franklin's cursing, he simply smile at it. Peering at its name, he chuckled. "Kuru it is! Pretty bird."

The girls were already rushing to the next one, ogling and giggling the entire way. That was, uncle he stopped in front of a particular cat which caught his eye. It glanced at him, he glanced at it, and that was where his vote was. He didn't even wait for the girls' opinions. He dropped the acorn in Enlil's box and circled back around to let the girls take another gander and pet the ones they didn't get to pet before.
this is a brick, im unapologetic XD
Leon felt her guts twisting at the thought of what would be happening that night: Fight Night, she'd be brawling for a win that was really more bragging rights than anything. Why had she signed up for that again? Oh that's right, she had seen Odie going to sign up and then went sure I should do it too. It was going to be a trial by fire, though, because she was decidedly not a fighter. She didn't even really want to be, but being soft would get her killed. So might as well start by (probably) getting her butt kicked by her opponent in the ring. Maybe she'd surprise herself, though.

Today, she was dragging her friend to vote at the Best in Show early so that she'd have time still for the Carnival before the fight that night. "Odie, we have to participate, it's once a year. And I don't think they have canine-eating horses here. I mean, I suppose Del Cenere might train some of their horses to eat wolves... but you're safe then, too." she said, playfully bumping her shoulder against him. He wasn't wolfy at all so even then, the horses weren't going to try to eat his fingers... just hers.

She was actually kind of surprised that there weren't more horses in the large hoofstock section, when she went to first to get it over with. Despite her encouragement of Odysseus participating, the long-earred Commoner was a bit apprehensive about horses too. There were two and two long-horned cattle types that she very carefully avoided getting near. It was easy to choose for that section, though, because she saw Lili and recognized her. "Hey girl!" she said softly, placing her acorn appropriately to vote for Liam's mount. Though she kind of wondered with Belaith hadn't been entered. At least it made her vote easy, though.

Next she meandered to the small hoofstock. There was a bleating little sheep who seemed eager for attention (or food, maybe) and was adorably covered in wool. There was also a goat who looked about ready to escape if given half the chance. This was harder, because she rather liked both goats and sheep in general. She looked between the two, pondering. The decision was made for her when the sheep stepped closer for pets, though, and she was able to stroke its wooly head. "Sorry, Bill." she said as she dropped her vote in the lamb's box. Bill did look genuinely affronted, though she thought it might be because she hadn't given her the acorn to eat.

Domestic fowl only had one entrant and she wasn't sure why there was a vote at all. The wolf felt kind of bad for whoever had to carve the acorns for that section only for there to be one entry. Bat placed her vote in the box, but felt a bit silly doing it. Congrats to Beetle, though, she supposed.

The wild fowl was the most populated section which didn't surprise her. After all, bird companions were not unusual. They were intelligent, could be trained, could carry messages, could help hunt... their uses were vast. This time she wasn't sure she recognized any of the entrants. One looked like it might be Hageshi's bird that she had met once? It was hard to say, though. Distinguishing one bird from another (except by breed) was difficult and she couldn't recall the name at the moment. One eagle shouted at her as she walked past, then seemed amused when she jumped. "Well, not you..." she said with a frown. Eventually, she settled on Kuru because either it was Hageshi's bird or it looked like Hageshi's bird and either way was sufficient to her for voting.

Last was wild animal... they were all totally different. It was hard to pick which was best because how could she compare them? They were all so different. Bat took a while looking at each of them, admiring their fur colors and their eyes and... in the end, she had to give it to the marten. Just because it seemed so different for an animal that Luperci had. She'd seen foxes and cats before, but a marten? What an interesting choice. If she could've given them each one, though, she would've for that category.

With her voting done, the long-earred wolf made sure to round up her Odie before heading back out into the Stockshow. It had been a pleasantly distracting time, just what she needed before that night.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
Optime | DCG (Charmingtown — Lancaster Stockyard) | Dated: Sep 8; morning | cNPC: Wesson

Related to [DCG+] Lancaster Stockshow 2022.

>___> Wow, this is terribly long. Don’t mind me!
Walking down the streets of Charmingtown that morning, Kubota had been tempted by the various games that had been set up for the stockshow. There was no larger event to spectate, though, there was plenty still to do. The games already had players, and the Inciendo’s eyes had not missed some of the prizes to be had—particularly, the food prizes. Which, reminded him, there were plenty of stalls still to peruse as well. Though later into the week, surely, there were still things to be gleaned, perhaps, even foreign food, if Kubota was lucky. When he’d said as much to Wesson though, she’d elbowed him unkindly in the side.

It would all have to wait, a prize once their current endeavor was finished, he reassured himself quietly. Wesson wanted to see the animals that had been entered into the Best in Show.

The Ashen pair made their way to the stockyards, a place they were all too familiar with. There, they were greeted by the Rey Salvaje and many baskets full of decorative acorns. As explanations were made on how and where to place their votes, Kubota couldn’t help but to turn the little acorns over in his palm, quietly wondering what poor soul drew the short straw on scratching out the markings on all of them. When released, Kubota let Wesson browse on her own.

He himself had been immediately drawn to the large livestock. Two horses, two bovines, one of which, he was quite familiar with. For the sake of not being biased, Kubota looked at the horses first.

One was a grey dapple, the other, a black-and-white. Both were larger than Kubota’s own mare, though, the darker one was much larger than any horse he’d worked with. No doubt, a wolf or very large dog must have been its rider; either that, or it was used as a labor animal for pulling wagons and carts. Both horses looked healthy, and both had a beautiful sheen to their fur, a sign that they’d most certainly been cleaned and groomed for the occasion. It was without question that they were pretty ladies, even if they were not the build Kubota preferred for his horses.

Turning his attention onto the pair of oxen, Kubota was drawn first to the one he knew. The loving Beauford accepted a few scratches and some treats, though, it appeared, the other ox called Pim seemed just as friendly and interested. The Cowboy looked the unfamiliar bovine over, marveling quietly at its unique coloration. He’d never seen anything like it. His turquoise eyes continued their inspection, comparing the build, horn structure, health, and color of both oxen.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have started at the large livestock first. It was a tough decision, truly, as he only had one acorn to cast his vote. He knew he felt biased for Beauford, but the point was to cast his vote on the best looking one of the four. Standing back, Kubota looked the animals over, letting others come up to pet and feed them as he struggled to make his decision.

Though the horses were pretty, they were not the type that he would have chosen to ride or breed at the end of the day, he decided. Of the two bovines, Kubota would have certainly loved to have bred Beauford to one of his cows. The ox had everything he liked in his type of cattle minus a pair of dangling jewels to pass on his genes. That coloration on Pim though…

In the end, Kubota’s acorn plunked into the box for the foreign ox, Pim. It pained him greatly to cast against Beauford, and he offered the ox some extra affection and treats to wordlessly express his apology.

Moving onto the smaller livestock, Kubota found the choices to either be a goat or a sheep. He looked both over, though, was less experienced with them than he’d been with the larger animals. The goat had the better coloration, he decided. The sheep demanded for a second look over though with a loud bleat. The mostly-white thing was certainly different than the ones he was used to seeing back in his youth. The texture of its growing fleece was quite different too, hinting at a possibly softer yield than the wooly things he remembered. No doubt, it would fetch for a high price, though, the black splotches might lower its value more than a pure, pristine, white skin might have.

The sheep stared at him with its dark eyes before letting out another bleat. Chuckling, Kubota was won over, and he dropped an acorn into the box for Sallyforth.

Following the hoofed livestock was the birds. Glancing down at his available acorns, however, Kubota was forced to pause and do a doubletake. He remembered the symbols and their representation, but, was there really only one domesticated fowl to choose from?

Walking up to the pen, he was surprised to see the thing resting well within distance of being touched. In fact, as he saw a small, long-eared Luperci reach in to pet it, the rooster seemed almost tame. It made—what he assumed were—happy chicken noises as the individual stroked its barred feathers. Kubota was impressed, honestly, as he was used to roosters being miserable demons that liked to crow and chase and attack hapless Luperci with their spurs.

Pointless as it might have been, he dropped an acorn into the box. Even if it hadn’t been the only domesticated bird, he thought the chicken was worthy enough to be awarded the “best” in its category.

Kubota smirked. And, besides, who didn’t like a good-looking cock?

Amongst the array of pedestals, Kubota had three corvids to choose from and two raptors. He looked the birds over, trying to figure out how he should judge them. He didn’t interact much with wild birds like he did with the livestock animals and fowl. The raptors were pretty with their mottled coloration of browns and variations of white. The size disparity between the two was almost comical.

Truly though, could he really pick a “best” between the two birds of prey that he knew nothing of? His turquoise gaze moved to the three black birds. One was larger than the other two, and a few characteristics about it hinted that it was a raven instead of a crow like the rest. Surprising as it might have been that he knew the difference, it was easy when he’d spent a whole moon his youth trying to chase off the smaller birds from his mother’s crops.

He looked each bird over. The raven was clean and its feathers had a nice sheen to them, though, so too, did the crows’. It had what looked to be a scar on one of its legs, an unfortunate flaw. Looking between the crows, the only difference that he could really pick out was that one had a yellow bangle of sorts around its leg. Kubota’s lips twisted, contemplating which wild bird he should choose.

It was then that unmarked and undecorated crow hopped off its pedestal to grab something—a wooden bead that must have fallen off of someone’s clothing, it seemed. Returning to its perch, it held the bead in its beak and tilted its head like birds often did. It was as if the bird was trying to up its appeal and make it have something “unique” about it like the others. Amused, Kubota chuckled and cracked a grin. Looking down at the boxes, he dropped his vote into the bird’s box. Apparently, its name was Frank.

With one final acorn left, Kubota made his way to the last group, which turned out to be a wildcard of different animals; a weasel, a fox, and an oversized housecat…or something that looked close to a cat. The animal was, truly, something exotic.

It had ridiculously huge ears, and a piercing stare that looked more feral than what he was used to in one’s average farm cat. Its limbs were also long for a cat, making it stand likely closer in height to a small coyote. Its sleek, spotted pelt was pristine and without blemish. Even as it lazily watched the passing Luperci, it had a regal look to it. If the cats had a god, he was sure it might look something like the thing before him.

He inspected the weasel next. It was small, and its fur was just as well-groomed as the cat-thing’s. As Luperci milled about and casted their votes, the mustelid seemed almost anxious as its beady eyes danced about as if looking for someone in particular—likely, its Luperci companion. For the sake of not pandering for votes though, its owner was likely nowhere nearby. Poor critter. Perhaps the Show was too much. Too many strangers, too many scents.

The last of the trio was a fox, a young one, but, gorgeous with its fiery, orange coat. It stood where the Luperci could interact with it, accepting treats and even letting them stroke its pretty fur. It seemed surprisingly friendly and socialized, and absolutely ate up all of the attention it was given. It was interesting to Kubota, who was used to the small canines being known as vermin for domestic fowl, crafty thieves that were only good for being a pretty coat.

This one seemed…almost no different than a cat. Perhaps it was all a ruse, perhaps not. As it moved, he noted a slight limp to its gait, which called his attention to the scar on its foreleg.

Quietly, he hummed. He’d marked physical blemishes against the last group of contestants…

Kubota’s eyes roved over his options once more. The cat-thing was exotic, but was standoffish and foreign looking to him. The mustelid, while good looking, appeared too anxious for his liking. The fox was pretty, even if marred. Out of the three, it interacted more with the crowd of passing Luperci than the others.

When all things were considered, the fox won out, in his opinion, and he moved forward, dropping his last acorn into Holly’s box.

It was then that Wesson appeared by his side. He glanced at her as he wiped his hands clean. “Done?” He asked.

She nodded.

As they turned to go, Kubota shouldered Wesson affectionately. “So, who’d you vote for?”

“The point is to be anonymous, Kubota,” the coydog deadpanned.

