[P] Breathe the black
LCSS; Clay Pigeons
[Image: dcg.png] Lancaster Stockshow : Clay Pigeons, Date :  Monday, September 5th This is the Clay Pigeons event! Behind a grassy knoll outside of Charmingtown, next to the Lancaster Stockyard, archers take aim to hit try and shoot a series of thrown, clay disks. Due to the highly populated and quick nature of the Lancaster Stockshow, players involved have 72 hours to reply to this thread or miss their successive turn.

Birdsong, whilst still frequent enough, was beginning to fade away as the seasons began their cyclical change into the new. The sun, too, was beginning to grow distant, leaning a little further in the sky each passing day. With this came the cooling of temperatures, and tepid winds that whipped off much further eastern coastlands ever inward – cool, yet not enough to stave off the end-days of summer. The late morning sun gave way into a mild afternoon, the breeze tousling at grasses going gold and playing with her hair as she stood by to survey the spot.

Clyde had turned towards the sun, much like a sunflower, his eyes closed as he drank in its warmth, his posture leaning against the basket of flat, clay disks with their almost chalky surfaces.

"No, ma’am," he had started, breaking the silence. Briarblack’s eyes turned to look at him as he straightened up from his spot, and stood, palms dusting his trousers. "I don’t think it gets much better than this."

There was a brief huff – something of brevity, thin, and through her nose. ”No?”

He paused, as if considering, his dark lips pursed, before he gave a quick shake of his head. "Mm-nmm. Nope. Sun, but not too hot, breezy, but not blustery, the air’s gettin’ that crisp smell."

”I’m sure the archers will disagree on the points of the wind.”

He paused a moment at that, before he clicked his teeth and drew a lungful of air between them.

"There’s that."

She laughed then, softly, and they resumed their wait on the arrival of the arrival of sharp-eyed bowmen and women. Part of her missed the days of her own fledgling marksmanship – though, perhaps it was for the best; things happened for a reason, after all, and had Inferni not fallen, there was no telling if she would have taken the route of a medic. Her shoulder panged in protest and she rolled her wrist, as though flaring up with the very thought.

They all assembled there, facing the bank of dirt and grass and roots – framed with tall trees that lined the outer edges of Charmingtown. At the very least, here, the risk of stray arrows was minimal.

”Is this everyone?” Briarblack began, before she clapped her hands together, and wrung them mildly. ”Alright! Welcome to Del Cenere – if, of course, you’re not from here, and, welcome to a little game we call clay pigeons. Clyde here-“

He butted in gingerly, raising a hand and tipping his nose, before uttering a quick: "’Sup."

”Is going to be throwing three disks at my holler, one after another for you marksmen to hit – one high, one middling, and one low – after which, the range will be ‘cold’ while we go and pick up stray arrows and clay pieces for the next archer.”

As she spoke, Clyde gathered up a handful of disks in his hand, and she extended a hand towards him in visual indicator to hold for her queue.

”So, who’s first?”

OOC: Good morning, Clay Pigeons! <: We are located northeast of Charmingtown, just outside the Lancaster Stockyard. Information for the Clay Pigeons event's mechanics are listed in our Discord, and the post order will be determined after all participants have made their initial posts in this thread after the first round of rolls!
[+402] | Ooc:
Hokori ◈ Tanaka

▫I̴ ̶a̵m̶ t̸h̴e̸ ̵Pa̶i̷n̷,
▫The Rea̶̡̚p̸̦̈er̵̗̓, 
▫T̶̙͝h̶̢̄ḛ̶͛ Struc̷̙̿t̴̥͆ǘ̷̩re o̴͕̿f̵͉͝ ̶̧̛Lie̷͍̚s̷͛.̴̦̑.

Hoko went first, not because she was looking forward to her time to shine but because she was pretty sure she had made a mistake and wanted to get it over with. She was a competent archer, able to hit deer and people with fair regularity, but it wasn't her forte. She actually preferred throwing weapons to her longbow but it had too great a range for her to ignore. Fancy trick shooting was outside her wheelhouse and as far as she was concerned "hitting pigeon-sized clay balls" counted as trick shooting.

The only reason she had signed up was because she had wanted to watch other, presumably better, archers to see how they did things. Perhaps there was a secret to the way they sighted their targets or knocked their arrows, a mystical martial arts technique that would imbue every shot with lifeforce to turn them into heat-seeking missiles.

There probably wasn't but it was worth a shot. 

"I'll go first."

All seven feet and six inches of muscle took her place front and center, waiting for the glorious Clyde to send her targets skyward. Hokori was fairly certain she was going to lose, and that was okay. The experience would be good for her. More importantly, if she did well enough she could be the one responsible for making someone end up in last place and that'd be very funny. 

Pigeon Number One took flight and Hoko followed it, doing her best to lead the little clay bastard before letting her arrow fly. It missed but at least it was-no actually, it wasn't that close. She had been off by a good second and now she would have to tramp a friggin' mile to get that arrow back.

Pigeon Number Two wasn't as lucky, a shot to the wing rendering it permanently crippled with an injury likely to horrify all the young lady clay pigeons that were once swooning at its feet. One point was better than zero at least, but four would have been a lot nicer of a number.

Pigeon Number Three could honestly go fuck itself, its arc ending at a point that was absolutely not to Hoko's liking. She clucked her tongue, unimpressed but unsurprised by her first set.

