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Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:25 am    Post subject: The Thallisian Games Reply with quote Back to top

Welcome to the Thallisian Games! I am Jinex, and it is my pleasure to be your host. To the victor of these Games I will grant a single wish, and the title of Thallisian Champion. Whether a team or a single Hero, I will give them whatever they ask for, so long as it is within my power. No tricks, no traps, and no escape. Let the Games begin!

The Thallisian Games are one of the oldest tournaments in Ardania -- oldest, and most sinister. They first were held soon after the religious wars of Makkat the Mad. Since that time, the Games have taken place once every three years, in an arena built on the outskirts of the ruined city of Thallis. They are hosted by the mysterious person known as Jinex. Apparently a powerful magician, he has directed the tournament since its inception, three hundred years ago. Teams or solitary fighters enter the tournament, hoping to win the prize: a single wish, granted by Jinex. However, the risk is high. Many fighters die in the Games; some simply vanish. No-one is allowed to drop out; the arena is enchanted so that, once entered in the Games, participants must stay until the conclusion.
In the arena, anything goes. The most common way for a fighter to lose a fight is to lose his life. However, being incapacitated or out of the ring for ten seconds also results in a loss. Disputes are either settled by the herald or by Jinex himself. Each team or individual competes in a series of matches, until they reach the last match, where they are paired against the previous year's reigning Champions. The teams vary; like the fighting, anything goes. From Heroes to villains, from demons to ghosts, all fighters are welcomed. It is also traditional for a special "guest" to be invited; such invitations are refused at the risk of one's life.
Many rulers have tried to stop the Games, draining as it does the best Heroes from their realms, but to no avail. Apart from Jinex, several powerful parties have supported the Games over the centuries. Still, that has not kept the High King from declaring them outlaw, and putting a bounty on Jinex's head. To this day, however, the Games continue and the bounty goes uncollected.
~ Introduction to the Eastern Provinces, Chapter Two: The Ruins of Thallis
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It had been three years since the last Thallisian Games. The massive complex on the borders of Thallis was, for practical purposes, deserted. Although called simply "the Arena", the structure contained much more than the giant amphitheatre where the matches took place. The complex also contained lodgings for the spectators, barracks for the contestants, and the tall spire which dominated the structure, where dwelt the owner and his staff. There were also, so it was rumoured, miles of tunnels and vaults beneath the complex. No-one had ever seen them, however, except for Jinex. The entire complex (except possibly the subterranean section) was constructed of grey rock.
There was but one figure visible in the whole of that grey expanse. He stood in the centre of the amphitheatre, on the slab of black marble that denoted the ring. So polished was it that it gave a dark reflection of the man who stood upon it. He was slightly taller than the average human. His clothing was that of a noble; red velvet and black silk, but the doublet showed no device, the sable cape no design. His hands, long-fingered and delicate, were encased in supple gloves that reached to his elbows. His bearing was regal, his figure divine, but his face? It was fine-boned, and had doubtless once possessed a fine elegance. That elegance was now gone. Flames had seared it; the remaining skin was blackened and thin. A great scar began above his right eye, passed over the eyelid, and ended at the right corner of his mouth, giving his ruined lips a slight twist. His teeth, although otherwise normal, had been exposed nearly to the root, and so appeared long and unnatural. His eyes were a deep gold; his hair a dark purple. The piercing eyes, the luxuriant hair, and the fine clothes all made the disfigured face the more eldritch in appearance.
"Lord Jinex!" called a voice. The man with the ruined face turned as another figure came down through the stands towards him. She might, at first glance, be mistaken for a young woman. Her hair was white, but tow-heads were not uncommon in the East Provinces. Inspected more closely, however, the illusion was shattered. Her eyes were yellow, the pupils slitted. Her ears were pointed, like an Elf's, and what appeared at first to be pale skin was actually fine white fur. She was a nek'yu, a spirit cat, and she served as Chief Herald for the Games.
"Ah, Zither." Jinex's voice, like his eyes and hair, belied his face; still, under the light tone there was a trace of something disquieting. "What is it?"
"The Couriers have returned. The announcements have been posted, and the letters delivered to last year's champions and the guest team."
"Good." Jinex smiled. "This year should be particularly entertaining."
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Zither had just turned to leave when the gong at the great gates of the Arena sounded, its menacing note announcing the arrival of visitors. Zither spun on her heels and dashed off for the gate complex, which was aross the amphitheatre from the tower.

The gates did not lead directly to the amphitheatre. Rather, the gatehouse -- nearly a miniature fortress in size and style -- opened onto a narrow courtyard through three gates, one facing north, one south, and the third east. The courtyard itself was cordoned off from the outside world by a low wall, with tower-like monoliths at intervals that appeared, at first, as solid ghosts of the obelisks that surround a Temple of Krypta North the courtyard curved around to the chambers of the observers of the Games; south it curved towards the quarters of the participants. The east door, wider and grander than the other two to match the outer entrance, faced the west entrance of the amphitheatre. A double colonnade marched between the two doors, and stairs swept up on other side of the amphitheatre entrance to the galleries behind the stands.
This was not the only entrance into the main arena. There were east, north, and south entrances as well, giving easy access for participants, staff, and whatever members of the audience wanted a ring-side seat. In addition, there were steps descending the stands which led down to the pit -- and the stands, in turn, could be accessed from the tower, the guest quarters, or the fighters' barracks, as well as the outer courtyard.

