Can you say how the example makes sense at all unless there are pursuing gnolls, a cave, Harguld, already in the fiction? I felt the example of being on Pluto to be apt. The scope for legitimate declarations is broad, yet there's enough in the fiction that players would be able to reject nonsensical declarations. Likewise, Dro said something fitting. Had Dro not said something fitting, the declaration per Reaching could have been rejected.@pemerton's noting the timing of when the fiction comes up about the character's excessive cunning is pretty on the mark. Yes, there's a the possibility of an objection from the table based on fictional position, but no fiction DROVE it. I don't buy that the situation was already inherent in the scenario and its description was just latent. These facts appear IMHO to be fiction generated de novo in response to the player's use of the mechanics. It seems like pretty classical gamist play to me!
The fiction - pursuing gnolls etc - resulted in the situation in which there was a tie and it made sense that Harguld was too cunning for his own good. I do take your point about latency, but isn't that just a question of immediacy? Can the player recycle the same declaration in every situation (every time they want to use Cunning against themselves), and say that it's always legitimate because it's only driven by the mechanics?