Result 12 – Part 5

You start by passing by a series of artisans displaying their works and some of their wares, followed by several food stalls. You slowly amble past a music performance and stop to listen for a while. During this time, you catch sight of a body flying through the air, and tracking it down, end up watching an acrobatic show with trapeze artists and tightrope walkers who amaze and terrify the crowd. It is quite mesmerising, with the artists incorporating a few deliberate near-miss scenarios which cause the crowd to gasp at the death-defying stunts.

After their thrilling performance is over, you move on to a gaudy tent where a man outside attempts to convince you to go in and hear your destiny. Inside, “Madame Seraphina: The Enchantress of Prophecies” offers to give you your fortunes. Just for the sake of it, you all agree.

“In a realm where stars align, secrets whispered in the night will guide you to horizons uncharted”, she tells you which, considering your whole “adventuring” deal, is unsurprising.

“A gambit in the shadows, a jewel of fate grasped amid the storm’s turbulence, where danger dances with destiny.” is what she says to Ameronis.

Ameronis does little more than raise an eyebrow.

For Brinnet, Agnai and Grace, their fortunes suggest that she needs to get in touch with the natural world, that she’ll learn something new but will have to pay the price, and that some difficult character growth is about to happen to her, respectively.

Moving on, you encounter a series of rides, the likes of which you’ve never encountered before, including a carousel swing and a roller-coaster, all powered by steam engines, allowing them to go much faster than any you have ever seen or heard of before. The experience is definitely a highlight of the evening.

To stop your head from spinning afterwards, your group scans a small marketplace selling trinkets and souvenirs as well as a variety of gift options.

Some jaunty music coming from nearby leads you to a dance floor where you watch the dancers as they swirl around. Brinnet insists on dancing and Grace goes along with her, with the two of them managing to convince you to join them. Ameronis adamantly refuses and simply opts to watch while Agnai also refuses.

“I’ll pass on the jigs and wiggles; don’t want to steal the show!”

She stands on the sidelines and watches as the three of you dance, occasionally yelling at her friends.

“You dancing or escaping a bee swarm?!” and “Look at you go! I’ve seen scarecrows dance better!”

But for you, she is a lot more forgiving as she calls out “That’s it, love! Show ’em your moves and charm the stars!”

Brinnet and Grace rebuff her remarks and continue dancing and Agnai does eventually complement their dance when the three of you rejoin her and Ameronis after a couple of dances. A little tired out, you decide to grab a drink and stand around watching other patrons as they take part in some of the games and competitions in this area. There’s a ring toss, a wheel of fortune, a balancing competition with hilarious results, darts, archery, whack a mole, dice games and even a small chicken race, among a few other things.

Your group watches and plays several of the games and you decide to try your hand at the archery.

The vendor asks if you’ve ever done archery before, to which you respond not in any serious capacity, no. He hands you a bow and three arrows and you aim at the target attached to a wall of hay bales. The first arrow misses the board, and the second is way off, hitting the hay. You take longer to focus on the third shot and actually hit the board, being only just off-centre. The vendor congratulates you on your final shot but commiserates you on not beating the challenge. You decide to try again and watch the rest of your group as you wait for the vendor to clear the arrows and provide you with new ones.

Two archery targets in a field lit by lanterns
Take Aim…

(Ai-generated image produced using Stable Diffusion)

Ameronis has never used a bow before either and is unable to hit the board at all, but the washerwomen do surprisingly well, with Agnai getting a shot nearer to the centre than the others.

With more arrows in hand, you take aim and do significantly worse than before.

Less than impressed, you decide to try one more time and your group gathers behind you to offer their support. You manage to get the board twice, but not the bull’s-eye. Oh well, you decide to move on, but stop to watch the lady beside you as she begins the challenge; she looks as though she knows what she’s doing. She carefully takes aim and steadies her breathing. However, her results are not that impressive.

As the vendor commiserates her loss, she scoffs and mutters about how the arrows are rubbish, mentioning how the whole thing is rigged. The vendor assures her that this is not the case, but she incredulously comments on the state of the arrows and how no matter your skill, the shots will fly randomly. She demands to see the arrows; the vendor hands her one, insisting that the arrows are fine, but she ignores him and closely inspects the arrow. Her face crumples in irritation.

“I’ve seen rigged dice more honest than these! I’m not falling for this! Give me back my money or I’m calling the law.”

She is already attracting some attention, and not wanting to lose any more potential challengers, the vendor gestures for her to calm down as he attempts to placate her.

“I assure you, madam, the arrows are in perfect condition. But I can see you have doubts, and I’d be glad to give your money back as a gesture of goodwill. There’s no need for law enforcers or unpleasant scenes…”

She sneers as she essentially snatches the money away from him, turning to you and the other participants.

“If you want a fair shot and some REAL archery, you’re welcome at ‘The Warrior’s Edge’ in Steelhaven. We shoot straight.”

With that, she turns on her heel and marches off.

You exchange a glance with Ameronis and can’t help but smile. With one last look at the vendor, who is watching the woman go nervously, you and your group amble away to continue your exploration.

As you walk, you consider what the woman said; maybe some archery would be a good idea; improving your aim will always be a good thing. You think back to last night and your missed throw of your battleaxe. You can’t have that happening again. You decide that you will go and check it out at least.

Just as you have that thought, Ameronis declares that she is going to check it out tomorrow, as it will be a useful skill to learn.

The washerwomen are interested and lament that they’ll be working most of the day, though they ask Ameronis if she could find out what days and times the archery is available so that maybe they can go during their time off. She agrees to report back with her findings.

A few more stops later, and your group is back at the entrance, having finished your grand tour of the jamboree. You spent a lot longer here than you expected, but, even though it’s after 11 pm now, Grace insists that the night is young and you should do something else. Though, nothing too involved; they still have work tomorrow. After a brief discussion, Brinnet suggests a drink or two to round off the night. Agnai agrees, claiming that she’s parched and suggests that they go to their usual haunt; “The Copper Mug”.

Ameronis respectfully declines, saying she already has other plans. The rest of you see her off as she disappears into the night and you follow the washerwomen to The Copper Mug. It’s a nice place, relatively small, but quite clean and tidy. The food and drinks are decent and the well-dressed patrons are relatively quiet; the three women are some of the louder patrons.

You spend more time getting to know the woman, and they happily chat about themselves and gossip a little about others, having a good old laugh in the process.

You have just one drink; a muted orange concoction containing milk, fermented seeds, and a constant stream of bubbles. It doesn’t have a very strong flavour but manages to have a full-bodied aftertaste. You only have one, but you’re slightly buzzing by the time you’re ready to leave.

All good things come to an end, so you say your goodbyes to the washerwomen, letting them know that you’ll swing by tomorrow to pick up your clean and dry clothes. They demand that you let them know what other action-packed adventures you get into between now and then; you tell them you don’t intend to be involved in anything else, thank you very much. They laugh and tell you not to be boring and to live a little. You dismiss their nonsense, bid them good night, and take a carriage back to Slaryn House, where you quickly fall asleep.

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