Ludi Plebeii - Circenses

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Ludi Plebeii - Circenses

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:23 pm

Here we are now! (Entertain us?)

The circenses have experienced a huge delay due to some turmoil in the circus and among the factiones. Plus the rainstorms of late have turned the circus into a giant mudpool. Yes, it's the end of the year allright. So, these may well be decisive races for most factiones for 2757... Let's see.

We say goodbye to one charioteer, the ever-amusing Bibax. His points are frozen and he is disqualified for the final ranking. Lucianus Dionysius Bibens, his former sponsor, has passively chosen to withdraw from the races. Perhaps to avoid further shame.

QUARTERS

Group I: Damnator, Phaethoon, Rufus Pavor, Publius Decius Robur

De races start out brutally with this first quarter. The Whites are pretty frustrated, and it shows. By splattering mud all around in his tracks, Damnator aggressively seizes the lead, and by the second round, the first victim has fallen: PD Robur, sponsored by the charismatic Atticus, takes a hit and his chariot is crushed against the spina, tipping over. Rufus Pavor sends his kindest regards. However, before, the race can come to a full-blown duel between Damnator and Pavor, as the latter passes Phaethoon, the former erases all doubt about his racing abilities and mercilessly crushes the Purple champion against the wet walls. A smear of wood, sweat, skin and blood colours the walls and Rufus is heavily wounded. Phaethoon keeps a bit of a distance and has learnt not to mess with Damnator, earning him an easy second place and a ticket to the semis.

1. Damnator
2. Phaethoon
3. Rufus Pavor was eliminated by Damnator
4. PD Robur was eliminated by Rufus Pavor

Group II: Myrtilos, Pericolosus, Caesar, Callidus

Two Blues, one White and one Red. Pericolosus had a staggering series of victories in the beginning of the season, but is now struggling to remain at the top, having failed to earn a single point in the last three races. As the chariots speed through the muddy tracks and the supporters begin to sing, Callidus charges forward. A newfound stamina and technique has made him near invincible, so it seems: by the third round, his lead is so overwhelming that it seems almost miraculous. Down in the mud, the others duke it out for the second spot. Caesar wildly flings around his whip in the rain; appearently this enervates Pericilosus so much that he loses control, slips in the bend around the spina and crashes against the meta. Myrtilos passes both and honestly earns his second place.

1. Callidus
2. Myrtilos
3. Caesar
4. Pericolosus crashed against the meta

Group III: Romulus, Indutiomarus, Juba Bane, Publius Victorinus

Four racers belonging to different factiones, each with a different fanbase. Still, the Purpurea supporters are largest in numbers today, beating a steadily growing Blue fanbase by a few dozens. From the start, it's appearent immediately that Victorinus, who used to be a promising newcomer last year, is going nowhere again. He's down at the bottom of the rankings, and drags down the level of the entire Praesina team. Indutiomarus wrestles himself a place between the leading duo, but by the seventh round, is forced to let go as Juba Bane and Romulus fight for the first place. Romulus still has his grace, but Juba Bane has a fresh enthusiasm that in the end, much to the dismay of Purpurea, proves to be too strong for Romulus. With this, Veneta has a second semi-finalist, and Purpurea a first and only one. Only the Golden and Green factiones have nothing yet.

1. Juba Bane
2. Romulus
3. Indutiomarus
4. P Victorinus

Group IV: Hannibal, Trophimus, Maximus, Morgareth

It has stopped raining, but the mud is still there. To give their own factio a chance, Hannibal and Trophimus have to band together and defeat anything in their way. Morgareth has much the same mission for Aurata, while Maximus can confidently relax. Save for some scraping against the walls however, and evading a far-off whip of Hannibal, Maximus and his Centaurus by no means heed this advice and rush into the circus with a mad frenzy. His speed is unmatched. We seem to be experiencing the resurrection of Russata here as a serious contender. But will they break the White hegemony? At any rate, Hannibal is having technical problems and is seriously slacking behind. Trophimus and Morgareth are neck-on-neck for the second spot. They both utilise the same technique and are worthy of each other's company. But in the end, there can only be one, and it's, much to the pleasure of the Aurata fanbase, Morgareth. Green supporters run amok and fight down in the streets.