So Jinex stood in the centre of the Arena, awaiting the arrival of his first guests -- or first victims. Judging from the sound of the gong, and from his knowledge of the creature's character, Jinex knew that this first arrival was Vorna Ambermane, self-styled Lord of the East Provinces and chieftain of the Ambermane Tribe of Minotaurs. Smarter than the average bestial specimen of his race, Vorna's bloodlust and monstrous ambition had carried him to victory in three previous Games. Utilizing the special abilities he received upon each of his victories, he had subjugated most of the Minotaurs of the East, and laid waste enough settlements of other races to make his claim to be Lord of the region more than a dead letter. Ruthless in and out of arena, none of his team-mates had survived from the previous years, having been used as sword fodder, so jinex was slightly curious to see who had with him this year. He did not have to wait.
"The Ambermane Tribe!" announced Zither, springly lithely through as the west doors swung on their enchanted hinges. "Come to watch their glorious leader and his team take the championship for the fourht year in a row!"
Jinex laughed silently at the motley sight of an entire herd of Minotaurs trying to squeeze in through the gate at once. As he anticipated, the jam was soon cleared. The herd erupted as Vorna psuhed his way through, using his massive, double-headed axe to cut down those too thick-skulled to stand aside. The death-cries of the unfortunates mingled with the triumphant bellows of the rest as the cheiftain came clear, followed by two others who must have been his team. One was an ancient Minotaur, with grey hair, a lame leg, a large satchel at the end of what might have been a sapling, and a body covered with deep-branded tattoos. The other was a tall, gaunt man in grey, with a hooded cloak and gloves of dark red, and a crossbow slung at his back. Impressive as the two no doubt were when considered alone, they were dwarfed by Vorna.
The Lord of the East Provinces was a creature of almost demonic proportions and appearance. His fur was electric blue, with white markings on his face and bare chest that resembled lightning or snakes. He was far larger than his kin, being twice as broad and several heads higher than the average Minotaur. His horns did not curve forward and down as did an ordinary Minotaur's; rather, they swept up and back, two feet in length and shining black. His kilt was made of cloth-of-gold, and bounded with a belt of bone and ligament from his victims.
This creature, followed by his two companions and the roars of his herd, stomped forward to the ring. As his hooves hit the marble, the rock cracked, sending black shards bounding around his thigh as he continued to advance to Jinex. His followers hung back, fearful of the flying stones, but Jinex remained motionless, still smiling.
"I have returned," rumbled the Minotaur, stopping at last to tower over Jinex.
"The pleasure is mine," replied Jinex. "Welcome to you and your tribe. I'm sure you will all find the Games most enthralling."
"With my strength?" snorted Vorna. "No-one is a challenge. The wish is all I desire. Why not grant it now, and save everyone the trouble?"
"It is the trouble, and not the wish, that are the Games' purpose." Jinex's smile widened into a rictus grin at the Minotaur's perplexity. "Don't worry about it, my Lord. Just pledge to the Games, and my attendants will show you to your rooms." A host of translucent spirits appeared as Jinex extended a gloved hand. The Minotaur cheiftain ignored them, despite the loveliness of several that appeared to be female, and crasped Jinex's hand. There was a flash, and the Ambermane Team was entered in the Games.
"Thank you, Lord Vorna," said Jinex. "Now, please, follow Fyra to your room." A female spirit, dressed in misty red, beckoned, and the three members of Ambermane's team set off for the barracks, while the rest of the minotaurs were escorted to the spectators' quarters.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Will the Spellcaster

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 PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

As the minotaurs were being led off, the gong sounded again, but this time not as loud or as low pitched. Zither was forced to make another dash for the gates where the next arrivals were soon to be beheld. As the gates opened, she jumped through (again) and shouted, “The Stellar Team, led by Will the Spellcaster, come to take the wish from the grasp of Lord Vorna!” As the team came through, there was a suprising letdown of noise. For while the Ambermane team came with many followers, the Stellar Team did not. The only people that came through the gates was a person dressed in the combined clothes of an Adept and a Wizard, a Monk, a Roc, a Priest with a pair of skeletons, a pair of vargs, a Ranger, a Soularus, and a Paladin. The team approached Jinex who greeted them. “Ah, I see that we have a new team, a team of Stellar importance, no? Come, let your followers go with my Fyora here and you can stay with me for a bit.” As Jinex spoke, another spirit came down and beckoned to the team. The wizard grasped Jinex’s hand, and stayed with him as the rest followed the spirit, with the Roc soaring overhead. “So where have you come from, my dear Spellcaster?” asked Jinex. “ We come from the city of Valmorgan,” answered the Wizard, “although the Roc is from the Plains between our home and Mayhew. Even the skeletons come from Valmorgan, although it was one of the graveyards nearby.” “ I must say,” exclaimed Jinex, as a smile appeared on his face,” it is rater odd to see a male Priestess in his own right, much less in company with a Monk and a Paladin. But I suppose one must expect things at a place such as this. Now come, it is time you get along, and look, Fyora is back. Follow her to your quarters, if you please.” And so, the wizard hobbled off, leaning on his gnarled staff for support. And the Stellar team was entered into the Games.

