The Crownless Cup: Opening Ceremonies
The Crownless Cup is upon us! This is a ceremonial scene which will then move into an open social. Highlights will include introducing the fighters (as a group) and the tournament sponsors and organizers, and is otherwise a low-commitment scene which will go on as long as people continue to socialize.
The tourney grounds of Shibuya are admittedly somewhat rustic compared to the fighting rings of larger cities, or of lands dedicated to the dueling arts. A great deal of obvious effort has been made to make everything look good though. The decorations are top-notch, the grounds are generously spacious, and the stands for the crowds are sturdy and comfortable even if they lack the private booths one might normally expect for visiting VIPs. The air is full of festive spirit, the crowds cheerful and likely at least a little rowdy, considering the martial nature of the competition to come. Food and drink is in abundance considering the time of year, and the vendors are doing brisk trade in all sorts of merchandise.
When the moment seems right to make her appearance, Fuka steps forth onto a podium, elevating herself so others can see her over the crowd. She?s wearing something a bit different. It looks like the formalwear of an Eastal noblewoman, a long and rather clingy dress of Eastal green that?s not at all like the coat and armour she normally wears. To the observant eye it?s even more than that. The fabric seems to cling, and yet she strides boldly in it, somehow not tripping herself in the dress despite her dangerously-long steps. As if the fabric of the dress, rather than being silk or velvet of the Lander nobility, is something ... more. Something new to Yamato. Something that brings to mind the term elastic.
"Good evening one and all!" Fuka calls out, her magic-amplified voice carrying through the crowd and bringing the murmurs of conversation to a halt. "Welcome to Shibuya, welcome to the Crownless Cup! Many of you are here to enjoy an exhibition of strength, of skill, a competition of strategy and might. Some of you are here to BE that exhibition! I hope many fine stories of burning passion, beautiful skill, and blind luck are born here in the days to follow. I hope to tell some of them myself!"
Instead, she lingers to watch, keeping to herself for the time being.
As Fukaziroh speaks, standing behind her as one of the representatives of the New World Alliance, wearing his most formal of Lizard wear as he listens closely to the words being said. Arms crossed infront of him as he looks out at the crowd of people, perhaps a little intimidating. Still though, he is more focused on the situation ahead of him, as he will be facing off against one of the other alliance representatives in just a matter of time. Still though its not like he is up there giving a speech.
Shibuya - Main Square
"The Crownless Cup is many things. A competition, certainly. A spectacle. To me however, what sets this apart is what we stand for. Some of us wear crowns, as do some of our allies. But here and now, today, we are crownless. We stand together as equals!" Fuka calls out, voice strong and with a hint of fire to it. "War has been forced upon us, and everywhere we look, we?re reminded of the war. Shibuya itself was recently reconquered from the enemy, and it stands strong as a symbol of resistance and resilience. Looking forward however, I want it known that the Crownless Cup stands for our resolution as well. That we will not stop fighting until NO ONE is forced to wear a crown! We stand together with our crownless brethren and sistren, and we stand apart from those who would force servitude on others. Tomorrow we duel. After that we FIGHT!" she cries. "But tonight we celebrate being together among equals!"
She pauses, waiting for the crowd to cheer, to mutter, to shout agreement or disdain. Then she continues in a somewhat calmer tone, voice still carried by magic through the crowd. "The New World Alliance brings this tournament together for everyone, and we will be putting the profits from the tournament directly into the war effort. Celebrate here and now, relax and enjoy, knowing that this is a lull in the storm to come. Let this tournament stand as a symbol, both for our friends and our enemies, and let no one be forgotten!"
With that, Fuka gestures to the crowd. "You're not here for me and my speeches though!" she grins impishly with self-awareness. "I'm just a hostess, and not what you're here for! I want to hear from you all as well! First, I'd like to introduce a purrson of feline character, skill and wit, my co-host Nyanta! I imagine he has a few things to add!"
When she finishes speaking, Fuka starts to make her way towards the crowd, though not to join Nyanta. There are others who deserve a chance to speak about the tournament and possibly the war. Her co-host can take the focus for a time now, but soon it will be the turn of everyone else. This tournament is, after all, about equals.
Attention now cuts to Nyanta, who is dressed in a full suit, complete with tophat and red corsage. He is currently in the stands with a contraption that looks suspiciously like, but is not exactly, a microphone. "Thank you for that purrfect introduction, Fuka. I shall do my best to meet your expectations, nya."