"Well that's me then. Bat you're supposed to be good at this, you go next."


Clay pigeons had been the first thing she signed up to do, because it met with her qualifications the most closely. She had wanted to show her prowess in marksmanship so that everyone could see it and believe she wasn't just trying to make herself look good by saying she was good with the bow. Plus, there were prizes to be won; the trader in her recognized the value of whatever she could win. Either she could use it to barter later or she could keep it for herself. She could use a new bow. The one she had was very basic and she stared longingly sometimes at the nicer bows others had.

She had been slightly annoyed when the group started walking toward the location of the event and saw the unmistakable form of Hokori Tanaka. No matter that the burly wolf had given her back her stuff, no matter that they were packmates and the Reaver wouldn't steal from her again, Battalion did not like the large she-wolf. That was not going to change, ever. They might come to some sort of accord where Tali's ire dulled, but she was never going to be Hoko's friend.

The Commoner wasn't even slightly surprised when the big wolf was the one to quickly volunteer to go first. Of course she would; she thought she was the most important animal there. She crossed her arms over her chest and watched as the other canine lined up her shots. A miss. A partial. A miss. Inside, she felt somewhat gleeful at that. It was good to see the other wolf bad at something. Or at least not super successful. One partial was still not a complete failure after all.

It extra annoyed her when the other New Caledonian volunteered her to go next. Bat had half-planned to wait for last and see how everyone else did so she'd have a better understanding of how they were flying. She wasn't about to say that, though, now that Hoko had volunteered her. Though she didn't actually respond to the other wolf, just walked forward to take position and wait for them to clear the field.

She took a few deep breaths, raised her bow... first pigeon, winged it. Second pigeon, winged it again. Third pigeon, miss. Not even really close. It was better than Hokori, which she was happy about, but not as good as she would've liked. Hopefully she'd have greater success in later rounds. A partial strike still would've taken down a bird, though, and with that she was satisfied. The long-earred wolf went back with the others to wait and watch whoever was next.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The New Caledonian's went first. Or at least two members of that particular pack did. Trelawney didn't mind, no matter how his facial expression may or may not look right now. In truth, he was worried. Though archery was one of his occupations, he did not hunt, and he certainly didn't use his bow against any other canine. The middle Courtright mongrel shot at targets mostly, and had aided Miss Cent in learning when she had asked of it. That...was basically all. 

So the other two were more than welcome to step up first. He watched their shooting, if only to see their style, and found himself wincing at the misses. They may be his competition for this, but a miss was always frustrating, and might make them lose any confidence for later tries. Should he say something as encouragement? Trelawney frowned a bit, he...wasn't the best at that. Some found his words to be haughty even when he wasn't meaning to be. 

Still...even if they were doing this to beat him... Trelawney was still raised as a gentleman! He should at least try to offer a form of encouragement? After the first very large female went, he cleared his throat and decided to just give voice to his opinion on the performance. "Very well done, especially with a bow like that, Miss." The coy dog even did his best to smile, though his nerves my make it look odd. 

Then the next female from New Caledonian went. Only one miss this time. "Fantastic display." He wasn't sure what else to add, even as the field was cleared. Glancing around, he supposed that he could go next. Just to get it out of the way. With a deep breath, he took a step forward, taking place where the other two had stood, and then let out his breath slowly and adjusting his bow in his hands. 

With a nod, he showed he was ready. The first pigeon flew and Trelawney aimed and shot. The disk broke, a sign of a 'kill'. Blinking, he knew he had no time to celebrate, as the second was soon flying and he quickly had to get another arrow ready. The shot didn't feel as steady to him, as briefly distracted as he had been, but he still broke the second pigeon as well. 

Third one flying, third arrow ready, he felt more rushed, and certainly felt the arrow slip a bit. Only a chip this time, but Trelawney hadn't even expected the 'kills'. Letting a shaky breath out he smiled at his good luck for this round and went back to stand with the others. He would not let this go to his head, it was only the first round after all, and there were other proficient archers waiting for their turn. 

479 words
|-T r e l a w n e y  C o u r t r i g h t-|
I find it hard to say the things I want to say the most- Imagine Dragons
Willow couldn’t seem to get out of his own head.

It’d gotten to the point where the boy had even started slacking off work, putting off furnishing his own technically ‘finished’ abode proper. Instead he seemed in favor of staring at the clouds or stars in the sky outside. He’d even considered missing out on the stockshow entirely, however catastrophic that might’ve been for his standing. Ultimately, Raeburn convinced him to help with the setting up, and sign him up for the clay pigeons event. After all, Raeburn had said, he hadn’t been keeping up with archery practice.

Willow had the sneaking suspicion Raeburn knew this would work out in his favor either way—if he was gonna be completely off his game and miss everything, Willow would then be forced by his pride to put more elbow grease into things. And if he somehow got into a good standing in the event, he’d be flooded by a sense of confidence and parade around offering favors to anyone who needed it. Either way, he’d be back putting his nose to the grindstone. Willow glanced at Raeburn from across the way as the New Caledonians took their shots, and the smirk on his brother’s face let him know that Raeburn was most definitely aware. Stupid family, stupidly caring for him. How dare they?

