Mounted Obstacle Course

Log provided by Tilla. Thank you, Tilla!


Southern Weyr Beach
This wide strip of sparkling white sand is a popular hangout for the Weyr's dragons; at almost any time you can find them lounging in the sun. The clear blue waters of the ocean roll up onto the soft sands with a gentle hiss. Fairs of firelizards wheel and dive in the air, some popping in and out of nooks and crags on the cliff, others diving and playing in the waves. Occasionally you spot a firelizard dive into the water and emerge with a wriggling fish in his claws.
It is a winter evening.
Curled up in the sand are five firelizards.
Green Nymerith, bronze Tyroth, green Amuirnith, and green Lenculoth are here.
You see Eating Contest Booth, Rib Eating Sign-Up Sheet, Ista Weyr Preparation Tent (iwpt), High Reaches Weyr Preparation Tent (hwpt), and Order of Events! here.
You notice Akadriel, K'rru, Kangarru, and Jhiedrik asleep here.
Andru, T'ab, Mhaer, T'zyn, and S'eron are here.
Obvious exits:
Cove Stairs

The afternoon is bright and sunny and perfect for competition. The smiths have been hard at work constructing the course, and giant hoops are visible scattered throughout — some standing on tall poles on the beach, some emerging from the water, some underneath its surface. Sacks of firestone are lined up in a couple places along the course, and the finish line has a bell for the first successful pair to ring. Down on the beach, competitors and onlookers have been gathering for the day's event, getting prepared at the starting line. Perhaps ominously, a rather larger cadre of healers than is the standard for these games has been posted on the beach. As well, neutral observers are scattered throughout the course to keep an eye on each stage of the obstacles and make sure they are completed correctly. At least, maybe that's what they're there for. There are some healers scattered throughout too — just in case.

T'ab is here. Drinking a glass of water and leaning against his lifemate with a calm and cool demeanor. There is no stretching or preparation, because BAs totally don't need to stretch.

T'zyn and Nymerith are among those gathered on the beach; the boy has not mounted his green yet, standing on the beach and stretching up onto his toes to peer at the course as far as he can see. "So we're, uh, just flying through hoops? This should be a breeze," he comments to T'ab as he examines the setup.

Tilla is still there! She spent the night in the Reachian tent and is still stiffly walking about the stands, drinking some klah and waving to all present. Amuirnith sits at attention from a higher vantage point up the cliff, so she can take in everything that's going on. Tilla in the meantime spots T'ab and plunks herself down next to him, with a "Heey." and a smile. And also, to T'zyn, "T'zyn!! You're competing?" Above, a blue dragon winks out of between. Its that lovely shade of fresh icy blue with a rider that's fruitier than a bag of mangoes. Fresheth lands daintily and M'ntos slides off, wearing a hot pink muscle shirt and black short pants. "Eeeevening, allll!"

Th'den, a grizzled older rider is standing near his brown dragon, Colth. He is tightening the riding straps, and he tilts his head, hearing T'zyn's words. "Never assume anything will be a breeze," he murmurs, shaking his head. "It's the best way to ensure something will go wrong." He gives Colth's shoulder an affectionate slap and straightens.

Mhaer climbs up on a tall platform, one tall enough to see the entirety of the course and gets out his cone of voice amplification. He possibly doesn't need it, on account of his booming voice, but he uses it anyway. "Attention contestants. Please assemble at the starting line for the rules announcement.

"I certainly hope that those hoops are big 'nough for Tyr to move through. He's so grumpy from losin' last night that he figured he'd try this event too for a chance at winnin'." T'ab offers to Tak, although his solemn expression doesn't too optimistic. "Hey Miss Tilla, lookin' a little sore…" The rest of his conversation is cut off as he looks over to Mhaer and nods. Strap check number twenty and the bronzeriding pair pace over to the line with an easy gait.

"It's just a game," T'zyn says brightly, flicking a glance to the old brownrider. "What could go wrong?" He climbs up onto Nym's neck, settling himself and taking hold of her straps as she bounces over to the starting line.

Tilla grins, "I am sore. Wait, you're comp-" She eyes his strap checks. "I'll cheer you, but I have to cheer M'ntos more, right, bud?" Blonde M'ntos bends over and does a fist bump with the redhead. "Youu know it, honey. Reaches pride for suuure!" He waggles his tight little behind cutely to anyone who might be observing, and returns to his blue, to check his straps before mounting Fresheth and making their way to the starting line.