He gives a bow, letting his trademark smile fade as his face becomes very serious, taking his top hat off and bringing it to his breast, "Freedom is at the heart of what makes us adventurers, nya. In every record one can find on adventurers, one will always see the stereotype of the free spirit desiring not to be tied down. Be that known, it is with a heavy heart that I cast my thoughts to those adventurers still in the Palace Lands, shackled as they are."
"This Tournament, the Crownless Cup, is an event to celebrate the Freedom possessed by all those in attendance, and we look to our future, in hopes that all, adventurer or lander alike, should eschew bondage, no meowter the form. As each duelist fights, know that they have CHOSEN to be here, to wield their sword or bow or staff for their own purposes, exhibiting the Freedom that this event represents."
Nyanta shifts tone quickly, giving a smile to the audience which presents his best fang, "The Crownless Cup is an event that took many working together in order for it to be held to day. With that in mind?" While the auto-translater does perfectly translate the meaning of the message to those non-japanese speakers, "This program is brought to you by the following sponsors," those native to Japan have been hearing the following statement from their television from the first time they witnessed one. (Kono bangumi wa goran no suponsaa no teikyou de okurishimasu!)
"Chainmail Bikini +1: Why settle for basic when you can have it +1?"
"Pelapuff Cafe: Where Sweets are MAID."
"Atelier Nox: An ENCHANTING place for jewelry, rings, and more."
"The Land of Eas: the Cultural Heart of Yamato."
"Always Faithful Arms: who provided arms and armor for the tournament."
Nyanta's fang catches the light of the setting sun perfectly, "But aside from our sponsors, many Tournament Goers are here to suppurrt our duelists today, nya! Everyone has their reasons for being here, whether it is to suppurrt the war effort, to suppurrt a specific duelist, or even just to have a good time, nya!"
Nyanta turns to one of the attendees and holds the makeshift microphone-like technology up to Goldenblade, one of the adventurers in the crowd, and asks, "What brings YOU to the Crownless Cup, Nya? And what does the Crownless Cup mean to you, nya?"
She ignores the microphone-like things, speaks loudly, used to addressing people outdoors unaided by a public address system, shouting across a construction site is not to different than making herself heard here. She's a Legend, she needs no PA system in any event. "People of Yamato and the Palace Lands," she calls out in a crisp, clear voice. "I am here today to celebrate the unity of purpose that has brought us together. Villains beset us from all quarters, but we stand tall and overcome them. Many of us are strong, and so we can all grow stronger, we train and practice every day!"
"The Crownless Cup is a statement that we will not buckle under the oppressive heel of -anyone-! We are strong, we can overcome anything. And at the end of the Tournament, we will crown a champion who has overcome the strongest that can stand against them and has provem their strength before all, to defeat the forces of evil wherevre they lurk."
"No way, buddy." She crouches next to the cat, ruffling his big ears. "You know me, I'm not exactly the spot-light sort of person." There is no way Mikage is going to volunteer, so someone may have to corner her into making a statement if it comes to that. For right now, she just remains in the shadows of the bleachers, content to watch everyone else enjoy the festivities.
As Fukaziroh steps away from the podium Rizadoman would intercept her merging into the group, "Good job out there, well said." His head swivels to track Nyanta and Goldenblade but continues to speak to Fukaziroh, "So when will the traditional show of strength begin, followed by of course the traditional sacrifices sanctifying this land on which the battles for championship will be had." Somewhere in the back of Rizadoman's mind he has memories of being a young hatchling and witnessing such things.
"I know the traditional thing to do now is to introduce the fighters." Fukaziroh observes, her slightly shrill voice making its way up from somewhere in the crowd. Given she's quite a bit shorter than the average person present and she's not on the podium any more, she's most likely heard and not seen by most present. "Those who know me know I'm not exactly traditional though! So I think we have the fighters introduce themselves!" she calls out, pitching her voice to cue the crowd to react, presumably with cheers and encouragement.
Rather more quietly, she addresses Rizadoman, grinning. "The traditional show of strength? Any moment now! But the only thing I'm planning on sacrificing is grilled cluck cluck! And speaking of show of strength..." she grins wickedly.
She abruptly bellows, her voice clearly a shout and not the carrying voice of a trained speaker. "We have here Rizadoman! A fierce warrior I've fought beside a number of times, and I'm sure he's here to compete! Riz'daman, what say you? Why are you here?!" she asks, then uses her lack of height to slip away, cackling merrily and searching for her next victim.
