(1874-11-13) Hellsmouth Boat Race
Hellsmouth Boat Race
Summary: An endurance race between Hellsmouth City and Rhone, mostly annual, for single man sailing vessels. Hosted and GM'd by Ludovic.
Date: 13th Nov
Related: Nope
NPCs: None
Players:
Ivo  Myrana  Chessa  Ludovic  

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Pennants flutter brightly all along the docks at Hellsmouth City but most especially on the small single sail vessels that will soon race upriver towards the great city of Rhone. Everywhere crews make their final preparations pausing only when the sound of a horn makes the crowd settle into an anticipatory hush. Ludovic steps forwards into this silence and raises his voice to announce "I'm not sure when this tradition started but its one I approve of. Its all to easy to forget just how important the sailors are and this is a fine way that we can celebrate those who bring such vigor to this city. So! One cheer for our sailors!" The crowd cheers along goodnaturedly. "I'm sure you all know the rules by now. First boat to the docks of Rhone wins the prize. We don't care what way you go or how much wine you drink on the way." he holds up a handful of banners "but if you arrive without this you might as well not have arrived at all." The banners are taken by a bunch of kids and handed to each of the boat crews. When thats done Ludovic raises a pistol and announces "Ready!" and then the sound of the gunshot rings out, almost masking the sound of his shout of "GO!"

(OOC: On http://eternalcrusade.wdfiles.com/local--files/maps/AequorFiefs.jpg the race is heading between the d'korbina dot at the bottom right up to the al'mordran dot up on the upper left)
(OOC: First round is +dice 1d4+sailing+navigation or relevant trait)
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled 1d4 <4> + 0 = 4
<DICE ROLLER> Myrana rolled 1d4 <2> + 3 = 5
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <3> + 3 = 6

Ivo has been spending a lot of time going up and down the river lately. It feels good to be back on the water, and he's gald that he can get his ship so far upstream. They're alongside in a small port near Rhone when word of the race first reaches Ocean Seeker, and while he attempts to ensure that his Sailing Master is the man to represent the crew, the offcier's mess quickly volunteers him instead, and so here he is. Taking the flag offered by the child he gives his cousin an amused smile and offers, "50 crowns to the first d'Armaz to Rhone?"
Once they're underway he manages to find the currents annd avoid the eddies, almost as if he's been forced by his crew to study the flow of the river so as not to embarrass them. It seems to have worked though, for he manages to tack close to the wind for most of the day, and thus keep himself largely in the main, faster, channels.

The race covers several days as it progresses across the multiple river branches and lakes that take place along the branches of the fiore that link the capital city of al'mordran - Rhone - to the trade city of Hellsmouth, d'Korbina, not all that far from the Arkanin border. The trip will be one of endurance, planning, luck and equipment as much as it is of skill. With so many men and women taking to the riverways there are enough riverbarges and the like to keep it mostly safe but it is not entirely unknown for sailors to vanish on the way or for their to be some level of sabotage between rival crews.

The first day usually goes to the one with the best boat and plan in mind but things are still close at the end of the day as there hasnt been enough time for the differences to truly show yet. That will happen in the coming days when more and more branches and options for the boats to take in their pursuit of the prize become available.

Chessa knows a good portion of the river. Being a child of the Red Sails, she had better have sailed at least once in some capacity. She's also read journals and checked the levels of the water at low and high tide, and charted out her course quite thoroughly in her mind.
Of course, very few plans survive their implementation, and this day is no different. As the boats line up, and she takes her pennant, tying it very tightly to her tiller, she notices with a frown of despair the boat lining up next to her doesn't seem to know what to do with his jib. She looks up to Ludovic, silently praying that the wordy man will talk long enough for her neighbor to figure out what he's doing… but, even Ludovic can't talk that long. As the signal is given, Chessa tries to get off quickly and leave the person behind, but there is no such luck. He loses hold of his line and the sheet flaps out in front of her mast, tangling her with his boat for precious minutes. By the time she is free, she's at the back of the pack, and she has to painstakingly make her way past the others, using what she knows of the tides to her advantage. By the end of the day, she's made her way past most of the casual sailors, and she has the leaders in her sights.

