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An Unconventional Catapult Convention for the Carnifex

The Faith records show that Preston's nameday is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month, so in his honor, we are going to blast open numerous cloth soldiers full of treats with miniaturized siege weaponry.

The foundlings of the Church shall have a siege weapon all of their own, against which all contenders will compete.

Bring your own earplugs, if desired.


May 20, 2022, 3 p.m.

Hosted By



Fairen Mabelle Grady Preston Denica Eiran Lisebet Ailys


Templars Solace Faith of the Pantheon


Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of Gloria

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The Shrine of Gloria is usually a place of seriousness and dedication, at least compared to the carnival atmosphere that has descended upon the scene now. Cloth soldiers in absurdly bright uniforms dangle from ropes to dance in the air above the dirt - the ropes also string bright, dancing streamers that flutter in the wind in just as many absurd colors.

Miniaturized catapults that line up opposite the field from the rainbow soldiers are drawing curious eyes especially from the many children that have been brought from the Tragedy, who are all dressed neatly and cleanly in a way that is sure to become soiled with mud, jam, and custard. Food and drink are everywhere, although the centerpiece is definitely the long table weighed down with custard tarts; most of the offerings are simple, bread and sausage and dried fruit, easy, handheld foods that are child-appealing.

The noise is a lot. The Dominus, elaborately garbed and coiffed like the ringleader of this adorable circus, waves at people jovially from his perch as they arrive, though some were filtering in early, following the multiple carriageloads of kids bussed up from the bottom of the hill.

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout arrive, following Lisebet.

Bring your own earplugs, if desired, they said. Fairen _does_ desire. Fairen _is_ wearing earplugs.

Little lumps of pale wax save him from the general noises of revelry, and for a moment he seems to look pretty pleased with himself as he looks around -- but then his assistant says something to him, and he ignores her, and she tries again, and he's oblivious, and finally she tugs his arm and he has to pop the earplug out, murmur an aside, and sigh as he dispatches assistant, nanny, and a collection of Leary children to go play. "Good day, Dominus," he greets as he angles up, one shielded ear turned toward the bulk of the noise and one free ear turned toward Aureth. "You've set quite the stage."

Fairen has joined the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

Aureth is overheard praising Fairen: How ingenious.

Mabelle wanders into the shrine in a bare-backed dress which is neither shriney nor Oathlandery. She did not, in fact, know of the earplug suggestion and halts her steps upon hearing all the racket of children and there is mud. So before they are able to create prints on her dress, Mabelle sends her girl to hand out cookies to the children. Far away from her. Exactly. Yes. "Dominus", she sketches a curtsy for the table and goes to sit beside Fairen.

Grady is swept into the shrine on a small wave of children, all of them almost certainly unconnected to him, that he's managing with a bright smile, laughter, and some serious 'dad' energy. Like an able performer spinning dozens of plates, he keeps them in orbit around him while his sharp eyes pick out their minder, and then herds and tows them in that direction. "Ah! Hello. Here you are, safe and sound. Birds returned to the nest, and all that. Yes? Very good. Oh dear, I seem to have lost Mortimer." There are ENTIRELY too many children here for Mortimer, and he has taken Grady's guards somewhere else, but it takes Grady a minute or two to piece this together.

Mabelle has joined the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

With his hands folded and clapsed behind him at the small of his back, Preston steps into the shrine that is close to his, well, third home. He smiles warmly at some of the Templars on duty and gives them a few murmered words of encouragement. He takes some steps towards the Dominus, his hands unclasping so he can tossle the hair of one of the young squires who is running about and helping out "Most Holy. Once again I should say you simply shouldn't have, my day is of little importance compared to what we serve. But, all the same, thank you. It seems to be a wonderful thing. And you sent one of the Laurents to do your research, and he did it well I see." Gesturing to the custard tarts, Preston can't help but grin "You are optimistic about my popularity. I do like that."

Immediately, Denica is delighted by all the colour and her eyes gaze about curiously, looking up at the bright soldiers hanging from ribbons, suspended down. The flutter of her dress moves easily with her, and she has a bit of a bounce to her step. Good spirits, and all smiles, especially for the children that are milling about. Her staff and guards are here, though it's less formal, and more of a group outing. Everyone seems curious about the Unconventional convention, but most of all Denica who is never shy in showing it. A dip of her head to their Dominus host before she divers her attention to find a place to sit. The table of tarts catches her attention, and then she sees Mabelle and so she meanders over there.

"I do try," Aureth says with amiable cheer, waving his hand. "Welcome, welcome--"
A young squire in a Templar tabard marches by the table with a wooden blade, trying to invoke order in a very ponderous voice that would be more believable with fewer cracks as he tries to chase a number of the younger ones into something like a formation. He gives Preston a wide-eyed look and then attempts to be 10 times more efficient about it.
"I can't believe you are implying that Lord Eiran was a spy for me as opposed to an emissary of his own ingenuity," he says, and winks at Preston. "Anyway, any that don't get consumed during the party will be fair game for the kids. I think I might not have ordered enough, honestly."

"Gods, look at all this custard," Eiran exclaims at the long table. He has brought a garland of paper kestrels on a thick string bunched with twists of green-dyed parchment, and for now, he has it draped over his own shoulders. He follows shortly after Mabelle, bowing to Aureth, but rather than evade the children, he launches into them and strikes up a variant game of hot potato, tossing his hat.

