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Iron Pony 2019: The Barrel Weave

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The Barrel Weave

The field holds no secrets and presents its obstacles plainly. There was no inclement weather that allowed the cowardly to escape the challenge with a convenient excuse. No uneven, hilly territory to foster sudden injury nor some hidden danger to prepare against. Ten barrels of varying colors yet of the same size would be the only competition they would have to face. If only it was that easy, for this was the Iron Pony and easy was not one of the words chosen to describe the event. A single stallion, smaller in stature than others but with stout legs and sharp eyes, hoofs the ground expectantly. Around him, a mixture of long and beaten faces mix with a smattering of fresh and hopeful smiles, all of them looking on eagerly as the stallion prepares to tackle the barrel weave. He snorts and hoofs the ground again as above him, a single pegasus counts down. Just as he becomes aware of anything more than the course bare in front, the Pegasus blows a whistle and a mixture of instinct and training kicks in.

The Barrel Weave has begun. As the ponies ravishly watch his every fevered push forward, other ponies wander up to the sign in. It's simple, asking for only one's name with a reminder of the rules.

- Coming into contact with a barrel will incur a five second penalty. This can be stacked.

- Falling down will incur a five second penalty. This cannot be stacked.

- Knocking a barrel over will result in a DQ.

- Using magic will result in a DQ.

- Flying or the use of wings will result in a DQ.

- Tampering with the playing field will result in a DQ.

As the list ends, an audible gasp as the over-excited stallion trips over himself right in front of the finish line. Many heads shake as he sheepishly pulls himself back up and gallops across.

"Who's next!?"

The Barrel Weave Rules

1- A single timed attempt per participant.

2- A participant gets one post for submission.

3- A player may have as many participants as he or she desires, but only one attempt per participant.

4- In order to ensure that as many can play as possible, it is possible to have multiple participants attempting the Barrel Weave at the same time, up to a maximum of six as there will be six courses.

5- After you have finished, you may continue to post in the thread. However, I ask that you refrain from interacting with ponies who are in the middle of their attempt.


Every attempt will be graded. The following factors will be taken into account when an attempt is graded:

Post Competency- Spelling, grammar, and the overall structure of the posts in the attempt. A post that is almost unreadable becomes an obstacle for all of us- and one that is perhaps too hard to weave around! This is vital and will be treated as such. However, it is listed first as it is perhaps the least important of the three factors being graded.

Post Quality- Length, word usage, and general contribution to the flow of the thread of the posts in the attempt. A post that is too short or too long, that either lacks any flavor in text or seems greatly strained to appear more than it is, will be graded somewhat worse. The flow is vital and helping make this a fun, active, and quality roleplay. This is important, but is still not the most important factor that shall be graded.

Post Creativity- The actual story and character content of the posts in the attempt. There may only be a small handful of ways to tackle this challenge, but that doesn't mean you can't explore them all. How does your character react to the course? What's the strategy? What's the pony thinking? How fun and entertaining, or how exciting and enthralling, is your post? This is the most important part of the grade.

Every post will be graded out of five in each one of these categories, then added together and divided to determine who won. This will be reflected not as an accurate final number, but in the time posted.

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Submitted for Judging

Feng Banner.png


Not for the first time, Fēng Yīnhǎitāo was grateful that showers had been provided for the athletes at the Iron pony.  Of course, 'showers' often meant a bucket brigade and a laundry tub, but that just reminded him of his foalhood.  Ponyville might be growing into a bustling hub, but it was still a small country town at heart.  Still, Feng had acquired enough big-city sophistication to not want any mud to linger on his scales after being pulled into the tug-of-war pit.