There's nothing like a good bit of competition to make one forget their troubles for a little while. Myrana D'Armaz grins to her cousin Ivo where she espies him in his own boat and smiles in greeting to Chessa before turning her gaze up to where Ludovic addresses the competitors. Her snowy hair has been braided down her back and heavy gold earrings flash as she shakes her head, blue eyes blazing up with excitement. Once the little pennant is in her hand, she casts another look at Ivo and laughs: "You're trying to rob me, cousin?" But she grins and nods eagerly, unable to resist the wager. "I'll try not to win the hearts of the bathing-house guards too viciously, since you'll need a place to wash your teary eyes."

Hours later, Myrana navigates her little boat down through the wooded banks, passing beneath autumn branches that would foul up a larger boat. A map flutters in her hand as she makes her way carefully along the route she's marked in brilliant green.

"Ivo is a better sailor than me," she tells the trees as she's sailing through them, talking to herself quite happily as is her wont when alone and therefore addressing her voice to the mast, to the rudder, to the map she's brought along. "So I must be very lucky." A glance upwards at the rolling clouds overhead. "…But I shouldn't take that as an invitation."

The sky is looking rather ominous by the time the sun starts going down and it becomes obvious that you should really call it a night. One or two boats insist on poling along by the lights of the stars but most crews, the ones who've done much sailing, know better and decide to call it a night. Small camps were set up in advance by many of the sailing teams, having predicted the appropriate resting spots before leaving, and thus a few wordly comforts are usually available. IF you stop and IF you sought to set them up in advance.

(OOC: I would like a perception roll from everyone please +dice 1d4+perception)
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <2> + 1 = 3
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled 1d4 <4> + 0 = 4
<DICE ROLLER> Myrana rolled 1d4 <3> + 2 = 5
-<OOC>- Ludovic says, "next roll will be +dice 1d4+athletics+something relevant to your action..
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled 1d4 <4> + 2 = 6 (chose archery)
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <3> + 1 = 4 (chose firearms)

With the weather on the turn, and a small lead under his belt, Ivo decides that it is time to call a halt to the day's proceedings. Finding a small lee in the back of the river, he makes the boat fast with a line fore and aft, then finds a suitable spot to build a fire, and then sleep. It's an advanyage of having been a soldier, and once he warmed himself and eaten he rolls himself up in his cloak near the embers of the fire and is soon asleep. Another advantage is being able ot go from sound asleep to awake and alert at the first sound of trouble, and the sound of one of his lines breaking is definitely an indication of trouble. Rolling quickly up onto his feet he draws one of his pistols in a smooth and well practiced action, bringing it up to point directly at the man who has just started on his second line, saying simply but firmly "Don't."

Chessa was ever one to escape crowds, and her boat seemed the best place for it. Taking her bow with her as she struck out on her own (because it's dark and the world is not safe anymore, in her eyes) she makes her way towards her boat. She pauses a little way up the bank, hand automatically nocking an arrow as she squints towards her little vessel. One more step closer to brace her feet and raise the bow. She lets one fly so that it buries into the ground between the feet of the person industriously sawing at her mooring rope. "Next one will be in your leg if you do not step away from my boat," she informs the person steadily.

Sleeping on that boat would have been much less comfortable than the warm, cozy Arrani camp set up for her in the shelter of (she is less than surprised to see) a big old chunk of granite thrust up out of the bank like the protruding splinter of the mountain's bones. A small a-frame pavilion is here with a cot covered with warm furs.

Myrana sees the pavilion as she nearly sails right past it, thanks to the big boulder hiding the camp from view till one is right on top of it.

"C-cuss it!" She swears, and just by the skin of her teeth manages to thrust her little boat over in the current. It noses up onto the bank and she leaps out, pulling it with all her meagre might as far up as she can. More than once, her heels slip out from under her, or the rocky bank gives way and she splashes down onto her ass in the shallows while dragging the thing, much to her audible displeasure. But at last all is well, and after changing into dry clothes and building a little fire in the mouth of the pavvy to warm her dinner, she collapses into the furs of the cot…

…only to be awoken in the night by the sounds of someone crunching over the riverrock of the bank.

Deep in the belly of the bedding, Myrana growls.

And gets up, emerging from the pavilion with sleep in her eyes and the boat's little lamp in her hand.

"God help you," she growls. "I was only just warm again."

In each camp an attempt at sabotage is caught just in time.