Last edited by Will the Spellcaster on Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Raistlin Archmagus

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 PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The bell rang for a third time, it's menacing tone seeming to dim. The next party to arrive was led by a dark skinned woman, her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, and a tall, broadshouldered warrior. He made it look as if they were jostling for the position at the front. But, looking closely at the woman, she seemed to be ignoring him. It was the look on his face that made the looker sense uneasyness.
Behind the first two ranged five others, their jobs varried. The paladin walked stiffly, head high and nostrils flared, as if the very stench of sin assaulted her delicate looking nose. Her armor was majestic, broadsword hanging at herside, hand ready to pull it out at any moment. That scum, the one who runs this absolutely sinful tournament - Jinex. She must purge Ardania of his evil, the first chance she got. Next to her, an Adept; one who walked steadfastly behind the Warrior. It was almost ironic, for an adept to be part of a group that seemed to be led by a Solari. Though, his allegience was undoubtedly to the man.
The other three seemed less divided; a Healer, a Ranger, and an elderly wizard; they seemed amiable enough, unbothered - perhaps amused by the display.
Arydia Seardark entered the Arena, followed by her party. "The Tigereye Team!" The purring voice of the feline creature announced them as they came to a halt before Jinex. She bowed to him, low enough to be sure that she could at least afford enough trust in this host to bare her neck for a moment. The others stood behind her, allowing Arydia to greet the man for them. Only Argoth, the warrior, and Trelan, the adept, shifted in annoyance.
"Lord Jinex," the darkly colored woman politely, rising from her bow. A mace swung from her hip, a shortsword balancing the other side. "Your patrons have invited us," she said. Her voice was quiet, but sure. "We've come see if you can truly grant any wish." She held out her hand to the Wizard, having gathered it's signifigance. Jinex smiled.
"Welcome to the Games."
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"I assure you," he said as the Solarus withdrew her hand, "I will grant you any wish within my power -- and my power is vast. Now, if you will follow my attendants, they will show you to your rooms." He gestured at the spirits, who drifted closer. Arydia nodded and allowed the spirits to lead her towards the contestants' chambers. There was some hesition amongst the other members of her team, but they finally fell in line, after the Paladin had given Jinex and the spirits a dark glare.

Those three teams were all the arrivals on the first day. The second day saw one entry: the Zaxerg Clan of Goblins, whose chieftain, the High Priest Zagijj, apparently thought the sheer numbers of his team -- or Clan -- would be sure to secure his victory despite the awesome stregth of the current Champion.
The third day dawned with the arrival of a Wizard, Iljar the Pyronian, accompanied by two Evil Oculi. The man, a renegade from his Guild, appeared to fancy himself a teratogenitor and an heir of the ancient master of the art Pyrog. Jinex stood the rest of the day without any more contestants arriving until the evening.
The gong rung a harsh note, as though struck by a metal even harder than itself. Zither, lounging about the front gate, quickly opened it to admit the newcomer.
"Zilmarrial, the Legendary Swordsman!"
"Ah," breathed Jinex. There in the gate stood a lone figure, shining against the dull grey of the Arena. The shine came from his mithril plate armour, which covered his slender body like a silver shell. His head was bare, however; his long was long and uncombed, breaking the impression of nobility created by armour and poise -- for his stance was that of an upper-class Warrior. Yet his gait was free as he walked toward Jinex, even impudent; without any self-consciousness or reservation. A curved sword hung at either hip, causing confusion as to whether he was right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrous. A man of contradictions, whose legends mirrored the paradox of his appearance.
"Welcome to Thallis, Zilmarrial," said Jinex as the man stopped before him. "I have heard much about you, but this is the first time we meet in person."
"The same here." The Legendary Swordsman looked him over, and smiled. "Your invitation need not have been so roughly phrased, Lord Jinex. I have often wondered what it would be like to compete in your Games."
"Well then," said Jinex with an answering smile, "you will now find out." He held out his hand, and Zilmarrial grasped it. As the flash faded, a spirit drifted up, which Jinex instructed to lead Zilmarrial to his rooms.
Things were well under way.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]

Last edited by Falotar on Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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 PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The harsh gong once more sounded, and Zither again leapt into action. She returned quickly, followed by a solitary warrior. He wore a breastplate, wrist guards and shin guards, all made of solid gold. Under his arm was his gold Macedonian style helmet. At his hip was a sword and in his hand was a long spear. His face was grim and half hidden behind his long black hair. He stopped several paces from Jinex, his a small smile playing on his lips.

"Lord Logan Grim!" Zither purred as Logan stuck his spear into the ground and saluted Jinex in the traditional fashion.

"Lord Jinex I pressume." Logan voice was harsh and cold. "I am told this is a most challenging competition."

"You are correct on both counts, Lord Logan." Jinex smiled and returned Logan's salute.

"I hope, for your sake, that you do not decieve me." Logan extended his hand, small bolts of lighting flicking from his eyes and bloodlust lacing his words.

"You shall soon see for yourself." Jinex shook Logan's hand and he was entered. A spirit soon appeared to lead him to his quarters.
Knowledge is Power
Power Corrupts
Go to School, be Evil
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 PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Well, Master?" said Zither. The day-light was almost gone; her eyes glowed as they adjusted to the darkness.
"It promises to be quite satisfying," replied Jinex. He rubbed his hands together, his own eyes kindling. "A demon, a Minotaur warlord, and Ardania's greatest living hero. Not only will there be blood and pain enough to sate even you, my dear, but the loss of any of these champions will be a blow to Ardania's powers. And if there is an upset? Then all three will die, and give me three times the pleasure."
"Any way you cut it," purred Zither, "we win."