As it turned out, while Willow was distracted, the Ashen had started their line-up. Willow hadn’t dished out any compliments like good ol’ Trelawney had, as his attention had barely been on them at first. Willow fell uncharacteristically quiet instead. He got up to take his turn amongst the Courtrights, and he became struck suddenly with the gravity of that. He was one of them now. Among Los Inciendos, having proven his mettle alongside the old family. It didn’t feel like he deserved it.

The first pigeon he got the ‘wing’ of, earning himself a point. He took a breath and in the next moment, felt a serene sort of focus grip him. By the time he came back to reality, he’d shattered the second disk. This success shocked Willow so much that he completely missed the third shot, but that was alright. He came to stand by his fellow packmates and felt a nervous smile take his face.

“Looks like us Ashen got some home turf advantage.” Willow joked lightheartedly, knowing that the second round could likely make him eat his words.
(417) | cNPC: Raeburn Martel

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

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Current Priority: Moderate
Services: Archery, Combat, Brewing, Scouting

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The Lancaster Stock show was a welcomed distraction to the tragedy that was his relationship with the Bella Dama. Though some time had passed between their separation, the pain had shifted into something ugly and rude, a desire for something primal and hungry that he didn't want just for the sake of feeling disrespected.
He held an important position within the Ashen Ring, a reputable member of the pack. The rumours he caught wind up dug up under his skin and twisted the knife in his belly, but he did his best to shrug it off.

Though there was an urge to distance himself from others, for the sake of not burdening them with his miserable attitude, Hosea refused to left himself wallow his life away in self-pity. He was El Ojo, and those who spoke ill of him had likely not gotten to know him well enough.
That, he figured, was on them.

Here, he could show everybody what he was made of. Here, he didn't feel concerned about whispered critiques of his behavior. With a bow in his hand, doing what he knew best, he felt impowered for once in a long while.

First up had been two canine from New Caledonia. They hadn't gone as well as they probably would have hoped, and the Courtright figured it was due to nerves; they were in foreign territory competing in front of a crowd. That, and he knew better than to underestimate his opponents.
Trelawney was up next, and while the sharpshooter was confident in his brother's abilities, already fully prepared to congratulate the dandy, he hadn't expected the other Courtright to perform so well!

Hell yeah! He laughed, cheering on his kin, Now that's how ya do it, 'Lawney! Another Ashen was up next, an Inciendos that Hosea had yet to interact with much. He made a mental note to seek this one out, especially if they should also be interested in shooting.

Before he knew it, he was last up.
Drawing his bow, he took in a deep breath, closing his eyes before opening them on exhale and letting his arrow loose to... miss.
With a grimace, he swore under his breath, too caught up in the goings-on to focus on the contest.

This time, though, he cleared his head, focusing only now on the clay pigeons set loose before him.
In quick succession, the remaining two discs were shattered completely, a kill after kill. It wasn't going to beat his brother's score, but it was impressive enough to elicit a smirk.

He continued on Willow's comment, giving the younger male a pat on the shoulder, Looks like yer 'bout right.
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
One by one, the archers stepped to the challenge presented before them. It was deceptively difficult, certainly; While sharpshooters may have felt comfort and solace in the expectation of planted feet and a lack of movement and saw the objective as any hunting trip may have implied, the skill itself was a different breed of beast. Not ever archer, no matter how talented, was an accomplished trick shot, after all.

New Caledonia’s contestants stepped up first, the big black wolf’s face skewed with her concentration, and Briarblack called Clyde’s cue. One by one, the little disks were tossed, side-long to provide the most ample target space. The first shot missed – taken moments too late, and too high; the second chipped away the edge of the disk in a Wing, and the third?

The arrow landed somewhere into the tree-laced knoll, evident by a distant-sounding, and decisively wooden thonk that scattered a few birds from their roost.

”Ah. Clyde?” Briarblack had started, harkening note to find where the shot had landed, and he uttered in response:

"Got it. Don’t worry."

Once the range was cold, of course. For now, they had competitors to value. From her spot, Briarblack scratched her notes into the dirt with a stick, and kept an ear for Trelawney’s attempts to be encouraging.

The second Caledonian stepped up, marginally smaller than the first, and took her aim. Wing, wing, miss – not a bad score, all things considered; after all, Del Cenere, with its tricks that could be considered crafty as coyotes were so wont to be, had designed the challenge thusly. Briarblack gave an approving nod, the tally continuing to scratch away by her toes as the home team stepped up to the plate.

Despite his encouraging tone, Trelawney’s results were nothing to be trifled with. The first shot landed dead center, and the disk fractured in a Kill, and so too did the second. The final glanced the edge and cracked the piece of clay in a Wing, and, to the proctors’ surprise, they both gave a few well meaning claps of their own. The moment Willow stepped up, Clyde jammed his pinkies into the sides of his dark lips, and let loose a shrill whistle.

"Give ‘em Hell, kid." He promptly shot the young, dark coydog a thumbs up. And, hell he had brought, netting a Kill, Wing, and an unfortunate miss.

El Ojo steadied himself to position, alongside his brother, and readied his bow. Evidently, the rumors over Courtright aim and weapon prowess must have had some merit to them – Two kills, and a miss later, the contestants rounded off nicely. With the range now cold, Clyde straightened himself up, and darted into the grasses to collect clay pieces and arrows alike, while Briar referred back to her tallies.