“Okay, give me your top three.”


“You voted for the chicken, didn’t you?”

“There was only one chicken to choose from.”

Kubota winked and clicked his tongue, grinning like a fool. “But you still voted for him. One down, only four more to go.”

“Your detective work is frightening.”

Their voices faded as they move further and further away from the stockyard and back towards the other festivities.

Kubota Mossberg
— The Cowboy —
[616] This post got away from me. xD Interaction w/ Rio approved by Despi.

Very little could convince Odysseus to get close to large, hooved beasts or sharp-taloned avians -- but Leon's cajoling managed to, somehow.

Secretly, though, he wanted to indulge her if only to keep her mind off her fighting match later that evening. As far as he could tell, she wasn't a scrapper like he was. While he preferred an honorable and flashy duel with swords, he'd been able to roll with the punches (ha!) of a fistfight, if only because he was used to the motions and the pain.

So he pulled faces and complained as she dragged him to the paddocks, despite his arguments that he would get kicked or his eyes pecked out. "Have to?" he repeated. "Hurricane season happens once a year, too, but you don't see me leaping to get in a boat." He couldn't help but roll his eyes and snort with amusement as she bumped her shoulder into him, declaring him safe from finger-chomping equines. His tail wagged, though it slowed as Battalion trotted ahead to view the animals.

He ought to be a good sport about it, he thought; it wouldn't take him long to drop a few acorns in a few boxes. And when he spotted the ruggedly handsome coywolf handing out said acorns, Odysseus resolved to be an exemplary voter.

With a handful of acorns, he wandered through the paddocks, keeping a safe distance (more than the length of a horse's head) from the fenceline and frowning faintly at the animals. What qualities, exactly, was he supposed to evaluate for this endeavor? A horseman might admire the equines for their conformation or gait, but Odie saw the two draft-sized mares with their enormous hooves and quailed.

The oxen with their long, eye-gouging horns made him nervous, too, but they had less of that worrying intelligence in their dark, heavy-lashed eyes. He compared the two, noting their gentle demeanors and tolerance for petting, then made his choice.

"Stripes solidarity," the handsomely brindled Odie said to the handsomely brindled Pim.

Less intimidating were the small hoofstock -- but Sallyforth earned his acorn because Odie loved the name, and admittedly found the lamb cute and pettable. If you were into petting sheep, which he was not, eyeing the dust and dead grass accumulating on the critter's fiber with pursed lips.

The terrifying birds caught his eye next; he didn't dare approach the raptors with their deadly talons and wicked beaks. The corvids were less intimidating, and amusingly talkative. He admired Peekan's attitude, listened to Miny's chatter, and had his heart won over by Frank -- because, well, he couldn't resist telling a story.

He was surprised to find wild predators in the mix, and was immediately drawn to Enlil, who resembled none of the fauna he'd seen on the continent. Instead, his dappled golden coat called to mind leopard pelts he'd sometimes seen bartered in ports along the Mediterranean. For this, and the cat's haughty demeanor, he cast his vote.

The last acorn in his hand signified domestic fowl, but the only avian on display was a simple rooster. Its barring and iridescent tailfeathers were interesting enough, he supposed, but it seemed pointless to cast his vote for an animal that would win by default. Instead, he kept his acorn and wandered eventually back to the tall, broad-shouldered coywolf with the interesting, enticing eyepatch.

Wordlessly, Odysseus stepped into the man's space and dropped the acorn in his pocket. He winked, letting the implication stand, then quickly departed to seek Battallion -- mum on the reason he was flushed and laughing to himself.

[Image: odiedodie.gif]
Optime | DCG (Charmingtown — Lancaster Stockyard) | Dated: Sep 8; morning | cNPC: Ronin

Related to [DCG+] Lancaster Stockshow 2022.

omfg, another long one :x Don’t mind me.
It was hard to believe that it had been an entire year since they’d visited the Kingdom’s closest neighbors. News of the stockshow’s return had reached New Caledonia, and, when it had, Naomi had had little desire to go. The pack would have been vulnerable if too many of them left, she’d said as her excuse. It had been only a partial truth though. What weighed more heavily on her thoughts, however, was that, the last time she’d gone, her brother had been alive. It'd taken quite a bit of time for her to fully bury the melancholy his memory brought. The last thing she wanted was for a crack to form in the defensive wall she’d quietly built up.

In the end, Ronin had convinced her to go though, pointing out that she’d been rather solitary and reclusive since summer had started. She needed a break, and, so did he. He’d been right, of course, though, she would have never admitted it to him. The week had practically flown by. Similar as the stockshow might have been to the previous year’s, there had been quite a few changes made to the itinerary. It’d been enjoyable, even if she and Ronin had largely only spectated and eaten food.

On a whim, she’d entered her mare, Bacardi, into the Best in Show event. Bright and early that morning, they’d removed her gear, given her a bath, and brushed out her coat, mane, and tail until the mare looked beautiful like a show pony rather than the warhorse she was trained as. Naomi had dropped her off in the designated area, and had offered a few words in hopes that her mare would behave for the roaming guests that were to inevitably show up.

Hours later, and when the voting had finally opened up, Naomi and Ronin returned to the stockyard. The rogue smirked secretively to her as he was given his acorns, and part of her thought to remind him to be unbiased. He’d walked out of conversational distance before she could say as much though, and the last thing Naomi wanted was for someone to overhear her cautionary warning, and accuse the Caledonian pair of rigging the system in favor of only New Caledonia’s animals.

She stared at the Peer’s back for long beat before she took in breath and shook her head.

Seeing as how the crowd seemed to all start off at the large livestock, Naomi purposely went to the opposite end. There seemed to be less Luperci there, thus, less bodies to move around and dodge to see the contest’s contestants. It also allowed her to take a bit more time before she would see Bacardi. She knew her horse would recognize her, and wanted to delay the encounter in hopes of letting the mare give her full attention to the other guests for as long as possible. The less she lingered in the area afterwards, the better for Bacardi and whatever votes she might get.

The decision to go in “reverse” of the crowd put Naomi amongst the wild animal group. Unlike the previous year and its limiting categories, there seemed to be a greater variety of contestants and groups this time, which, unfortunately, made choosing the “best” amongst some of them to be more difficult when there was no true, like-animal to compare with.

She watched as other Luperci interacted with the wild beasts. Naomi, however, kept her hands to herself, not trusting the signs enough to not get bitten or scratched.

It was interesting to see a marten up close. Most times, the mustelids were quick to climb a tree and safely out of range when she happened upon them. This one, it seemed, looked as if it wished to do just that. Naomi felt similarly about the fox. It was quite different to see one that seemed right at home amongst Luperci as the one before her. Usually, they kept their distance, and, on occasion, they found themselves in her jaws.

Both were good looking animals, but, it was the feline-like creature that drew her eye. Never had she seen a cat that looked like it did. Its coat had the warm, pale color of summer grass in a tall, flower-dotted field. Even speckled with bold, dark spots, its fur looked absolutely flawless and well-kept. A pair of striking, gold eyes watched each passing Luperci with the attentiveness and arrogance of any domestic-type she’d known. The only difference was, this creature was about two or three times as large as any domestic cat; tall in both limbs and ears, and with a limber-looking figure to match. It was quite beautiful, and Naomi dropped her acorn into the box with Enlil written on the front of it.

The next group put the High Lady before the wild birds, and it seemed almost unfair to pit the raptors against the three corvids. In Naomi’s opinion, they were in two entirely different leagues. However, she knew she was biased in such thoughts, as she’d grown up and worked with her mother’s falcons. So, trying to give the darkly-feathered birds a chance, she viewed them first. Their feathers were certainly glossy, and they were all equally black in color. And they all talked, it seemed, as she saw them interact with a few of the Luperci viewing them. Try as she might though, Naomi couldn’t find anything that truly drew her to one bird or the other.

So, she turned her gaze to her favored type of bird; the raptors. The contestants consisted of an eagle and a hawk. She studied their plumage, watched their feet as they shuffled and gripped the pedestal they’d been perched on. She noted the curve of their beaks and talons, the way they held themselves, their attentiveness to the going-ons around them.

The eagle seemed just as talkative as the raven and crows, though, the shrill calls and words that fell from its beak were much more piercing and with much more of a taunting air about them. The bird was certainly confident in itself, Naomi would give it that.

Turning her eyes onto the smaller bird of prey, it seemed much calmer and more docile, though, the signs near its box asked that guests not attempt to feed or pet it. Naomi felt an almost familiar pull to the animal, like she should have known it, but, if it belonged to a fellow Caledonian, it was not to someone she regularly interacted with. The hawk had a beautiful coloration to it, and the dark markings near its eyes appealed to her. Perhaps the most unique thing about it though was that its feathers went as far as they did down its legs.

Moving her eyes between the two raptors, Naomi eventually dropped her acorn into Kuru’s box. Of the birds to choose from, the hawk was the finer specimen, in her opinion.

As she moved to the next group of birds, it became clear that, apparently, there weren’t many individuals with prized, domestic fowl to show off, as there was only one bird to choose from. It made sense, truly, even as unfortunate as the situation must have been to the event-runners. Usually, chickens and the like were communal property amongst packs, and those that kept a private flock usually did so for food purposes. Still, sole contestant or not, the bird was a good-looking rooster to look at. Beetle received her acorn, and, from the sound of it, had received the acorn of others, too, despite being a guaranteed win.

She moved on to the small livestock, finding her choices to be between a goat or a sheep. Naomi was only vaguely familiar with their types because of the Fir-Chlis family, however, even still, she didn’t know what to look for in “good” or “bad.” She was a much better judge when it came to raptors and horses. Despite her limited knowledge, she looked both over. She liked the coloration of the goat more than she did the sheep’s. She liked that the sheep only noisily bleated though, and didn’t try to headbutt, gentle as the attempts might have been. Both seemed friendly, however, in the end, Naomi chose the box belonging to Sallyforth.

In the back of her mind, she tried to pretend that it wasn’t because she had a small dislike for goats and their troublesome ways. Just looking at the goat made her thoughts quietly go to Lord Arran, and his misfortune when it came to his errant flock.

Finally, she found herself before the large livestock animals. She was quite familiar with three of the four options. Pim had fallen into the care of her milksister’s family. Lili, was a fellow warhorse and belonged to her guildmate, Liam. And then, of course, Bacardi was her own.

So, Naomi started with the foreigner of the group, an ox with patches and spots of color in contrast to Pim’s stripes. It was gentle and docile for its hefty size, and it even let out a long moo as Luperci clustered near the fence of its pen. It was friendly and cleaned up nicely, but so too was Pim. She paused long enough to offer some affection and treats to the Caledonian ox before moving to purposely avoid Bacardi so that she could view Lili.

Liam had groomed his horse well. Her feathered hooves were as clean as they could be given the ground of her pen and the roads leading up to the stockyard. The black of the rest of her body had a desirable sheen to it, showing off her muscles when the sun caught it just right. Her mane and tail had been thoroughly brushed for the event, and looked silky and soft. She was a fine horse to look at, even if a little tall for Naomi’s preference for a warhorse.

As she heard the familiar thunk of an acorn being added to a box, Naomi was reminded that she would need to cast her vote. Her glacier eyes flicked between the trio of animals, trying her best to decide which she thought was the “best”-looking one of the selection. In the end, her acorn found itself in Lili’s box. As much as Naomi wanted to be unbiased, she knew she loved horses much more than cattle.

With her final acorn spent, Naomi finally allowed herself to move before Bacardi’s pen. Instantly, her mare moved to her, attentive and awaiting a command should she give it. The Wraith only smiled, however, offering her horse a small treat before affectionately stroking her muscular neck.

Kama renai yō ni kiwotsukete. Toka, sō kikimasu.

Naomi scoffed at the familiar voice that spoke Japanese to her. Turning her head to glance over her shoulder, her icy gaze fell upon Ronin. Watashi wa kanojo ni anata o kama seru koto ga dekimasu. She challenged.