Rizadoman staands there for a moment blinking at Fukaziroh as he processes what is going on, it takes a few moments but he figures out what is meant.
Stepping forward as he bellows for all to hear, "SHIBUYA! HEAR ME! As has been said, I am Rizadoman of the Moon Tree Guild. I come here today to test my strength. The strength that I will need to use to free those who have been unjustly imprisoned within their own bodies. I look forward to using all of my strength in the upcoming competition against my fellow guild repressentativve Shiruba and promise her a lack of mercy only to honor her strength. I hope you will all come out that day and enjoy the event. Today we fight for honor, tomorrow we shall fight for FREEDOM!"
Rizadoman finishes his speech but before he finishes up he throws his head back and a pillar of fire erupts from his jaw into the air, a truly spectactular display for all.
Goldenblade shrugs to Nyanta's comment, shakes her head. "I can fight monsters. But fighting other players, there's a knack for it I lack, I think. Maybe my heart's not in it, or I dunno, but I've got things I need to get done, so I wouldn't be able to focus on the tournament anyhow. I'm still working out how to generate electricity. I feel like I'm close, now, but I've been working at it for almost /a year/ and nothing yet." She sighs. Has it been that long? "But I can't give up on my goal, can I? You taught me that also."
Fuka couldn't have asked for a better self-introduction than Rizadoman's. It was a spectacle, it was energetic, and it called other fighters out! Every bit what she was hoping for but couldn't demand. And she got away unscathed! Now, who to pick on next. Shiruba... well, Shiruba got called out. Maybe Fuka will have to go visit her later and encourage her, but maybe not. Instead the little sylph spots another wallflower and homes in with all the instincts of an extrovert who loves to see introverts get excited over things they love.
"I absolutely love your lynx." Fuka says in a voice not meant to carry, appearing near Mikage and Rama. Her expression is sincere, the rapt look of a true animal lover who would happily lose fingers to a fierce murderfloof, but she keeps her distance, for now. "Sorry about this." she adds.
Then she bellows once again. "I see a former champion, here to... well? What are YOU here for! Everybody wants to know!" she cries, drawing many eyes to where the voice comes from, which of course means a whole lot of people suddenly looking at Mikage.
"Uh..." The magical microphone gives back one of those awkward blasts of feedback, as if just being in the physical proximity of someone who struggles with public speaking. Mikage is not someone with the charisma to stir armies or light a fire in the hearts of the pepole. However, what she does have, is a genuine and soft-spoken nature that may resonate with some.
Rama nudges against her legs.
"We... The one thing I treasure most is freedom. Freedom for each of us to be who we are, our best selves." She starts quietly. "Freedom to experience everything this new life has to offer to us. Freedom to live. To love." She takes a sort of unsteady breath, obviously nervous. "This was taken from our fellow Adventurers in the Palace Lands. The stronger we become, the better our chance to give them that chance."
Then, uncertainly, she asks, "Is... that okay?"
Asuna is not far from Soujiro. And nobody told her she'd have to introduce herself. Sure, the Flash isn't intimidated, but she didn't prepare anything for this kinda thing. Having Yui in her lap, though, she is pretty laid back. She knows she has her friends and her daughter in her corner, so it won't matter, anyway!
Still, Asuna tries to think of something. What she fights for is pretty simple. Nothing cool or anything. At least not to her.
"Do you talk next?" the little Lander girl asks curiously. Asuna... isn't really sure about that, actually. Maybe if she just stays put they'll forget about her! Wouldn't that be a shame?
The roaring finally dies down.
"I like combat," Soujiro says to his catte friend, "it is fun and one of the things I am good at. When I see all these fighters assembled here today I can't but think 'This is really cool. We all found this thing that we like and can share it with each other and with everyone else in the stands'." There is a pause as he looks over to Asuna and to Yui, "And they can see that hone this craft of ours day in and day out so that they can feel safe." He looks back to Nyanta, "And that is why I fight here in this tournament and all other days. So when I am out there, watch me, I'm fighting for you!" Sparkleessssss~
No such luck.
Instead, she just seems to try to sink further back into the shadows around the bleachers. Rama sits in front of her though, as if he were her small, fluffy guardian. Protecting his mistress from the evil that is... social interaction.