"Yes, Colth," murmurs Th'den, "you can swim afterwards. And get me all wet." He shakes his head, then walks with his brown to the starting line, shaking his head at the younger green rider. "Lots of things. Mid-air collisions. Straps breaking. Lack of concentration. Seen the lot of it. Of course it's just a game. That just means there's one less way idiots can get themselves killed." He snorts and looks at his dragon. "No, I don't know why I'm still here either. Thanks."

Mhaer watches quietly from his view point and waits, letting all of the pairs make their way to the designated starting point. "Hello. My name is Mhaer. I will be your judge today. This is my obstacle course, so if you have any complaints afterward, feel free to tell them to me." He gives a little bit of a wicked grin before continuing. "For your health and safety, we have healers stationed at every point of this course. However, I would like to encourage each and every one of you to use your best judgment when it comes to the obstacles at hand. If you do not think your dragon or your person will come through unscathed, do not attempt it. The creators of this course hold no responsibility or liability for any injuries." He clears his throat and takes a drink. "This is a mounted competition. Both halves of the pair must be actively participating in actively reaching the end at all times. If the rider stops, the dragon must go back and retrieve the rider before continuing. Each hoop must be passed through as it is. Do not attempt to break the obstacles to get through faster. Do not think you can bypass any of the hoops. Skipping a hoop will lead to disqualification. If you head on to a hoop without passing through the proceeding hoop, you must pass through the other hoop again when you've gone back to collect the previous. Do you have any questions?"

"Huh, /he/ built this thing?" Now T'zyn is looking a little bit uncertain. He stares out at the course again. He doesn't seem about to ask questions, though; he just pats Nymerith's neck as they get into position.

"We've jumped through hoops before, my love," M'ntos murmurs to Fresheth encouragingly. "Or rather, made my lovers do it. SSSSS oooh. Scan-dalous!" He smirks over towards the other contestants, shrugging before looking over at the hoops, and taking some more silent mental notes.

Tyroth looks unusually anxious at the moment, not his typical drunken swagger, as T'ab takes a last firm tug on the straps and he grins. "Ready bro? Just survive, thats all we have to do… goin' fast will be a good idea too." That said with a chuckle as the bronzerider lithely pulls himself up on the bronze, the largest dragon in the race it seems and obviously the most disadvantage. A cocky trumpet emits from Tyroth as he steadies his body at the line, « Watch out boys and girls, this body's meant for movin'. »

"No questions here," Th'den calls as he mounts his dragon, and the brown opens his wings, flapping once, twice, before settling. The hide bears the evidence of old Threadscores, but the dragon seems excited nonetheless. The old brownrider chuckles softly as they take their position, and leans low against the brown's neck to speak softly to him.

Tilla is just sitting on the sands, enjoying a hot cuppa klah as she asks for more numbweed for her aching thigh. Don't mind her!

"ON YOUR MARKS," Mhaer yells instead, lifting a flag with his free arm, "GET SET!!" He gives the flag a little swirl in the air to let the fabric really spread out and be visible. "GO!!" And the flag goes down.

The first series of targets are simple in design but require some maneuvering for execution — a series of hoops big enough for a gold dragon to easily pass through, clearly marked in their required order. The first is a short distance away from the starting line, the pole it is attached to a few dragonlengths off the ground. From there, the next is over the water; the following hoops requires diving a good distance beneath the surface of the ocean, looping back to get the next, rising again to get through one just over the ocean, then diving once more to swim through the next three — spaced far enough apart that a rider could not hold their breath long enough for their dragon to hit all three. The final series of hoops is above water again and requires a good bit of looping and turning to get done in the right order.

« Yeah, but not meant for moving as fast as this one, » Nymerith replies breezily to Tyroth. Her wings unfurl in preparation for the start of the race, and she and T'zyn are off the moment they're allowed, the green swift and agile in the air, streaking for one hoop and then the next before disappearing beneath the surface of the water. She manages the first set of underwater hoops just fine, but, a bit overeager in her next set of dives, nearly collides with a blue from Igen as they dart for the same hoop at once. She snaps her jaws at the other dragon's tail in frustration, wings beating the water furiously to make up the lost seconds. Her 'rider mostly just — clings, holding his breath as they go in and out of the water.

