Without hesitation

[TOURNAMENT - Horse Race]

POSTED: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:48 pm

Set Jan 24th, in the afternoon. Spectators please post only once so that the Champions may be able to post more neatly.

He could feel the anxious heartbeat of the equine between his legs. Heritage shifted as he stared at the enclosed racing track, the fence around it a little dilapidated but still standing strong in the face of abandonment by its creator. The horse bobbed his head, snorting into the chilly January wind, eyeing those on the horses inside of the track, at the starting line and the finish line. A few colorful flags had been put up on poles and a line had been drawn in the dirt with golden sand, a clear contrast between the track and line. The interior of the circle was just dead grass and weeds, a few shrubs pushed their way up. Silvano sat atop his horse on the inside of the track, blocking the start of the race manually with his own mount.

"Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the last contest of our wondrous Tournament," called out the King, letting his voice echo over the sound of horses and the wind. Heritage fidgeted at the sound of his voice, stamping his hooves in alternating patterns and bobbing around as the King returned a brief part of his focus to gripping the reins. "Our champions for this race are as follows; the lovely Sidra Phoenix of Casa di Cavalieri." The man guided his horse to stand at an angle before Sidra, a hand proudly gesturing to his uncle's champion. "Freiherr Hati Catori, the Court's first Champion." The horse was nudged forward and the hand gestured again. "And Margrave Alder, again of the Court."

Before, they had set two champions each for the Tournament, though some unforeseeable circumstance with the Knight's resulted with one of the champions vanishing left Casa a rider short. But time was not their friend and they could not find themselves a replacement. Still, they decided to go on with the competition; the best horseman from before would still win and that would not change skill and experience. One short gave the others a great chance to win. Hopefully no one protested too much, but it was still as fair as they could make it without insulting one of his champions by asking them not to participate.

"This will be simple; three laps and the first one to the finish wins the race. No dirty racing; no pushing with appendages, no cutting, attack, or anything backhanded. Blocking and budging with horses only is permitted." Heritage seemed eager to run with the participants, but the King knew the reason he and Jazper did not participate in any of the events they hosted; for fairness sake, even if some of the Champions had been lucky finds and last minute additions.

The man took the horse to the edge of the arena and nudged the colt through the narrow gate in the fence. The moment he was on the outside, he peered at the riders. The spectators would not run out onto the track, of that the man was sure, and chose not to warn them. Instead, he smiled broadly at the racers and then loudly yelled, "Get ready!" Silvano paused for effect and tension's sake. "Get set!" He grabbed a long streamer like cloth and pulled it from its pole. The hand and cloth were raised high, waving and flapping in the wind. "Go!" he hollered as the streamer dropped and fell to the ground on the outside of the track.

Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.

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Cour des Miracles
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Luperci Equites Mate to Shiloh
Knight Errant
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POSTED: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:33 am

out of character here

The Phoenix woman could already feel the rush of the race ahead. It was thrilling. Soloman could feel it as well, restless as they stood at the start and finish line. His body shifted from side to side, heavy hooves stomping the ground with each shift of his mass. Their opponents stood on either side, just as anxious as the woman and her stallion. Despite the slight bit of nervousness that resided within the leopard woman, she held a grand smile on her face, more excited than anything else to race alongside these opponents. She'd never met them before, but had heard various rumors about previous races and how Hati Catori was the first one to hold the title of Champion. It didn't matter to Sidra though, nothing would discourage her from winning.

The King of Cour des Miracles stood on his steed in front of the three racers, blocking the path to victory. Her name was the first to be sounded and she proudly raised a hand and smiled genuinely to the spectators. Yes, she was Sidra Phoenix of Casa di Cavalieri and would try her best to win this race.

Her amethyst gaze followed the King as introduced one of the other two competitors. He was the one she'd heard about. Then her other competition, Alder and his horse. Sidra didn't have much time to assess her competitors horses, but they appeared to be every bit as strong as her own Sully. She didn't think about it too much, relying on what she knew about herself for this race. She had communication on her side, fluid in low speech with horses. She also had a strong bond with Soloman, one she knew would give her some advantage. Either way, she was going to do her best. For her pack and for herself.