The next day was exceedingly busy. The fourth since the Arena's opening, it was also the third day from the last for those interesting in joining -- or viewing -- the competition. Six more teams arrived, as well as several hundred spectators. Then the fifth day, a thousand spectators, and two more teams.
The sixth day. Twenty thousand spectators had now arrived, by magical or mundane transport. A single team had arrived in the morning, a band of Elves comprising both archers and the rarely seen rapier masters, led by a sorceror. It was now the late afternoon, and Jinex had yet to welcome another team captain.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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Venstar Trailblazer

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 PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The bells rung, and Zither ran to the door, but it did not open. A bright flash of light came from the middle of the Arena, then smoke followed. When all the confusion of these happenings were over and the smoke had settled, there stood a group.
"Wow.... It really worked." said a Warrior of Discord. "And this is the..." Zither started. "The Insane Family." concluded a Cultist. "I am Concus," said the WoD, "and this is the rest of my family. My daughter-in-law, Clarely Insane, a paladin, and my grandsons, Bob the Insane One, a monk, Veti Insane, the Cultist, and Galen the Insane II, the Warrior of Discord."
"My, what a colorful family you have," inquired Jynx, stepping forward, "and a pleasure to meet all of you." "Umm, what do I say?" Galen wispered to Veti. "Nothing, let Grandpa take care of all of this, he brought us here. He just had to accept it, didn't he?" "Accept what?" Galen asked. Veti looked blankly at Galen. "Oh, the machine." Galen corrected himself. "Yes, this is all because of his dealings with Feugo."
All of them but Concus went to their temporary living quarters as everyone before them had.
"How did you come to be here?" Jynx quickly asked Concus. "It's a very long story. Just know we come from a.... parallel universe." Concus answered. "I see. Well, it doesn't matter how you got here, we all have out little secrets." Jynx winked at Concus and pointed to follow the rest of his family.
The family walked into their quarters. "This is different." Clare stated. "What is?" Bob quickly asked. "Walking in a way I want to, not having to be programed to walk a certain way. It's nice to have the power of choice." she answered. "But we had the freedom of choice in our Ardania." Veti protested. Everyone looked at him with a discouraged look.
Gimli:Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an Elf.
Legolas:What about side by side with a friend?
Gimli:Aye. I could do that.

Gandalf:Here at last, on the shores of the sea comes the end of our Fellowship.
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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Lordon Bloodsteel worked as an smith in Shovrah Dan, until a gnome walked into his smithy one day. Ordinarily, he would kick the dirty thing out of his house in an instant. But it was a strange gnome. For one thing, he held a very interesting spring trap, that was extremely cleverly designed. Some dwarf must have been robbed by that filthy thing, thought Lordon. That was, until the gnome started spouting mathematical equations for calculating the necessary angle for the position of the spring number one to create maximum velocity for the left spike, towards the target. Almost without thinking, he started replying to the gnome, saying that he had the angle wrong, and that to properly align the spike, spring number one had to be at a ninety degree angle to the right spike, so that spring number two sprung correctly.

The dwarf and gnome continued to argue about the details, until it was perfected. The dwarf then brought out his alchemical explosive recipes, and the gnome and dwarf argued on and on about that.

After the other dwarves began to notice him talking to a gnome, they exiled him. Any dwarf who liked a gnome might as well be a gnome.

Lordon wasn't that disappointed, except for the lack of the mechanical supply room in the dwarven settlement. The gnome, Lurk Grub, and the dwarf became close friends, and worked as engineers for the Sovereign for many years. They became quite wealthy.

Unfortunately, a rogue robbed them. They wouldn't have minded that so much, except he ripped up and ruined all their schematics while he was there. They had to start over from scratch on the most recent job the Sovereign had given them.

The didn't finish in his deadline, and their contract was broken. Then they heard of the Thallisian games, in a tavern.

"Wish? We could get schematics back, Lordon," said Lurk Grub.

"You're right, Lurk. Hmm, I actually remember our Chemical Explosive Number Three pretty well, which lit with a match would make a pretty large explosion," replied Lordon. "Think that would work instead of fighting, Grub? My hammer's a little rusty, but Chemical Solution Number Thirty-Six would fix that. With you throwing those explosives and me using a hammer, we'd make a good team, eh?"

They argued over the best chemical recipe to use for the explosives for a while, and then set off to Thallis, after making a sackful of chemical explosives and repairing Lordon's hammer.


Lordon and Lurk walked up to the large doors. A bell sounded, and a strange woman opened the door. For a second, Lordon thought she was a elf, and almost began to grimace, but then noticed the thin white fur, and the slitted pupils.

"I am Zither, Herald of the the Games. And you are?" said the woman.

"We're here to sign up for the Games. I am Lordon Bloodsteel, and this is Lurk Grub," said Lordon.

"What shall your team's name be?"

Lurk jumped up excitedly. "I have one! We use explosives, so we be Firethrower team!"

"Very well, Lurk Grub. Both of you, follow me," said Zither.

Lordon and Lurk followed, both mumbling and whispering to each other about an idea for an automatic fireplace mantle cleaning device.

"This is Lordon Bloodsteel and Lurk Grub, of the Firethrower team," said Zither, as they reached Jinex.

"You Lord Jinex? I be Lurk Grub, and I wonder if you could give us lost schematics, as wish," said Lurk.

"Most certainly, my friend, most certainly," replied Jinex. "Welcome to the Thallisian Games."

"Well, then, when are these Games to start?" said Lordon.

"Soon, Bloodsteel. Quite soon, indeed."

"Hmm, do you have place we could rest, Lord Jinex? We're both rather tired after our journey here."

"I do," said Jinex. He motioned for a spirit to lead them to some empty quarters.

Lurk and Lordon followed the spirit, now talking about a automatic explosive launcher, that might be useful during the Games.