Tyroth is only a millisecond hesitant to the sound of the yell as well as the flash of the flag, his anxious body hadn't fully prepared for take off, but then there is the reaction. His large, long body gallops forward with a rush of rippling leg muscles and launches his body into a hover so that he can essentially leap through the hoop. After his body makes it through the hoop does he quickly streamline his body to swiftly dive. No real thought went through the whole 'time to breath' thing, so in response the bronze must rise to the surface with only a second or so to breath and then back down with a trailing tail. Luckily the bronze has been swimming most his life and he bullets through the water, popping out like a torpedo as he glides to the last few hoops.

Fresheth and his lifemate catapult themselves into the air, scattering granules of sands out in a fresh spray towards the winds. They make the first hoop with no problem although the top of the hoop slightly clips M'ntos's shoulder as they go through, seems the blue was flying a bit too close to the top. The next hoops are the challenging part. The blue dives into the deep cerulean waters with ease, almost dislodging M'ntos but he has smartly unstrapped a few of his riding straps for the trip under the waves so that he can flatten himself along the blue's sides more easily. When they surface for the one hoop affording some air, he pauses and dumps a half empty wineskin out, over the ocean, let's hope it was cheap wine, before filling it with his own air. Its back underneath the waves they go, the blonde trying to actually hold his breath for as long as possible before attempting to inhale the air contained in the wineskin. Which may or may not work. Nevertheless, they rise again above the water and complete the last series of hoops, not without a bit of coughing and gasping on the part of M'ntos.

With an enormous push from his hindquarters, Colth leaps into the air, the downbeat of his wings powerful as he gains altitude. Powerful, but not the fastest, and he is behind at the first hoop. He and Th'den, though, fly with the pace of experience, and the brownrider looks merely deep in concentration as they fly over the water. Colth dives with glee, deeper than needed, but he is still able to rise out again. Up, down, up, down, through the water-hpoops like a crazed dolphin. At the last Colth rises again, with Th'den spluttering upon his back.

The next stage of the course requires dragons to head towards a station set on the cliffside to pick up sacks of firestone from the volunteers stationed there. Dragons continue to the next series of targets — also hoops, though these are various sizes, and colour-coded: green, blue, brown, bronze, gold; three of each, appropriately sized to the colour of dragon. Dragons must hit a target with a jet of flame to ignite them and then climb (not fly!) to the top of the cliffs, where long beams have been set up that the dragons have to keep their balance as they walk across, then fly down over the water to the next set of ignitable targets and hit them, also, with jets of flame. Doubling back, the dragon and rider must make it through all three (flaming) hoops of their appropriate dragon colour. Unfortunately, the sizing of the hoops makes them a rather tight fit — without extremely precise flying (and perhaps even with it, for the larger dragons of their colours) there is a significant chance the rider might catch fire. Oops. At least being aflame is not grounds for disqualification. Maybe it will even provide incentive to finish faster.

Ah, setting things on fire — this part is easy enough! Nymerith is full of glee as they swoop to grab firestone and ignite a set of hoops, though her glee doesn't really have much foresight. T'zyn is focused, giving her silent encouragement and guidance as she finds the best bath to scramble up the cliffside and scamper with her hopping gait down the green-sized balance beam, her wings outstretched to keep balance. And then more lighting things on fire! This is Most Delightful; at least it would seem that way from her enthusiastic trumpeting. T'zyn, though, is looking decidedly less like he is enjoying himself as they head back to the flaming hoops, his eyes wide. "Nonono, lower, lower — aieee." The flames around the second of the green hoops lick at his hair, and one hand tightens around Nym's straps. He flattens himself against her neck as they speed through the third hoop, patting at his hair with his free hand.

Tyroth's wings splay to brake his forward momentum, just slow enough for him to rotate and T'ab to dangle off and grab an offered sack of firestone. Although a skill rarely practiced, juggling abilities are utilized as a few chunks of the stone are tossed into Tyroth's maw and chewed slowly, trying to focus on putting it all in the right place. A brief, premature flame is let loose, potentially sparking a few competitors that may be in front of him, « Sorry dudes ». Then comes target practice, while he may /not/ be the most accurate flamer, he makes up for it in enthusiasm with large billows of flame burning all of the bronze-colored targets (and maybe some of the others… oops.) Then there is the climbing, something that Tyroth's size may actually be helpful. His large muscular arms and legs grip the few outcroppings to the top. Balance beam is relatively skipped across, broad wings almost hovering his body as they try to maintain balance and yet catch a few upbreezes. Then there is the burning hoops, shiznit. Bronze has dropped and starts flying straight for them. "Tight body and low Tyr." T'ab mutters as he flattens his body against the bronze. But like those hurdlers that just knock down each hurdle, Tyroth's wings seem to whack the edges briefly, only a mellow shriek to the brief pain but they seemed to have survived. "You okay bro?" « Just chillin' like a villain bro. »