In Ivo's camp the cloaked individual holds up his hands when confronted with a pistol and tries to very slowly back away. "Wasn't nuthin' personal." he claims in a thick northern accent. Stepping carefully away from the boat that now sways by a single mooring line out into the water in a way that demands immediate attention.

Myrana's lamp is just able to catch the sight of a pair of ankles vanishing into the distance as her opponent runs for the hills.

Chessa's sabateur is actually a woman judging by the gasp of surprise that comes when the arrow strikes the ground beneath their heavily cloaked form. A moment later they are in the water swimming for a distant lantern point off in the distance.

Nothing much happens during the rest of the night but for a heavy rainstorm that threatens to flood each of your campsites. Its almost a relief to set sail again..

At this point Myrana is in the lead with Chessa and Ivo close behind.

(OOC: This roll will be +dice 1d4+sailing+survival. The survival represents knowing tricks to make it easier. Again traits/alternatives might be valid replacements.)
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <3> + 1 = 4
<DICE ROLLER> Myrana rolled 1d4 <3> + 1 = 4
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled 1d4 <4> + 0 = 4

Ivo keeps his weapon trained on the man until he's maybe 20 foot away from teh boat, then waves with the hand canon's barrel indicate that the man can scarper. Once he's satisfied he's alone again he reholsters the weapon and wades into the water to catch the bow and resecure it to the bank before the sternline is put under too much strain. With everything secure again he stokes the fire to dry himself off, then spends the rest of the night wrapped in his cloak inside the boat. Just in case.
Setting sail again with the dawn he takes a light breakfast of watered wine and cheese, then puts all his focus into finding those deep channels. It's hard work, given they're sailing up stream, and well beyond the influence of the flood tides, but the wind at least proves to be favourable for the morning. All told he's in good spirits, until that is he spots a sail ahead of him and recognises it as his cousin. "Must have taken a different route," he mutters to himself as he tries to find an extra half knot or so from somehwere, "could have sworn she was behind me."

Myrana puts her hands on her hips and hrmphs at the little wink of heels, shaking with anger but satisfied with this response. It has never occurred to her that she does not neccessarily WARRANT it by herself all alone in the dark (or wouldn't seem to anyway), but either she has quite the image of herself and the terror she should inspire in people meddling with her stuff, or…

…no, that's definitely it. She goes back to bed.

And wakes up late.

"GAH!" And out of the tent, cold bacon flapping in her mouth and stumbling into her boots, hat half on her head and braid tripping her up. "Damnit!"

And on the way!

"At least I have a good lead on cousin Ivo," she tries to console herself later, sitting with her back propped on the little dun pillow she brought along and snacking on a small apple. The wind in her face brings her spirits up and a thrill shivvering over every inch. It's all she can do to contain her good mood.

Ivo isn't the only one to sleep in his boat. The slight rocking on the waves makes little difference to her sleep, and after a little breakfast from her satchel, she runs up her sails again, and pushes off. Keeping away from the meanders, she tracks from eddy to eddy when the opportunity presents itself. Occasionally she glances over towards Ivo, but she's not one for chatter, and so she settles into humming to herself as she goes, stopping and starting as she improvises a new tune.

Suddenly the waters get choppy as you come to an area where you can risk a short cut, over white waters, or take the safer way through, across the lake. This is your opportunity to get a bigger lead but failure could result in losing your ship entirely. Which will you pick?

Myrana is slightly in the lead with chessa and ivo level.

If you are taking the shortcut and roll a minimum of 4 you will get a +3 next round but a 1 or 2 will sink your boat. Declare which route you are taking and then roll +1d4+sailing.
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled +1d4 <2> + 0 = 2 (clear water)
<DICE ROLLER> Myrana rolled 1d4 <2> + 1 = 3 (rapids)
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <2> + 3 = 5 (rapids. Uses water sorcery)

There's a small voice in the back of Ivo's head that tells him he should play it sensibly and take the lake, but there's also a screamingly loud one that says it'd be more fun take take the risk. Besides there's 50 crowns riding on this, and he can't just sit back and let Myrana draw ahead. Grinning to himself he tacks his way across to the rougher waters, taking care to pick his spot to enter the white caps. "Easy, easy," he chides himself as starts picking his way through the breaking water, making no ground on the boat of Myrana ahead, but then an idea occurs to him that leaves him grinning broadly. "Sure, why not," he mutters to himself, or the waves, then leaves back so his right hand remains on the tiller but the fingertips of his left can drag through the water. Taking a few deep an dsteadying breaths he focuses on the flow of the water past his fingers, drawing on the power deep within him that he spends a large amount of his time trying to surpress. Feeling the surge as it ripples to the surface he doees his best to relax, to follow the natural flows, and not overthink and frak it up. It seems to work to, for he finds himself gaining on his fellow d'Armaz, and even offers her a pleasant wave when he manages to draw level and then overtake. It's hard to say what is the bigger buzz, the rush that comes with using the magics, or the joy of being once again ahead of his cousin.