That all taken care of, he arrived at the barrel weave's starting line with no small amount of confidence, perhaps a bit of a cockiness too, in his strut.  All his years of martial arts training as a longma Imperial Watcher had given him a level of bodily control on top of his natural agility that had served him well through many events, and this was going to be a perfect fit for his talents.  *Just gotta remember to keep my wings folded.  Don't want to accidentally brush a barrel, or get hit with a DQ.*  It would just be the sort of thing his hometown would expect, wouldn't it, for someone of his family; all that preparation for a spectacular failure-


*NO!  NONE OF THAT.*  He grit his teeth, his earlier, easy confidence draining away as he tried to shout down his own doubts within his head.  Closing his eyes, he took a deep, meditative breath.  *Don't think about them.  Think of the Empress.  Remember her charge to you to bring glory and honor to her country's name.  Keep her confidence in you in the front of your mind.  Remember her smile, and know you shall summon it forth again*  He wondered if Yu Yue knew how often she had saved him from being swallowed by his own sense of self-doubt and anxiety; it was one of the reasons he was so obsessively devoted to her.


She had done her job once again, it seemed, as by the time the start of his run was flagged, he was able to regain his easy, confident gait as he sprinted forward, banking into each turn as if he were going on an easy flight.  The key was balance, as the difficulty of the event came from having to shift one's weight back and forth so many times.  It was a deceptively hard task for a quadruped, but Feng was making it look easy... for the first six barrels.


The seventh turn he made was a bit too outside, and he knew it halfway through.  His momentum was too high to easily run back without either losing time or knocking into a barrel.  But Feng wasn't one to accept a bad dichotomy, not when he could show off by picking the third, crazy option.  At the outer edge of his turn, he sharply banked back to the left and drifted, planting all four hooves flat and casting a cloud of dust in his wake as he made the turn on momentum alone, before kicking off around the eighth barrel, the balance in his run restored.  It was the sort of move only a supremely confident, and none too heavy, pony could take, and fortunately Feng was both.


The cloud hadn't dissipated fully by the time he reached the finish line, which caused him to cough as he stopped to catch his breath.  Clearing his throat, after a second, he called out to the cheering crowd, "That one's for you, Yue!"  The mere words would have merely seemed to most like an idle dedication of an athlete in the spotlight, taking on the mantle of 'humility.'  But for the longma stallion, he really meant it; if it were not for her and the chance she (or her Watchers) had given him, he could not have hoped for anything like success or glory.  Whatever he won at the Iron Pony was to be laid, gratefully, at her hooves.

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*post submitted for judging*


Well then, he hadn’t expected to find another obstacle course easier than the first one, though he supposed they would have to have it for those that couldn’t handle the other one.


All in all, Nensho was pretty confident in his ability to run this course after watching Feng’s attempt. The disguised yokai got up to his line, eyeing the gap between the barrels and formulating his strategy. He may not care if he actually won, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try. 


Soon enough, the flag was waived, and he shot off diagonally. He spun around as he went, letting his momentum carry him into position before he jumped forward, sailing between the barrels and spinning again to do it through the next gap. Between the zig-zag pattern and the wind rushing through his fur, he got into a rhythm and payed less attention to the actual track. 


Reality came back in a rush though, especially as he almost rammed face first into a barrel. The forceful stop raised his rear into the air and left him standing on just the front two legs momentarily before he managed to hop to the side and let his back legs back down. Thankfully, that had been the the last barrel, so he crossed the finish line and had a good laugh at himself. Wow, that had been a close one. 

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*post submitted for judging*


The King of the Changlings did indeed incur a few curious stares as he made his way to the start line of the barrel weave. He'd gotten fairly used to the attention by now as he's been visiting Ponyville frequently enough as of late. Spike, Pinkie, and many others had been gracious in showing him the ropes of pony life and he'd come to make quite a few friends and enjoy his stays in town. This visit was... how did Pinkie put it? Hmmm, ah yes!... 'especially special', as the Iron Pony competition was taking place. And what's more, he'd decided to join in the games!


After looking over what was available he could think of no better option than the barrel weave. He just couldn't see himself gorging on cupcakes or being pulled into a mud pit but he could certainly run. And if running around barrels was all there was to it, well then! This was certainly the event for him!