Denica has joined the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

Lisebet makes her way in, with a trio of Ashford children in tow. They too are sent off to play with the nanny. Nannies? however many a rambunctious set of twins and one younger brother need. As she arrives, she sketches a curtsey towards the host, with a smile. She doesn't interrupt any of the ongoing conversations, but she does take a good long look around. As she hears Eiran's comment, her attention is drawn to the table, and her eyes widen. "It - oh dear, please don't show Emilie." No doubt the only girl of the three children will spy the custard anyway, but for now, everyone's ears are not struck with even more shrill yelling. For now.

Mabelle smiles to Preston as he enters, "Carnifex, felicitations upon your name day. A humble gift from Laurent to sweeten your day", she offers him a cyser of apple cider. A smile is flashed to Denica and her Cousin upon joining, "Lovely company this afternoon. Duchess Ashford!".

"Well, it is not as though we have much cause and training for spies is it, Most Holy? The Faith is, after all, everywhere. Every village, every hold, every port and every camp. Though for some reason when I remind some of the nobles of this they get quiet and nervous. Most purplexing." Preston answers, dead pan. The young squire lining up the younger groups gets a bow of Preston's head "May Gloria light your path, Templar." he offers to the child before he shakes his head "Not so long ago, Aureth, I was like that. Perhaps your next Carnifex when I get careless or an opponent gets lucky, mm?" Eiran's comment causes Preston to turn back and he smiles at the noble and is about to comment when Mabelle provides him with a bottle and he gives another bow of his head "You are most kind, m'lady. House Laurent though has no need to ever give gifts - their friendship is worth far more and treasured"

Ailys in her Mercy robes wades through the crowds of children, a faint but genuine smile on her lips even as one very sticky lad careens into her shin and then spins off into the crowd again. Aeterna for the win! On reaching the custard table she inclines her head in greeting to Aureth. "What a brilliant celebration. There are a few far-ranging children near the House of Solace that are making the patients smile."

"So many tarts. I love tarts. Custard especially. How delightful," the princess Thrax exclaims as she sits down at the table, hands swatting down the crinoline skirt she wears. A smile forms at Mabelle's comment, "excellent company. Lovely to see you all and what an occasion for it. This is really quite spectacular, I imagine the children are ever excited by it!," she says more in general then anything, loud enough to carry beyond the table, though trying to contain herself.

Eiran thinks he's being sneaky when he sidles over to Preston and drapes that garland of paper kestrels about his shoulders. Hopefully he doesn't get stabbed for this.

Fairen glances over at Mabelle as she takes a seat, and there's a brief, low-voiced exchange in which Fairen clearly realizes he can't hear a darn thing and removes his other ear plug, too. He looks briefly struck by the doubled noise, but bravely soldiers on. "Good day," he says broadly to others nearby while giving Preston a longer look and a vaguely polite, "Blessings for another year, Sir Preston." Then, in a lower voice, he says, "May your hearing remain sharp even under siege," like an old man faced with loud children.

Four of the children in their neat, unmuddied clothes break off from one of the groups to start tossing Eiran's hat back and forth. The tallest of them tries to pull Eiran deeper into the game, though, and throws the young noble's hat right back at him when he gets ahold of it. One of the others cackles while the third jumps after it and basically crashes against the young Laurent's legs - he asked for it, but it may make his stealthy Preston attack more difficult.
"I'm glad to hear that, Princess Ailys! Please, come and share some of these sweets, they're my Carnifex's favorite I have it on good authority." Aureth beams with great cheer and then stands, holding up his hands. "Everyone! Children of the city! Parents of the city! Welcome to the Shrine of Gloria and may Her grace shine on you all, we have a contest for you, and to the victors shall go some delightful spoils! We do honor to the gods by prayers, but we can also do honor to the gods by deeds, so I will make no great speech today, fond as I am of the sound of my own voice!"
The noise does quiet /somewhat/ when Aureth wades into it with his mighty performative lungs - mostly because a lot of the children are pretty interested to find out what he means by /spoils of victory/.

Mabelle beams brightly at Preston, "Its an honor to hear such words" and then notes to Denica, "If its sweet, I'll eat it. But I think we should likely find something to shield us once the fun begins", she looks worried at catapults and rainbows and a low of custard", her eyes turn curiously to Ailys which she's never met before but Aureth calls for attention and so she pulls out a fan from her bag last moment to defend herself.

Lady Mabelle, it's always good to see you," Lisebet says with a nod. She makes her way over to the table, to offer a brief nod. "My Lord Fairen, good to see you as well." She pauses to call out to Preston, "Congratulations on another name day, Carnifex. We look forward to having your presence for many more." She's relaxed, and quite calm. Not at all worried about the Faith being everywhere. Aureth's speech comes next and she simply relaxes to listen.

Ailys is hardly going to turn down the suggestion that she partake of the custard, and neatly plucks one from the spread. She offers a nod to Mabelle, then to Lisebet. "It's nice to see you again, Duchess. Did you bring your children?" Aureth starts shepherding the crowd though, so she takes a bite of her treat and listens.