Myrana stares agape at Ivo as he slips past her in the rapids.

"Ivo!?" She shouts. "How on Tirth-!"

But with a cheery wave he overtakes her boat and rushes ahead.

Laughing, she struggles to keep her boat from capsizing, unable to take advantage of the shortcut now that she's taken it but carried along swiftly, terrifyingly, along the way.

Chessa notices the white water ahead, and she's aware that while she's a good sailor, as must be to be in her family, it's not her best skill. She glances back to the others behind them, and then gauges the distance to Myrana. She tacks to the smooth lake, muttering, 'shush, Lina' under her breath. Once on the lake, she finds a good wind, pulls the sheet in tight and fast, and leans up on the gunwhale as the deck tilts with speed across the smooth water. She looks up and considers, but then gives a shake of her head.

Finally the walls of Rhone are on the horizon and there is nothing to do but put your back into the final stretch of the race. It feels like it takes forever to pass these last few miles, tired and weary as you all are, and like the proverbial watched kettle they seem to get further away the harder you work. Whilst the last few meters pass by in a rush of maneuvering around city walls and wooden dock come up ahead. Ropes are thrown by the enthusiastic crowds down to your boats. You've finished!

Going into the last leg you are all close together with Ivo first, Myrana second and Chessa third. You're beating a lot of grizzled old sailors even so Chessa.

The final roll is! +dice 1d4+sailing. (Ivo gets his +3 from the successful shortcut).
<DICE ROLLER> Myrana rolled 1d4 <3> + 1 = 4
<DICE ROLLER> Ivo rolled 1d4 <4> + 4 = 8
<DICE ROLLER> Chessa rolled +1d4 <4> + 0 = 4

While drawing on his powers can be tiring, Ivo does at least have two solid advantages on the final stretch; 1) he's still surrounded by water, so recovery is quick and 2) momentum. The push the white water has given him enables him to find the centre of the channel and ride it clear for a long stretch, without it being disturbed by the wakes of others, or indeed, having others pass to windward and take the air from his sails. The city walls are a welcome sight, and with a glance behind confirming his lead he takes them carefully before tying off at the pier and clambering ashore. After handing his pennant over to the race officals he turns back to the waters to await his cousin's arrival, and applaude the efforts of the rest of his fellow racers.

Chessa blinks her eyes and rubs her hands as she approaches the city. She frowns at her left hand, knowing that even with the gloves she wore, there is a blister brewing. She tugs at the sail to get the last bit of speed she can out of it, but still ends up pulling to the docks just after Myrana. She gives the other woman a bit of a smile before she reaches up to grab one of the ropes thrown to her and is tugged over. She knots the bow line, glancing to make sure the stern line has been tied properly as she makes her way to the race judges to hand in her pennant. Although she's proud of her finish, and has a weary smile curling at one corner of her mouth, she pulls her shoulders in a little at the press of people around her.

Escaping the rapids dry and upright was it's own victory, but at the end of it Myrana is exhausted. She leans out though and jukes her little boat gamely past the city wall, breathless and glad to be at the end of the race.

"Th-thank you," she says to the person throwing the rope to her, laughing as she fumbles with it and at last accepts the hands of several people to draw her up out of the boat and onto the boards, shaking from head to foot. The little Armaz is no real endurance racer, and it takes her a good moment to get her bearings. The pennant she produces from the lapel of her kirtle, safe and sound.

The winners are announced and lauded to the modest crowds here at the docks by a pretty young noblewoman who also grants you each a distinctive brooch to represents their victory. As soon as the presentation ceremony type stuff is over one of the houses retainers shows up and tells you all that there is a hot bath awaiting them at the best inn that the city can boast before inviting you to take a nearby carriage directly there.

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