Ronin cast a disbelieving glance around them. Kanojo wa watashi no koto o kiniitteru.

She smirked, letting her hand rest on Bacardi’s shoulder. Kanojo wa watashi o motto sukidesu.

The rogue huffed, and she laughed at his scowl. With a final pat, she wordlessly signaled for Bacardi to continue relaxing and enjoying the attention of the passing Luperci. It would be a few more hours before the Best in Show voting concluded, so, Naomi departed with Ronin to waste some time before she could return to collect her horse.

Naomi Stryder
— The Roquen —

The direction were simple enough; he'd been handed a few acorns, all etched likely to keep from cheating. He had a chuckle at that, the thought of somebody altering a contest for the sake of their pet. He supposed there was some pride to be had in winning the best in show, but felt it was mostly for the canine counterparts, not the mounts and beasts themselves.

Even if he hadn't signed up for the cross-country event, the archer doubted he'd throw Voodoo into this popularity contest. To him, she was the best, so that was all that mattered. It wasn't that he didn't get the appeal, it just wasn't suited for him.

Still, he'd cooperate the same, feeling a need to include himself in any of the offered festivities that he could as the pack's El Ojo. Voting for Best in Show was easy, and he was almost tempted to simple throw the appropriate acorn blindly into whatever box he came across first. He wouldn't let his soured opinion of the thing sway him into mischief, though, as he was sure that the corresponding Luperci added their pets for one reason or another. This meant something to them, and he could respect that.

First up were the beasts of burden, and there were plenty to choose from. Though the cattle were impressive, Hosea felt closer to the horses, having been familiar with the animal for a longer time.
Both were stunning to look at, the beautifully marked Bacardi and the unique Lili. But when it came down to it, the grey dapple had his vote, and he placed an acorn into the box labeled Bacardi.

He came across the smaller hoof-stock next, a goat and a sheep. They were both appealing enough in their own ways, Bill with her awkward affection and Sallyforth with attention seeking. It was a difficult decision, far more complicated than the Courtright mongrel had initially been prepared for, but after some contemplating, the Ashen put the acorn into the box for Sallyforth.

Voting for the favoured domestic fowl was easy enough, so El Ojo walked by Beetle casually while placing an acorn into his box.
He was sure he was a fine rooster, but he wasn't particularly a fan of birds.

Which made the next category all the more challenging.
With a wrinkled nose, the sharpshooter looked over all of the wild avian. He recognized two of them, the crow Peekan that belonged to the Perrun du Lac healer, and Franklin, who belonged to his former cheating lover.
He made a quick decision that neither of those creature were getting his vote, and split his pool down by two.

Frank was amusing, and Kuru was highly appealing in looks and personality. But ultimately his vote went to Miny, who won him over with the intelligent look in her beady black eyes.

Finally, he reached the last category, holding a lone marked acorn in his palm. This collection was quite that; a misfit group of various sorts of critters, one of which he knew of and smiled upon seeing.
There was something that drove him to vote for Holly, but nothing he'd admit aloud.

When free of the acorns, the Ashen dusted his hands off, gave Nazario and Paninya a wave, and carried on elsewhere.
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
Honey wagged her tail as she was handed five acorns. She was not told she was too young, only to pick carefully. Only one acorn for each category. So the young Perrin Du Lac set off, just happy to be allowed to look at animals. A few would even let you pet them! She knew she had to be fair...but there were only two small hoof animals. Looking between the two, she spotted Bill's tail wag a bit and the goat even gave her a bleat in greeting. Or so Honey guessed. "Aw, how could I not vote for you Bill?" She asks, and happily does so before offering the friendly female pets. Bill even licks her hand!! Honey giggles and moves to the wild avian section.

There are a few crows...ravens? Black birds that hold an intelligent gleam to their eyes. Then what looks like an eagle, and a hawk? The hawk is real cute, and almost gets her vote but... Her gaze goes back to the black feathers. It may be a bit biased, but she preferred crows and ravens. Maybe because her mother had had one... With a shrug, Honey looked them all over again, and how could she not recognize her father's bird? "This might be cheating, but you are the one I know the best Peekan!" She says happily and knows better than try and pet the crow. 

The large hoof animals were next and Honey zeroed in on the large black horse. Gasping she went over, careful not to startle the horse or the other animals nearby. "Look at you! You're so pretty!!" She praised, and look! The sign said pets and treats were all right!! Honey happily offered the horse scratches and pets, and was a bit mad at herself for not bringing treats. Of course her acorn goes to this wonderful looking creature, how can it not??? Honey just wishes she could stay and pet the horse all day, but there are other animals to vote for, and other canines around waiting to also pick their favorites. 

The next was domestic fowl. There was only one bird. A chicken. It scratched at the ground and clucked a lot. Honey then spotted the name. Beetle? Honey grins "Oh my gosh! I love that name! Hello Beetle!! Are you being a good chicken?" Honey asks and offers the rooster a gentle scratch before putting her acorn with the rest. "Don't tell the others, but I think you'll win by a land slide." She giggles and gives the chicken one last pet before moving to the wild animals. 

Her choice here is a bit harder. They all look so unique and cute! Honey looks them over, trying to be calm and collected, and oh my gosh was that a fox?! Honey goes over and looks the small canine like animal over more closely and is even allowed to give it pets! Its fur is so soft! "Oh, you are so cute, and so soft!" It was her first time petting a live fox! Her vote went right to it. Perhaps she really shouldn't have been allowed...but it was so nice to look at all the animals, and pet the ones she was allowed to! Even after all her acorns were gone, she lingered and did another round, just to pet the animals that were open to such attentions. 

I'm having a good time, having a ball-Queen
Morris looked at his acorns, then scanned the area full of different animals. With a nod to Rio, he walked around, giving Bill a stern look when he was close enough, and decided to start with the wild avian section. There were many birds there, including an eagle, and a small hawk. Looking them over, he kept finding his eyes go back to the wee hawk. It did look rather cute. Why if he was allowed to touch it, he bet it would fit in his hands easily. It sort of reminded him of Guzzler, when he first found her. ...now the seagull was a right pain in the butt. With a soft sigh Morris put his vote towards Kuru and gave a nod to the birds in general. 

Only now did he go over to the small hoof section, and was relieved to see that Bill was not the only one there. Even if he loved his goat, it felt a bit unfair to vote outright for her. Sallyforth was a cute little lamb to be sure, and Morris offered the small creature some pets, to the apparent ire of Bill, if her bleats were anything to go by. "Oh hush, I see ya on the daily." He says to his goat, who just bleats again. With a sigh and a shake of his head, his acorn goes to the sheep, but he does give Bill some attention before moving on...otherwise she might try to escape. 

After that, the former sailor wanders over to the large hoof stock. Which is mostly horses and cows. Morris honestly doesn't know enough about either kind of animal, so he just looks them over in general. In the end, he votes for Beauford, because the cow is just the most appealing to him when it comes to looks, though that large black horse comes as a close second. Morris moves on before he can try to talk himself into changing his mind. 

Next are the wild animals. He's a bit surprised at the cat like creature, and there's also a fox. Then his eyes go to the pine marten. "Ah..." This little one was certainly a looker. Morris was not being biased at all. Nope. "Hey there Fig" he greets gently, and holds out his hand, letting the pine marten come to him if it wants. He glances around before voting for the small creature as well. "See ya latah little lad" he says then sighs as he spots the lone rooster still waiting. 

It seems highly unfair that there's only one chicken. Though...he was sure he saw someone give that acorn to Rio earlier, with a saucy type of wink as an added entertaining bonus. Scanning the number of canines present, he spotted Honey petting animals, seemingly ignoring the voting, Hosea...ah there he was. "Sean" he moved towards the Butler male, and then gave the lad a grin. "There's only one rooster...but it's not the cock I care about" He says low, feeling a bit brave and perhaps a little cheeky. Then he hands Sean his domestic fowl acorn, but forgoes the wink. He doesn't want to copy someone else too much, even if their actions sparked this idea. 

"Maybe latah we could share a drink?" He asks "Been a while since we last spent some time togethah." With another lingering smile, Morris gives Sean a nod then ambles off. Perhaps he will stick near Bill, just to make sure that the goat behaves. 

593 words

-Never give up; Never surrender- Galaxy Quest
Tansy was tagging along with Catalina and Uncle Bennett. Honestly, it felt nice to not have the responsibilities that the adults had at the moment. Children at that.

Technically speaking, she probably should have tried a little bit harder, but with a shrug of her shoulder, the woman didn't really give a rats ass when it came down to the logistics of where her siblings were. It wasn't her job to pick up her father or mother's slack. Speaking of her father...

Two lavender orbs caught sight of the Courtright bastard as he waltzed through the crowds, and walked up to Nazario. An exchange of acorns was had, and the female sucked on her front teeth. She really did try not to be biased, sometimes the heart just wanted what the heart wanted, but the rumorVille in the Ganglands had a particularly interesting way of provoking those clucking hens. Rumor had it Hosea was mending his broken heart with every harlot there was within the Ganglands, and Peony? Well, at least she kept her affairs tidy and outside of the prying ears of her daughters.

Hosea was a good father, but he lacked discipline it took to hide his brokenness. Something she would never do.

Approaching the Rey, the scrutiny in her gaze was given to every willing party, before she gladly accepted the acorns and dropped them into her pouch.

Daphne's hands folded, albeit awkwardly around her belt, before she noticed everyone giving someone else an acorn What was this, some sort of charity? Oh for fuck's sake. Mine as well give it to her father, it wasn't like he was having any luck in any department thus far. Or perhaps, too much luck, from the rumors in The Ugly Coyote. On second thought-- Daphne's fists tightened into her side.

Way to go Dad.

"Tch." Came her first reply, catching sight of her cousin Calliandra, their purple gazes met, and with as much scowling as Andi did, it was a wonder her face didn't fall off. Daphne gave a short, clipped smile, and a half wave of her hand before turning towards the creatures before her.

Honestly, they were all quite stinky and obnoxious, but to gain further insight into what her parents were up to, she supposed she could play along.

The first creatures were horses and cows. One was dumb, the others she could tolerate. While the cows were pretty to look at, they gave Daph no flutter in her belly, so to say. An acorn was nonchalantly tossed into the bucket for "Bacardi", a small hand reached out and pet it's ears.

Moving onwards to the smallhoofstock, the goat immediately drew a belching bleat, and the Braithwaite gave a low glower. "Uh huh..." An acorn was dropped immediately into the lambs bucket, as she quickly walked away. Goats were nasty, stinky creatures, who would own such a creature anyways?

Next was a chicken. HA, a single cock for everyone to glance at. Go figure. The acorn was given, and on she moved. Franklin was the only bird she knew and the only bird she liked. Franklin, being the potty mouth she was, was given a croon, and a pet. Her large beak buried into the Braithwaite's hands, and Daphne actually smiled. "I don't care if you cuss, you're still my favorite girl, Frankie." It was met with an ear piercing shriek, and a shake of her mottled feathers. The acorn was placed into Franklin's container, and she had half a mind to take the other acorns and dump them in there too.

"Nah... that's not like, fair or anything." Came a reply to herself, Chin tucking downwards as she approached the exotics pen.

All of them looked interesting, but that fox, one she'd seen roaming around, wasn't given a second glance. However, the big cat, and the slender weasel creature, were given enough time that her decision was made. The final acorn was given to Fig, his little chirps made her smile, and he was soft to pet, too.
dont mind meeeee ~
Optime | DCG (Charmingtown — Lancaster Stockyard) | Dated: Sep 8; morning

Related to [DCG+] Lancaster Stockshow 2022.

Another long post. Sorry guys :x Permission was given by Despi for advanced interaction with Beetle!