The rules were recited, the leopard broad nodding with each mention of the what-nots. She didn't have anything with her but she skin and fur on her back and the horse beneath her. It was, however, in her nature to play against the rules. Not today though. She was a Casa wolf and swore to herself that she'd play fair. Her mind was focused on the path ahead as the king yelled the mark to get ready. Sidra leaned forward, grasping her horses main and he shuffled beneath her. Set was yelled, and then go. They were off, hitting the ground hard as they started the race. Sidra payed no heed to the luperci beside her, focusing on nothing but getting ahead. The rush hit her hard as the started, causing her heart to pick up pace. She was here to win.

POSTED: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:28 am

Trent didn't even know why he was here. He was completely out of control. He knew that Alder would be here -- it was a horse race, duh -- and that made him want to run far away, because it was very clear to him that the stable master either didn't want to see him at all, or had long since forgotten about him. Trent hadn't forgotten, though, and he hated himself for missing Alder's friendship as much as he did, and for his heart thumping stupidly in his chest as he made his way to the track, where Silvano announced what would happen.

There was another Cour des Miracles bloke there, and when Trent saw Alder look at him, he felt oddly jealous. He didn't know why he felt this way, why he even cared -- okay, Alder was his only friend beside Terra, and now he had no one, so maybe that was why -- and it scared the coywolf that he might do something utterly ridiculous and stupid to get Alder's attention.

Just to see on his face whether Alder loathed him, missed him, or just didn't give a rat's ass about him.

Trent stood at the sideline while the horses were lined up. He recognised Alder's horse, the big one, and thought back in amusement to when he'd first met Alder and tried to hunt the horse. Not that he could've ever killed the collosal thing, anyway. When Silvano was at 'Get set', Trent couldn't help but shout -- a bit too loudly and squeakily for his liking -- "You can do it, Alder!", just before the 'Go' was announced. He watched after them as they shot off in the competition, not sure which of the three options had been on Alder's face, or if he'd looked at all before he and his horse spurted off...

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POSTED: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:14 pm

A dark hand touched the side of Hawthorn’s neck, patting it lightly to calm the beast. Nerves bounced around inside his stomach, they made there way though his chest and buzzed down through his fingers. The tall male breathed deeply, trying to calm himself as best as he could.

It was not the race that made him uneasy and unlike himself, but the crowd around him. He and ‘Thorn had run the track too many times to count, but never with such an audience. This was no longer practice, creating muscle memory, or plain exercise.

The Marshall had worked hard to prep the stables and track for the visiting pack and it’s members. It wasn’t something he was familiar with, and so he had busied himself with endless chores. Seating was repaired, paths cleared and the entire track cleaned and its sands grated. He had taken the Shire stallion around the course to make sure that it was suitable, and perhaps for practice sakes as well.

The grand event had come, and the Casa wolves entered their lands. Rumors and stories of the other events came to his ears, and he wondered what it would have been like to watch them. The screaming crowds… and now he was to participate.

The King came to them, Heritage beneath him, and looked at the contestants as they lined up side by side. Casa brought just one competitor, a female. Alder figured that they had picked the very best out of all the horsemen in Casa di Cavalieri, and she looked light and agile atop the horse. Then there was Hati, the Court’s Champion...

Alder was not a competitive creature, and so entering the race was not in his nature. It made sense that the pack’s Marshal participate, didn’t it? His curiosity and a push to stand outside of his comfort zone had caused him to agree. And Hati had been brave enough too as well.