”Excellent work, everyone. Trelawney is leading with five points, followed by Hosea with four. Willow has three, Battalion two, and Hokori, you have one point.“ As Clyde returned, she looked up, and he fished into the bag to produce the arrows he had recovered and return them to the archers. In front of Hokori, he hesitated a moment, and laughed thinly.

"Ah – when things are done with, I’ll find that last one for you. It’s somewhere in the trees, back there."

Scoreboard -
Trelawney Courtright : 5 points
Hosea Courtright : 4 points
Willow Martel : 3 points
Battalion : 2 points
Hokori Tanaka : 1 point
[+255] | Ooc:
Hokori ◈ Tanaka

▫I̴ ̶a̵m̶ t̸h̴e̸ ̵Pa̶i̷n̷,
▫The Rea̶̡̚p̸̦̈er̵̗̓, 
▫T̶̙͝h̶̢̄ḛ̶͛ Struc̷̙̿t̴̥͆ǘ̷̩re o̴͕̿f̵͉͝ ̶̧̛Lie̷͍̚s̷͛.̴̦̑.

 Hey, someone had to be in last place. Hokori was a pride-driven jerk who didn't take kindly to being shown up, but she was tactical in her egocentrism. She knew what she was good at and what she wasn't so why would she get upset if she did poorly in an event she was expecting to lose? had they been competing to make the best sword or rob the most hapless loners then she would have been angry, but plinking at clay pigeons? Who cared.

Hoko didn't pay much mind to the other contestants or their scores, getting a vague sense of the tallies but no specifics. The white-furred guy was doing really good, Hokori and Battalion were doing really bad and everyone else was somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

"Oh, uh, thanks."

The guy tossing the birds made his rounds, Hokori taking the two arrows he returned they shared a snicker at the fate of the third. "Don't worry about it, I'm using my cheap ones." 

The Reaver took her place as the second round started up, watching Clyde the Glorious for the first hint of movement. The birds went up and her bow followed in resignation, three sloppy shots sent downrange to hit nothing but-

wait, she actually did pretty well that time. The first two were only chipped but the third was a complete kill, the pigeon shattering into shards of ceramic as Hoko whistled approvingly.

"Clay must have been thinner there." 


After Hoko's not great first round, she had thought her own was alright. The Del Cenere Gang showed up to prove her wrong, though.

The male that had been encouraging toward both her and Hokori was up after her. His arrows flew fairly true: each one hit and two were shattered. "Impressive shots." she said to the male when he came back to the group, wagging her tail slightly. It really had been quite good. When she had heard about the Gang's abilities, their marskmanship had never been mentioned. It seemed others had been remiss (or unaware) in sharing this as one of their traits.

Especially considering the next male got a kill and a wing. That was better than her, though not as good as his clanmate. The final Del Cenere coydog killed two clay pigeons as well. He missed one, too, but those kills were impressive. Her head tipped slightly. "Seems I have been missing important information about how skilled the archers are in Del Cenere." she remarked. Some of it was luck, but not all of it. Those three archers were genuinely skilled and she was going to get shown up. Bat would need to increase her training to have a better chance at next year.

Despite mentally preparing to lose already, she did still hope she'd beat Hokori. After all, this was one area where she was supposed to be more skilled. Perhaps it shouldn't have mattered, but she wanted to prove it. She didn't want to go back to New Caledonia having lost to Hokori Tanaka in this. Hoko stepped up for her next round. Two chips, one kill. Way better than last time. Apparently the Reaver had improved. Bat's heart beat a bit faster. The pressure was on, even if it was only internal pressure.

She stepped up and took a deep breath when her turn began. Battalion wished she was better at calming her frantic body, but her anxiety was high and her nerves frayed. The first pigeon flew and she hit it, sending it of course but not destroying it. The second one she hit but, again, didn't break. Disappointingly, the third one she didn't even hit. Her ears flicked back and she frowned in frustration. Home Turf advantage was right; the wolves were getting their asses handed to them. She didn't think the coyotes were cheating to make their competitors win, but damned if the gods here weren't laughing at the New Caledonians' attempts.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
Trelawney was starting to feel...uneasy. His fellow pack mates were already bragging, saying they had home turf advantage. "They will think we are cheating with such talk." He put in, even as he watched the large female go again, and soon the smaller female of New Caledonia take a second chance at hitting the disks. At the comment of skills, he felt his mood drop some and even lay back his ears. 

Though he was Arquero, his skills truly amounted to hitting targets that didn't move. With a start, he realized it was his turn again, and he stepped up and got his bow ready with ears flat against his head. His first shot was a miss, and he sighed before gathering what resolve he could. He might not win this...he hadn't truly expected to in the first place, but he could at least try a bit better. 

Focus Trel, focus.

With a deep breath he aimed, and his second shot was a clip, then to his surprise, he broke the third disk. Only one kill this time. Taking his place back with the others he shifted his weight and focused on the ground some. Maybe he shouldn't have joined this event to begin with. 

210 words | Thoughts
|-T r e l a w n e y  C o u r t r i g h t-|
I find it hard to say the things I want to say the most- Imagine Dragons
Willow grinned at Clyde, his tail wagging at the fellow Ashen. He was starting to feel pretty good, actually. Sure, he wasn’t going to grab the first place prize, but at least he was getting some good shots. As he retrieved his arrows, one of the Caledonians he hadn’t recognized spoke up. He hummed at her in acknowledgment, nodding gratefully at her praise of the Ashen.