Mabelle's comments cause a little spark to go off in Denica's head and her eyes go wide as a result, "this what happens when I wear white. I should really learn my lesson," she murmurs but clearly, she will not, nor does she actually seem bothered. Rather, she looks excited to see what destruction might be caused here. When Mabelle pulls out her face, Denica is looking for her own makeshift shield, taking the cue from the Lady Laurent, she also takes out a fan and looks over at the others at the table. "This is going to be interesting!," she says broadly, her eyes lighting up.

"Now, we have three catapults here--" Aureth gestures at the catapults. There is codedly on one catapult but it's amazing, everyone look at it. "--courtesy of the carpenter Zakhar, who rose to the occasion splendidly. Squire Edimur of the Templars will be manning the one on the left. Any of you who wish to join his team may do so, but you have to pray to Gloria and give thanks! Squire Lady Kinsa of the Knights of Solace will be manning the one on the right. Beg pardon, my lady, womanning the one on the right!" He pauses and waits for the laugh. Of course he does. He's a dad telling dad jokes in the middle of a carnival of his own making. "--and offer your thanks to Gild if you join her team! And I would like a volunteer! To represent the adults among the Faithful and operate the third catapult! Surely there is some brave grownup among you who wants to join the fray."

Fairen puts a tart in his mouth as Aureth looks for volunteers and turns his head to the side to say literally anything else besides volunteering: "Who's taking bets? Winner to donate to the winning charity."

Eiran is overheard praising Zakhar: Brilliant carpentry of catapults!

Aureth tells Fairen, "Splendid idea. Gild will love it."

Eiran finds himself quite busy chasing his hat now, in a predicament of his own making. He staggers at the collision in laughter, pivoting to catch his hat out of the air. He pauses, then to pay attention to the games, and finds a seat at the long table to catch his breath.

There is no resistance to the paper kestrals - Preston has clearly reserved himself to this being a time he has to accept fun. He does, however, lean back to purloin a custard tart. As others come up, Preston smiles to each in turn and bows his head "Truly, thank you. The future is unknowable, but we are here now. That is the important part." Preston turns and then looks across at the catapults "Maybe I will have to conscript this Zakhar to joining Dame Ida's artillery train, Most Holy. Though I have to favour the Templar odds on this." Prest adds, gesturing to Fairen and the betting "Our brothers and sisters of Solace operate no siege weaponry, after all."

Ailys looks at that third catapult, perhaps some longing in her wide gray eyes, but breathes out a sigh. "I am a terrible shot."

Mabelle glances aside at Fairen, "Can I bet against you? If so I am in". She eyes the catapult and notes, "Master Zakhar is a splendid craftsmanship, isnt he?", she nudges Denica once more.

Eiran has joined the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

It's not /exactly/ a stampede of kids to the catapults at this point, but it's not not a stampede. Edimur - reedy and thin, around thirteen with a shock of fluffy curls - tries to enforce order on his team, and encourages kneeling for prayer as they approach.
In contrast, Lady Kinsa of mumblemumblehouse who is a squire for Solace is a solid, bluff-looking young lady in her early teens with ruler-straight hair and a lot of the Tragedy kids already know her, so she gets an early rush of the younger ones who go "Kiki, Kiki!" as they skip over to her -- so numbers are quickly mounting on the Solace side merely by virtue of this unfair advantage.
Spying this, Edimur immediately resorts to blandishments and organizes some of his fellow squires to repurpose some of Mabelle's cookies as bribes for the Faithful. The worship of Gloria requires honor, not stupidity.
Spying the tactic and its immediate success, Aureth just starts to laugh. "No one? Preston, are you bold enough to represent the boring grownups? Or perhaps you'd like to select an adult to lead the charge, delegation being a necessary skill of a commander of the Faith."

Fairen's lips curve. He bites in the very edge of his smile as he meets Mabelle's glance. "I would expect nothing else. I will leave you to make the first choice of who you will support," he says, giving her just a little bow of his head. "And I will pick another. One of us _must_ pick the Templars, of course, for Sir Preston."

Denica's brows lift upwards looking at the catapult with a small grin, "I've always wondered how I might use one of those for art." As such, why not learn, Denica raises her hand. "I will volunteer. I cannot profess I will hit anything, but that's all part of it, right?," she asks, and looks dangerous, but that's probably a normal look for her?

"Princess Ailys, good day to you also. Yes, the trio of Ashford children are somewhere in this miniature crowd." She might be keeping an eye on things, as best she can. Though it is loud. And she's not at all sure what Aureth just said. She does look to the catapults, curiously, moving to go inspect one. She hears Ailys, and says, "As am I. Are we taking a spot on one of the catapults. I am certainly willing to try, but I have no idea who these things work."

Mabelle mentions to Denica, "You can put up a large canvas and then fling buckets of color on it", she nods because that sounds like Denica. Very much like Denica. "I will pick the Templars", she smiles to Fairen and then notes, "I rather meant to have you man it and lose, but lucky for you, there are volunteers, so we shall settle for that".

Ailys offers Lisebet a shrug and gestures vaguely at her ears. "I think they want someone to shoot this one? But I'm not sure, it's hard to hear over all the..." Another gesture. All the this. "I think you just pull the...thing back and then hit the...thing." She ponders her own instructions briefly, then nods and takes another bite of her tart.

