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Ser Severin and the Sinister Gambling Emporium presents:

The Handicapper's Guide to The Fall Crown Tournament AS XXXVI

Look at the size of this list! Yee gads, I can't possibly handicap all these cats, so I'm going to give you something The Quarter (the worthy publication that accepts my submission) is famous for — the Top Ten List! There are twenty-three, yes that's 23 entrants in Crown this time around. I know for the West kingdom that's just the divisional semifinal, but here in the good old land of three seas, that's a lot.

The Finalists

I. Sir Ardion Dorchester, called the Iron Tower • Odds: 5 to 2

What would the world be with Ardion as king? As scary as that prospect may be, I foresee such a future. His nonchalance hides a very competitive streak, and accompanying that with a nasty mean streak, and a bruising right arm, the Iron Tower will stand like a mighty barber pole at the end of the day.

II. Sir Yoan Moon Yang • Odds: 5 to 1

What does this guy have to do to get a title? Being a Buffalo Bills fan, I feel his pain. You've got to love a guy that can whip the crap out of giant guys all day, then go to court wearing a Witch Hazel hat. Mad props to our local Chan, but runner-up fever will take him down again, although the larger list will favor his supernatural stamina.

The Semi-Finalists

III. Sir Roland de Carre • Odds: 7 to 1

Ah, the Siege Glorious, being chosen for third place. So long as I've handicapped this tournament, my third place choice has won the Crown. Sir Roland has been chosen third in the past, and had to remove himself due to family obligations. Would he have won that time? Only Jupiter knows, but we'll see if this strange streak continues, since our timeless warrior will drive his way into the semifinals, maybe more. Doesn't he remind you of the ancient knight guarding the grail in inIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadela, old enough for you to think you can take him, tough enough to make you regret trying.

IV. Sir Kurn O'Farrell • Odds: 10 to 1

Kurn is as deadly on the field as he is goofy off of it, and that might be one of his advantages; possibly his opponents don't take him as seriously as they ought to, and they've paid for it in the past, and will again. He is faster every time I watch him fight, and is much more competitive than you might think, and pretty bloodthirsty for a sissy vegetarian. Look for him in the semifinals. The Quarter-Finalists

V. Jarl Stromek Bo Comatan • Odds: 12 to 1

Big and strong as ever, but once again the Red Oak's mightiest will come up short in this season's version of Knight Club (iuThe first rule of Knight club is never talk about Knight Club. The second rule of Knight Club–) Not that you'd want to be in front of any of his colossal shots, and that might be the key to beating him; the fear of him hitting you (I know that's how I beat Bytor in Crown all those years ago, pure dread).

VI. Earl Gunnar Oxnemegin • Odds: 15 to 1

Little known fact in the kingdom is that Gunnar is giving Roland a run for the title of oldest tough guy on the field, due to the youthful deportment he has on the field. This might give him the impetus he needs to push him far into this list, especially with a chance to follow his good friend Martin on the throne, but although I think the lady he is fighting for is sweet and elegant, he would be further inspired by his true love, and that may cost him the edge required.

VII. Judah shel Shoshanim • Odds: 17 to 1

Sure, once I learn your damn name, you go and change it. Judah gets bigger every time I look at him (and especially fight him), and once he sticks to one he'll definitely make a name for himself both in and outside Trimaris. Close to my heart, Judah did a stellar job as the Champion of the Rose, and his on-field performance is as close to graceful as someone as brutal as he can be. If all his styles serve him as well as his weapon and shield, he may surprise the top contenders, but not me, because I see big things for him.

VIII. Earl Thomas the Incomplete, KSCA • Odds: 20 to 1

Thomas, though he's been here for a while, and even entered Crown before, is still somewhat of an enigma among Trimarians. Do yourself a favor; watch him fight, because you'll learn something, then talk to him after, because he's a really nice guy. The Western style will get him into the top 10, but local tradition will hold for now. Besides, it took a while for us to totally Trimarianize Martin, and Thomas still needs to pay some tuition at old TRU.

The Challengers

IX. Earl Treve Morningstar • Odds: 25 to 1

The purple Orc rides again, eh? Treve has been here before, but it seems he's favored the daintier weapons lately. Since I haven't personally seen him fight heavy for quite a while (although he's torn up the rapier circuit), I place this hard-swinging freak of nature out of the money. His was always a style of pure power, but it seems fencing has added some finesse to his repertoire. Either way, he'll be an interesting fight.

X. (Tie) Lord Killian the Bruce, Owen MacPherson, Lord Maximillian Von Wealde & Lord Bokalo Churis • Odds: 30 to 1

Ok, so I said I'd only pick 10, and ties are a cop-out, but I would feel guilty if one of these worthy gentlemen didn't at least get a mention in my guide. Each has an entirely different style, from Killian's guile to Bokalo's brawn, from Owen's determination to Max's prowess. Each of these men will do their ladies and their kingdom proud, and really, can you ask for anything more than that in Crown?

All odds given by Ser Severin and the Sinister Gambling Emporium are for entertainment purposes only. These are not to be used for gambling purposes. Seriously. Don't gamble, I mean it. Well, maybe gamble a little, but don't get carried away. At least don't gamble the gas money home. Oh, the hell with it, if you follow our guide, you can't lose — bet it all! Should you wish to be reimbursed, Johnny the Neck and Three-time Tommy are the refund department. And as always, if you gamble, gamble responsibly.

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