Luckily, something told him not to use it as an excuse to brag. And it was good that he held his tongue, because in his second round, Willow did not do so hot.

He at least winged one of the disks, but the other two were misses. Both were frustratingly near misses, taunting Willow with just how close he had gotten. Close, but no cigar. As comfort mostly to himself, he gave a friendly pat on the shoulder to the woman he assumed to be Battalion, considering he recognized all the other names listed off by Briarblack. The two of them had done similarly that round, though she had faired a bit better than him with one more chip off the ‘wings’.

“If we are cheatin’, did ya set me up to take the fall to make it look convincin’, huh, Trelawney?” Willow kept the joking up, calling out to the lighter furred Courtright. This time his voice carried a hint of sheepishness and embarrassment at his two misses. At least he hadn’t completely jinxed himself and missed all three shots, though perhaps it would have been more just if he had.

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

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Current Priority: Moderate
Services: Archery, Combat, Brewing, Scouting

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Hosea gave a soft chuckle at the other Ashen's remark to his brother, Don't put it past him. He said to Willow with a wink, before shooting a grin toward Trelawney. He was excited to see that his kin was doing pretty well in the event, but they had been trained extensively by their Pa growing up.
The freckled Courtright himself could barely remember a time when he didn't have a bow in his hand, behaving more like some strange extension of himself than a weapon. He recalled arriving back home sore, his arms aching and his forearm beat red from lack of proper shots. With time, his body grew more accustomed to the training, and he corrected his stance.

Even upon coming to Del Cenere, he was quick to set up a practice area for himself, rising at the break of day to shoot well into the afternoon. Perhaps, now knowing so many others were interested in the sport, he could invite his brothers and the Martel boy along next time. Shooting was far more pleasant with company around.

Hosea was a little nervous now, watching as everybody seemed to grow anxious with the passing of the rounds. It was reasonable; they were competing after all, and every shot counted. They couldn't be redone, and the pressure only grew heavier as all the contestants progressed.
He took a deep breath, gave a nod to his fellow Ashen, and stepped up for his turn.

His first attempted hit, but to his chagrin only managed to chip the clay disc. El Ojo swore under his breath, but was quick to regain his composure, taking another deep breath, then exhale...
He let loose a grin, feeling a little prideful now. But he still had one more disc to go, and plenty of time still to be overtaken in score.

The last shot was closer than the first, but nothing to write home about; again, he hit, but it had only winged the thing. Not his best performance, but not the worst either.
He turned back to join his packmates as they awaited the next round, offering a shrug as he neared, Looks like that puts us even, don't it Trel?
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
Clyde shot over one of his winsome smiles regardless to Hokori’s answer – and, Briarblack, upon lofting a brow, wondered if he would make good on his promise simply because he was a schmooze. There was a little scoff as he returned to his position again, and, just as before, awaited her call to send up the next round of “birds” – were birds clay, and also flat disks.

When the other Caledonian wolf had spoken up over the skill of Del Cenere’s own archers, Briarblack gave a little nod, and tapped the side of her nose as she gazed over, expression almost sly.

”Well, when you’re small, you need to be clever, and compensate,” she offered by way of explanation. It made her yearn for the ache of the draw, the tension in her shoulders when she used to pull the string taut and the way that it would clip past her cheek and send the arrow singing.

She’d thought that time would have allotted her the healing to do so. Unfortunately, something deeper must have been at play – some other pressure strummed the lines of her muscle to the bone, and Briarblack had not been one to understand it, but accepted this as fate nonetheless. Either way, she still held the longing of it.

The round continued, following expectations and breaking some at the same process. Trelawney’s mood had soured at some point, no longer offering his delightful quips and encouragements, and Willow seemed to take a similar hit to his prior score. Briarblack continued to scrawl her tallies into the earth, and couldn’t help but laugh softly.

”Oh, perhaps I’ve jinxed us after all,” she stated dryly, turning her attention back up towards Hosea. The Courtright aim was certainly nothing to scoff at, it would seem, as he rounded off and tied his own score with that of his brother’s. As Briarblack announced the cooling of the range, she circled back to her tallies, and let Clyde sprint out into the grasses to hunt down the clay pieces and arrows, before vanishing into the small woodland of the hillock. In turn, Briarblack clicked her tongue, and watched in momentary silence, until she heard him hoot with triumph and reappear, the formerly lost arrow from Hokori held aloft over his head as he started his trot back.

”Alright – Hosea and Trelawney, the two of you are leading with eight points, Hokori, you have scored five. Willow and Battalion are not far behind with four points each.”

Clyde returned with his bounty once again, and re-distributed the arrows accordingly, and took a moment to stretch his shoulder by rolling it, before scooping up his next batch.

”Last round. Steady, now.”

Scoreboard -
Trelawney Courtright : 8 points
Hosea Courtright : 8 points
Willow Martel : 4 points
Battalion : 4 points
Hokori Tanaka : 5 point
[+261] | Ooc:
Hokori ◈ Tanaka

▫I̴ ̶a̵m̶ t̸h̴e̸ ̵Pa̶i̷n̷,
▫The Rea̶̡̚p̸̦̈er̵̗̓, 
▫T̶̙͝h̶̢̄ḛ̶͛ Struc̷̙̿t̴̥͆ǘ̷̩re o̴͕̿f̵͉͝ ̶̧̛Lie̷͍̚s̷͛.̴̦̑.