"I think the last time I used siege weaponry I got a Eurusi arrow through my shoulder, Most Holy. Perhaps an ill omen. And it seems you have quite a number of able volunteers. Well. Two." Preston gestures to Denica and Lisebet "But, I must admit, I still favour the Templars in this. For, well. Reasons. Though." And he smiles across at the squire "Gloria commands us to do good, to act honourably, to fight well. We should always try to win victory, but it is the doing that honours Gloria. And whatever the outcome, we can be happy with it if we cast our lot in on the side of Good."

Preston's words cause Denica to consider and she looks at the large machine and then at Lisebet, who she gives a warm smile. "Well, what that inspires me to think, is perhaps we learn together? For working together and helping each other, shows honour in battle?," she lifts a brow, the Thrax considers this and no doubt hopes that is appropriate and then she flashes a grin at Mabelle. "Exactly!," she says about flinging paint at canvass with a catapult, clearly Mabelle knows Denica very well. This idea shifts her smile into a full grin.

Eiran watches as bets are made, and tries to sort out who to root for. His loyalties are /often/ divided. "If only I could write poetry by violently flinging something at the page."

"Gods, Mabelle." Fairen tips his head down, eyes shining above and behind the rims of his glasses. "I'll take Gild's part, then, and pray my thanks for the generosity of those who volunteer. Now, what will you put on this? Are there any other wagers? The poor _adults_ have no voice to represent them."

"I'm good with that suggestion if our Dominus and Carnifex are," Lisebet says to Denica with a nod and smile. "But then, are all the adults here on the same team as we are?" she inquires, gaze going curiously over to Aureth.

"Now, will one of our squires who has trained for this be willing to be a second to Princess Denica, who was our first volunteer? That way we can ensure that everyone can fire--ah, thank you," Aureth says, applauding one of the young templar -tabarded girls who bows to him and heads over to the middle catapult, giving Denica a shy smile that fails to hide her crooked teeth. "Princess, if you have other adults who want to join in after the first round you needn't stand alone, but if you're successful in taking down an enemy, you and you alone shall get to decide what to do with your spoils. Huzzah!" He claps for her and smiles at Lisebet and the others, and then pauses in his explanation to eat a too-large bite of tart so it takes him a moment to get to the next bit.

Mabelle winks aside to Denica and then asks Eiran, "Have you tried? My best poems come out when I am extremely angry", she points out. Mabelle contemplates Fairen for a moment, "Oh wait, I cannot bet against Gild. Its one of the only..", she halts her words and looks at all the Faith people and instead suggests, "200 Dukes!".

There, decision made. Lisebet offers a graceful curtsey. "The field is yours, your highness."

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica fails.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 10

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 1

"If you lose, the coin will go to Gild's charities, so perhaps you'd better hope you lose," Fairen murmurs to Mabelle with a sly touch of humor in his eyes. "I will meet your bet."

A glance over to Ailys - Lisebet heard that description. "I think, Princess Ailys, that I might need a /little/ more assistance, but I applaud your enthusiasm. And of course, it's now up to Princess Denica to catapult for the honour of the adults."

Now that everyone is settling in for the competition, Preston takes his chance to snarfle his custard tart. His eyes dart left and right in guilt as the entire thing is quickly in his mouth and keeping him quiet as he chomps the pastry and creamy custard filling. Realising things are getting underway properly, he politely claps before leaning across to Aureth to murmer something, swallowing a couple of times to minimise the tart flake barrage.

The short princess looks delighted at the idea of using any sort of weaponry, asides, it's for a good cause, and that makes it all the better. That said, she is pretty excited and it shows. Her smile grows when she meets her lovely assistant and she winks at her, seeming to appreciate the efforts and her presence in this. "This should be good fun. We'll be great!," she assures her and then adds, "oh and that's a lovely tart!," she murmurs. Then the princess approaches the catapult and blinks a few times. Denica is an artist, and unlike many of her family, who probably know exactly what to do, she is just here to have fun, be silly, and honour the gods and take part in the excitement. Lots of confidence, no skill, always a great combination and the moment the princess steps up, it all goes down hill from there. It's okay, happy mistakes! Even the princess herself ducks, if that thing even shoots, who knows. She closes her eyes just in case. Always the best strategy when using a weapon, don't look!

The first round of catapult fire is really an easy call. The squire helping Denica manages to get the catapult loaded but it doesn't pull back far enough, and the ammunition falls short of the mark. Aureth goes, "Oh, no!" but applauds for the attempt anyways, clapping.
The Solace manage to get theirs loaded, but they don't actually get their stone fired. It sticks because someone mismanaged one of the controls. Squire Kinsa hurries to help the younger child she assigned this task when the boy starts to cry, which means that chaos briefly reigns over there until one of the Solace minders heads over from the sidelines to help out.
Edimur's order and discipline pays off, though, and the Templar's missile fires clean and true, smashing into one of the cloth soldiers and spreading its bounty onto the ground. Whoops and cheers resound, and the Templar team swarms their spoils, while Edimur tries - and fails - to reinforce his efforts at order.

Fairen is overheard praising Denica: Such confidence, such poise! She even shoots blind!

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

While Fairen seems more than a little distracted by various goings-on at the table, all bets and quiet asides, he's still very much watching as the first round goes to the Templars. "There's one for you," he murmurs to Mabelle. "But we may yet win the war."