"Go get im' Thorax!" He heard one of his friends shout from the sideline. He so loved having friends! It gave him the best feelings of courage and hope! His energy soared as he eagerly took his place.


"Three, two, one, go!" A pony charged with clocking the event gave the changling the go ahead and off he went.


Thorax's body had changed dramatically and he still couldn't get over his leg agile legs! He felt as graceful as a deer every time and ran! Grace would certainly be needed to clear all the barrels effectively. The King was upon the first barrel quickly, avoiding it with the delicate hoof steps of a dancer while at the same time maneuvering with high speed. On to the second, third, and fourth barrel! He tore by them in rapid succession, his light steps hardly even kicking up dust.


He wanted to laugh out loud from sheer enjoyment which caused the king to falter for a moment at the half way point. He hadn't judged the distance very well on the blue barrel that was now right in front of him. It was all he could do to control himself to not open his wings and fly over the obstacle! 


"Come on Thorax! You've got this!" He spoke to himself in his head, helping him keep his confidence. 


The changling king reared up on his hind legs just enough to keep his front hooves from touching the barrel. He swiveled to the side and then used his hind legs to launch himself forward. Within a couple of strides a regained himself and was onto the task of the next few weaves. 


In and out, around and through! He was breathing hard now and he couldn't help the smile on his muzzle. This was serious competition but it was also really a fun experience for him! 


Around the ninth he went and towards the last one! On Thorax charged, thrilled by the sounds of the crowd cheering him on! The tenth barrel was soon behind him and the changling slowed to a trot. He may not have been the swiftest runner but Thorax certainly was graceful!


He waved to the crowd as they cheered for him, soaking in the joy and kindness around him.


"This is wonderful!" He proclaimed to nopony in particular. Few ponies could know the gratitude  the changling felt in his heart for the magic of friendship!

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First results went up with applause for such great runs!

Feng: 19.3 seconds
Nensho: 20.8 seconds
Thorax: 19.6 seconds

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*Post submitted for Judging*


It felt great to have all that muck and pie off of her after that doozy of an obstacle course. She'd hoped to have just come out of it with mud on her, but thanks to her allergies she ended up with pie on her face too. One tablet and shower later and Tokkuri was ready to continue on with these festive trials. Hm... The barrel weave. She remembered doing things like this when she was younger as part of her fitness training. The set she'd been trained with back home used flags instead of Barrels. Getting around those was surely easier than these sizable barrels.  At first she was starting to doubt herself, but seeing how swiftly Nensho made his way through pushed them to the back of her mind. He wouldn't want her giving up in this competition because some sealed casks spooked her!

As she concocted her approach to the course she let her eyes wander over to the cheering audience. Huh, seems that Feng's personal cheerleader was still there for his run. It was oddly cute seeing someone so eagerly cheering on a friend like that. She couldn't help but notice how the orange maned kirin seemed to lose some energy once that fellow eastern competitor finished off and yelled out that his run was for somepony named 'Yue'. Oh-ho! She could smell tension in a relationship a mile away and whatever story was behind was sure to be spicy.  

Nensho's run was more or less how she would have taken the course. Hoping not to look like she was trying to copy her friend, Toboe  decided on a less flashy version of what he'd tried (with no spinning). She got down low and just as the flag waved she jumped  forward to one side of a barrel, weaving between each one with a diagonal jump while keeping her eyes ahead and steady. It was almost like she was bouncing between the barrels. Her agility training over the years had paid off. the only close call she was having on the way was her tail just nearly brushing across the surface of the barrel at the opposite end. The kirin whipped around and repeated the process smoothly back to the finish line , panting softly  as she finished.

There were exuberant cheers from the crowd, which Tokkuri  offered a simple bow to before making her way over to Nensho at the finish line and offering him a high hoof. "Great run, Nensho-Kun! Hope mine wasn't too similar!"


Edited by Pretzelparty
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Tokkuri's run came to an end, and plenty were impressed as she finished with a pretty dang respectable final score!

Tokkuri: 20.1 seconds

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