EDIT: Typos.
"It simply doesn't happen. Period.
Why is that? Question mark."
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 PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Last day of the seven. Fully one hundred thousand people had arrived as audience. Twenty teams had entered the Games. Now, only dawn was lacking for the commencement of the slaughter. However, Jinex knew that carnage alone was not enough for the backers of his tournament. Thus he whispered an incantation within the sanctuary of his tower, and watched with a sneer as seven screens lit up around the circumference of the room.
"Lord Jinex," said the man within the first panel. He was a fat man, amazing both for his girth and his political manouevering. It was his aptitude for deft deals and the double-cross that kept his peasants and heroes from driving him out of his holdings in East Cheswick.
"Baron Shartruce," responded Jinex coolly. He nodded at the other six figures. "Gentlemen. Are we ready to begin the betting, or do we have something to discuss first?"
"We wish to discuss your current Champion, Jinex." This from the man in the third panel, Master Kleif Tightpocket. Tall and spare of frame, he wore an affectatous suit of black silk, complete with mask and gloves. Despite his vain streak, he was incomparable in theft and assassination and so maintained his position as head of the White Lotus Group, the most powerful under-world organization in Ardania. He pointed a gloved finger at Jinex. "What chance is there that he can be defeated?"
"After gaining the powers of three wishes, he will be hard to unseat," said the being in the seventh panel. He was from a different kind of underworld than that in which Kleif moved. His hair was white, his eyes were white; a pale gem glittered on his forehead, bound by a silver circlet. Argon Rei was a daemonlord, and used the Games to gain power by preying on the losers.
"And you are concerned?" asked Jinex.
"Yes. No-one will bet against him if the odds are too long." The daemonlord spread his fingers. Energy crackled between them and he smiled. "I should like to bet on him, but my proposal will be pointless if nobody is willing to risk his stakes on the Minotaur's defeat."
"I assure you, my lord, Vorna will not go unchallenged. Several Heroes of talent have entered the Games, and also one of your kindred."
"Logan Grim," muttered Argon. "So it is true."
"Logan," said the man in the fourth panel. He was a warrior clad in blacl plate, with red and violet runes glowing in patterns over its surface. This was Sir Charoth Qaat, a renegade who ran a sinister school in the Hellfire Mountains. "I have heard of him. A powerful daemon."
"So, Argon," said Shartruce, "what is your proposal?"
"Simple," answered the daemon. "I will wager my freedom on Vorna's victory. One of you -- or all of you -- wager your souls on his loss."
"Preposterous!" burst out Kleif. "You want us to risk our souls on the chance that Vorna will lose?"
"Suppose we all accept your challenge," cut in Sir Caroth, "and Vorna does lose. How will you serve all of us?"
"I highly doubt," replied the daemonlord, "that your interests will clash. And, unless your want me to sink the Northern Reaches or destroy the Moon, I can handle more than one task at once."
"That's insane!" said the Baron. "We would never - "
"I accept," cut in Sir Charoth.
"As do I," said Lunarque, an Adept turned fallen Wizard from the fifth panel.
"Is that all?" asked Jinex.
"For now, yes," said Argon. "But maybe we might conduct more business in private. I, for one, wish to be present in person at the Games. I have not seen Logan fight for a long time."
"We shall all come to Thallis, I am sure," said the Baron. "Much needs to be done, but it is business that you need not concern yourself with, Lord Jinex."
"The client always knows best," replied Jinex with a smile, and cancelled the spell. A few minutes later, six teleportation gates and one infernal portal opened up outside the Arena.
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]

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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

At midnight, the great outer gates of the Arena ground shut. Violet tendrils of magic flickered across the surface of the outer wall, and a chorus of disembodied voices whispered softly. The Arena had been sealed from the outside word. No power save the gods themselves could either get in or out.

The next morning, the great bowl of the Arena was filled. Every race in Ardania was represented in the audience; every class of Hero and every degree of noble. Prominent in the east, beneath the tower, were the eight pavillions of Jinex and his backers. Shadowed by the wide canopies, only Jinex could be seen clearly as he stepped forward to the applause of the blood-thirsty crowd.
"Welcome to the Thallisian Games!" he cried over the thundrous cacophony. "I am Jinex, and it is my pleasure to be your host. To the victor of these Games I will grant a single wish, and the title of Thallisian Champion. Whether a team or a single Hero, I will give them whatever they ask for, so long as it is within my power. No tricks, no traps, and no escape. Let the Games begin!"
The Arena shook with the frenzy of the audience as they spotted the first two teams being led into the ring by the unmistakable form of Zither. She jumped nimbly onto the black marble surface, and waved to the crowd as though they were her personal admirers (as some were).
"Hello again, everyone!" she cried, her voice magically amplified. "For you new-comers, allow me to introduce myself and explain the rules. I'm Zither, Chief Herald of the Thallisian Games. The rules are simple: put your opponent down or out of the ring for ten seconds, and gain a victory for your team! Anything goes, and the team leaders choose what style of combat they desire! Once all members of a team are dead or disqualified, the winner advances to the next round! Now, to get down to it. Now, bring on the fighters!" She gestured, and the first group stepped onto the platform. It was composed of four human Heroes. Wizard, Warrior, Ranger, Rogue; each was clad in outfits of black and gold. They lifted their arms, and the crowd shouted.
"Introducing Team Sable! These four humans are from Shovrah-Dan. and they're ready to make that town the most famous in Ardania ... or at least Thallis. And now, for someone who needs no introduction, our three-time champion, Vorna Ambermane!"
Once again the marble cracked as the Minotaur chieftain stepped into the ring. The shouts that greeted him were, perhaps, even louder than those that had accompanied Jinex's ritual opening, and the Champion basked in the adulation. The Wizard, however, seemed unhappy.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded. "Do you expect us to fight the Champion in the first round?"
"That's the line-up," replied Zither. She grinned at the Wizard's impotence. "Look on the bright side. If you win, you'll go straight to the finals."
"He's just a Minotaur," said the Warrior, shrugging. "How difficult could he be?"
"Want to see, human?" boomed Vorna. He unslung his massive polearm. "I'll take you all on at once. That way, I might actually have to fight."
"Oooo," crooned Zither. "Sounds like a challenge. Will the Heroes accept?"
"You bloody straight we will," said the Ranger. He unslung his bow and nocked an arrow.
"Fine," snarled the Wizard. He pointed his staff at the Minotaur. 'You'll regret this, however!"
"Says you."
Zither, meanwhile, and backed precitously out of the way. She raised her left hand, and the noise in the crowd died away. The four Heroes circled around the Minotaur, who gazed at them contemptuously.
"And now," cried Zither, dropping her arm, "let the carnage begin!"
"Now!" cried Wizard as the crowd erupted once more. "Take him down from four sides!" His staff glowed, and a crimson orb flared toward the minotaur. At the same time, the Rogue and the Ranger released their arrows, and the Warrior charged.
"And it's on!" cried Zither. "It looks like the Wizard knows Kryptan magic -- but it appears to have no effect on Vorna!"
Vorna did indeed seem uneffected. The red energy dissipated around him as he lunged toward the Rogue. He caught the crossbow bolt with one hand, and swept his poleaxe with the other. The audience roared as the Rogue's body fell into two pieces.
"Monster!" cried the Warrior. "You'll regret turning your back to me!" He jumped, grapsing his sword in two hands, but Vorna had already spun around. The caught the descending blade of his enemy, and wrenched him from the air to the ground. Before the Warrior could recover, the Minotaur's sharp hoof crushed his blestplate and the ribcage beaneath.
The Ranger cursed and let off another arrow. But Vorna kicked the corpse of the Warrior up, blocking blocking the projectile and sending the mangled body crashing into the Ranger.
Vorna turned his head as the wizard's staff clattered to the marble.
"It looks like the Wizard has given up and is going for a ring-out!" yelled Zither as the black-robed magician jumped for the edge of the ring.
"I don't think so!" bellowed the Minotaur. He stretched out his free hand towards the Wizard. Electricity ripped out and struck the fleeing spellcaster; with a scream he disintegrated, his pent-up energy rippling out across the ring.
"Murderer!" screamed the Ranger, who had risen again. "There was no need to kill him!"
"Fight or die, human," replied Vorna, and moved his hand to him. Again the lightning flared, and the Ranger was ash.
"I guess that's it," said Zither. She sounded disappointed. "Team Ambermane wins!" Over the swelling chaos of the audience, she added, "Now don't go away! As soon as the attendants clear the ring, there'll be another fight! Next up: Team Tiger-eye versus Team Iljar!"
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