Eiran's fingers clench against the table cloth as he endures the muted triumph of victory, when he witnesses Preston's vigorous consumption of tarts. Preston likes the custard tarts. Eiran WINS. Oh and those kids do too.

Mabelle eyes Fairen, "I do not mean to lose. One way or another", she grins at him and cheers the children and her cousin, or anyone. Its a mess, she's not following, there's so much color and she keeps ducking from panic.

"My enthusiasm far outstrips my expertise," Ailys acknowledges blithely as the first round of shots go off. "Ooh. A good shot." It's Denica's shot she's talking about, and it falls short, but she applauds anyway. Enthusiasm!

There is a momentary woop, which Preston quickly turns into a cough, as the Templar team strikes its target and he settles for refined clapping. At something murmered, the Carnifex simply grins brightly at the Dominus. "I am sad Dame Ida is missing out on this, she would be quite delighted. Did I ever tell you about the time her bolt thrower exploded? It was a very eventful day."

When it seems that a miniature war might start on the field of battle over one of the toys in particular, some of the priests and knights who work with the children - and who transported them today - wade into the fray to ensure that nobody loses an eye. The heavy bag of plums in particular split as it hit the ground, and the dark fruits roll out over the grass. One particularly enterprising seven-year-old has grabbed three of the plums and run off across the shrine at remarkable speed yelling "I GOT THEM I GOT THEM" even though no one actually tried to stop him.
Aureth watches with benign humor and laughs. "All right you all, form up for round two. Is anyone going to help Princess Denica, or shall she strive onward alone in this battle?" He leans back in his seat, saying, "I should very much enjoy Dame Ida's company for such a thing, I think. I've rarely had the opportunity to meet her, but she and my daughter kept good company for many years, I think. Tell me the tale of your exploding... what was it?"

Lisebet half shrugs delicately. "I am willing to help, for what it's worth," The duchess offers. "In honor of Gloria, I shall learn well - something about catapults, I think."

The short princess looks around when there is a call for help, finally deciding to open her eyes, one at a time. When Lisebet offers, she grins and claps her hand, one gloves, one not. "It's fun! And you will have great help," she promises and compliments those assisting. Even if not successful, she's clearly enjoyed every moment of it. "This may just become my new hobby. Paint by catapult!," she considers, yes, she is convinced now.

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet is successful.

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica is successful.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 7

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 3

"Oh, it was a bolt thrower - a large bow really. We had them on our, ah, large march of concerned and well armed Orthodox followers. That was definitely not, as I recall I was told, a crusade. Against the Malardin tribes, and the Reaper of the Oathlands. We got to the Reaper's final redoubt, and Ida must have pulled the weapon to its max, and it fired a bolt so strong it shattered the redoubt's wall but the weapon itself collapsed as well. I took this as a good sign, and made Ida our Master of Artillery." Preston explains, watching the events as they continue "We'd thought the bolt throwers were a useful idea, in case any, well. Larger Malardin supporters came about. But yes, Ida is quite lovely company" as Lisebet joins the team, Preston claps again "Oh, this could be most interesting. Best of luck to you!"

In the second round, the Templar shot manages to tear the arm off of one of the hanging soldiers without actually knocking the soldier from the rope _or_ spilling all of its materiel. The toys inside peek coyly through the hole in the multicolored fabric.
The Solace team manages to fire off their catapult this time, and even though they don't fire far enough to actually hit any of the enemy, Squire Kinsa leads them all in a rousing cheer that then becomes a chant of "Solace, Solace" which earns some laughter from some of the crowd. To manufactured triumph!
With Lisebet and Denica collaborating on their angle of fire, the catapult not only fires, but they manage to get an angle on two of the cloth soldiers at once! The missile rips through the gut of one of the rainbow soldiery on the way to knocking another one of the rope. Cheers erupt.
"Ah!" Aureth applauds loudly. "Princess Denica, Duchess Lisebet! These spoils are yours to keep, or distribute, or whatever you will!"

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Aureth takes a mystery toy box.

Sometimes you just need a little help from a friend, or a new friend in this case. Lisebet makes all the difference and her ability works in harmony with Denica's lack-their-of and somehow, it all turns around. This time, Denica KEEPS HER EYES OPEN, and that might help. Then they shoot and fire and it actually works, the little princess starts to jump up and down cheering, because it's worth making a little noise over. "Excellent work Duchess! Fine leadership!," she looks over at their lovely assistant, "great teamwork, splendid!" Looking at their spoils she grins a little and murmurs to Lisebet, "I think it would be delightful to give these toys and candy to the children, yes? Let them have some fun?"

Eiran finds himself drawn into Preston's story, or at least what he can hear of it over the cheers and chatter. Something shattered against something. "Fairen," he whispers, "What's a boat thrower?" As Lisebet and Denica burst the cloth soldiers, Eiran pumps his fist in the air. "Yes!"

"Oh, you got him right in the brisket!" Ailys exclaims, clapping loudly as Denica and Lisebet trounce the other teams. "Excellent work, I could never sew that poor fellow back together."

Lisebet is perhaps not the tallest of duchesses. She laughs though at Denica's jumping, and her amusement shows. Is that a dimple? Ahem. "I think that is the best idea ever," she replies to Denica. "By all means, let the children have the toys. And the candy." A pause, and then a dramatic sigh. "Even mine."

