[Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

81st of Ashan 720

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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Re: [Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

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Ashling looked at the jars and smiled at Tristan. “They are beautiful.”

She and Tristan gave the Jarls the remedies they had prepared for Namdalen. Then they said farewell and left the tent.

“All we can do now is wait for the outcome.” She hooked arms with Tristan as they began walking. “I hope we will do better than the others. Now, I want to visit Jorg. I have a bad gut feeling about the beer and the potential Labrador tea poisonings. What do you think about it, Tristan?”

It was still spring but it would soon be summer. In this district of Fensalir, Springwater, Nature was extra lovely. The early green foliage made everything light and joyful. Many of the cottages had gardens. This time of the year, plants and trees were blossoming and the breeze spread their fragrance in the air. The people who lived there were out and about, doing their daily tasks. Children and pets ran around playing. The happy sound of giggling and delighted screams blended with the playful barking of dogs.

“Springwater is a wonderful district for children. Ayla would love to live here. Look how fun the children are having. Adults can never replace playmates of the same age. Here, she could just open the door and run out to play.”

Ashling glanced at Tristan and tried to gauge his reaction. What did he think? During the tournament, they had been too busy with the challenges to have time for other kinds of discussions. He had so far not spoken much about how he figured their future to be. Would he want to live in Fensalir? Would he see how good it would be for them to settle here, in Ashling’s hometown?

“Life is much better here than in Raelia, Tristan. Fensalir is a sprawling city. There’s room for everything people might want to do. Houses with room for families and guests, big gardens, interesting neighbours, nature nearby, the lake to bathe in during the summers...in the warmest time we could go bathing with Ayla and the dogs to keep them from getting too hot.”

A small flock of children who looked to be age three to six crossed the road, accompanied by a big shepherd dog which gave Ashling and Tristan wary eyes. They stopped and waited for the small ones and their four-legged guardian to continue into a garden on the other side of the street. A woman called out to them from somewhere in the garden and the children called back, laughing.

“I think it’s a birthday party.” Ashling smiled. “Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could find a house for sale here, or maybe a site where we could build a new home? Oh, there would even be room for your statues, outdoors, in a garden, where people could come and watch them... at least in the warm seasons, but maybe they need to be stored indoors in the winters...anyway, it’s a pity that you keep them in a storage room.”

Surely Tristan must understand the benefits of living in Fensalir? The best city! But, his house in Raelia was lavish and very comfortable in the winters so there was that...She could understand if Tristan wanted to keep it and use it. ”We could stay in Raelia too sometimes, in your city house, but spend the warmer parts of the year in Fensalir. “

Springwater did all a city district could do to support her as they walked along the picturesque streets. They entered a street where the houses and gardens were bigger. Ashling guided Tristan towards one of those buildings, a wooden lodge with a tavern on the ground floor. "It’s one of the best inns in Fensalir. The Jarls and their entourage live here during the tournaments. They call it Springwater Hold, in jest...”

A waitress approached them when they entered the tavern, but Ashling shook her head. “Later. We are here to visit a friend. A young boy who is ill ...Jorg Magnus.”

“And you are?”

“Ashling Grayhawk. Daughter or Sol’ange, the healer ... is my mother still here?”

The waitress shook her head. Sol’s name had done its work though. “The boy is upstairs, in the room at the end of the right corridor.”

Going upstairs was an easy case and finding the room was a bagatelle, but getting in was not. Jarl Magnus had put armed guards outside the boy’s room. They were two hefty Melrathi warriors with Embla tattoos on their brows showing that they were Ragnari. How dumb of her to not foresee this! Of course, Jarl Magnus wouldn’t leave Jorg without protection!

“Your errand?” The guard speaking put his hand on the hilt of the sword he carried. His tone was not aggressive but it was firm.

Ashling was however looking at the other man. His face was full of scars, a living testimony of surgery...her novice surgery, at the end of Vhalar last arc. But it lit up with a smile and his eyes went friendly. “You’re the healer that patched me up in the fall. They told me I’d been lucky to find somebody to clean and sew the wounds so I didn’t lose parts of my face.”