Kamari’s scent is disguised.
The coyote town was lively that morning as the Ashen and their great many guests woke up and engaged in the overabundance of activities to be had. Unlike the previous days, there were no major events scheduled that she could spectate. The focus, rather, was simply to enjoy the various games that had been set up, as well as trading wares in the Trading Post area or in one of the Gang’s new foundries. One of the more notable happenings, however, was the Best in Show voting. The previous year’s selection had shown a good mix, and, so, curious to see what those around the realm had to show off, Kamari made it a point to stop by.

Arriving at the stockyard, it appeared that the Rey Salvaje himself was more or less proctoring the voting event. He passed out acorns, and gave a brief and simple explanation of how the system was intended to work. As she was given her allotment of decorated acorns, it was clear that the categories had changed from the previous year’s. She turned the acorns over in her small palm, studying and memorizing the feel of each scratching etched into their hard, outer shell so that she wouldn’t have to constantly look at them to know which to use for who.

The Shadow easily slipped in amongst the flow of the crowd, moving without so much as grazing a single, errant thread or hair of the Luperci around her. Some were tall with their wolfish builds, towering over their fellow voters with ease. Others were shorter, having to duck and weave their way around unless they wished to patiently wait their turn. A few lingered, more than two or three cooed and engaged with the animals on display. Some of the Ashen children, it seemed, ran and raced about from animal to animal. Kamari was careful to avoid all as she ghosted in and out amongst the crowd.

All of the large livestock had been grouped into one, single category this year, allowing for an equally divided mix between cattle and horses. The oxen were interesting to look at, particularly so when she compared them to Salsola’s own bovine animals. The Thistle Kingdom’s were hairy things, and no where near as large in size as the two on show. Unfortunately for the cattle though, despite their seemingly friendly demeanor, Kamari didn’t care to interact with their kind much, and, so, they held her attention for a much shorter time than the two horses.

Both mares were obviously made for larger riders or labor work. The dark one in particular, however, was an absolute giant compared to the jackal hybrid. Both horses were well groomed, and both appeared to have good temperaments as guests pet, fed, and otherwise interacted with them. They were both calm, but attentive, which made Kamari quietly wonder after what role they played in their normal lives. With how much she worked with her own horses and had dabbled around the stables back home, it was rather apparent to her that the pair before her were not just two pasture horses that occasionally saw some riding.

It was of little matter though. Kamari’s hand ghosted across the box for Bacardi, dropping her acorn in with the smoothness of one performing a secretive trade off. Of the two horses, she preferred the grey, dapple coloring, though, more importantly, the animal was closer to her preference for a horse, as it was leaner and smaller than the black-and-white mare.

Moving onward, her feet brought her before the smaller livestock, a competition between a goat and sheep, it seemed. Again, Kamari didn’t much care for either animal, even despite her husband owning a pair of goats. Both looked as they should for their type. Though the sheep looked as if it might yield a rarer type of fleece, the black splotches, Kamari felt, took away from the higher value one of the Kingdom’s merchants might have paid for the sheered material. The goat’s coloring was less detrimental by comparison, as it looked more of the type prized for their milk yield and meat than their fibers. So, for that reason, Kamari dropped her acorn into Bill’s box.

Next, appeared to be the group for domestic fowl, however, from the looks of it, there was only one contender. Kamari watched as a few Luperci paused, only to drop their acorn into the lone box and quickly be on their way. The animal had a guaranteed win whether it received acorns or not. For some, it seemed simply easier to get rid of the nut than to continue carrying it.

Kamari made her way forward, wanting to see the animal even in spite of its already obvious victory. It was a lone chicken—a rooster—it seemed. It had a small comb, and had beautifully barred, black-and-white feathers. The soft, wispy-looking, teal feathers that blossomed from its tail helped add a tasteful touch of color without throwing off its overall appearance. For a miniscule beat, Kamari thought it was the rooster she’d brought with her to trade. But…no, there were a few things that were off in its neck and tail feathers compared to the chicken she’d brought.

Wanting to inspect it better, she crouched down close to where the bird had been resting. It perked up at her movement, and, for the beat that it stared at her, Kamari almost swore that there was recognition behind its wide-staring eyes. A blink, then two, and its neck stretched in that familiar way chickens did when they saw something they were interested in. As something registered in its tiny brain, it let out a startlingly loud and sudden buhgok! It rose to its feet and made a beeline to where she stood, pacing anxiously back and forth.

Kamari furrowed her brows before tentatively reaching a hand in. The sign had said that it was okay to pet it…

The rooster instantly began to make happy chicken sounds as her fingers grazed its neck feathers. As it let her pet it, Kamari couldn’t help but to wonder…was this…was this the rooster she’d sold to the Ashen girl last year? It had the same coloration and same comb type as many of her birds, even the ones she’d brought with her for trade again. If it really was that little chicken, it had certainly grown into a fine-looking rooster.

Given its reaction to seeing her, and how it practically melted against her hand, Kamari was almost certain that it was the very same bird. She smiled a small smile down at it, happy at the thought that the rooster seemed to be thriving and looked to be well taken care of by its coyote owner.

She could have lingered for another ten minutes or so just showering the rooster with her rare attention and affection, however, she was keenly aware that there were other guests milling about, and likely wanted their turn to interact with the Best in Show animals. So, with one last loving stroke down its feathered neck, she drew her hand back.

The rooster clucked, watching her as she dropped an acorn into its—Beetle, it had been named, how cute—box before grabbing a treat from the treat bowl and depositing it onto Beetle’s side of the pen. It was Kamari’s way of finalizing her goodbye. Beetle flapped his wings, letting out a loud crow for all to hear before digging into the food offering.

Melting back into the moving crowd, Kamari eventually stood before five birds that had been entered into the Wild Avian category. Two were raptors, and the other three were corvids. Kamari’s sharp eyes looked each bird over. She noted the more vibrant but useful coloration of the raptors. No doubt, such plumage helped them hide away better in trees and dried brush.

As someone who had a raven familiar, Kamari scrutinized the ebony-feathered birds with a more critical eye. The gloss and shine of their feathers made it easy to see that the birds were not overstressed. There were no missing or broken flight or frayed tail feathers, and each had that familiar, intelligent look about them as they watched and interacted with the passing Luperci. The raven had a scar on one leg, and one of the crows had a plastic band. The crow that kept asking for stories was unblemished and not marked. Were it less demanding, Kamari might have thought that it might have made a better reconnaissance bird.

After a bit of silent debate, Kamari’s acorn fell into Miny’s box. Despite its identifying band, the crow had every characteristic she expected in a corvid; intelligent eyes, curious and playful nature, food-motivated, and was even capable of High Speech apparently, which was only an added mark in its favor.

Drifting through the ever-thinning crowd, the Shadow arrived at the last voting category; the wild animals. It seemed to be the catch-all category, made for any and all kinds of companion animals and familiars. How was she to judge which was the “best” when they were all so different though? Watching the other guests as she lingered like the shadow that she was, she saw some that looked to pick the first animal they were drawn to, others awarded acorns possibly based off their interaction with the creature.

Looking at them all, Kamari chose to base them off their usefulness, the common denominator coming out to be how well their fur might trade for. The fox had a luxurious, vibrant coat, something that always sold well to those that liked a bit of flash and flair as well as usefulness in the winter months. The spotted pelt of the regal-looking feline was certainly more exotic though, and the more eye-catching of the three. However, being loud and bold was not always for the best.

And so, Kamari’s astute gaze fell onto the marten. Its fur was a rich, dark, earthy brown with splashes of creamy yellow cascading down its throat. The fur looked soft, even for a summer coat, and Kamari could not spy any mark or blemish in its hide from her distance. The longer she stared at it though, with its beady eyes and how it moved quick and liquid-like, she couldn’t help but to be reminded of Argive’s fisher, Wormwood.

With a flick of her wrist, the last of her acorns appeared between two deft fingers which deposited the nut into the box marked for Fig. His dark fur, even though small, was much more versatile in its usage. Mustelids were smart and crafty creatures too, something that any good spy would want in a familiar.

Out of acorns, and having reached the end of the categories, Kamari melded back into the departing crowd of Ashen and guests as they made their way deeper into Charmingtown.

Kamari Kaiser
— The Shadow —
[Image: k4f73A1.png]
Player Wiki · · Character Wiki
Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi

The competitive events were entertaining to watch, but he preferred more mild interactions. From the sidelines, he could cheer on without being physically involved himself, not one for sport.
While he did sign up for the cooking contest, it was something he had an interest in, and Bugaboo had already ranted on about ideas that could be put to use.
He had asked her why she hadn't joined then, if she had such a strong opinion on how the thing should be carried out, but she muttered something about busying herself in the kitchen and puttered off.

The Best in Show was simple to participate in; you submit a pet to be ogled by the masses, go around to pet and feed the other animals present, and place an acorn in the box representing your favoured from each group.

The Prince had entered his sister's goat, Gumbo, into the event and had been pleasantly surprised when the little critter had actually won. Though he found Jamba to be a prize, he switched it up by submitting his crow, a part of him finding it amusing to have others deal with her ornery personality.

Sugabear accepted the marked acorns and made his way to the first group of animals. They were large hoofstock, and beautiful at that. Though he found both horses appealing in their own way, he was drawn to the cattle. Their horns were impressive, and after some time spent in their presence, he was finally won over by Beauford, who ate treats from the healer's hands with great interest.
It reminded him of someone dear to him, and he smirked at he placed the acorn in the ox's box.

Second came the small hoofstock, and while the Perrin du Lac mutt found the lamb to be undeniably adorable, he had to place his acorn in the box for Bill, perhaps biased by his own ownership of two playful goats.

The group for domestic fowl was less of a group and more... one lone rooster. With a shrug, the witch's decision was decided for him and her placed the acorn in the box for Beetle, but not without first some affection shared to the assured winner of his category.

Afterward was the wild avian group, and he smirked at the familiar crow cawing at him as soon as he was within sight of her. She croaked out for attention, never pleased unless he was cooing sweet nothings at her, but the witch waved his finger in silent reprimand before looking at what other avian were present. Another crow was there, one far better behaved than his own. There was a raven as well, larger than the crows and just as stunning.
The two hawks grabbed his attention, reminding him somewhat of his mother's vulture. He rubbed at the scar along his forearm, a permanent reminder of his worst interaction with the bird that most would assume would turn him away from the species.
But on the contrary, he only respected them more.

Kuru was shy, perhaps frightened by the event, so he simple cooed at her and carried on to the next. Franklin, on the other hand, was perhaps too sociable, squawking out swears not unlike his own foul-mouthed feathered friend.
He looked over at Peekan at the thought of her, but laughed softly. Let's jus' face it. He joked, Ya not even my favourite. And with a wink toward the disapproving crow, Sugabear put his acorn into the box for Franklin.

Lately were the wild animals, a group of various critters less likely seen as companions. The fox was pleasant all-around, lovely in appearance as well as personality. The pine marten was cute enough, but he was timid and didn't last long tolerating the Prince's company.
The cat, however, was something completely unseen to Sugabear. He was striking, and had an air of confidence that appealed highly to the Perrin du Lac mongrel.
Finally, he placed his last acorn in the box labeled for Enlil, before giving last minute pets and making his way back toward the crowds.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break

He gave Nazario an enthusiastic thanks, bowing after he was handed the acorns he'd be using to signify his favourite creature from each of the Best in Show categories.
Eager to try and see how his own submission was doing, Sean held himself back from rushing to Fig and bombarding those around him with pleas to vote for his little shy boy.

He took it steady, giving each animal his attention that desire it. He came across the horses first, and while the cattle were intriguing creatures, he was awestruck by the shire horse. She was large with long, sleek hair that tempted the Butler mutt to reach out and pet it. He resisted, only patting the mare's nose gently before putting an acorn in Lili's box.