Fuka's grin is fierce yet sincere as she flashes a thumbs up at Mikage. Sure, words could express her pleasure in the warrior's words, but sometimes there's just no need. It was perfect, all the more so for being sincere and unique. Besides, any words she might say would be lost in the noise right now... and if she were to move closer, she's not sure she won't be mauled. Whether by Rama or Mikage, she's not sure.
It's certainly easy for Fuka to make her way through the crowd, even wearing the clingy green dress. Really, it's wonderful. And speaking of the dress, well, she spots someone she needs to embarass!
Gwen might notice her approach but she'll CERTAINLY hear Fuka's voice bellow out as the little sylph steps up onto a nearby platform to show herself. "And BY THE WAY EVERYONE, the maker of this unique and lovely outfit is RIGHT HERE, and she's a competitor too! If you want a piece of her, I can't blame you! Gwen, say a few words!" she calls out, having activated her vocal enchantment once again. Sure, it's a drain on air mana, but she's just about done official duties so why not use it to embarass a friend further?
Asuna may smell like fear, but she is actually ready for her turn. When the moment comes, she remembers her training. She rises, gently setting Yui in their seat. Breath in. Breath out. Eyes narrow.
"A samurai is a blade," she begins calmly. "We begin as raw materials: iron sands and charcoal. Our training, like the first flames of a forge turn us into Tamahagane. But we are not shaped by a hammer. We are molded by the intensity of battle. Each time we lock wills with an opponent, we fold ourselves into something new. We remove impurities and become stronger. It is for this purpose that I am here. To become better than I am."
She turns her eyes to look at her daughter, her expression suddenly gentle. She will then look back to Nyanta. "And further, I do this for my child, so that she can know that conflict can be healthy. That we must sometimes face things that we fear. That is the only way to be brave. I look forward to learning from all of my opponents." She punctuates this with a deep bow, then returns to her seat, putting Yui back in her lap.
Asuna gives Nyanta a look for putting her daughter on the spot. There may be words about that later. And yes, the little Lander is quite shy. But she wants to be brave, too. So she sits up and answers as clearly as she can.
"I'm here to see people duel! I want to be a samurai someday, too! I'll compete someday."
Asuna really hopes not! She'd have a heart attack. She has years to work on that, though. Somehow she has to convince Yui that working in Pela's cafe would be the best possible career. Free cake for life!
Rizadoman has made his own way to the back of the crowd, the benefit of being a rather tall lizardman is he can watch over most peoples heads. He still has this unreadable face of sterness a she lsitens to everyone telll why they will fight. Beneath the mask of sternness the lizardman is rather happy, these fights will be really good.
"Glad to be here Fuka, why am I in the tournament? It's a chance to show off to everyone that combat can be an art as tournament fighting is as much for the audiance as it is the fighters. It's our job to give all of you wonderful viewers a show you will not forget!"
Given that Fuka for once isn't wearing heavy armour, she's pretty easy to pick up, especially for someone like Gwen. She squirms, laughs, but her protests and struggles are no more than token. Somehow, and possibly by accident, she manages to maintain at least a modicum of decency despite wearing a clingy dress and being womanhandled by an amazonian sylph. Fuka does cling though, not wanting to be dropped. "Hey, you can show off ALL your art now!" Fuka insists, possibly meaning how she's being held up to the public. Or maybe she means fighting. Honestly it's hard to tell just what Fuka means sometimes.
"That I can all of it to everyone who comes and see the matches and I look forward to giving them a good time from that!" She's beaming but as she does so she's walking towards Stx with Fuka on her shoulder it seems she thinks it time for Syx to get his own promo. The man is a wrestler he needs to get this even she knows that much from watching it rarely with her dad back in the day.
He continues to hold onto the mic as he turns and points out into the crowd, "But I'm here for each of you, you deserve a champion who you can be proud of, and I intend to be that champion!" No doubt the crowd reaction will be a bit mixed, because Syx IS, well, Syx.
With the excitement over the donkey, Asuna realizes it is about time for little one's to sleep. She fears she'll have to deal with protest, but Yui is blinking a bit sleepily. She scoops up her little girl and explains, "It's time to get to bed for us. Hm. After a snack, maybe." Pela's treats! Their siren call is impossible to resist. And Asuna may do some window shopping nearby. Atelier Nox is very much on her mind. For. You know. Reasons.
Disappearing from the action, she makes her way off to find a treat and then get to their beds. Her duel is tomorrow, so she's got to be ready.