Ashling nodded. Oh, spirits! She had been an inexperienced surgeon and she had also been angry. The result of her work was what you could expect of a novice. She wasn’t proud of it. But, she had at least done her best despite the rage that had been burning in her after the abductions of the stormtouched. Professional honour had made her carry on. “Good to see that your face healed,” she managed. "I wish I had been a better surgeon though."

The man grinned. “A few beautiful scars on the face of a Ragnari is never wrong, eh? If you are free in the evening we could go out and have a drink when I’m off duty.”

“We are on duty now!” The other guard sounded a bit irritated. “You know them, Gerth?”

“She’s a healer. A lovely Fensalir girl.”

The other guard rolled his eyes and turned to Ashling and Tristan.

“Your errand?” His voice was calm but stern as steel and his hand still rested on the hilt.
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Re: [Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

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When Ashling told him that the jars were beautiful, Tristan practically beamed at her before he revealed, “I was actually thinking about alchemical glass the other trial. Wouldn’t it be nice if my potions were in vials that had all kinds of special effects – and were hard to break on top of it? You could probably imbue the glass with cooling properties so that the potions won’t spoil as quickly, too! Think about it, Ashling! Potions in alchemically enhanced, unbreakable cooling vials with special effects and pretty bows!” he told her, looking fairly excited for a moment before he abruptly fell silent again, furrowed his brow a bit and looked at her questioningly.

“Unless you think that it would be a bit over the top? I think that potions with a pleasant packaging would sell better though – and people might be less reluctant to drink them! Jarl Namdalen’s reluctance to give our proposed treatments a try made me think of it”, he told her once they left the contest tent together before he offered her his arm. He liked walking arm in arm with her, especially on such a pleasant spring trial.

“I want to visit Jorg as well”, he replied. “I’m rather worried about him after all this. You know, I’ve grown kind of fond of him”, he admitted. Their first meeting that he still remembered with the utmost clarity due to having Vri’s Blessing had been problematic, but all in all, he seemed to be a pretty nice boy. As he had concluded before, he actually reminded him of himself, when he had been younger and caused all kinds of mischief. “I hope that we’ll win. I don’t mind Buxom, but I don’t want to lose to Biarne”, he added and made a face for a moment. He really didn’t like that man!

When they had arrived in Fensalir, after their journey from Raelia, he had been a little ambivalent, to be honest. Tristan was a city boy through and through. He had gotten better at dealing with nature since he had gotten engaged to Ashling, but he still didn’t find the prospect of camping trips and similar activities particularly appealing, to be honest. Fensalir was so absolutely lovely that he forgot his previous worries though. He wasn’t sure how such a thing was possible, but the grass and the leaves and everything seemed greener and more vibrant here, and everybody here just seemed to be so happy and optimistic!

“It’s beautiful here”, Tristan agreed in a soft tone of voice as he took a look around. When a couple of children crossed the road, accompanied by a big dog, he couldn’t help but smile. There was something so hopeful and peaceful about that scene. It was so different from what he had witnessed in Rynmere, the civil war, the mage burnings, the plague, all those people who had died. “I agree that Ayla would like it here. I do think that she needs to be around children her age”, he admitted, silently wondering if he was a bit over-protective.

The way that Ayla had come to him had been a bit traumatic – for a long time, he had thought that Faith was her mother and that she had died in his arms, shortly after she had introduced their daughter to him – but nobody had tried to ruin their lives since then. Maybe, it was time to finally relax – and give Ayla the kind of childhood that she deserved. Syroa’s and his daughter deserved nothing but happiness after everything that had happened.

“A new house would be nice. I like the idea of displaying my statues in a garden where everybody can admire them”, he admitted, laughing slightly. He really liked it when people looked at his art though. “Maybe we could stay in Raelia during the colder seasons and spend the warmer parts of the arc here, like you said. I’d like that, I think. I lived like that for a while in Rynmere while I was trying to achieve my breakthrough as a sculptor. I alternated between my house in Venora and my grandmother’s home in Sabaissant”, he told her before he remarked, “You would like Granny Ebony. She’s quite fierce!”