Still choking and coughing, M'ntos takes a minute with his lifemate on the beach again, to dismount, wipe his eyes with a hanky, remount and resecure himself along Fresheth's icy cool neckridges. They will make up for this loss in time with speed in the air, which they do, zooming to the cliffside like brightly colored bullets. The firestone is hefted and they consider their next steps. « The blue hoops over there? They'll claash with my hide! » Fresheth complains which is met with an eyeroll from M'ntos who urges him forth anyway. One, two three, FWOOOSH! The hoops are passed through and the pair begins their climb. But they fall, halfway up the cliff, winking between before winking back to make their ascent, squirming and straining as they go. Finally reaching the top, they contemplate the balance beam. Fresheth falls, smacking the balance beam along his ribs a bit and bugling with a bit of pain before trying again, slipping, and then on the third try, they are successful. Back down near the water, the next three hoops are ignited, and the pair rush through, singing the top of M'ntos's hair. "AIYEEEEE!" he says, unstrapping and taking a rather unceremonious dive into the ocean water below after they complete the rounds.

Colth rises easily, the water flicking and running off his hide, though Th'den is rather soaked. Still, he grins as he sees the next objective, and the pair head to the cliffside, taking up the sack with practiced efficiency, if not ease for the ageing rider. Colth tilts back his head for firestone, and then they are off to the first target. It ignites, and then the brown starts to climb up the cliff. His claws rake at the rock, and then he reaches the top, and he stares at the beam a moment, eyeing it dubiously before crossing, his wings half-unfurled. More fire, then, and a flight to the last hoop to burn. Then Coth rises, then makes a dive towards the hoops, pinning his wings close and snaking through each with scarcely room to spare. Th'den is too wet to burn, though he spits char. "Shards, you *do* like doing that to me!"

Dragons now must return to the second set of ignited targets. Both dragon and rider have separate hoops to go through — set up in such a way that the only way to successfully navigate them is for the 'rider to jump (or maybe be tossed) off dragonback through /their/ human-sized target while the dragons go through their own targets underneath. These ones are also on fire, too, remember? At least if any 'rider catches flame and/or misses their dragon, it's just a couple meters fall down to the ocean.

From Tyroth's neck, T'ab laughs, probably to relieve any of the tension that grows the moment the bronzerider spots the next target with its own T'ab ring. Luckily T'ab is small and flexible as he unclips himself from Tyroth and chuckles, "As fast as you can Tyroth." He yells as the rider stands on his lifemate's thick neck and waits for the target to get close enough. With a forward leap T'ab supermans that ho, errr, supermans through the upper ring while Tyroth dives lower, compacts his body and dives down through the lower ring. Then the pair meet, although not fully planned ahead of time as he belly-flops on Tyroth's neck, hands grabbing the strap before he falls off. A few distract moments as T'ab pulls himself up and works, distracted, to rebuckle himself in.

After surfacing, M'ntos makes it back upon Fresheth's neckridges once more, conveniently both sopping wet at this time, the rider streaming rivulets of seawater back down upon his mount. « Lets not burn, okay, the smell of your hair smells worse than upchucked firestone. » is Fresheth's remark, met with a scowl on his rider's part. So, the blue makes his way back to the second set of lighted targets with difficulty, wincing and bugling with a little pain as his wingsails are scorched a little bit. And how does his rider make it through the targets? M'ntos is actually being flipped up by Fresheth's muscular tail towards the first hoop, but he gets stuck and gets the wind knocked out of himself. So, the blue loops back around and grabs him, and on the second try, he barely makes it through the targets, falling a little ways before being grabbed by blue talons which are divebombing towards the water-air interface just above the waves's spray.

"… You've gotta be kidding me." T'zyn just stares as they approach the neext target. « AWESOME » is Nymerith's widely-broadcasted reply. She beelines for it at top speed as T'zyn hastily unbuckles himself. The little green barely allows her 'rider any preparation time before she is bucking him off, body arching to flip him, tumbling head over heels through the center of the hoop as she dives through the one below. T'zyn flails in midair, arcing towards the water, his clothes singed and smouldering, one sleeve of his shirt crisped and falling off. Nymerith is unconcerned with this, her mind on the finish line; she swoops down to catch him utterly indelicately along her back, letting him fend for himself as he attempts to grab the straps with his less-burned arm.