1. Maximus
2. Morgareth
3. Trophimus
4. Hannibal

Coming soon... the semis.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:49 pm

SEMIS

Group I: Damnator, Myrtilos, Juba Bane, Morgareth

No time to waste, ladies and gentlemen. The rain has set in again, and many people have stayed at home. The diehard fans who have come to the circus, are there however to cheer on their champions and idols. Veneta is particulary well represented in this semi, but they'll have to put on a strong show to defeat former champions Morgareth and Damnator, the latter of whom is well underway to solidify his chances at earning a second title.

Morgareth kicks off as the fastest charioteer; his "Infernerator" speeds through the muddy tracks and his span effortly ploughs through the circus, as if Morgareth weighs nothing. The three others duke it out among each other, but soon Juba Bane and Damnator emerge from this group in an exciting duel, with literal mudslinging, much bravado and a lot of cool sliding manouvres. Myrtilos comes a bit behind, but his chances are not completely destroyed yet. Then Damnator strikes; his whip hits Juba Bane in the face, and blood sprays out of his mouth and nose. The crowd is in shock, although the Whites' brutal demeanor is well known. A second strike knocks the British charioteer down. Veneta's best man has left the circus.

Effectively, this also seems to have a demoralising effect on Myrtilos, who seems to opt for staying safely behind Damnator. The driver of the "Fulmen Draconis" approaches Morgareth and flings his whip wildly at the Golden champion -- but to the amazement of the terrified Aurata supporters, his whip cannot punch through Morgareth's armour, and then slides off the wheels of his chariot. What is unattainable through force, however, eventually works through speed: Damnator passes his contender and seizes the first position. Morgareth tries hard to catch up, but to no avail. In the end, that's the order of finishing.

1. Damnator
2. Morgareth
3. Myrtilos
4. Juba Bane had a breakdown

Group II: Phaethoon, Callidus, Romulus, Maximus

The rivalry between Purple and Red flares up again madly, as three Reds are poised against one Purple contestant. However, Russata is increasingly frustrated by failed attempts to consequently win the races or come close of the first spot. But with such an abundance of luck for Phaethoon this year, and good results for erstwhile champion Maximus and the majorly improved Callidus, what could stop them? That's right, the exceptionally lucky Romulus, who has a record of seven victories.

In the pouring rain, it's not an easy start and the Russata fans feel a sting of Damocles's blade as Phaethoon, in the first straight line, smacks against the walls with his chariot, and is unable to recover. The Purpurea fans speak of a conspiracy against them by the magistri ludorum and the Senatus: how could they possibly win this? But the Reds are equally convinced Romulus is somehow using tricks to win and to humiliate them. Callidus, Romulus and Maximus are great rivals in terms of speed and technique, but it's Callidus's cool deliberation that enables him to secure the first place and advance a lot on his opponents.

With the first place relatively safe, Maximus and Romulus nervously battle for the second spot, but make many mistakes. Each of them scrapes the walls, one of the horses in their spans is on the verge of giving up and Maximus's whip breaks in two! In a very tight two-way battle, in which neither victor would be able to catch up with Callidus, Maximus bests Romulus and leaves him a little bit behind, as Callidus crosses the finishing line first, followed by Maximus moments later. The otherwise peace-loving Purpurea fans storm out of the circus enraged and retreat to their temples, consulting oracles and ancient books of dark curses.

1. Callidus
2. Maximus
3. Romulus
4. Phaethoon was splattered against the walls

---

Soon: the FINALS.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Nov 26, 2004 1:15 am

FINALS

Damnator, Morgareth, Callidus, Maximus

Seeing Albata and Russata in these finals is no real surprise. It decreases chances of a surprise victory of another factio immensely, of course, but then again, heh, it's perhaps time Praesina and Veneta get some more luck or more evenly divided charioteers. Morgareth represents Aurata in these finals, and looks to score with a possibly second victory. Same goes for Maximus. If Damnator wins, he will obtain his fourth victory, but merely by reaching the finals, it has become technically impossible to beat him for his championship bid. Callidus of Russata has been branded as the everlasting second, but we'll see...