He came across the small hoofstock next, and he was absolutely prepared already to vote for the goat belonging to his beau. He did, however, give Sallyforth a sympathetic smile and a pat to his head, but he was too eager to put the acorn into the box for Bill, hoping silently that she was in the lead, if only for Morris' pleasure.

Though, thinking of the mood his boyfriend would be in upon winning Best in Show, it happened that Morris was approaching the boatman. Sean smiled, ready to greet the other, but before words escaped him he found himself holding tight to an etched acorn and feeling...
Some sort of way.

It was bold of the merle sailor, and though he'd given suggestive invitations before, it was still a shock to hear him be so lewd, especially in public.
While some would probably think his behavior uncouth, Sean had never been more attracted to an individual than he was in the moment.

You... My what? He laughed aloud, Morris already walking off suavely. A heat rose to the fisherman's face and suddenly, he forgot all about voting. Tossing the rest of his marked acorns aside, he ran over to where his boyfriend stood, watching his goat.
When he got near, he reached out for the carpenter's hand, tugging him away from the small hoofstock and looking desperately for a more private location.

Cheerleading for Fig would have to wait.
[Image: S6ZhfwE.png]
You'd say "Don't hate the sea from the shore
The ocean was here long before
↞ the land 
Take my hand, come out here with me."

Dakota was still a stranger to the canine around her, but had she been known, it would be for her rough exterior. She used her charm to swindle those giving in to her youthful and innocent appearance, learning from a young age how to manipulate. She didn't open up easily, not trusting of others without much to be proven to her. She'd been hurt in the past too many times already to just give her loyalty to just anybody.

She was fast to become confrontational, eager on her first day in the Stockshow to fight with a stranger. It wouldn't be the first time she got bruised and bloody, and she knew undeniably that it wouldn't be the last, not if she could help it. She wore a snarl far easier than a mirthful grin, and growled more often than laughed.

But around animals, that all changed.

The hound knew better than to trust other canines; they used those they considered weak for their own good, and chastised anybody who was smart along to catch on. But when it came to pets, they only knew affection. Creating a bond with an animal was pure, and rarely anything could sever the trust between luperci and beast.

While she hadn't yet fully earned the loyalty of her newly acquired gelding, she was eager to grow closer to the horse. Ever since she was just a pup, she favoured work with animals, and hoped one day to take care of her own menagerie.
So when it was announced that there would be a contest for Best in Show with the privilege of being able to interact with the contestants, she was immediately on her way.

It was her first time meeting the Rey Salvaje up close and personal, and she wore a cute smile through their interaction. He seemed an interesting sort, somebody she'd like to talk to more later on, as the head of this whole event.
But as she was handed the acorns, she took no time getting right to what she wanted to do.

Approaching the large hoofstock, the hound spent plenty of time with each beast of burden, petting the long, sleek hair of Lili, observing in awe the beautiful dapple pattern that covered Bacardi, running her fingers over the impressive horns of Beauford, but after some time petting Pim her decision had been made.
With a genuine grin, the MacFarlane youth gave her acorn the box belonging to Pim.

Next up were the small hoofstock, and while there weren't as many options, she adored them all the same. She laughed softly at the way Bill headbutted her hand slowly, and mocked Sallyforth as he bleated gleefully.
In the end, though, she had to make up her mind. After a moment, she put her acorn in the box for Sallyforth and rushed away before she could even consider changing her mind.

Aw, jus' one? She huffed, furrowing her brow some as she stared off at Beetle. She wasn't ungrateful, and was happy to at least have him, but she was fond of fowl, and wished to see more.
Well, you'd get my vote anyhow. She smirked, dropping her acorn into the box for Beetle.

Wild avian were next, and Dakota was a little less eager. She hadn't had a lot of experience with birds outside of the few messenger falcons she'd seen other trade groups have travel with them. They were interesting all the same, but she wasn't sure if they could be as affectionate as a horse or a lamb.
It didn't seem that any of the avian were allowed to be pet, no doubt to keep fingers from risk.
Kody respected their need for space, however, and quickly just made a decision so that she could move on. Without looking, she placed an acorn in the box for Kuru and hurried along.

Finally were the wild animals, the category that Kody would be lying if she claimed she hadn't been looking forward to it the most. They had a surprisingly various array of pets, ranging from a little pine marten to an exotic looking cat and a clever fox. They were all unarguably cute, though the weasel was timid. She didn't wish to stress him out, and give him his space after a brief moment.
The cat was unlike anything she'd seen before, and she feared he looked perhaps a bit too serious.
Holly, however, was something the coydog was drawn to for a specific reason. Kody had always taken pride in being clever, and what was more clever than the fox?

With a smirk and some time well spent in her presence, Dakota finally put her last acorn in the box for Holly and hesitantly moved her way along and away from the Best in Show set up.
A Million Choices - Though Little On Their Own - Become The Heirloom Of The Heaviness You've Known

OOC: Rex voting time >:)

Rex had enjoyed all the games of the Stockshow and then some more thrills for the young man. He'd gotten muddy, caused some chaos, learnt some things about the Ashen and made some friends. Things were calming down, but the energetic youth was still a ball of boundless energy, looking for any means of keeping himself busy before his mischeif turned into actual crime. So a Best in Show thing... that sounded entertaining enough, plus it was bringing in enough of a gathering crowd that Rex couldn't resist taking part. He didn't have an animal friend himself, probably for the best given he could barely look after himself, but getting to look at them all might give him some ideas. 

Once he had acorns in hand, Rex started looking around, glancing to the seeds rolling around in his palm and contemplating what they might taste like. First up were the large beasts, two bovine and two horses. Rex had little experience with either, but he knew that having a horse was a cool thing; something to ride around super fast. He had no idea if the cows could be ridden, but with horns like the ones they had, it would sure look cool. The boy was thinking of giving his acorn vote to one of the horses, the dark and long furred one, but the bulls were getting his attention more. When one of them, Beauford, sniffed and nudged at the boy's hand, Rex chuckled and smirked. "I could feed yah the acorn... but then you'd not get my vote." Rex mumbled, dropping one of his votes into the bull's box. 

For the small hoof creatures, Rex was easily swayed by the young ram, again a creature he had no knowledge of but couldn't resist something so cute and small. He gave Sallyforth his vote, but was thinking about the pigs he'd seen all throughout the Stockshow, wondering how he might learn more about those mud-loving creatures. 

Beetle got lucky being the only chicken, so he got a vote easy. 

For the wild birds, Rex was torn. The big birds were cool, but he liked the look of all the crows. All of them looking around with beady eyes, a hint of michief to them. He liked a good thief, something of a likemind to him. So he gave his vote to one of the crows, the one that let him touch it's feathers a bit. Miny. 

Wild animals next, Rex could be in that category himself, but was keen to know what even could be included in such a thing. A cat, a fox and a small long rodent thing. He watched them all, but gave his vote to the smallest one, after watching Fig eat a berry and the juices dribble around so messily... they certainly had Rex's respect. 

Bisbee Whitesage

The Best In Show venue drew Bisbee to it with great enthusiasm. With all the different animals entered there, it was sure to be a unique experience. There was already a throng of people in the paddock, some taking their time inspecting each animal, others feeding or petting the contestants as their chosen form of interaction to win their vote. After receiving a handful of marked acorns and instructions from the Rey Salvaje, the young Whitesage woman looked around to get her bearings. She almost didn't know where to start! The flow of the foot traffic seemed to indicate the lines began at the Large Hoofstock. And so, that's where Bis went first as well.

Up first were two beautiful, but very large horses. The dappled grey caught Bisbee's eye first for her unique coloration. The Ashen went up to her first, learning that her name was Bacardi and reached up to scritch at her neck. The mare was truly gorgeous and looked to be well cared for. The Carpintera wondered where her owner had procured her from, only used to seeing the smaller grade horses that she'd grown up around back on her ranch in Arizona. Smiling, Bisbee moved to the next equine, eyes widening as she realized this horse was even bigger and the black sheen of her coat caught in the sun making every movement the beast made ripple and shine. The feathering on this animal's hooves (she quickly looked at the sign to catch the mare's name, Lili), was also impressive and Bisbee felt she was standing in the presence of a very special animal. Ooh the decision was going to be difficult! Reaching out to stroke the smooth fur of the black and white shire horse the girl then moved aside to the next animal.

There were two cows up for voting and Bisbee wasn't sure how she could truly compare horses to cattle, but she took the time to admire and feed each one of the horned animals before returning to the horses. She knew more about horses and how to judge them for certain. While she'd earned a sloppy lick from Beauford and Pim had actually moo'd at her she was still in awe of the large equines. Bisbee rolled her voting acorn between her fingers a moment, standing before the two horses' pens looking back and forth before finally making her decision and placing the nut in the box for Lili.

"Alright. Who's next." Foot traffic seemed to take her to the Small Hoofstock next and here Bisbee found a goat and a young sheep to compare. The goat, named Bill, was very into treats and liked to headbutt at her leg if she didn't hurry up with more. It amused Bisbee, to watch her try to jump the paddock fence after anyone who got too near with a snack but didn't actually pay her any attention. Her competition, Sallyforth, was a talkative thing and the young animal's wool felt interesting beneath Bisbee's paw. Bisbee laughed when the two animals seemingly got into a talking war, back and forth over the fence at each other at one point. It made her voting a lot harder. But in the end, she decided to go for Sallyforth whom she just found to be cuter in the long run.

The next category, Domestic Fowl almost had the Whitesage woman confused. Only one entry? That wasn't fair was it? Oh well. She didn't really know much or really care for chickens, and so she could really only admire the one cock's plumage and smile at his soft, silly little clucks. As she plopped her acorn into his box, Beetle gave a loud confident crow which made Bisbee chuckle to herself as she made her way to the Wild Avian section.

Here the selection was interesting. First came what appeared to be all crows, one possibly a raven due to its larger size. Bisbeee couldn't' confirm for sure. Each bird prattled on, ruffling their feathers and blinking their beady eyes at her. She'd always been curious about the ravens that flew about the plateaus back home, but never befriended one enough to call it hers. Bis had trouble picking out what she liked most about the corvids and so moved to the two raptors instead. One was smaller and quiet, (Kuru) the other larger and loud (Franklin). The larger bird had a definite potty mouth on her and surprised Bisbee by dropping an insult on a passing stranger that she had to stifle a laugh behind her paw for. She liked the mottled coloration of the bird and had to give the owner props for putting up with the animal's crudeness. The acorn in her paw went into the box for Franklin after a few more moments debate.

Last but not least, Bisbee made it to the Wild Animals category. Here there was a variety of entrants and Bisbee almost couldn't decide who to cast her vote for. Almost. The marten, Fig, was adorable, but shy and seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the people bustling about, the wild cat Enlil lazed in his enclosure like he owned the place, but when he yawned and fixed his gaze upon Bisbee, she felt as if she was being hunted like prey...she didn't like the feeling one bit, and quickly moved on to the pen where Holly the fox was. Here, the Whitesage woman grinned, tail wagging. She recognized the the exuberant, red pelted animal and moved to give her affection and a treat. Holly recognized Bisbee too and rolled onto her back for some belly rubs, making soft, happy 'chuffing' sounds. Bisbee laughed and rubbed the little foxes underside. "I was already gonna vote fer ya, ya didn't have to butter me up ya know." She smiled and then bid the little vulpine goodbye, throwing her toy for her to go play with before dropping her acorn into the box to mark her vote for Holly.

Out of acorns now, Bisbee gave one last wave to Nazario at the entrance before heading back out into Charmingtown to see what else she might do that morning.
OOC: Long ass post, sorry! <3 WC: [1027]

Anya Southpaw
‘cause everything I want, is everything that's here
The time had come for La Costurera to put in her votes for the Best In Show venue. The variety of animals entered into the contest (including one of her own) had drawn a large crowd and the Southpaw woman slipped amidst the gathered mingling and awaiting her turn before each section with her handful of acorns given to her by Nazario at the entrance. Up first was the Large Hoofstock category and here the tailor started with the familiar beasts, the horses.