Th'den mutters under his breath as they circle 'round for the paired rings, unhooking himself from his straps. « I will catch you, » assures Coth, and the brownrider pats his shoulder. He raises himself to a crouch on Coth's neck, and leaps as the brown dives, making it through the flaming ring. Then he falls, falls, until he lands hard on Colth's back, one arm outstretched, the other pinnede beneath him. He straightens slowly, a bit winded, and re-fastens the hooks, wincing a little as he bends his left wrist.

As the riders struggle through the last most outlandish obstacle in the course, they all sweep around toward the beginning again, heading directly for the goal. As they move, the leader in the race is clear, followed by the second and third place contestants. There is no photo finish this time (thank goodness, since Pern doesn't have cameras or photographs). The results are clear: Blue Fresheth manages to take M'ntos all the way to the end, giving the win to High Reaches. In second place is bronze Tyroth and third, green Nymerith.

Tyroth will take second place and be happy about it, at least it is a better performance than his last competition. A drunken croon is offered to Fresheth while the bronze neatly lands on the beach, scattering sand. "Shardit, a 'Reachian won. Guess we'll have'ta just win the rest o' 'em." T'ab says, although he is still attempting to catch his breath, unbuckling himself and dismounting and removing his slightly singed leathers, eyeing the bronze's tanned wing-joints, "You need some numbweed for that m'boy? We'll get some so you can be shiny again soon."

M'ntos, flopped over sideways on Fresheth's neckridges proceeds with his lifemate in most ungainly fashion although they're fast as well, greased lightning! The blue flies through the pain of scorched wingsails. « Looky looky, we're still fabulous, Tos! » The blue does bugle, to which M'ntos weakly flaps his legs about as they land on the sands. "Oi, Seven Spires, may they always be pointed!" The bluerider salutes and takes a bow towards Tilla who screams and claps. "HIGH REACHES!!!!" And then she doesn't forget T'ab and T'zyn, "Congrats, T'ab and T'zyn!!"

Nymerith is not as good-tempered about her third place, tail flicking irritably and her jaws snapping as they land. She deposits T'zyn unceremoniously by the healers to deal with his singed arm and bruises from landing on her at rather high speeds. T'zyn is more gracious than his dragon, offering congratulations to the winner. He is cheerful about it, even if he is wincing.

Mhaer tightens a few screws, attaching the appropriate names to the appropriate trophies and hops down (carefully, via the ladder) with them. He heads over to where the dragons are landing afterward and starts handing them out without ceremony. "Here you go. Good job," he tells each and every one of them before signaling some other crews to set about extinguishing the hoops. OH, then he sends the healers in to examine the riders and dragons.

« You are hurt! » Colth's tone is anxious, and he slows his speed, letting others zip past him as he waits for Th'den to be secure again. « I did not catch you well enough! » Th'den shakes his head slowly, and strokes the gleaming brown hide. "Not your fault. I'm just getting too old to be hopping through hoops. Come on, let's finish at least." The brown lands lightly on gthe sand, and Th'den slides off, removes the straps one-handed and checks Colth for any singes. "Congratulations!" he calls to the bluerider, then sets down the straps and the firestone sack where he can clean the former and return the latter.

First Place Trophy
A single bronze ring, covered with gold flames that have been polished brightly to catch the light, stands affixed to a bronze post, the end of which is buried deeply in a wooden base, wide enough and just heavy enough to support the weight of the trophy. Attached to the front of the trophy is a small metal placard, noting this is the first place trophy for successfully completing the Mounted Obstacle Course held at the Inter-Weyr Games during the Thirteenth Turn of the Tenth Interval. Below this is the awardees' names: M'ntos and blue Fresheth

"Oh, Yeah. This is also for you." Mhaer approaches M'ntos with a hide, rolled up and tied with a gold ribbon. "The real prize is a new pair of riding straps. If you don't want it, feel free to give it to someone special."

M'ntos is being attended by a healer at the moment and his blue is sprawled out on his stomach on the beach, being numbweeded by some dragonhealers. But he does hold out his hand to grasp the riding strap certificate. "Ohhh. How /delicious/. Thank you. The seawater and flames did a number on our straps, they sure did. Scan-dalous!"

Th'den waves Colth off into the watedr for the brown's desired swim, and he lets the healer see to his left wrist. He merely grunts as the injured joint is probed and flexed and finally wrapped, and he stares out over the water where the brown is already splashing and frolicking like a hatchling. "That's worth more than any prize," he says softly, then sits down not far from the winner to clean his straps.

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