Two Reds and one Golden race forward through the muddy circus under much cheering of their fans. Damnator seems to play safe for now. Maximus and Callidus go head-to-head for the lead, and give Morgareth and his "Infernerator" no quarter. Little love is lost between the factiones. As they go into their second round, Callidus has taken the lead. His "Celetior" is indeed continuing on this new-found elan that seems to dominate these circenses for him. Of course, a wall, meta or a push of his opponents may yet put an end to these ambitions. But he looks confident.

Meanwhile, Morgareth is trying hard, but is beaten on his own game by Damnator, whose "Fulmen Draconis" easily passes his opponent on the straight lane in round four. A lot of mud is thrown up by this encounter, and although the white of Damnator's tunic and chariot is spoiled too, it's especially humiliating for Morgareth to have his golden harness marred by the brown substance. Appearently, since Damnator learnt force is not the way to go, has entered an unsubtle game of psychological warfare.

Maximus is clinging hard to his second position, but in round six is suddenly surprised by Damnator: the "Centaurus" is pushed against the walls. A wheel of the red chariot breaks off, and it comes to an immediate halt. It's not the first time Maximus is eliminated by Damnator, and their sponsors being brothers, certainly it will bring back tensions within gens Dionysia! Morgareth meanwhile has taken advantage of this situation and narrowly passes Damnator. Callidus is still leading the race, with the Russata fans almost insane with enthusiasm, so much even that they seem to care little about Maximus's untimely departure.

In the next round, Damnator once again seizes his position from Morgareth. The chariots have now almost become indistinguishable due to the mud on them, but the crowd knows who is who. The Whites, rooting for their celebrated champion, are certain of his new title regardless of result now. The Golden are still trying to cheer on Morgareth, but he is set to become third now. The Reds, however, are completely out of their minds. As Callidus crosses the finishing line first, a curse seems to be broken, and many Russata supporters shed tears of happiness.

Congratulations to factio Russata, Callidus and his sponsor, Primus Aurelius Tergestus.

1. Callidus
2. Damnator
3. Morgareth
4. Maximus was pushed against the walls

---
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Fri Nov 26, 2004 4:42 pm

As he slows and stops his team of horses, the grizzled veteran wipes the mud off his face with the back of his free hand.

The noises of the race, the creaking of the chariots, the horses' labored breathing, the shouting, the screaming in pain, all slowly fade. Something else fills his ears.

"Callidus! Callidus!", his own name is ringing in his ears. The veteran is still for a moment, and then he slowly raises his face toward the west. He sees the crowd and feels its power, focused, for the first time, on him.

So this is what it feels like

he thinks to himself.

His mind turns back from the present, and he once again relives all the dissapointments. All the victories missed by a hair, and all the eliminations in early rounds as well. In every case it was someone else who caught the glory, who felt the adulation of the crowd. He thinks of his old rival, the one who beat him in the finals so many times, and instinctively turns to look for Romulus before remembering that he was eliminated in an earlier round in these games. It would have been better to have faced him in this final, but the Fates did not permit it.

The veteran raises his arms toward heaven and gives thanks to the Gods. He also remembers his trainer who worked so patiently with him over the last months. They went to the provinces together to watch the young men, boys really, rally their horses in their unschooled way.

"See," said the trainer, "the ones that lose try to do everything. The ones that win are good at only one thing."

The lesson had been learned. The veteran had forgotten some of his skills in practicing just one. But he had become the very best at that.

Now, as he felt himself lifted up onto the shoulders of the shouting, crying fans, he thought to himself,

"All saw me and how I won these races. They too will learn. Could it be that this will be the last time?"
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