Fairen checks composure and manipulation at hard. Fairen is successful.

"Oh, dear." Fairen leans his cheek against his his hand as Denica and Lisebet team up in a startling display of incredible martial prowess. "Mabelle, we may both _lose_, as no one took the bet up for the last team." He gives Eiran a sidelong look, a very straight face, and he says -- right to that sweet, innocent, Oathlander lord -- "It's how you launch ships into service. Haven't you ever wondered why it was called launching a ship?"

Mabelle cannot quite catch what is going on here, she sees people cheering and candies on the floor and her cousin being hearing impaired, apparently, "Yayyyy who's winning?", she mutters aside to the table. She's not dumb. Really . Just distracted today. Fairen's comment gets her so concerned, "What happens if we both lose?".

Eiran completely, whole-heartedly believes Fairen's explanation. "Wow. Naval warfare is amazing," he says, voice full of wonder.

Now those earplugs that Fairen brought would be useful for everyone. There are so many cheers and yells from the children as the adults make a gift of their spoils.
"Gild and Gloria's blessings on you both," Aureth grins at them, and then turns his bright glance back across Eiran, Fairen and Preston, but honestly, who-- he doesn't know what a bolt thrower is either so-- "Right," he says.
Edimur watches in mild consternation as his careful discipline is once more shattered by a swarm of kids charging onto the field to grab candy and toys. But these are for everyone, not just one team, and even some of the noble children are getting in on grabbing some of the candy.

Mabelle gazes at Eiran from afar, "Thank goodness you are in charge of the Cavalry, cousin".

Aureth gets A wooden toy honey bee.

Aureth gets A wooden toy honey bee.

Aureth gets a mystery toy box.

Aureth gets a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey.

Aureth gets maple-cured mutton jerky wrapped in mint leaves.

Aureth gets Lady Inquisitor Tikva Riven Figurine.

Aureth gets a lucky little northern fox figurine.

Aureth gets a grey cloth toy mouse.

Aureth gets strawberry milk fluffy northlands cow.

Aureth takes a woven sack full of freshly picked plums.

Aureth takes a leather plush bat with glass eyes.

Aureth takes Crownlands venison jerky with extra black pepper.

Aureth takes a sweet fluffy toy fawn.

Aureth gets a packet of apple candies coated in cinnamon and sugar.

Aureth gets a packet of apple candies coated in cinnamon and sugar.

"/Bolt/" Preston stresses "Boats were always more Dame Thena's thing - the Templars only began launching vessels, well, because our enemy very annoyingly insisted on being on islands and such." As the strikes hit both, Preston claps some more and cheers for Lisebeth and Denica - even more so when they give their items to the orphans "You are both most kind. The Orphans are cared for by the Faith, but it is always the luxury of one person taking a shine to them that can change their lives in great ways. An act of kindness can turn the sour into the sweet." Then Preston looks to Eiran "You can see the Templar navy in the harbour I believe. The Alor Valardin, the Dame Sugan and the Little Sister are there loading."

"Islands are the worst," Aureth agrees with Preston amiably. "I've never even been to one, I don't think."
Man the larboard," yells Edimure.
"What's a larboard?" asks one of his 'soldiers'.
"Just-- we're going to fire at that one again," Edimure sighs.
And Aureth follows his lead as the field is once more cleared of wreckage. "All right, right now the adults are ahead, two to one to zero! Are you going to let that stand?"
"Yay!" shout several of Kinsa's kids.
Kinsa laughs. "No, no!" she exclaims. "We've got to fight for more candy, for Gild and for Solace!"
"Fight, fight!" comes the call-and-response.
"That's more like it," she cries, and rallies her troops to load their next missile.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 4

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 2

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet fails.

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica fails.

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet fails.

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica fails.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 8

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 9

Eiran smiles sheepishly at Mabelle, only /slightly/ bewildered. "Oh," he says when Preston corrects. He asides to Mabelle, "We have boats too, right?"

Mabelle checks command and leadership at hard. Botch! Mabelle fails completely.

Another round of fire strikes off, and all of the missiles miss. Oh no! Edimur tries to rally his troops away from the distractions of their candy, while behind him, some earnest trade has broken out, wheeling and dealing between boiled sweets, sliced jerky, and fluffy toys.
Fully half of Kinsa's team has scattered into playing a fight between wooden bees and plush horses, which has put them to something of a disadvantage. But all three shots in that round fall short.
"It's all right!" Aureth calls. "Once more, everyone!"
And THIS round, while the adults don't manage to rally and their next missile whizzes past another soldier's smiling cloth head - why are there smiles, anyway? who knows, oh well - both the Templars' target and the Solace target go down in a rain of candy and toys.

Mabelle curves her lips fondly at Eiran's response, "Yes, despite common belief, We do have a navy. Flavien commands it". In attempt to try to rally the children, she forgets she has made the mistake of getting them all pumped on sugar upon entry. No one even acknowledges her existance.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Aureth gets Festival of Death spider plushie.

Aureth gets a grey cloth toy rabbit.

Aureth gets a grey cloth toy rabbit.

Aureth gets Menagerie Plush Series - Blacktip Shark.

Aureth gets a packet of sugar-dusted strawberry sweets.

Aureth gets a whimsical belled hat.

Aureth gets a cute badger plushie.