Thoughts snapped back to the racetrack, Silvano had spoken his name to the crowd. The air was changing, buzzing with energy that made the horse’s threaten to spook. His heart drummed in his ears, and he tenses as the set was proclaimed. In an instant he was poised, and at the ‘go’ he kicked ‘Thorn into a gallop just as they had practiced. The large horse was not the fastest, or spry in any sense. But he moved with ease over the sand, legs propelling, head down and at a rate that made the tall wolf crouch over his long muscular neck.

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Luperci Time and Patience
L'âme honorée

POSTED: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:21 am

comme si demain était la fin du monde

Hati had traveled to see Casa di Cavalieri, the first significant time he had ever spent away from his birthplace. It had been frightening and exhilarating to see the walled city within the fort, all the foreign warriors, not to mention the first two events of the tournament. How could he not have gone to support his brothers, Skoll in the hand-to-hand combat and Liam in the swordfight? Still, after seeing all the hard work Alder had pored over to prepare the Niobrara racetrack and stables for the grand finale, Hati felt a deep-seated guilt overtake him. He should have stayed to help. His place was here, shouldering half of the duties Alder always strove to complete by himself. It seemed he would have more to apologize for once all this was over.

Now was not the time to be distracted, though. The day was finally here, and all eyes were on him. Hati shivered, gripping the reins too-tightly as he shifted anxiously in the saddle. It was his turn to put it all on the line, for the honor of his family and his kingdom. In a way, there was something poetic about the chosen venue and contest. His first-ever riding lesson had taken place on this racetrack, seated gingerly atop Hawthorn, with Alder's gentle arms guiding him. Now he was racing against his teacher, showing him everything he had learned in the past year and being judged by the result. He wanted to say something to the Marshal, but their Cavalier opponent stood between them, and it would be impolite to shout around her. He settled for a lingering glance, but Alder was too focused to see him.

When he heard that Casa di Cavalieri only brought forth one champion, Hati thought for sure he would be asked to forfeit, in the interest of fairness. He was younger and less experienced, and naturally the stablemaster would be expected to fare better with the horses than a mere page. But it seemed the race was to go on as planned, with the second Cavalier's whereabouts unknown. Hati never thought he could outride Alder, so there was only one opponent to surpass in his eyes -- Sidra Phoenix, the lightest rider on the track, and therefore presumed to have a swift advantage. He nodded politely to her, too nervous to say a word, but hoping she would accept his gesture of good sportsmanship. Pale blue eyes swept over the steed next to him, appraising the handsome animal. Her horse was large, a heavily-built stallion of draft descent, comparable to Hawthorn (though no stallion was the mighty Shire's equal).

Silvano was speaking from atop his mount, young Heritage. He had already introduced them each in turn, gesturing grandly to horse and rider for the mixed audience's benefit. Hati ran his trembling hand along Asagi's sleek neck, feeling the heat she radiated as she waited patiently. His mare was fine-boned and hot-blooded, lithe and fit from the long daily rides through the forest. It occurred to him then that she might be the best suited for this type of competition. It shouldn't matter that her rider was afraid of failure, or that he doubted his competence, or that his stomach was clenched in painful knots; this was all up to Asagi, and whatever vestiges of her late master's spirit that still resided in her. Hati barely heard the rest of the rules; he was far too obedient to ever consider cheating of any kind, and he would rather forfeit than harm one of the horses. It was just empty noise buzzing in his ears, as the track stretched before his eyes, free and open. It was almost time.

The winter wind whipped the makeshift flag in their King's hand, raised high to mark the start of the race. Hati gulped, shrinking down against Asagi's neck as he readied for the signal. Go! He flexed his knees, clucking his tongue as the chestnut mare surged forward, grey hooves biting into the sand of the racetrack. There was a deafening roar as all three horses thundered forward, their gallop throwing up a cloud of dust in their wake. Hati clung to the reins as the rhythm of their pace bobbed him up and down, urging the mare to outsprint the heavier stallions.

yayayayayayayayay +718 words

Hati Catori
He is always seen wearing his moon necklace.
Hati may be accompanied by his niece, Esper.
(Art by Raze, Signature by Sie.)
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