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At The Fox Hunts

Late one night, as I'm sitting at a desk in Enigma Hall working on my papers, I hear the call that the Buyan Stable doors are opening for the Foxhunt! Sighing a the amount of work I have yet to accomplish, I resolve to finish just a little bit more before I succumb to the excitement of the hunts. After all, I can just wait for the warning call and dash over at the last second. Having checked the schedules outside the Stables, I know that tonight's matches will be randomly selected teams and so there's no need to find friends to go with thankfully. Finding a team can be more trouble than its worth if you ask me.

It inevitably seems not but a few short minutes later that the 5 minute warning is sounded. I'm almost done reviewing this application, so I decide to finish up and aim to leave in about two minutes.Seconds later, the announcement is that the doors are closed. That last five minutes always passes so much quicker than I think it will. With a mild curse, I tuck my papers away and begin my mad dash to the stables. Fortunately I can use my connection to the Muse Circle to make it straight to Buya, and then the stables are right near the East gate. Two spells and I'm at the East Gate, running like mad to try and make the doors. I can hear Brea yelling "RUN!!!." She's one of the nice ones, who knows that some of us wait until the last moment to arrive. Fortunately she has held the doors for an extra minute and I slip inside just in time to hear her lock them from the outside.

Standing in the large empty space of the League Hall, I speak to the gentleman about entering the Foxhunts. He asks me the same questions, making sure I understand and submit to the rules and regulations set forth by the Foxhunt division. I rush through his questions and offer my 1,000 gold for the entrance fee. A flash of light and I'm now standing in the Foxhunt pens, which are teeming with players anxious to begin tonight's matches. It is always unnaturally quiet in the pens, as anything louder than a whisper is swept away by a strange wind. I wave furiously to a friend I see, and kiss a few others on the cheek. With luck, I'll end up on a team with at least one of them.

The host makes the traditional announcements with the quick efficiency that only comes from experience, and tells us that tonight's matches will be best 4 out of 7, with the teams decided at random by the host. Now the waiting game begins. With only two hosts, there will have to be multiple matches played successively in each arena. I close my eyes and hope for a first-round pic since after all, I have work I should be doing. Without warning, I'm transported to Stone arena and dyed black. A stroke of luck, as this arena with its small statues is one of the easier to navigate my horse through. As the other members of my team arrive, we form a group so that we can discuss strategy. A few teammates yell taunts at the other team while we wait for the host to arrive and release the horses.

We mount up and take our places against our respective walls, white on the eastern wall and black on the western side. Thankfully someone else volunteered to be the captain. I really wasn't in the mood to be trying to run away from anyone tonight, I'm here for the chase. The host gives the order for the captains to summon their foxes. Once both foxes have arrived in the arena, the countdown begins: 3...2...1... GO!

Both teams surge into the center of the arena, craning their necks to find the opposing team's captain in the chaos. My eyes catch a glimpse of the white fox trailing behind the captain and I dash off to try and cut off his escape, my teammates trailing behind me. Just as I think we're about to close in and trap the captain and his fox, the announcement comes: "Black team's fox has stood still too long. Good job White." We've lost the first round.

Returning to our corners, we frantically try and organize our offense through our group chat. We decide to use the age-old strategy of two chasers trying to cut-off the captain, with the rest chasing directly behind, in hopes of increasing our chances. As the round starts, we once more advance into the area. This time we're successful, and within moments the white fox is trapped in the corner, surrounded by the mounted members of the black team. Using our new (old) strategy, we quickly take the next two rounds as well. As soon as the game point is won, the players begin dismounting. Black team is all smiles, congratulating each other on our win while the white team is a little unhappy, and a few remarks are made as to where the fault resides for the loss.

Brea shouts "Shoo Horse!," sending the horses back to the stables. She also mutters something to the league NPC, and the white team is transported back to their homes, still wearing the colors of their losing teams. We the members of the winning team are taken back to the league hall, where we wait for the doors to the winner's hall to be opened. There, another NPC offers us our pick of the League Crackerjack, the small prizes offered for winning the Foxhunt. Prize in hand, our team colors are bleached from our armors and we are also transported home. Our legends now bear witness to our victory.