When they arrived at Springwater Hold, and Ashling told him that the Jarls lived there during the tournaments, Tristan eyed the building with obvious interest. “It looks quite fancy”, he remarked before he proceeded to open the door. Being a gentleman, he let Ashling enter first, of course, before he stepped inside himself and took a look around.

A moment later, after the conversation with the waitress, they walked upstairs. While Ashling was worried about the Melrathi warriors that guarded the door to Jorg’s room, Tristan was not particularly concerned. He could be quite persuasive. He had dealt with Immortals and monsters. Two big guys with weapons were nothing in comparison to that. He was just wondering what he should say when the man with the face full of scars mentioned Ashling patching him up. The young duke raised an eyebrow when he heard that.

That was a fortunate coincidence!

He hadn’t expected that he would have to explain himself after that, but apparently, the scarred man’s colleague thought differently. “We are here to visit Jorg Magnus and see how he is doing”, he replied in a very polite and friendly tone of voice. “We are friends of his. My name is Tristan Venora. I’m one of the finalists in the tournament that is currently taking place – and an alchemist. Miss Grayhawk is my fiancée”, he added, in the hope that mentioning such might make the man more inclined to trust him – and because he was just so in love with the grey-skinned beauty next to him.

The guard grumbled a bit and looked Tristan over, as if he were checking if he had any weapons on his person, before he inclined his head sharply. “Go in”, he finally decided in a somewhat gruff tone of voice. “But keep your visit short. The boy needs some rest after what happened.” Having said that, he stepped aside. A moment later, his scarred colleague followed suit, and Tristan stepped into the room where Jorg was lying in a bed.

“Jorg?” he asked softly as he approached him. “It’s Ashling and Tristan. We wanted to see how you are doing …”
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Re: [Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

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They entered the room. It was silent. Thin curtains filtered the light from the windows. There was a big bed decorated with beautiful wood carvings at the inner wall and two armchairs and a small table sat in front of the fireplace. For being an inn room it was both comfortable and elegant.

As they walked closer to the bed, Ashling saw that Jorg Magnus seemed to be asleep. It might be wrong to disturb him. Sleep was an important factor for healing. She glanced at Tristan. Should they leave again?

"Tristan..." she whispered.

"Tristan?" The boy moved in the bed. He opened his eyes. "Ashling! I didn't know it was you. I thought it was that hedge-doctor coming back to fuss over me again."

Jorg tried to sit up but Ashling took action and stopped him. "Lay down. We don't want you to over-exert yourself Jorg."

"I'm not weak!”

”We know that Jorg. You don’t have to prove anything to us. You were a worthy adversary when we met the first time, on the road.” She smiled at the youngster.

“I almost got you. But, I’m glad I didn’t.”

Ashling found Jorg’s mix of cocky pride and sincere happiness at having failed to shoot them entertaining but she didn’t show it. Her goal was to make him feel comfortable. “You are our favourite jarl,” she said, her voice warm.

Jorg laughed. “I’m not a Jarl. I’m a minor relative of Jarl Magnus. Not in line. I’m going to be an alchemist. I haven’t begun my studies yet, but after the Hesterfor ... I’ll soon be fifteen. I will get to join a project House Magnus is working at! Well, only as a novice helping out with easy things they say but it’s a start. ”

But, Jorg closed his eyes again, already out of energy. Ashling watched him in silence. She didn’t want to put pressure on him. After a little while, she decided to tell him the story about their examination of Jarl Namdalen. A good story could often cheer patients up and make them forget their illness for a few bits. It worked this time too. Despite how weak and pale the boy was he chuckled when he heard it.

“Jarl Namdalen doesn’t spit in the beer,” he whispered.

“The beer, yes...we’re working at a secret investigation Jorg. But, you are our friend. We trust you, so we will tell you. Can you keep a secret?

“Promise! What is it about?” The boy opened his eyes.