As the ring was cleared of bodies and blood, heated voices were beginning to rise from one end of the stadium.
"They're just monsters, Gods damn you! Give me ten minutes alone in the ring with the little creepy and we'll walk away the victors."
"Are you crazy, Argoth?" Arydia was ready to stab him. Her fingers were itching for her mace."Iljar is conected to both Oculi; they'll destroy you alone!"
"But you'll kill them both in one fell strike, I'm sure." The warrior crossed his arms, obviously believing she thought herself better than their team: all of which observed silently. You didn't interrupt when "Mother and Father" were fighting.
"No, I'm not a complete idiot. I wouldn't go in there alone with those things if you paid me. Now, listen up, everyone." The dark-skinned beauty crouched down. "I've heard of Iljar's pride. Having two Evil Oculi bound to him has made him cocky. I know I would be, those things are scary." Argoth snorted derisively above her; she quite happily ignored him. "If we challenge him all out, team versus team, we'll have a good chance." She turned to a young woman, pretty in her bald plainess. "Hyjara, you're going to be vital. So, Alleran and Amelorn, youll need to double as defense for her. Now, we need to hit hard and fast..."

When the ring wonce again looked new and unused, Arydia and Iljar greeted eachother before the platform. The Solarii nodded once to the mage, opening her mouth before her opponent had the chance to. "Melee," she said shortly. Both hands rested on her hips, dangerously close to both mace and shortsword. "Your team against mine; a battle royale, if you will." She smiled slightly when he hesitated; that is, the right corner of her mouth tilted upward a milimeter. "Unless, of course, you're worried your Oculi may be outdone and outclassed by the numbers of my party?"
Behind her, two pairs of legs shifted in annoyance that bordered on anger. If Arydia had noticed, she ignored it.
Iljar stiffened, nostrils flaring. He tilted his head back until Arydia could, if she wished (which she didn't), count each har that had sprouted from that bodily cavity. A smirk was on his lips. Behind him the Evil Oculi shifted, eager for the bloodshed to begin. "I do not know fear," he said with a sniff. Turning on his heel, he walked to his side of the ring, and his minions.
He left Arydia smiling, pleased at how easy the manipulation had been. Hands falling to her side, she returned to the other Tigereyes. It will be childsplay, she said, a fierce glint in her eye. She unsheathed her mace, weighing i in both hands. "He's playing with fire." She turned and led the way to the ring, followed by the grumbling, the nervous, and the calm.
Stepping onto the platform, the team was greeted with an unpleasant site; well, Oculi are not often pleasant, exactly, but these seemed particularly grotesque. Arydia made a face.
"Foul, unholy creatures!" Wiola curled her lip at the monsters, longsword held out at an angle in front of her. "We shall prevail over these creatures with the grace of Dauros!"
"Agrela bless us," the soft voice of the Healer came from behind her two protectors, wizard and ranger.
Argoth and Arydia wasted no time striding to the front. The Solarii noted That Iljar stayed far back, hiding behind his monsters. And fearsome things they were, too. Were they larger than normal? She wouldn't doubt that the mage had experimented on them.
The little cat like creature stepped into the ring, seperating the Tigereyes and the Oculi. Zither's paws lifted into the air. "Oculi and mere mortals...any bets being taken?" She made her way to the edge of the ring. "Have at it!" Her arms dropped.
The Oculi moved forward, blocking the view of their master. Trelan dashed forward, a blur of grey and red. His feet left the ground, and the blur was in the air. Something long and brown, equally blurry, darted out, aiming for the creature's eye. He missed by inches, landing and dashing away before the slow moving thing could attack. While the one creature was occupied, Argoth came forward with his sword, hacking away gleefully at the creature.
And he was shortly thrown to the other side of the ring by a tentacle that lashed out from the other Oculi. "I could use some help!" He yelled, using his sword to lift himself.
Arydia snorted, blocking the path to the warrior with her body. "Yeah, yeah, not all of us are stupid enough to just jump right in!" A tentacle descended, and her mace came up to meet it, muscles straining to keep it up.
Wiola moved in to occupy the other Oculus. Trelan joined her, stick and speed combined to destroy it. In the corner, a string was pulled back, and the wind whistled as the arrow buzzed through the air, aimed over the monsters toward Iljar. It missed; Alleran knew only that he was back there, not which area. A magic blast jumped through the Oculi, striking the paladin in her fully armored chest. With a grunt, she was flung backward, thanking Dauros each second that it was spelled against such wicked magicks.