She was having fun, despite herself. Archery was something she was decent at but she was no marksman, her skill enough to down deer and kill intruding loners but nothing to write home about. The honesty with which she appraised her talent did wonders for easing her egocentrism, the prospect of doing poorly less terrifying than it would have been had she been in a swordfighting competition.

And to be honest she wasn't even doing that bad! She was hardly leading the pack but hey, she was above Battalion in the rankings. If she was able to beat out a professional archer then she couldn't have been a total failure, right?

"Bunch of goddamn snipers down in DCG."

The observation was made in a distinctly approving tone, Hokori giving credit where credit was due. The coyotes might have been scruffy, distrustful and bigoted little bastards but she could respect lethality. She had to, not doing so meant dying because she underestimated a target. 

Eventually it was her turn again, arrows back in hand and Clyde the Magnificent getting ready to throw more of his stupid little disks into the sky. Hoko took up position and steeled her nerves, watching for the signal...

only to once again whiffed hard. The first shot at least dinged the fake bird but the second and third hit nothing but the hillside. Hoko snorted derisively, unimpressed by her display. "Alright Bat, if you can't pass me up now you better turn in your bow."  

She snickered, shooting her buddy a sharp-toothed smile.


Her heart wasn't in it to win it anymore. Her aim hadn't been true and she could feel the anxiety of her poor performance getting to her. Though she thought herself an accomplished marksman, she had never done it for a crowd before. Hunting was a solitary endeavor for her and having everyone watch while she aimed, shot, and sometimes failed was... disconcerting. Bat had thought she'd enjoy it more than she did. Perhaps if she'd had better luck in her shots, she'd have felt a surge of confidence instead of the growing dread down in her belly. Hopefully this didn't cause her to appear a liar to New Caledonia. She truly was a skilled archer.

Truly it seemed like Del Cenere had an advantage. The New Caledonian didn't feel suspicion that they were intentionally cheating, but they might be more familiar with trick shooting like this than the wolves were. Trelawney was right after her and again had a strong showing: a miss, a wing, a kill. Willow Martel was after him. The joke about him taking the fall seemed appropriate given that he was the one falling behind. The other two coydogs were outpacing Hokori and Battalion quite nicely, while he fell back among their ranks of "not doing so great."

Hosea continued the trend of Home Turf Advantage by hitting all three, though only one was a kill. "Is your family just born with bows in their paws?" she asked the two males with an admiring shake of her head. Part of her was envious that they had probably been able to train well and early. She had practiced in small doses when she could and been taught on the road. Having a stable place to learn and a sibling to learn with would've been nice.

The numbers were tallied, with Hoko holding one point ahead of Bat who was tied for last place with Willow. "At least I know I'm not the only one having a hard time of it." she said to the dark male. She didn't address Hokori about her own ranking because, well, she didn't like Hoko. She wasn't going to be rude to her but she also wasn't going to go out of her way to talk to the hulking New Caledonian.

The final round. Battalion was ready because she was ready to be done, get out of the heat, go do something else for a while before the night's Fight Night which she planned to attend since her buddy Odie was fighting. Hokori stepped up to do her shooting and ... wow, that was the worst anyone had done for a round. One clip and two misses. The blue-eyed Commoner was sort of satisfied by that. She ignored the jab against her own skill when she stepped up to shoot.

Luck remained firmly against her as she missed. Her heart sank. The second one, also a miss. Anger burned in her chest. She let loose her last arrow and was gratified to see it shatter. A faint smile crossed her lips. That was something, at least. It tied her with Hokori, but that was better than losing to the big wolf. Hopefully Willow did well enough that they wouldn't need a tie breaker round, because she was about done with this whole business and ready to move on with her day.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
Trelawney gave a start when hearing that he was tied with Hosea in score. Glancing at his brother, he quickly thought to himself. Though there were prizes, and he would love to win if only to throw it into Hosea's face... He also knew that his brother needed a 'win'. Especially with... Well, he wouldn't really feel too horrible if he lost to his own brother.

Rolling his shoulders and moving his neck a bit, he let his ears move forward and focused on the smaller New Caledonian member at her question about bows. "Hm...pretty much" he answered and smiled a bit to show that he was half joking with her. Or trying to. Trelawney knew he wasn't the best at such things, but at least he was trying. "We were taught archery at a very young age, its a bit of a family tradition really. Still, we don't normally do such things as shooting at clay disks." He explains. 

When it's his turn again he adjusts his hold on his bow and raises it with a steadying breath. Though he was fine with coming in second, he should at least give a good try at hitting these damn things. With a nod he showed that he was ready and the first disk flew, with his arrow following a moment later. He thought he missed for a second, but then heard the sound of a clip. The second disk was quick to follow and Trelawney knew it would be a miss even before the arrow left the bow. 

Even a Courtright could knock an arrow badly, as he just had. Giving a huff, he flicked his tail in slight agitation, then reminded himself that only Hosea could likely beat him at this point. Unless Willow got some really good hits in, in any case. With that in mind, he let his last arrow fly and got another clip. Well, it was better than all misses at least, though he would have liked getting one last lucky 'kill' in. Shrugging he moved back and looked towards Hosea and gave his brother what he hoped came across as an encouraging smile. 