Aureth gets an adorable corgi plushie.

Aureth gets Candied Orange Wedge Dipped in Chocolate.

With the field cleared, Lisebet goes back to getting their catapult ready to go, working with Denica and their able assistant, who has to put up with the duchess and princess with no clue. This time she pulls the thingy as per Princess Ailys, but alas it doesn't hit ANY THING. Then she realizes neither did anyone else and she dissolves into laughter, which means she's not much help for the next attempt. "One would think - No, never mind," is all she can say.

Aureth gets a squishy soft doll with alarmingly large eyes.

Fairen, who is doing absolutely nothing to help, is very firm in his support for the women leading the siege: he claps, calls encouragement: "I look forward to the art you produce using this technique, your highness! It will be striking." Haphazard, but striking.

Win or lose, Denica enjoys to cheer and make noise and get excited, and so she does, it doesn't matter if they hit anything. They get to use weaponry and there is candy falling from rainbows and everything is just delightful and it shines in her expression. A warm smile etches its way for Lisebet and then Mabelle who joins us, she winks at the two women, it's all about the fun and she is having it.

"And now the Solace have one man down!" Aureth applauds. "Which means that the grownups and the Templars are tied at two apiece." He grins, leaning back again as he takes another bite of custard tart. He chews, swallows, and then says, "Honestly, I'm looking forward to seeing that, too. I expect it to be inspired with joy and chaos."

"Well, I think this is getting quite exciting. I make that Templars on level with the adults, and Solace bringing up the honourably rearguard there." Preston says as he observes the battle "Perhaps we might send another into the fray to support the adults, Most Holy? It seems the Templar and Solace crews might want a challenge." Preston reaches to take another custard tart and chuckles "Mm. Though this is valiant, I can't hepl but admire the young teams."

Ailys makes appropriate sad noises when the adult catapult misses thoroughly, before being buttonholed by a Mercy novice. "I need to get back to the House of Solace. It was a pleasure." She follows the novice out of the shrine area.

Mabelle has left the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

"Indeed!" Aureth waves his partially eaten tart in the air. "Will anyone else be joining our bold adults in this honorable fray?"

Eiran pushes up from his seat. "I'll give it a shot, Dominus."

Lisebet looks over to Denica and laughs softly. "Agreed," she says with a nod. She glances over at Preston and Aureth and then chuckles. "I suspect you may be right, you know. This thing is trickier than it appears at first."

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 5

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet fails.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 6

Eiran checks command and leadership at hard. Eiran fails.

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica is successful.

Edimur looks particularly grim as he sees the Solace AND the grownups each take down one of the rainbow soldiers while his own team's missile falls short. "It's all right, troops! We'll bring down the enemy yet!" he assures them all with the grave seriousness that only a boy his age can bring to bear on rainbow uniformed pinatas full of candy.
Kinsa, meanwhile, is over the moon, whooping and clapping encouragement for her team's success. "Yes! Yes! We tied the Templars! More candy! Good job! Good job! Ooo, careful, Blair, don't trip--"
"All right, grownups! You have the spoils of another victory!" Aureth gestures at the field, and Kinsa holds back her team so that she can make sure that she doesn't accidentally steal any of the spoils from the grownups.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

"So it turns out bolt throwing is hard," Eiran says, grimly, but cheers as Denica secures a victory. "Gods, the way they split apart," he realizes, eyes too wide.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth drops cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Jumping up and down again, crinoline bouncing everywhere, the princess is enjoying this far too much. "I will have to talk to Zak, about getting one of these for home!," she says, brows wiggling and she looks around at the spoils of war. "I need nothing but the experience," she says and is keen to offer the gifts up to the children which is all the more delightful to watch than anything else.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

"In a few years I think the enemies of the Faith are going to have much of a chance given the skills on display here, Most Holy" Preston decides, as the children again engage well. Eiran's comment though gets an apologetic look from Preston "It is, well. Old memories don't make it kinder, m'lord. But. THe horrors of war are part of that duty of the Templars and the Solace. To form that thin line of light before the darkness, so others might know peace."

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

The enemy is close to a rout! Only one dangling rainbow soldier is left, stirring faintly in the breeze but heavily laden with all the toys and candy presumably shoved inside it.

Lisebet nods to Denica, in agreement. "I think we can gift the children once more," she says, loudly enough to be heard. A glance over to Eiran and she adds, "M'Lord Eiren, what say you?"

Eiran's smile tilts tighter. "Worry not Sir Preston, we needn't delve too deeply into the horrors of war here on your nameday." He blinks at Lisebet. "What? Yes to gift the children. All of it, everything!"

Fairen looks at the chaos upon the field with the horror of a man who creates time-colored calendar codes. "Incredible."

The cheers go up again, and all the kids swarm the field once more. Especially since there is only one left, there is a lot of earnest rabble rabble over who gets what, but it seems pretty good natured, and several of the younger children seem _very_ surprised and relieved that the grownups have given away their prizes MORE THAN ONCE.

"For our final round of combat -- the adults are ahead, 3 to 2 to 2. So the question must be put: who shall take down the last of the enemy? If only I had thought to bring drummers to roll the suspense!" Aureth finishes off the tart in his hands and dusts it together. "Get ready to fire as soon as the field is clear of candy!"

Aureth takes Chocolate Coated Honeycomb.