“We suspect that a certain toxic beer spice has been used to poison people. Me for example and maybe also Jarl Namdalen as the symptoms we have are similar.” She described the symptoms in an uncomplicated manner.

“That’s my symptoms! Have I been poisoned?”

“I don’t know, but if you drank beer last evening it can be so.”

Silence. Total silence.

“We aren’t going to tell on you ... if you did drink beer we just want to find out where you got it from. We trust you and you trust us, right?”

“I’m too tired to speak more. I’m going to sleep now.”

“Jorg, it might be a matter of life and death. Please tell us.”

Jorg shut his eyes again. Ashling tried to think of something she could say to make him answer the questions. He hadn’t denied anything, but he had indirectly confessed the beer-drinking by asking if he had been poisoned. She felt that they might be on the right track but had no idea how to make Jorg speak. Her experience of boys his age was after all quite limited. Might Tristan be more successful? He had mentioned his own shenanigans at that age, hadn’t he? Ashling felt that this wasn’t for her to tell Jorg though. She didn’t like to give up... but, it wasn’t giving up if she would let Tristan take over. It was teamwork!

Ashling didn’t want to be too obvious so she masked the tactic by speaking about a new topic. “You should have seen the alchemy potions Tristan made for Jarl Namdalen. They are potent drugs and the jars were beautiful ... and Tristan even has new ideas about new kinds of glass containers ... it’s very exciting! But, I’m not an alchemist so if you want to know more you’ll have to ask him!” She drew a breath. “I hope I didn’t reveal too much Tristan! Did you intend to keep your ideas secret? But, Jorg is too tired to speak more now, let’s leave! ”

She could hardly tell him to exploit his Jorg’s interest in alchemy to make the boy confide in them, but hoped that Tristan had understood what she was doing.
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Re: [Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

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The room that Jorg stayed in was just as fancy as the rest of the inn. Under normal circumstances, Tristan might have inspected the wood carvings – even though he had focused on his alchemical projects recently, he still had an interest in art – but as it was, most of his attention was on the young boy that slept in the big bed in the center of the room.

When Jorg didn’t react to his words right away, he turned to face Ashling again and remarked, dropping his voice to a mere whisper so as to not wake the boy up, “Maybe we should come back later, when he’s awake?” He was just about to tiptoe out of the room when Jorg suddenly started to move and subsequently opened his eyes and looked at them.

“Jorg”, he said, made a step towards the bed again and smiled at the boy. “How are you?”

He had been very concerned about the boy’s wellbeing after what he had heard, but when he listened to the conversation between Ashling and Jorg, he couldn’t suppress a grin.

A moment later, his tone of voice turned serious. He knew that their conversation was not about that, at least not for the most part, but it needed to be said, nevertheless. Jorg’s mentioning that he was only a minor relative of the Jarl and not being in line reminded him of himself too much.

“You may still become a Jarl, Jorg”, he told him in a gentle, but firm tone of voice. “I was not in line to become Duke either. My father is only Duchess Venora’s second child. The King of Rynmere gave me a dukedom and a duchy to go with it because of my accomplishments though. I was even allowed to start my own noble house.”

“It was called Oakleigh”,
he explained with a somewhat wistful look on his face – he still missed it, even after all those cycles - before he continued, “So, if you have any kind of ambition in that regard, there may be a chance. What Ashling said was true, by the way”, he added with a grin. “You are our favourite jarl, regardless of whether you rule or not!”

When Jorg mentioned that he would get to join a project that House Magnus was working on, Tristan’s curiosity was instantly piqued. He decided not to ask the boy about it though, at least not right away, as he seemed to get rather exhausted. Instead, he simply watched him in silence for a while. He didn’t want to pressure someone who was sick.

He didn’t keep Ashling from talking about the examination of Jarl Namdalen though. His curiosity about Jorg’s project could be satisfied later on, but the matter of the possible poisoning was too important. Besides, certain details seemed to amuse Jorg and distract him from his suffering.

That was a good thing.