"Amelorn!" Arydia called over her shoulder, unsheathing her shortsword with her left hand. Two weapons were better than one. "Shileds! Magic ones! I don't like being-" She was cut off by the Oculi's Electric Fury. Her limbs stiffened, the metal of each weapon seeming to melt into her hands. Oh, that was painful. "-Shocked."
The wizard obliged with a dusty chuckle, his hands moving in the air, mouth forming words that no one could hear. The air around the Solari, Paladin, Warrior and Adept glowed purple. Arydia shook herself, then, spotting and opening, dove at the oculi she and Argoth had been working to destroy. It let out a cry that made her wince, and fell to the ground, dead. Finally, she could see Iljar. Sending a glance toward Argoth, she was ready to move in with him - but he was already rushing forward like a mad man, sword raised to run him through.
When he opened his eyes, he was on his back, the air smoking in front of him. The shield had protected him from too much harm...but Iljar's spell had broken through it, and threw him back several feet. And there he lay, armor sizzling. He groaned. "Hyjara!" Ayrdia stood over the warrior, mace and sword crossed to fend off more attacks. She glared at the mage, a deadly look that often had others running for cover. He smirked.
"Go ahead! Kill the Oculi if you can! Kill the other, and I'll be unbeatable!" And then he'd bring them back...and the fighters remaining would be up a creek then!
The Healer had already begun her healing spell, and Argoth was standing behind her. He grunted and shoved her to the side, his sword clenched in his hand. Arydia snorted, nodding to him. "Stop attacking the Oculi!" Wiola and Trelan glanced at her. The Adept ignored the woman, but Wiola retreated, definding herself as she went. "Iljar! Get him first!"
And it would have worked. But the remaining Oculi moved forward, blocking and shielding the mage once more. Chanting could be heard above the crowd's bloodthirsty howls, and the dead monster's body began to glow. As the other attackers went after the Oculi to get to Iljar, Arydia looked between the wizard and the corpse. That's why he was so smug - he could revive them!
With an angry yell, she dove past the defense of the remaining Oculi, mace blocking, shortsword attacking. If any of her group died, it would be her fault, and she wouldn not allow that guilt to lay itself upon her.
Seeing what she was doing, Argoth and Wiola followed the Solarii's example, dodging around the Oculus.
"Amelorn," the Warrior cried, "Keep it occupied!" The three melee fighters went after the wizard.
Iljar, surprised that they had made their way around his imporved Oculi fumbled to begin his spell casting. Before he could finish, Argoth was on him, sword raised. In his smugness, Iljard had created no shields. The warrior had pinned him to the ground, sword poised to run him through. "Give up," Argoth said, "And you can walk out of the rings." Cries of boos echoed around the stadium, but the warrior gracefully ignored them. Arydia stood over him, shortsword pointed at his chest.
Silence. And then -
Arydia and Argoth both shot backward, blown off of the mage by a powerful spell. Both landed on their backs, still.
Iljar laughed, leaning back in his mirth. And his laughter was cut off abruptly by the arrow that sprouted from his chest. Alleran smiled grimly from his place in front of Hyjara. The mage had left himself open, cocky attitude forgetting that the ranger was in plain view.
The wizard dropped to his knees, blood bubbling and frothing at his mouth. The look he wore was one of complete shock. He, lose?
The Oculi slowed, and fell, as dead as it's brother. Iljar fell forward, eyes rolling up.
Slowly, the Warrior and Solarii got to their feet, sheathing weapons to the somewhat disapointed cheers of the crowd. That hadn't been very bloody at all; Vorna gave a much better show!
Arydia smirked at the Warrior. "Neither of us got him. Guess the score's still tied, eh?" He grunted and turned to stride slowly out of the ring. Oh, he hoped Hyjara could ease the ache in his knee.
The Solarii stared at the dead bodies, then looked up to the reluctantly cheering crowd. Well. At least they were cheering.
Raistlin Majere, Archmagus of the Hourglass Eyes

I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment in my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment. - Raistlin Majere
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Jinex glanced up as one of his sponsors approached him.
"Yes, my Lord Wizard?" he asked blandly. "What is it?"
"I am growing impatient," Lunarque snapped. "I and Sir Charoth have very valuable commodities riding on the defeat of your Minotaur champion, and so far we have not seen anything that indicates his defeat is possible."
"Calm down, Lunarque," rasped Sir Charoth. "It has only been two rounds. There are plenty of teams left."
"After that display of power," Lunarque replied, "I need some reassurance. Who is there that can defeat him?"
"The next round might answer your question." Jinex waved him back to his seat.