Aureth takes a charming wooden toy tarantula.

Aureth takes a packet of apple candies coated in cinnamon and sugar.

Aureth takes a blobrous woollen doll that might or might not be a unicorn.

Aureth takes a big bag of sticky toffee-covered walnuts.

Aureth takes Wooden Puzzle.

Aureth takes Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie.

Aureth takes a blooming rose brooch with gold stem.

Aureth takes a grey cloth toy mouse.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 3

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 4

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet fails.

Denica checks luck and leadership at hard. Denica fails.

Eiran checks luck and leadership at hard. Eiran fails.

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 9

Aureth has rolled 1 10-sided dice: 3

Lisebet checks command and leadership at hard. Lisebet fails.

Eiran checks luck and leadership at hard. Eiran is successful.

Preston checks command and leadership at hard. Preston marginally fails.

Another round of failures fallen short - again in part due to the success of the prior round, because Kinsa herself is so sticky with toffee from a mouth full of candied nuts that she can't quite make herself heard to direct her team properly. But in the round that /follows/, Edimur's and Eiran's commands both manage to get a missile to tear open the final soldier. The cloth rips aross the neck of the effigy and it falls, spilling candy and toys in a final rain of victory.

Aureth dumps cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it and spills its contents all over the floor.

Preston dusts off his hands from tart crumbs as he sees the adult struggle a little and he goes over to help out, squinting a little as he closes one eye "Mm. See, normally I have people to operate these. I just focus on the stabbing of people trying to get at them....but I'm sure....hrm...." No he isn't much help at all. Not much of a hinderance, just generally a person there mumbling around custard tart about the workings of things.

Aureth takes cloth soldier whose uniform looks like a rainbow exploded on it.

Aureth checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Lisebet definitelly tries to help again, but her luck and knowledge are not up to it. She grins as Eiran manages to get their catapult to fire and hit the target. "Oh well done, m'Lord! Very nicely done," she calls loudly. "Another treasure trove for the children?" she asks, giving Denica, Eiran and Sir Preston a glance to see what they all think.

"Well done! Good job!" Aureth claps as he stands up, laughing as he watches the adults doing their best. "The adults and the templars will have to split that final point, since that one went down to both of your missiles!"

Eiran is too full of triumph to allow Preston much mumbling, and claps him on the shoulder, jostling it eagerly. "Yes," he says to Lisebet. "Trove for all. Unless Sir Preston wants to favor someone and cause a child war."

The princess is more than delighted to give everything away to the children, their smiles make her smile and she looks content about it all. "What an incredible day, thank you for hosting us Dominus," she says to Aureth. To Lisebet and Eiren, "and an honour to be on your team," she says, doing a little curtsy and then she's off to find a tart of her own.

"I've been an orphan - I suppose I still am - Lord Eiran. I know far better than to get between them and something that might be theirs. I will however ensure that silver is set aside for each child who manned the catapults, a small token of the Templars. Enough for high quality steel armour and weapon for each child, so if they wish to continue in the knightly orders they can do so whether they are Godsworn or not."

Denica is overheard praising Aureth: Rainbows and Weapons! A wonderful convention!

Fairen is overheard praising Denica.

Fairen is overheard praising Lisebet.

Fairen is overheard praising Eiran.

Eiran is overheard praising Aureth: Put on SUCH a celebration for the Templar Grandmaster.

Fairen is overheard praising Aureth.

Eiran is overheard praising Preston: Bravely endured his own nameday celebration.

Fairen is overheard praising Preston.

"Of course, Carnifex. What an excellent thought." Aureth inclines his head to Preston. "I'm glad that you were able to share your day with the children so splendidly and I pray that Gloria shall be honored by our joy in this competition."

The children cheer and laugh and once more swarm the field to claim their gifts, and now there are no delineations between teams. Several of the squires look thunderstruck about the gift of such fine weapons and armor for their futures.

Aureth takes a tiny, bear plushie with red and green mittens.

Aureth takes a packet of sugar-dusted strawberry sweets.

Aureth takes a bag of Honeyed Figs.

Aureth takes a mystery toy box.

Aureth is overheard praising Preston: What generosity.

Aureth is overheard praising Denica: Thank you for your bold service at the catapult!

Aureth is overheard praising Lisebet: Thank you for your bold service at the catapult!

Aureth is overheard praising Eiran: Thank you for your bold service at the catapult!

"You are her voice on Arvum, Most Holy. I am sure if you say she is, then she is." Preston observes as he smiles warmly, watching the children descend on the presents "One day, Most Holy, I will tell you the story of the time I wriggled out of the silk robes then-Father Fawkuhl was trying to have me dressed in, and ran through the Rectory with narry a scrap on me while many Templars guarding the halls tried not to laugh. I am grateful it was a time before most we now know were at the Rectory."

Scooping up a tart, and saying her good-byes and another smile for the children, who are delightful and no doubt warms her heart, she is skipping off, because rainbows make her happy!

Denica has left the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

A reserved assistant named Stojan, 3 Thrax Guards, An ostentatious curator named Sivas, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, A nondescript man named Cato leave, following Denica.

Eiran has left the long table laden with one hundred sixty nine custard tarts.

3 Laurent Guards, Piri, a matchmaking devotion, Melli, an excitable aide leave, following Eiran.

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