365 words
|-T r e l a w n e y  C o u r t r i g h t-|
I find it hard to say the things I want to say the most- Imagine Dragons
When he went up for the third round that time, he knew that if he hit every single disk, he’d place third—respectable enough for him. It would’ve been just enough to prove himself, outdoing the Caledonians but never outshining the Courtrights that had taken him under his wing all those months ago.

Wing, wing. Just one more. Just one more and he’d have done as good as he could.

But when it came to the final disk, he missed.

Willow had to struggle to hold back a curse. His ear twitched in irritation, and for a moment his easygoing nature went away, tension clear in his body. Then he forced himself to take a breath, and a smile was on his face again. He had to reason with himself—Ashen couldn’t always be the best. Besides, he was the youngest of the whole group, at least that’s what it looked like to Willow. So he had reason to fall behind.

He could’ve let Bat’s comment annoy him or get him riled, but he knew she was well-meaning and if he had to guess, probably feeling similar to him right about now. So his smile at her was genuine as he thought of another lighthearted joke to lighten the mildly sour mood of their loser team. “Sorry ta have ya stickin’ around fer longer than intended, but what can I say, I wanna be welcomin’.” He said, in reference to the tiebreaker the three of them would play. His tail wagged behind him calmly.

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The freckled mutt let out a chuckle at the outsider's comment toward his kin. His brother explained a bit further the nature of the Courtrights, to be trained early and often. Their father was stubborn about their training, and Hosea was almost certain that he was just as pressing on the young wards that studied under the mongrel family.
He could actually see Josiah's training in the other Ashen with them, hoping the boy wasn't taking his performance in the competition negatively; shooting at a still target alone was one thing, shooting moving aerial plates with a whole crowd watching was another. He was sure Willow could show real prowess with a little more practice.

Perhaps he'd approach him about it later, after the stockshow when he could get back to readying up the range. It would be a fine way for him to let off steam as well, everything considered.

It was coming up on Hosea's turn, and he returned the smile from this brother with a wink of his own. It seemed that no matter how well or poorly he did, a Courtright was going to win this competition. Though he naturally wanted to be on top, he was proud of how well his sibling was doing.
Alright then. He said, breathing in heavily and nocking his bow.

Wing. It had his the disc, but just barely. El Ojo huffed, took in another breath, and tried to focus.
Wing. Well, it was better than a complete miss. He groaned nonetheless, knowing if he missed this last one, it could likely ruin his chance of first place.

He took a moment to pause, looking out into the crowd he'd only until now tried to ignore. He appreciated the support and curiosity, but he didn't want for anything to cause more distraction to him than necessary.
A familiar figure was seen amongst the gathered canines, someone small and enthusiastic.

The proud Courtright father smiled at his youngest daughter, giving her a wave before readying up for his last shot of the night.
He took in breath, held it, shot and... Wing.

He'd take it. It wasn't the best score, but it had placed him on top. He smiled toward Camellia in the crowd, before turning back to pat Trelawney on the back, That was close; was scared ya were gonna beat me there for a second. It was his way of showing pride in his brother's performance, without being to outright cheesy about it; he knew the dandy would probably prefer it that way.
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
Each of the archers took their place once again, and waited for Clyde to lob those disks into the air, and, one by one, arrows were knocked, and went flying. The Caledonians were being good sports, all things considered – Briarblack offered all her sympathetic smiles between her tallying of scores, yet she could not help but consider the fairness of pitting them against Courtrights. Even in the prime of her youth, when she was capable of drawing a bowstring, she wouldn’t have even held a candle to the Courtright brothers.

Trickshooting was best left to the trickshots. It was not flashy, but the skill of hunting was a practical one still – and she was certain not to discount the skill of the grouped archers. Del Cenere had devised challenges and tests to push them to the edge of the fringes of the skillset, after all – just alongside their knoll and in the early morning, mounted archery had doubtlessly put other bowmen through the wringer. It was all in the name of good fun. Acclaim was not entirely something at play, here – and groups were not in the running to stake claim to renown via delegations. These were each individual participants, playing games off the heel of summer for the sake of camaraderie.

Briarblack uttered her praises with each shot taken, feeling sympathetic pains in her own muscles with how quick-extension was doubtlessly taking its toll on the others. As they each summed up their own rounds, and Clyde once more darted out into the fields to fetch pieces and arrows, Briarblack turned her attention to the tallies.

”Safe to say, the Courtright boys are in the lead – but,” she started, hesitant as she counted the lines in the dirt, and recounted them again. ”I do apologize – I’m sure the trio of you are ready to give your arms and shoulders a break, but, Hokori, Battalion, and Willow, if we could ask just one more round from you three? Just to settle the score.”

Scoreboard -
Hosea Courtright: 11 points
Trelawney Courtright: 10 points
Hokori Tanaka: 6 points
Battalion: 6 points
Willow Martel: 6 points

We move into a tiebreaker!
[+230] | Ooc:
Hokori ◈ Tanaka

▫I̴ ̶a̵m̶ t̸h̴e̸ ̵Pa̶i̷n̷,
▫The Rea̶̡̚p̸̦̈er̵̗̓, 
▫T̶̙͝h̶̢̄ḛ̶͛ Struc̷̙̿t̴̥͆ǘ̷̩re o̴͕̿f̵͉͝ ̶̧̛Lie̷͍̚s̷͛.̴̦̑.