Up first she admired the large draft mare Bacardi and her eye catching dappled coat. The sign said she could be pet so Anya moved forward to gently stroke the equine between the ears and down the face and muzzle. She was a beautiful specimen that was for sure. Anya smiled softly and moved to the next pen which held an even larger Shire horse mare named Lili. The shimmering black coat and the outstanding white feathering upon this horse made Anya stare in appreciation for a moment before reading the rest of her sign and finding that this equine could also be pet. Moving up to her she let the animal sniff her palm before stroking and scratching at her thick muscular neck. Lili snorted softly and Anya chuckled. She could only imagine how bored the animals must be after so many strangers passing by and gawking at them all morning.

Moving to the next pen, Anya was greeted by a loud "moo". Beauford the cow was seeking attention from her. Anya smiled and fed the horned animal a treat, receiving a sloppy lick in response. "Y'liked that huh?" She scritched at the cow's neck and then moved to the next pen which held another type of cattle. His coat pattern was unique and eye catching. Anya found herself designing an outfit around it in her mind. Petting Pim and feeding him a snack as well, Anya then stepped back and look between both of the cattle up for vote. Normally inclined towards horses, the tailor took a moment to consider them both again before returning to stand before the two bulls. Deciding to go for something different, she strode up to Pim's box and dropped her acorn in. She silently thanked him for the inspiration for her next dress as she moved to the next section.

Small Hoofstock. There was a goat and a sheep up for voting. Immediately Anya could tell something was amiss for the goat was on the outside of her pen and trying to escape from the paddocks out into the main arena. A couple courageous event goers were attempting to corral Bill back into her pen, but the goat just darted about and leapt over the obstacles used to keep her in place. Anya noted on the animal's sign that she loved treats (and was a known escape artist), and so she got an idea. Grabbing a handful of the treats supplied for the creature, Anya approached slowly, hand outstretched with the treats for Bill. "Hey Biiiiilll...C'mere girl." She coaxed the bleating goat to her whom upon seeing what was offered trotted over happily and began to much away at the treats in her hand. This allowed fellow Ashen, Paninya to come up and slip a rope around the escapee's neck and begin to drag her back to her pen. Apparently this was not the first time the ornery goat had been wrangled back into her pen for her followed after the other coyote (gentley headbutting at her leg the whole way) and went back in without complaint, but started to try and jump out again as soon as the gate shut.

Anya watched all this going on with great amusement. She was so wrapped up in Bill's antics that she overlooked Sallyforth and placed her acorn in the voting box for Bill not wishing to get more involved than she already had with the small hoofstock again. She hurried on to the next category, which was comically small. A single rooster made up the Domestic Fowl group. Anya didn't know anything about fowl so she shrugged and placed her acorn in the box for Beetle and moved along, supposing he was a nice looking cock as far as that was concerned.

Up next were the Wild Avians. Here Anya found there were three corvids and two raptors. Again, not very knowledgeable about birds, Anya took only a brief time to admire each creature before deciding to vote for one of the sleek black corvids. The one named Miny received her vote after a particularly interesting set of vocalizations drew the tailor to her. Smiling Anya made her way to the last section of animals. She avoided the last pen which held her own entrant, Holly the fox because she knew the little vulpine would be head over heels to see her momma. Anya wanted to get a good chance to see the other two animals in the Wild Animals category.

There was a curious little Marten named Fig (whom allowed her to feed him a berry as a treat) and a regal looking wild cat called Enlil. While Fig was adorable, Enlil evoked a since of awe in Anya she couldn't explain. She'd never seen such an exotic looking cat before. Whoever befriended this animal was very lucky indeed. Rolling the acorn in her palm, Anya decided she'd give her vote to Enlil due to how unique he was. Only once she was free of acorns did the seamstress approach Holly's pen. As she suspected, the fox kit went wild and hopped into Anya's arms upon sight and nuzzled into her neck making happy churring noises. Anya chuckled and affectionately stroked the little red fox's fur. "Easy girl. I love you too. Just hang in there. I know you're making plenty of new friends. I'll be back in a little while. " She chuckled as Holy licked her face. Setting the fox back down in her enclosure Anya patted the vulpine's head before moving off to attend other events for the day leaving the Best In Show venue for others to come in and see for themselves.
OOC: Looong post! Interaction with Bill okay'd by Despi and Ash beforehand. ^^ WC: [1028]

[Image: Anya-Pixel-Mini.png]
Marten had five acorns, and she was supposed to vote for the coolest animals at the stock show with them. Whichever animal had the most acorns at the end of the event won! Which meant something, but Marten didn’t really understand what. All that mattered was that it looked fun and everyone else was doing it, so she’d dragged Thread over as quickly as possible to participate. Trading could wait; they had acorns to award!

And names to puzzle over, since neither of them could figure out exactly how to read or pronounce them.

There were five categories, and the first one was her least favorite. Horses and cows scared her, and as sweet as they seemed, she couldn’t convince herself or Thread to get close enough to vote for them. Even Lili, Liam’s big, black and white horse who she’d been begrudgingly introduced to the previous day; as much as she wanted to support a new friend and his irrationally frightening horse, she just couldn’t.

So she had a passing attendee do it for her. One vote for Lili down, four to go!

The “small hoofstock,” presumably called that because they had small hooves, were much less scary. They were also a lot more talkative, or at least the little one was. ”Hi!” Marten barked back, crouching down to examine the lamb more closely. His name was Sallyforth, and he looked so soft and pettable that she couldn’t resist the urge to shove her face into his baby wool to “pet” him. He smelled delicious. Marten licked her lips, had Thread put an acorn in Sallyforth’s voting box, and trotted on to the next group of animals.

Or uh, what should have been the next group of animals. Instead, there was only one: a rooster named Beetle. Why wasn’t he with all the other birds? Did they not like him? Did he not like them? Marten had no answers, but she did want a chicken now; compared to the wild birds she was used to, chickens were wonderfully weird, with colorful feathers and big, red fleshy bits on their face. Thread had to stop her from giving Beetle two acorns instead of one, he was just that cool.

After getting pecked by a raven, almost getting pecked by a crow, and avoiding another crow because Marten doubted it would be any friendlier, the yearling had to choose between two big birds of prey: a hawk named Kuru and an eagle named Franklin. While one looked a little nervous to be there, the other was… Cursing? The young bird seemed to love taunting passerbys, Marten included, and that made her the best.

With one acorn to go, Marten encountered the most interesting group of animals in the entire event. There was a fox, which was cool, and a marten, which was awesome, but there was also Enlil. He was a big, spotted wild cat unlike anything Marten had ever seen before, and she didn’t seem to be the only one: everyone was looking at Enlil like he was something special, probably because he was. ”Uh, hello,” Marten said, matching the cat’s appraising gaze with one of her own. He didn’t respond. As mesmerized as she was, she couldn’t help but give her acorn to Fig. He was a marten, just like her!

With no more acorns in Thread’s hands, Marten waved goodbye to all the animals and bounded back into Charmingtown. It was carnival day!
Location: Lancaster Stockyard (The Arena) || NPCs: Paninya (pNPC) || Form: Optime

Stepping up to the Arena, where the animals submitted for the Stockshow's Best in Show competition were being held, Rafaela decided that she would do her due diligence and submit her votes. She had thought to enroll Amadahy again this year, or even give Saratoga a chance, but her primary mount was competing in a couple of the larger events and it seemed as though last year had been a bit too much for her. As for 'Toga... well, considering how much and how often the filly had been checking her lately, Rafa didn't want to run the risk of her acting a fool and causing her to be immediately disqualified for bad behavior.

There would always be next year and hopefully by then the Polvo filly would have grown out of her rebellious stage and could be better trusted to mind her manners.

Although Rafaela wanted to evaluate the hoofstock — particularly those of the larger class — the most, she made herself start with her least favorite category: the avians. With only one entry, she submitted her acorn for her sister's rooster, Beetle, without thought before moving onto the flock of wild birds.

Truth be told, she didn't know what she was looking for in these animals. The three ebony birds — a raven and two crows — looked much the same to her, save for their size, and none of them struck her as being particularly noteworthy. The other two birds were both of a similar type (and similarly speckled), with their curved beaks and long talons, but not the same species. Again, neither of them were especially impressive to the domestic stock-minded Ashen and, after a couple more passes in front of the avians, Rafaela decided against casting a vote on them at all. Walking away from them and heading towards the wild animals, she figured it was best to let others with better judgment of wild birds choose the most worthy specimen.

Of the three miscellaneous animals, Rafa was most taken with Holly the fox. The injury to her leg caused her to lose some points in La Carne's mind, but when compared to the skittish weasel and the freakish-looking cat, she thought that Holly would have the best opportunity at long and meaningful life here in the cold, unforgiving climes of these lands. Besides that, on a deeply innate level, at least she could relate better to the motivations and interests of a fox than she could with the other two creatures. That might have been a poor reason to cast her vote for a damaged fox, but, considering the other factors (namely, a fox's better chances at survival over a small prey creature and a cat that didn't look able to survive the winter without outside influence), that was who Rafa settled on.

Finally moving onto the animals of more interest to her, Rafaela considered the two small ruminants who competed for Best in Show in the small hoofstock category. One was a spring lamb with ears that looked much too big for his little head and freckles on his nose. But his crimped fur suggested that, once he grew old enough, it could be harvested for its fibers. He was also spirited, bright, and hale to boot. It was his youth that docked him points. While she thought that he could grow into a sturdy, healthy ram, it was time that would ultimately tell and she did not have time to wait. The goat doe, Bill, on the other hand, looked to Rafa like a better choice to cast her vote for. She was average and largely unremarkable, but that certainly wasn't bad. On the contrary, she was a healthy weight and a good size; if she bore kids next spring, Rafaela thought that her milk would be equally as acceptable. Alternatively, should she be sacrificed, there was nothing about her that La Carne could see to suggest that she wouldn't taste delicious. Thus, it the goat that got her vote.

And now, the moment that Rafaela had been waiting for since she stepped foot into the Arena and the area of her expertise: the large hoofstock. She appreciated that each of the entries were adults, and all of them good-looking specimens. She was quick to cast out the big black-and-white draft horse with the excessive feathering and long tail due to the extra maintenance and high probability of troubles she thought it was liable to cause. The mare was pretty to look at, to be sure, and of a strong build, but Rafa was a practical woman and a horse that required less in the way of care and consideration with regards to their fringes was a better horse to her. The dappled draft, while also fringed, appeared to lack the same length that had docked the other mare. Although still large by comparison to the horses favored by the Ashen, she was also of a more acceptable size to Rafa, which meant she that she likely required less feed to get her through the long, lean winter — something that, as the head of livestock among the Gang, she greatly appreciated.

Shifting her attention to the two oxen, both of them of well-built and no doubt able to pull a great amount of weight, Rafaela was less impressed with them than she was of the horses. They were sure to be useful and appeared suitable for the tasks they were kept to perform — indeed, if it was a choice between only the pair of them, she would have found it difficult (though, ultimately, she thought Beauford would have had her vote) — but she couldn't shake the idea, not to mention her bias, that the horses were superior. Thus, back-stepping to the dappled mare, Rafaela cast her vote for Bacardi.

Satisfied, she stopped the place where the acorns were being handed out and gave back the one that she had remaining to the trickster, Paninya. Seeing the coydog open her mouth, likely to say something cheeky, Rafaela shot her a glower and lifted a finger, stopping her before she could utter a word. Then, glancing one last time at the Best in Show contestants, she turned on her heel and left to see to other tasks.

