75th of Ashan and on: “Tournament of Plants and Potions” In Fensalir, House Namdalen and House Magnus decide to host a tournament. It is meant to serve as a recruitment drive for Ydalir rangers and herbalists, as well as alchemists for House Magnus. Jarl Sebastian Magnus, and the recovered Jarl Samuel Namdalen (who’d spent Cylus poisoned from the assassination attempt in late Zi’ da), are both in attendance along with other prominent members of their noble houses.
Herbs and Medicines Challenge Two: The participants are sent to the surrounding wilderness for two trials. They are meant to come back and put together a salve. The salve can be for anything, but the more beneficial or wide-ranged in use it is, the better. Those who fail at putting together a salve, or create something that is harmful, are dropped from the tournament. One haughty woman is found cheating by having purchased a salve instead of harvesting the ingredients for herself. She is sternly chided by Jarl Magnus in front of everyone, much to the obvious amusement of Jarl Namdalen.
Alchemy and Potions, Challenge Two: The participants are given two trials to create a potion with ingredients they have to acquire themselves. The potion can be for anything, but the more beneficial or wide-ranged in use it is, the better. Those who fail at putting together a potion, or create something that is harmful, are dropped from the tournament. An elderly man accidentally causes an explosion, burning down the house he was conducting his work in. He is badly burned but survives. Jarl Magnus and Jarl Namdalen visit him and offer their respective houses to aid in his recovery.
Ashling had succeeded with all the tests in the first challenge and so, she would now do the second challenge!
It was before the dawn of the 76th Ashan. The details for the second challenge of the tournament would soon be disclosed. The participants had gathered in front of the tent on the festival meadow in the Springwater district in Fensalir. They shuddered in the cold air and wondered how long they would have to wait. And why had they been told to come here before the break of dawn?
Finally, the challenge and the rules were announced, by the two Jarls themselves. Jarl Magnus and Jarl Namdalen strode out from the tent, dressed colourful woollen clothing and warm fur cloaks.
Jarl Namdalen spoke first. “Welcome, all who have gathered here! I now will tell you about the second challenge of the plants part of the tournament! "
He made a brief pause, waiting for total silence and attention before he continued. "Your mission is to make a herbal salve. It can be a salve for any purpose. But, the more beneficial it is, or the more wide-ranged the use of the salve is, the better we will consider it!"
The participants smiled in relief. They all knew many good recipes! This seemed easier than expected!
But, the Jarl wasn't done. " You get two trials (and nights) for finding the ingredients yourself, in the wilderness. Then you need to come back and make the salve before the time is out."
Some eager participants seemed ready to leave at this point. Time was an essential factor here and it made the challenge harder. Many an over-confident smile vaned. They must be on their way ...
But, the jarl blew a small horn to keep their attention. He had more to say. “Wait! You also need to know the exact rules! Two trials mean two days and nights, beginning at dawn to-trial and ending at dawn after the second night. Keep this in mind! If you fail to deliver your salve before the dawn of the 78th of Ashan, we will drop you from the tournament! If your salve is harmful we will also drop you. If you cheat you will be out of the contest.”
The impatience was rising in the group of participants. How long time would the Jarl speak? They might need every trill and wanted to head to the wilderness already. The conditions were tough. If you would go for but less common plants it would take time and effort to find them.
Ashling felt more nervous than she had expected. There was an element of hazard in the rules. Nature and luck would decide which herbs she would be able to find in time. That, in turn, would decide which salves it would be possible to make. It was much harder than if the task had been to find a specific plant and make a specific kind of salve.
Now, it was Jarl Magnus turn to speak. He gave a similar speech. Their mission was to create a potion, the more beneficial or wide-ranged in use, the better. The alchemists would get the same two days and nights for their mission. The rules for dropping people were also the same.
The sky was taking on the rose colour of dawn. The first trial of the second challenge began.