When Jorg refused to tell them whether he had drunk beer and stated that he was too tired to speak and would sleep now and Ashling subsequently insisted that it might be a matter of life and death, he put a hand on Ashling’s arm. He agreed that it was a very serious matter, but he also felt bad about bothering Jorg all of a sudden, despite everything.

For a few moments, he just watched the boy quietly and gave him some time to rest and possibly reconsider his decision before he remarked in a soft tone of voice, “I swear that I won’t tell anybody. Your secret is safe. Besides, there is nothing wrong with a bit of mischief in my opinion. I was a bit adventurous as well when I was a teenager”, he revealed, briefly glanced at Ashling and blushed slightly before he continued, laughing slightly as he did so,

“I don’t mind you telling Jorg! It’s much more fun if I can share my ideas with the world! I was thinking of making glass harder to break and imbuing it with a cooling effect so that the potions don’t spoil as quickly, among other things”, he revealed.

“I’d love to tell you more about it if you are interested”, he remarked. Unlike Ashling, he wasn’t even thinking about exploiting Jorg’s interest in alchemy. He just loved to talk about his ideas and share them with the world, as he had said. Having secrets was not a lot of fun in his opinion!

So, his eyes widened when Jorg briefly shut his eyes before he let out a sigh and admitted, “Alright. You told me a secret, so I’ll tell you mine. I found a tankard full of beer in a tavern and couldn’t resist. The opportunity was too good to pass up on it!”

“You really won’t tell anybody, will you?”
he asked with a slightly suspicious look on his face.

“I promise”, Tristan replied in a serious tone of voice. “I thank you for telling us, Jorg”, he added before he cast a questioning glance at Ashling. Had Jorg drunk her leftover beer?