"All right, everyone," said Zither as invisible hand carried off Oculi and Wizard, "get ready for a real blood-bath. Next up are the Zaxerg Goblin Clan of the Northern Reaches - " She was momentarily cut off by cheers from the masses of Goblins in the audience as the named tribe appeared in the pit. Even their Northern rivals were happy to see the Zaxerg in the Games, paving the way for the ultimate conquest of the people of Grum-Gog.
Zither waited until the clamour had died down, and then continued her announcement. "Team Zaxerg versus the Legendary Swordsman, Zilmarrial!"
Silence. That name had struck them all dumb. Most of them had heard of him; and those that hadn't were cowed by the expressions of those around them. Zither grimaced.
"Oh, come on! He's not fighting you! Now, give a proper welcome to the man who's going to enliven this year's Games! The Legendary Swordsman!"
There was half-hearted applause as a single Warrior stepped into the light. He threw a mock salute at the spectators, and turned to face the hundred or so Goblins that comprised his opponent team.
"Which of you is the leader?" he asked. "I'd like to get the terms of the match settled."
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"I am." A withered Goblin stepped out of the press. He had once been tall by Goblin standards, but age and evil magic had stooped him nearly double. His eyes, hoever, were still bright with intelligence. "I am Zagijj, High Priest of Grum-Gog and chieftain of the Zaxerg Clan. You wish me to set the terms? Very well. My clansmen will attack you in three waves. If you can survive all three, then I will be happy to concede."
"Three waves, hm?" Zilmarrial laughed quietly. "I trust they're good fighters."
"The best among Goblins," replied Zagijj. "You won't triumph easily."
"We'll see." The Warrior turned away and stepped up onto the ring. he drew his swords, and stood idly waiting for the Goblins to organize themselves.
"So it's settled," said Zither at a nod from Zagijj. "The Legendary Swordsman will face the entire Zaxerg Clan in three consecutive waves of frenzied Goblins. For those in the front rows, anti-liquid amulets are available."
"Today, greenskins," called Zilmarrial over the laughter of the crowd.
"Hah." Zagijj lifted his staff. "Prepare yourself! First wave, attack!"
Nearly forty goblins washed onto the ring, yelling battlecries and waving their clubs and scimitars. Zilmarrial shifted slightly, his swords coming up. The audience tensed; leaned forward in order to follow the anticipated slaughter.
They were disappointed. It was not that the slaughter did not begin, but that they could not trace its course. as soon as the first Goblins came within a yard of the Warrior, Zilmarrial sprang, and from that point on became effectively invisible. Green-tinted blood sprayed everywhere (some of it indeed reaching the front line of seats), accompanied by the shattering of rusty iron and Goblin death screams; and, when this monstrous fountain ceased its music, the goblins were nothing more than rags and green flesh. Zilmarrial was untouched, unless you counted the Goblin ichor on his blades and armour.
"The first round's over," said Zither, licking her lips, "but don't worry, there's blood to come!"
"Second wave, go!" Another forty Goblins surged onto the platform, this time headed by the more muscular Champions. Arrows, too, rattled around Zilmarrial. The Warrior, however, was unimpressed.
"Again it looks like the Legendary swordsman is moving too fast for the eye to follow!" narrated Zither as she watched. "The Goblins seemed to be falling down by themselves -- wait, there he is, in that knot of archers. Well, I hope they like Grum-Gog. One -- no two Champions left -- scratch that, round two's over!"
"Aagh!" Zagijj lifted his staff. "Now it's our turn! Go, chosen of Grum-Gog! show the unenlighted the power of the one true god!"
Zilmarrial's stance changed once again. The fighters in the crowd recognized that he was now on the defensive, and with good reason. Fifty Goblins now crowded into the ring, surrounding the lone human in a great crescent. Of these, many were the muscular behemoths that in other clans would have been Overlords; most of the rest were Champions obviously a cut above the ones in the second wave. The few remaining -- half a dozen -- were Goblin Priests, led by Zagijj himself.
"Attack!" he cried, his harsh voice becoming shrill. The Goblins screamed and drove forward.
Two of the giant Goblins swung their polearms down on Zilmarrial. Catching them, he diverted their force so the the juggernauts were thrown to the ground. He was forced back by the press of veteran Champions, however, before he could finsih them. Within seconds he had slain or disabled most of them, but then the juggernauts were back on their feet and joined by a third. Zilmarrial, laughed, leapt forward. Using a surprised Champion as leverage, he jumped into the air, passing over the heads of the three tall Goblins. as he landed, they fell to the ground, blood spurting from their death-wounds.
But as the lesser Goblins hesitated, a sickly green mist surrounded Zilmarrial. The six Priests were chanting, and not a few spectators fell ill at the sound of the words alone. There was a cry, or pain or anger, from within the noxious cloud. Then, suddenly, it was displayed. Zilmarrial, his armour now pitted with corrossion, stood there, spinning his swords to clear away the air. His eyes flashed.
"Tricky," he said, "but not good enough."
"In Grum-Gog's name!" shrieked the High Priest, his face twisting, "I command pesti-laaauuugh ... " The Priests collapsed, and Zilmarrial stood in their place. He glanced around, his swords dripping.
"Come on!" he cried. "Do you call yourselves elite? I've fight better Goblinsthan you a hundred times!"
The Goblins made no move for a moment. Then, howling with fear, they threw down their weapons and fell to their knees.
"Spare us!" cried one. "We gives up!"
Zither looked at Zilmarrial, who nodded and chuckled.
"It's no fun when they don't fight back," he said. Zither grinned.
"Can't argue with that! And so it's settled! Zilmarrial wins the match!"
"Death awaits you!" - Maester Seymour, from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X[i]
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