Instead of starting classes at the crack of dawn, the whole of the Guild congregated in the Assembly Hall – today was the first day of the Lopanic Games Trials.
Fanfare welcomed the mages as they entered, and Master Ahab Nemora announced the beginning of the trials. After the thankfully short commencement address Master Summoner Diaro activated the giant teleportation circle painted onto the floor for the occasion. The entirety of the guild, except me, was teleported to a protected battlefield in the Eastern Territory. I showed up a half-hour late, and had to power the circle alone. Luckily they refreshed all of my energy when I arrived.
I totally destroyed my first opponent with my usual fleet feet, fly as an eagle, armor of Ithän, shadow meld, and then fireballs and lightning till he yielded. It was over so fast that I didn’t prepare myself properly for my next fight against a student of my Diabolist Master, Sline. He brought out a BAALROG, and all I could do was run. When I realized I was too slow, it was far too late. I had to give in, but it was a great fight. I sat in the stands and cheered on my fellow guild mates, and had a nice conversation with Master Nemora, during which the matter of the entry fee came up. I am afraid I will have to give up my Dragon’s Egg to pay for the chance of entering the games.
Today was the Triathlon! It started in the heat of the day, two hours till midday.
We started in the grand arena that held the duels the day before. The door at the end opened and a desiccated corpse shambled out, barely held together by its funeral wrappings. The eyes were vibrant and full of hatred. I started immediately to get the high ground, and studied my opponent, and my fellow triathletes. Most of them started attacking immediately, to no avail. I started to employ Grrilaugh Tactics against the Mummy Immortalus, as I saw him pick off the others with relative ease. My attacks were as useless as the others, until one of my competition started to unwrap the mummy. Seeing the effectiveness of this strategy, the rest of us helped. As the last bandage fell I realized I was alone. I melded back into the shadows, and as my hair stood on end, I hurried as far away from where I was as fast as I could. Lightning struck where I was. I came from the shadows, fireballed him, and melded back into darkness. I rushed away, just ahead of a bolt. A third bolt hit me. The Mummy held a lightning spell ready, and I shot off a fireball. It started to turn, and extended its hand, my feathery hair raised,
The crowd burst into cheers when the living flame beast engulfed the mummy. Cries died off as its form crumpled to the ground. Sizzling of flesh and popping of bones filled the air as molten marrow erupted from them. It made me hungry, and then confused.
The gate opened to the arena, the first phase completed.
I took my time leaving – no need to kill myself, as all of my fellow triathletes had been killed or forfeited. No time limit meant that I could prepare myself for the trial ahead. I was told by Master Ahab that my rich elfen blood-lines would be the key to the puzzle.
I lounged on a flying cape, and meandered my way to the island destination in the middle of the lake.
In the center of a clearing sat a chest. This was it!
I took my time, and walked around it, studying it from all angles. It was about four feet wide, two feet deep and three feet tall at the lid’s crest. It did not have any visible markings except for an eye on the lock. I opened my magical sight, and touched it with Xama’sconde, my magical mace. I was hit with a magical bolt, so I backed up about 50 feet, stripped naked, and came back to it with my invisible sight open.
On each side was a painted eye, tilted sideways, as if the left hand side, looking at the front, were actually down. They all seemed to be tilting the same way, so I tipped the chest on its side so that they were right-side up. While I was doing this I expected pain, but it didn’t come so I continued my inspection. I looked on the ‘top,’ which was now pointing left if you look at it from the original front side with the lock, and I saw minute writing around the eye. It read in runes, ‘Thoth.’ The other side, the ‘bottom,’ read ‘Xy.’
The back had a sun in the center of the eye, so I activated a globe of daylight. There appeared words in runes. “Only the true believers are enlightened, and only the ‘Enlightened’ know the truth. Believe in Order to obtain the reward of knowledge.”
I sat back for a moment and thought. I couldn’t puzzle this one out!
But, then I remembered that there was a cult of Thoth that called themselves the Enlightened. They believed that Thoth was once the Old One, Xy, and that he would bestow power and knowledge unto his faithful followers. That one piece connected it all, and it suddenly made sense.
The words of the head of the guild echoed through my head. “Blood… is the key” So, I slashed the meaty side of my thumb, a habitual motion since there are no tendons there to sever, and when you use your blood regularly for spells you need a non-intrusive spot to draw blood. I touched the eye with my blood on the ‘bottom,’ underneath ‘Xy.’ I then touched the eye on the ‘top,’ underneath ‘Thoth.’ One final blood spatter on the Lock, and the chest slammed down on the Xy side, the lock dissolved, and the top popped open. I lifted the lid, and the only object inside was a single cube with the word ‘Knowledge’ inscribed on it in several languages, living and dead.
I returned to the arena to thunderous cheers. Master Ahab Nemora stood, and announced me the winner. He also said it was much too late to hold the award ceremonies. We’ll reconvene tomorrow.
The ceremonies went about as you would expect from a group of men and women dedicated to exploring the magic of the universe. Pageantry, peacocking, and the like interrupted by medals. I was given a medal for my win in the Triathlon, and a black war horse!
I was allowed the rest of the day off, to set in order my estate, and set my horse up in the stables. I named him Lictalon, and rode him around the countryside.
Today was great, but it’s going to be refreshing to get back to study.
>>An excerpt from his journal from Kym-nark-mar 10th to Od 21st in the 22nd Year of Emperor Voelkian Itomas II, written by Azariel, Apprentice Alchemist. Acolyte of Osiris and the Lady Luck.<<
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