“And you’ll tell me more about your potions and your alchemical glass when I’m fine?” Jorg continued to which Tristan nodded. He wanted to say more, but Jorg had closed his eyes again. This time, he decided not to bother him anymore, but nodded at Ashling and gestured towards the door. They had checked on their friend and found out what had happened. It would be better if they left and talked about it somewhere outside.

~~~

They had managed to finish their creations well before the deadline, so they decided to head home rather than returning to the contest tent and waiting for the results to be announced there. Provided that Ashling was receptive to the idea, Tristan would not only discuss Jorg’s condition with her, but also spoil her a bit and try to make her feel better after what had happened to her. And then it was finally time for them to meet with the Jarls again and find out if they had won – or if they had lost to that unpleasant Biarne and his poor partner Buxom (Tristan still couldn’t help but pity them) once more.
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Re: [Fensalir] The Tournament of Plants and Potions, Challenge Three

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Ashling

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge:

SKILL
Discipline: Continuing an examination without allowing a patein
Discipline: Maintaining your ordinations witout being swayed by the patients refusal
Resistance: Resisting a light overdose of a toxic beer spice (Labrador Tea)
Poison: Identifying the symptomes of Labrador Tea poisoning

Medicine: Crafting Bogmyrtle infusion to counter Labrador Tea poisoning
Medicine: Diagnosis based on enlarged liver
Medicine: A full body exmination
Medicine: Diagnosis of complex symptomes can be hard due to underlying factors

Medicine: When you can't be sure of the root cause, begin by easing the symptoms
Intelligence: Looking for more facts to test your ideas
Interrogation: Trying to make them speak by pointing out your friendship
Interrogation: Trying to make them speak by saying it's about life and death

NON SKILL
PC, Tristan Venora: Was not born a heir but made a duke due to his accomplishements
PC, Tristan Venora: Liked shenaigans when he was in his teens

Herb: Labrador Tea (Skvattram) is a beer spice which and be toxis in bigger doses
Herb: Bogmyrte is a beer spice that can neutralize the effect of Labrador Tea

Renown: 20

Skill Usage: Played within level

Loot/Losses: 10 wp

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: Won second place in the tournament of Plants!
Tristan

Experience: 15 no magic xp

Knowledge:

Alchemy x3
Leadership x1
Medicine x6
Strength x1


Renown: 20

Skill Usage: Played within level

Loot/Losses: 20 wp

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: Won the Tournament of Potions!
Comments: The summary of the night of their second-place victory in the semi-finals was a nice way of opening the thread. I really enjoyed the descriptions, and it didn’t feel like a summary as much as a natural beginning to the story.

I at first was afraid that Biarne might take the opportunity to put down Ashling or Tristan, or otherwise get belligerent, but he seemed to be on his best behavior. Ashling’s inner monologue, balancing her concern for Buxom’s welfare against her dislike of Biarne was a nice touch, and just went to show how fierce yet kind Ashling is.

From there, things picked right up into Ashling’s nightmare, which signalled a sudden sickness coming over Ashling. Oh no!

I hope it doesn’t get worse, or if it does she can find a remedy to keep illness at bay. I wondered at the moment if this had something to do with Biarne sharing a beer with her and Tristan…

But then Tristan wasn’t similarly stricken by sickness, so it couldn’t have been that. At any rate, Tristan proved himself a very stalwart partner, supporting Ashling in her illness, and even offering to skip the tournament that had become such an important struggle for them to overcome, as a pair.

I really enjoyed the way you paced your replies between each other. Setting the earlier responses and dividing them from the up to date moments of the storyline really helped sustain a flow that carried throughout the piece.

I think it was prudent of Ashling to use her mother’s apothecary to brew and formulate some bogmyrtle infusion. I don’t know what that tastes like but it sounds refreshing… maybe I’m wrong though lol!

Oh man, Ashling is a firebrand with the way she’s pushing the Jarl Namdalen. He’s very cooperative though, it turned out the gambit of implying he might be a coward worked to her benefit, and he didn’t want to see so in front of his court. It’s a good thing he isn’t insecure…

The diagnosis of Ashling was interesting, and seemed to have some tie in to her own predicament. It’s a nice literary device at any rate, and I wondered if that really was going to be the case as I read it. Nice bit of foreshadowing?

It all seemed to get a bit political in the following scenes, as the need to know what the other team was prescribing, and also different ordinations and recommendations. Ashling had a great point that a Jarl’s health ought not be subject to the results of a contest. I really appreciate that character’s honesty.

And Tristan, with his political acument was great at diffusing the situation in the following moments, proving what a great partner he makes for Ashling.

In the next scene, I was amused to find that the Bogmyrtle wasn’t as pleasant as I imagined :lol: At least it wasn’t to the Jarl Namdalen’s taste.

I was amazed to find that Ashling had indeed been poisoned by a specific beer poison that goes undetected by the taster. And that Namdalen was infected too confirmed my suspicions, a very gratifying moment as a reader. When it’s all but confirmed by Jorg, it was a very triumphal moment. Whatever happens in the judging round (to commence below!), I think Tristan and Ashling should be proud of themselves.


RoromToday at 2:00 AM
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:00 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (2) = 2
RoromToday at 2:00 AM
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:00 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (2) = 2
RoromToday at 2:00 AM
oooo
tie between Team Tristan & Ashling and Team Biarne/buxom in the Diagnosis round
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:01 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (3) = 3
RoromToday at 2:01 AM
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:01 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (1) = 1
RoromToday at 2:02 AM
Tristan beats Biarne in the potion Round
by 2
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:02 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (1) = 1
Devin (Doran)Today at 2:02 AM
Yay!
RoromToday at 2:02 AM
/roll d4
Sidekick
BOT
Today at 2:02 AM
@Rorom: d4 = (4) = 4
RoromToday at 2:02 AM
oof
Buxom beats Ashling in the Herbal round, by 3

So if this was an overall, all or nothing, Biarne and Buxom would’ve won by 1 in the Herbal round. But as it’s divided between potion rounds, and herbal rounds…

Tristan wins the Tournament of Potions (20 wp award).
Buxom wins the Tournament of Plants.

Biarne takes home second for Potions.
As does Ashling for Herbalism (10 wp award).

Even though Ashling didn’t win, I’m really impressed with the job you all did here, and would so much have loved to tip the scales for the sake of great roleplay and writing.

Nevertheless, outstanding writing, and enjoy the rewards!

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.

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