[WC -- 1057]
OOC: Well this got much longer than I intended. xD
[Image: Willow-BirthdayLupus.png] He wondered if he’d always had this habit of needing to keep his hands busy, or if it was just now developing. Willow walked through the event unable to stop himself from throwing one of the acorn’s he’d been offered (which he’d took with a murmured ‘thank ya’) up slightly, catching it each time. The repeated motion kept his mind abuzz as he surveyed the animals.

In the large hoofstock, there was Beauford, which Willow spent a little time with. He admired the ox—his coat, Willow thought, was pretty and he was quite gentle. Willow enjoyed patting him on the had, earning himself a snort in response. Then there was Bacardi and Pim, both gorgeous animals in their own right. But seeing Lili, Willow knew he had to vote for her. It was really rather unfortunate. He would’ve loved to toss his vote to the Ashen Beauford, but the softness he felt for the Caledonian noble won him over. He tossed the acorn into her basket with a grumble, looking mad about it.

Then came Bill and Sallyforth. This time he let himself vote for his pack, but it didn’t feel forced. He loved Bill’s rebellious energy, and when she headbutted him, he laughed. That alone earned his vote to her.

Beetle was the only choice for Domestic Fowl, but what a choice he was. Willow smiled to himself as he gave him his vote.

For the Wild Avians, Willow once again just kept going with his gut instinct, or gut bias rather. Frank the Crow reminded him a lot of his brother Raeburn’s Frank the Raven. He hoped that the two of them would meet while the Stockshow went on.

Wild Animals was the final category, and it was the category that gave the Martel the most pause. Fig, in his mind, was the cutest. Enlil was the most elegant. And Holly, was a nice mixture of the two. After some deliberation, he gave his final acorn to Holly, figuring the best of both worlds was where it was at. With that, Willow’s voting concluded, and he went about the rest of the day in higher spirits for seeing the animals.

i want to turn Frank the Crow and Frank the Raven into sonic OCs

If you can handle the trouble I bring
Tell me something good or don't tell me anything

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Location: Lancaster Stockyard (the Arena) || NPCs: Gramma Dill (pNPC) - brief reference|| Form: Optime

After receiving her allotment of acorns, Sólveig headed for the pens of animals who had been entered in this year's Best in Show. It was exciting, seeing all the different types and colors and personalities of animals all in one place! There were definitely a couple who had already caught her eye, but it was with the large hoofstock that she chose to begin.

In the interest of fairness and good sport, she dissuaded herself from voting for Pim. Although the ox didn't belong to her, she was the one who entered him into the competition and it didn't seem right to her to cast her vote for him. So, after giving him an encouraging scratch between his horns and murmuring a word of confidence, Sóli considered the other three contestants. Bacardi and Lili were familiar to her and, with their flowing manes and lovely feathers, both of them were beautiful and definitely worthy of the title of Best in Show, but how could she possibly choose between them? Twisting her lips indecisively, she moved onto the final contestant and gave her tail a jovial wag. If she wouldn't vote for Pim and she couldn't choose between the horses, then Beauford, she decided cheerfully, would have her vote. Releasing her acorn not his box, she moved onto the small livestock.

Here, there were mere two: an adult goat and a baby lamb. The goat reminded her of the mischievous creatures that Lord Arran seemed constantly to be out searching for and herding back to their pens. The thought brought a renewed smile to her lips and she wondered if this one, too, was as wily and singleminded as the goats back home seemed to be. But when her eyes found the darling little lamb, all floppy ears and long legs, she crouched in next to a curly-coated elder who was already parked there and joined in cooing adoringly to him. How was it that baby sheep were so ridiculously adorable? Impossibly smitten with Sallyforth, Sóli needed not another thought before casting her vote for him. It took what felt like all of her willpower to turn her back to him so that she could carry on to vote for the others.

Next, Sóli came upon the single contestant for the domestic fowl, Beetle, and giggled lightly (and appreciatively) at the rooster's name before dropping in her acorn and moving on to the wild avians.

This was were many Luperci had chosen to enter their companions, or what most Luperci chose for companions, she supposed. Either way, there were more to choose from and she considered each bird with curious consideration. The two raptors were beautiful and, with those sharp beaks and sharp talons and sharp eyes, dangerous-looking and left her feeling odd — maybe like what it might feel like when a prey animal is measured up by a predator. She liked the smaller, less serious corvids better. Each of these had a similar look, though the raven was larger. In the end, impressed by the intensely curious look of her dark eyes, Sóli voted for the crow Miny.

That left just a random trio of animals yet to be voted on: an adorable little pine marten, a beautiful young fox, and a proud exotic cat. Impossibly drawn to the Fig, whose round ears and dark eyes made her want to scoop him up and snuggle him against her breast, Sólveig cast her vote for the pine marten. "But you're all very lovely and worthy of Best in Show," she assured them sweetly after a show of apology. "Thank you for letting me meet you all!"

Her votes cast, the High Lady of New Caledonia gave the animals a light little wave and then departed from the Arena for other fun and games.

[WC -- 647]

Location: Lancaster Stockyard || NPCs: Kalla (cat); Dustin Scarborough (pNPC) - brief reference || Form: Optime

Save for Frank and Enlil, she knew none of these animals. And, scent and sight aside (although she doubted that she would ever recognize Nate's crow from any other, if she was being honest) even those two were still as much a mystery to her as all the rest. She could simply vote for the two she knew and leave out all the others, but were Frank and Enlil really better than their respective competition? And what of the others? It didn't seem fair to vote for two and damn the rest nor to cast a vote for a pair of creatures only because their names and likeness were vaguely familiar. But how could she possibly know how to cast her vote for the others? What was a Practitioner of Sortilege, such that she was, possibly to do?

"Consult the gods," purred the cat.

"Whey aye," replied the dog.

Of course.

She started with the lot of three: a wildcat, a pine marten, and a fox — all of them lesser predators. A curious similarity, and one that she decided to use in her quest to determine her choice. 'How successful a hunter are ye?' It was a fair question, she thought, and a simple one. Whichever lesser predator was best among his or her own would have her vote.

For the marten Miriel drew the Five of Cups. Disappointment; regret; failure. She lifted her eyes from the card and clicked her tongue sadly, moving on. Looking upon the fox, she shuffled her deck thoroughly before drawing again. And there, albeit reversed this time, was again the Five of Cups. Miri considered the meaning of this selection with agreeable understanding, deciding that it meant that the young fox, whose skills were certainly still being honed, was becoming more successful the older she grew. Ah, but what, then, of the wildcat? Pulling the final card from her freshly-shuffled deck, it was The Moon that shone back at her. Elusive; complicated; instinctual: had there ever been a trio of words to describe a cat? Compared to the other two pulls and the lackluster meanings they held, Miriel was confident in her choice to drop her vote token into Enlil's box.

The curly-coated woman wandered over to the hoofed prey animals next, looking them over curiously. She opted for a simple two-card spread to decide between the goat and the lamb, wherein the card on the left would symbolize the goat and the card on the right would stand for the lamb. Both cards, she would discover after flipping them each in order, starting from the left, would be Of Wands: a Two for the goat and a Four for the lamb. She considered both cards with deep and silent thought. The Two, symbolizing risk-taking and uncomfortable moments, suggested to her that she move forward past the goat and onto the lamb, whose card, in contrast, expressed closeness and satisfaction and stability. Looking up, she smiled at little Sallyforth as she cast her vote for him.

She followed the same process for the larger prey, breaking the four animals into pairs and choosing between first the horses and then the oxen. For the dappled mare she drew the Nine of Pentacles — joy; success; confidence — and for the black mare it was the Three of Swords — trauma; hurt; loss. Miri chose the more auspicious of these two cards and decided that it would be the dapple who faced up against whichever of the two oxen her cards spoke favorably of. The two cards that she pulled for them — the Eight of Pentacles for the brindle and the Three of Wands for the piebald — were less unequivocal. Here, diligence, proficiency, and excellence was being pitted against clarity, vision, and progress. After careful consideration, Miriel chose the piebald for the feeling of rejuvenation and energy it gave her.

With the four options whittled down to two, Miri reshuffled her cards again and pulled the last two: The Star, reversed, for the horse and Judgement for the ox. Were it not reversed and therefore symbolizing pessimism and despondency, she might have chosen the horse. But even so, to pull the Judgment card last after such a lengthy deliberation...

"Aye, then let it be se," she said to Beauford the ox and cast her vote for him.

Moving onto the singular entry for the fowl, Miriel frowned curiously at the rooster. Nearby, silky-haired man with soft eyes and long appendages watched on.

"Wha' even makes ye worthy o' mah vote, hinny?" she asked the chicken as she shuffled her cards, not catching the gasp from her lanky observer, before pulling the Two of Pentacles.

Well, she supposed as she dropped in her acorn for Beetle and left the leggy man to step up to the rooster's pen in her absence, resourcefulness and adaptability were good enough for her.

That left the largest of the categories, and one of two in which she even knew of any of the animals. Looking between them, though, Miriel discovered that she was correct: she couldn't tell Nate's bird from the other crow that was entered. But that was just as well. She would be able to let the cards do their work better that way.

As she had done with the lesser predators, Miri opted for a one-card pull for each bird with a single question in mind: How do you use your guile to come out ahead?

For the eagle and the hawk, she drew Death and the Three of Wands respectively and felt largely unimpressed. To Miri, these cards suggested that the eagle relied on resilience and adaptability whereas the hawk preferred patience and planning. Good qualities to have, she admitted, but she had been hoping for something more exciting. The raven's pull, the Ten of Pentacles with its presumption of tradition and entitlement, was likewise dissatisfying. It was the crows who drew the most enlightening responses: The Hanged Man for the banded crow and The Wheel of Fortune, reversed, for the unbanded one. So the banded crow bided its time and utilized careful consideration to come out ahead. And the other? Luck, it seemed, but the poor creature was fated to chronic misfortune.

Preferring what The Hanged Man stood for, Miriel voted for Miny (and grimaced at the knowledge that it was Nate's crow who had the reversed Wheel of Fortune).

"All done now?" asked the cat from the woven basket at Miriel's back.

"Aye, Ah say se," said the cur. "Ah knaa ye cannae hurry th' fates bu' mah belly is a-rumblin' somethin' fierce after all tha'. Let's grab a bite te eat."

Tucking her cards back into her pouch, the curly-coated woman and her ebony cat left the Arena to fill their bellies.

[WC -- 1143]
OOC: Each contestant's card was drawn at random and, yes, this took forever. xD But it was a fun little exercise!
Camellia eagerly approached the large hoofstock area first, her eyes looking at the bovines and then the equines. "'m partial to horses." she said almost apologetically to the horned beasts as she passed them. They were cool in their own way, with their long horns and their big sappy eyes. They just weren't going to inspire her to go with either of them for Best in Show. The horses were a more complicated choice, though. The black-and-white one kind of drew her attention at first because Pandora was also black-and-white. There was just something about the dapple grey that she liked. She skipped back to Pandora and gestured with her head at Bacardi. "She's th' best, dontcha think?" she asked her friend. Cami didn't expect Pan to always vote like her, but she trusted Dora to drop her acorn into the one she preferred.

Next she went to small hoofstock. There were only two there. A goat and a sheep. The goat looked kind of familiar. She wasn't a big fan of sheep who were exceptionally dumb most of the time. Goats were feistier and smarter, she thought, walking over to watch Bill. When she was close, the goat seemed to walk closer as if wanting pets or perhaps looking for a way out of confinement. Either way it bleated at her and she wagged her tail. "Alright, ya git m' vote, 'n when I got hands, I'll give ya some pets." assuming she was around. Something made her feel like Bill was a Del Cenere goat, though. Maybe she had seen it? Or maybe she was just imagining it. There were definitely several goats in the Gang. Either way, her vote here went to Bill the goat.

Beetle was the only domestic fowl which made her frown. "Whadda waste." she shook her head. "Someone shoulda thrown in somethin' for competition." the girl shrugged. "Guess it's him, though." and from her, Beetle received his uncontested vote.