Had she planned her DCG excursion better Hoko would have brought a better bow. Her father's little hunting weapon, suitable for lighter game at shorter distances, would have done just fine in a marksmanship contest and wouldn't have put too much strain on her arms. As it was she was using her huge longbow, the one with a draw weight of maybe eighty or ninety pounds.

Her arms, as strong as they were, were rapidly reaching their limit. The Reaver rubbed her arms as she watched her competitors, working some of the soreness out of them while the Cenerites cemented their place at the top of the pile. Hoko's unsurprisingly mediocre score was nearly doubled by the leader at the end of it, as was Battalion's, somehow.

She bit her tongue. Playful ribbing over her buddy's disappointing performance could come later, Caledonians couldn't be seen belittling one another in the face of defeat. 

"Sure thing boss."

She took up her position, bow at the ready and eyes once again trained on Clyde the Conqueror. One by one the disks were sent skyward and one by one Hoko sent shots their way.

The disks touched down chipped, cracked but not crumbled, a decent score for a decent archer. Hoko wasn't going to win this event, but she wasn't going to leave bitter either. 


It was hard to even pay attention to what the other archers were doing on their turns, Bat just felt her head buzzing with I failed, I failed, I failed over and over in her ears. She had done as well as Hokori Tanaka who wasn't even known for her bow skills. She was known for her being a big burly bully skills. The Commoner felt her guts clench uncomfortably because she had failed and everyone would know it. Her face was hot with shame and her ears twitched anxiously because she wasn't holding them still like she usually did when her anxiety spiked.

Trelawney did well, as everyone expected by that point. Him and his brother were neck and neck for first place. Willow was next. Please, just do really well, please, I want to go, she thought miserably. Apparently the gods were in an amazingly cruel mood, because he got exactly the same as her. The wolf bit her lip, keeping back a curse she wanted desperately to expel. The Del Cenere male said something that was a joke, something she'd normally agree to and playfully respond to, but she couldn't even muster much more than a faint smile in return. She was falling apart and wished desperately to be alone.

She didn't even see how Hosea did, her eyes were down and her entire body curled into itself reflexively. Hell, hell, hell, she thought, her brain not properly processing what was happening. Tali did hear the coyote keeping score say that they would need a final set of shots to establish the third place. For a moment, she wondered if she could just say no, but that would be worse. Everyone would stare if she walked away without finishing. Everyone could probably already tell that she was a mess after her poor performance. Would it be worse?

It was too late, she hadn't spoken; Hokori was going. Hokori was done. Damn it all, it was her turn and she hadn't been paying attention. The wolf stepped up with her bow, feeling tension sit heavy on her chest. She didn't even see the first pigeon fly, it was a miss because she hadn't even tried to loose an arrow. HELL, she thought, focusing and raising her bow. Bat sent off an arrow this time, but it was late, winging the pigeon just barely. She did try to hit the third, but her heart wasn't in it. It went wide, the disc unharmed by the shot. Her head was elsewhere. Everything was wrong, she shouldn't have come to this. The wolf stepped back to the other competitors, avoiding any curious gazes and staring at the ground. Just waiting until the round was done so she could leave and try to resettle her body into its normal mode.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
“Settle the score, we will.” Willow replied with the affirmative to Briarblack, a small smirk playing on his face now. However, the confident expression dampened when he saw Battalion’s body language. She had managed a smile at him previously, but with time passing she only appeared to get further visibly upset. Willow felt his heart pang for her, but knew he couldn’t comfort her in the moment with all the eyes staring at the contestants. In spite of this, he couldn’t help the frown of concern that overcame him as the big brute Hokori went up for her turn.

He refocused onto her performance. His arms and shoulders, like Briarblack implied, were burning right now. As Willow was a frequent archer—he was known as an Arquero within the Ganglands now proper—he’d gotten used to the pain that came with it, but… it would be a stretch to say it got ‘easier’. More so, he found that he just had to push his body a little further each time and hope he wouldn’t fall apart.

Hokori put on a decent show, but didn’t score any ‘kills’. He folded his arms as his eyes lingered on Battalion as the first disk of hers went up—she didn’t seem to have noticed. Willow felt the second hand embarrassment grip and squeeze at his heart in compassion, his teeth clenching together. He let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding when she managed to at least wing one.

Now he was up for this final round.

As he pulled back on the bowstring, he knew he had to let all his feelings go. His worry for Battalion, his pride on the line, his anxiety about trying to prove himself worthy of being a Courtright ward. He let all those fade into the back of his mind and only focused on the competition, gaze laser focused on the targets as they went up. Once again, the first two were winged, just like the last round.

Willow refused to miss the third again.

The sound of the final disk shattering satisfied his ears, almost like music. He didn’t even care about how much his arms and shoulders burned now. He let an easy grin come onto his face. This event didn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but Willow wanted to take the good moments when they came. He looked at the spectators then. Both Raeburn and Liam (the latter he hadn’t noticed present until now) clapped and hollered for him and made a general scene to show their support. Willow felt his face heat in some embarrassment—he’d placed third, not first—but it was the good kind of embarrassment, the exasperated kind one felt when they weren’t sure if they deserved the care but appreciated it nevertheless.

“Nice show,” he looked over his shoulder and barked these words to Hokori and Battalion. The words were genuine and kind. He didn’t have any reason to gloat about a tiebreaker, especially with Bat looking so down. “Thanks for comin’.”
PP of Liam approved! Raeburn mentioned as well.

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