She wanted to do wild birds last, especially since it was kind of already decided between the two girls who they'd vote for there. Even if she did feel the teeniest bit bad that she wasn't voting for her mom's bird. Oh well, Franklin would get over it. Anyway, right now she was looking at the other wild animal companions. They were all so different. Fig was a neat little marten with intelligent eyes. Martens tasted good, but she wasn't sure she'd vote for one as best in this case. Unless they were eating them. Then maybe he'd have won her vote over fox or cat meat.

The vixen was pretty, all fiery colored and playfully bounding around with an energy Camellia could relate to. Her tail waved in response and she smiled a bit. The last animal, though, was some sort of really wild looking cat. "Woah." she breathed, her ears forward and her eyes focused intensely on Enlil. He was intense, with a haughty sort of stare that made her think he was looking down on her even though he was the one being displayed as a pet. Her ears perked and she watched him for a bit, entranced.

"Dunno, Dora, I could go either way." she said, gesturing with her head to both Enlil and Holly. She moved between the two, trying to figure out how to best vote... in the end, her fascination with the cat won out and Enlil received her vote.

Last but absolutely not least was wild avians. The coydog took her time looking at the ones that wouldn't be receiving her vote. It was only fair to still at least look at them. There was another crow that wasn't as cool as Miny. A raven that she thought might be Sugabear's Peekan. A hawk. Franklin. She stopped at her mother's eagle to wag her tail. "Hiya Frank!" she woofed to the bird, "seeya later."

Then she walked over to Miny, who had received her vote before they even met. "'llo, Miny! Good to meet you." she said with a wag of her tail and a look over at Pandora.
The best in show competition wasn't the most exciting event at the stock show, but Tor still wanted to get a bunch of fancy acorns and vote for her favorite animals. There were big animals, small animals, weird animals! She even knew one of them, though it was hard to see Miny and the rest of the wild birds through the crowd.

"Let's see… Da 'large hoofstock' are up first. Do you know what dose are, silver shadow?" Aunt Naya asked, limping alongside her bouncy, grinning niece.

Tor nodded. "Yeah! Horses, cows, donkeys, and other animals like that."

"Yep! It looks like there are two horses and two—"

"I only wanna vote for a horse," Tor insisted, bouncing up to a gray, dappled mare who'd just finished getting her neck scratched by a passing luperci. "Maybe this one? She looks really friendly." Aunt Naya glanced at the other large animals, especially the long-horned cows, but she was acting as Tor's hands, not her own right now

"Sure, kiddo. You want me to pick you up so you can pet her?"

"Yes, please!"

"My foot is gonna regret dis" Aunt Naya said, crouching down so she could drop her cane and scoop up her niece. "Artoi give me strengt', you're huge! Pet her quick before I drop you." And Tor did, rubbing her paws on the confused, but relaxed-looking horse's neck and shoulders until Aunt Naya couldn't take it anymore and put her down. They looked at the other large hoofstock, but Bacardi was still Tor's favorite and won her vote by being so pretty and sweet, and also a horse.

The small hoofstock was easy, too. There were only two animals; an affectionate, black and white goat and a loud, baby sheep. Tor liked goats way more than sheep, because Howland had goats, and she thought the guard was really cool and fun to hang out with, even though he was really serious. After some consolation petting for Sallyforth, Aunt Naya dropped an acorn in Bill's box and they moved on.

Aunt Naya tossed one of the acorn between her hands, careful not to drop the other two resting in her palm. "Maybe we should do dis back home," she suggested, smiling behind her dark purple mask as she wiped goat spit onto her hip, "I'm sure Tochina would get best in show."

"Yeah!" Tor said, headbutting her aunt's leg. "Why didn't you enter him in the show? There's only one farm bird, and it's a chicken!" Everyone knew geese were cooler than chickens. They laid bigger, tastier eggs and were more fun to chase, at least until they turned around and started chasing her back.

The silver wolfdog snorted. "Because he doesn't like new places. I didn't take him to Portland eider," she explained, eyeing the chicken in question. "And you shouldn't be so mean to Beetle — dey're probably going to eat him someday." Tor laughed and shook her head. No way!

Aunt Naya caught the acorn one last time before dropping it in Beetle's box. "I don't know why you don't believe me. We're gonna eat Tochina and his sisters when dey get old and scruffy."

"But I'd miss them!" Tor said, ears folded at the thought of losing her aunt's geese. "I'd miss them a lot." She really loved them, even when they bit her. Aunt Naya sighed and reached down to pet Tor's head, but didn't say anything; she didn't have time before they reached the wild birds.

"Miny!" Tor squealed, recognizing her family's crow anywhere. The corvid preened under familiar pets while Aunt Naya rolled her eyes and dropped an acorn in the box; the other birds didn't stand a chance against Miny! She was too cool not to win.

"Come on, one more vote to go — if we stay here too long she'll tink we're gonna feed her," Aunt Naya said, nudging Tor away from the already overfed crow. Treats were good, but Miny probably didn't need food from everyone at the stock show. Or even half of them.

The last animals were the most interesting, because they were all different. There was a weasel — specifically a marten, according to Aunt Naya, a pretty fox, and a… Big cat? Enlil reminded Tor of her big brother Parzival, but he had big, roundish ears and black spotted fur. "Hi!" Tor said, knowing he was more likely to understand her than not. "I like your name!"

Enlil stared at her unblinkingly before looking away, and despite not being as interested in her as the other unusual animal companions had been, Tor was very interested in him. "I think you're really pretty. Are you hungry?" She asked, seeming to get his attention — at least a little bit. Enlil assured her he was, and despite knowing he'd been getting free meals all day, Aunt Naya shared some of their lunch with the wild cat.

It was worth it; he was really soft and nice to pet, even though he didn't want to be pet for long. Tor insisted on dropping the last acorn in Enlil's voting box herself, before waving goodbye and bounding back into Charmingtown with her aunt.

Pandora Knight
Lost to the world until tonight

Pandora walked alongside Camellia as they regarded the large hoofstock, appreciating the horses better than the rest. She could understand people liked cattle, sure, but it wasn't as cool as riding on horseback. Horses were actually cool, and cattle were just... They just were. That was it. She reached up to greet Barcardi and offered her hand, scratching the mare on the neck.

"She's a good one, I like her."

She continued on with Cami, and helped her out when she lamented that she couldn't give a fuss to Bill, but Pandora felt quite enamoured with the young sheep nearby. Pandora giggled as Bill licked her hand as she fussed the goat, but still went to the young ram to say hello. Sallyforth, the sign said.

"I think I like this little guy. Sorry." She reached to pet the wee ram and laughed as she was met with enthused bleating.

For the domestic fowl, Pandora squatted down to look at Beetle. She remembered Esper talking about the little guy, so she was glad to finally meet him, but it didn't feel overly fair just voting for him because. Although Pan would have voted for him regardless.

"Sure, little man."

Pandora was starting to lose concentration on the animals ahead of her, still listening to Cami but just thinking about the wild avians. She was happy to see Miny in the distance and was rolling her acorn between her fingers, but she was surprised when she looked through the wild animals. She was sure she hadn't seen any animals like these before, apart from one little critter. The cat Enlil, bore an uncanny resemblance to her brother Parzival, considering that this was the second cat she had ever seen. But he was so small. What was that about?

"Hey, he looks like my big bro Parzy. Although Parzy is way bigger, this really looks like a baby. It's weird." Maintaining eye contact, she dropped the acorn in for Enlil.

She then rushed over to the wild avians, making sure that Cami was coming along, and she immediately dropped her acorn into Miny's voting box.

"Hi Miny!" Pandora cheered, "This is my friend Camellia. She wanted to say hi." The bird remained silent. "Are you... Gonna say hi?"

"Small shiny leave Miny." The crow lamented.

"Hey, you left me! I remember you flying off when we met Cami the first time. I have been wondering where you've been! Don't start that with me!" Pandora felt a little cross, she wanted to spend this time with Miny only for her to leave her!

"No like coy."

"Hey, that's rude. Maybe I should leave you here!" She was starting to feel anger escalate, but she remembered where she was and who she was with, and just took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I came here to vote for you. I just wanted to win a prize with you and have something we could share. I could take you off the ballot if you want." The bird paused for a few moments.

"Prize good. Me stay."

"Oh yeah of course that got you. Anything shiny!" She smiled, realizing the irony of the sentence. She was Small Shiny, after all. She searched around for some seed and grub for her avian friend and made sure she was well treated before making off with Cami again.

"Sorry, she can be rude sometimes. Let's go do something fun."

OOC Text - Nothing to see here!
Word Count: 582
Table by Silverfrost | Image by Reddit user u/Lilyo
[Image: GOaRge4.png]
Pandora Knight
It is the duty of dust
To remind us that which must never be forgotten

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(Art by Nat)
The gathering of voters at the stockyard was at last starting to thin out. Patiently waiting until most of the crowd had come and gone, the splotched hound finally ventured forward at his leisure to cast his Best in Show votes.

After accepting his five acorns from the tall coywolf with the unfortunate eyepatch, Haytham strolled along the collection of show pens and half-paddocks until he came to a standstill at the opposite end of where almost every other attendee (except for one or two) had begun: the “Wild Animals” section. In his check-ins with Sallyforth, he had already chosen all the entrees he would be voting for, so his slow perusing now was mostly just for show.

The wild cat named Enlil was the first to get an acorn from Haytham. He had never seen such a feline before, whereas he had seen enough foxes and martens to last him a lifetime. He did take a particular shine to the shy, peeking face of Fig, and Holly was as beautiful as any fox, but at the end of the day he just couldn’t bring himself to vote for the less exotic creatures.

At the “Wild Avians” section, he quickly dropped his acorn into Franklin’s box, doing so in a manner that suggested if he didn’t do it quickly, he wouldn’t do it at all. His original choice had been Kuru, but after chatting with Lossë earlier, he was reminded of his appreciation for eagles – even if this one was… somewhat ill-mannered. Still, it was better to vote for her than the common raven and crows; and he further rationalized that it could be seen as bad juju to vote for a hawk that wasn’t his own.

Haytham moved on, intentionally skipping the “Domestic Fowl” section and its single entry. He’d rather feed his acorn to a wild squirrel than cast it as a vote for a shoo-in.

Now, he had reached his only dilemma. His gamboge eyes flickered between Sallyforth and the other “Small Hoofstock” contestant, a goat named Bill. Did he vote to win, or did he want to play fair? He hesitated to decide, his ears twitching thoughtfully as Sally begged him loudly to let him out of the pen.

“That ram’s yers, ain’t he?”

Haytham turned to see an older, curly-headed dog watching him, her hands planted firmly on her hips. He smirked a little and scratched the back of his head. “I’m not at liberty t’say, ma’am.”

“No need to play dumb wit’ me, boy. I seen how he reacts whenever ya saunter on by,” she accused him readily.

“Well then, I’m guilty as charged.”

“Good. I’m Dillon. Come see me here at the Stockyard if ya ever want ‘im off yer hands, or when he’s ready for a shearin’. He’ll fetch a good price wit’ me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, miss Dillon.” He barely had time to tip his hat to her before she turned about stiffly and went on her way. Haytham looked back at Sallyforth and sighed. He gave the little ram a doleful pat on the head before moving on without voting for either of the small hoofstock.

By comparison, his vote in the “Large Hoofstock” section took much less time. He was almost overly fond of the two handsome bovines, and Pim nearly earned an acorn for his interesting brindle-pattern alone, but he’d always been a horse-dog himself. Breaking wild horses had been his favorite pastime back on the Bornhardt Ranch, and Bacardi had a lovely dapple-grey coat that reminded him of the first horse he’d ever broken and sold on his own. She easily got his vote.

Pocketing the two acorns he had remaining, Haytham drifted away from the stockyard, his mind on Sallyforth and what to do with him once this was all over.

WC: 637

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