Dear Lady Torchwood,
~ The 8th of THOTH / Day Seven of the Competitions ~
Late into the night it was, we, were all numb. Master Tyvernos had told us to keep it down and not step on him, he went to sleep right away. I am not sure how much time passed but after the gnomes departure to dreams of women (it’s always women trust me he dreams of nothing else, hahaha) horse begin to arrive. Commander, Sir Quixis had brought some of the Knights of the Dawn and the Soldiers of the Torch to help protect and watch over us.
I tried to give the Giant-Sized Dwarven-made Cutlass to either the elder Titan or the Cyclops because it would be sized for them as a short sword but it had a noble history now helping with my win at dueling today. I found out later they returned it to Master Azariel later. Well, we brought the Knight Commander up to speed and Master Asher is just so amazing he’s reach another circle of enlightenment and more magic has come unbidden or studied to him. I am so envious some days of my friends and how quickly they master spells. I may not write about it but I still keep a spell journal and have been working on the formula, and power words to create the Superior Teleporting Spell I know our group needs! It takes me so long sometimes and I am trying to not use the Book of A’zad as a crutch to figuring spells on my own. After all Master A’zad has been dead for almost a year and a half, I can’t expect him to spend eternity teaching me from the Ma’ip.
I digress, it was decided for Master Asher to summon some dogs and Sir Quixis would stay inside the tent while the other knights and soldiers would be external guards. Gosh I want to talk so much more with a Titan and Cyclops not trying to kill me but I . . .
. . . I was shy and didn’t know what to say, how to begin talking to a Lord of Lightning, or to a . . . well, a Titan.
I did additional prayers as the talks wound up over the blade of Uraeus’ Fang thinking facing demons and living yet again was cause for such praise.
To the Lords and Ladies of Ra’s benevolent fellowship of light!
May the good monk/bard and warrior/merchant find their souls healed and faith in friends restored. I seek not mending betwixt me and the monk for that would be avarice and gain for which I have not prayed. I beseech thee to before the last of the Defilers flee this world for your warm embrace in the hereafter and he is left behind. That he sees his brothers and sisters again for the fellowship they were, are, and shall always be for those of Palladium.
I want to thank you for the gifts that allow me to vanquish the foes of the light.
Thank you for teaching me how to persevere among the slings and arrows of a world not ready for monsters to try and change.
Thank you for my friends and family
Your servant now and forever,
Cyrus Far’zan, named by his mother, Xerx’ses, chosen to remember the Lawgiver’s servant that was his first father.
P.S. may Masters A’zad & Aesyl find peace as well in the Lord of Wisdom’s hall.
When our merry band had gathered behind a curtain and began to lay down we were visited by the Lord of Wisdom in person! I threw myself on to the floor in prostration I would not even try to look at his feet. The feet of the greatest symbol of magical power anywhere, the Lord of Wisdom was in front of me and I could think and pray for was to not open my mouth or appear stupid. Master Azariel eventually tries to pull me up and succeeds in getting me on my knees but looking down. I could feel cold sweat bead all over my body for I knew how unworthy I was to be in his presence. Regardless of worth he spoke to each of us and mentioned only a single item of improvement.
Later I found out about the giant cutlass being returned and that I should give it over to the church if it wasn’t a style of weapon that made me comfortable. Not that I didn’t appreciate the power to punch a person in the face with the large, bronzed, bell-shaped handguard. I will take it back to Sekti-Abtu.
Ugh, I digress yet once more and I am sure I was mistaken but I think the Lord of Wisdom paid me a compliment of…
…A Diabolist, a Summoner, a Wizard; though not as good as ‘Tall & Skinny’ over there…
…in the gentle admonishment of Master Azariel. I don’t know how to handle someone telling me I am better at being a Wizard than Master Azariel! I mean my lightning bolts may strike harder but I am a Minotaur, I just assumed I hurdled them harder, mystically speaking. How can I be better if I couldn’t even get into the magic competition? Regardless, it was a warming to my heart he did not call me stupid. Had that happened I would know ‘spell-weaving’ was not for me and likely joined the priesthood so I could still serve in CrIsis. Or at worst, tried to become a Paladin, a Knight and follow Sir Quixis around for the rest of my days helping him smite evil from the shadows defending people that clearly would rather I just go off and die.
When he left Sir Quixis came to check on us and Master Tyvernos told us all to SHUT. THE. F.. FORNICATE. UP so he could sleep. What is the purpose of the middle finger gesture? Is it emphasis? For short people seem to find its use prolific in anger, alas the rest of the night passed without incident.
~ The 9th of THOTH / Day Eight of the Competitions ~
The final day of what I will remember as one of the top moments in my life. The Mystical Triathlon in the Alliance Stadium was to begin today and we had our Dawn Knights and Soldiers of the Torch escort headed by Sir Quixis. When we tried, or I should say as I neared the competitors door with everyone the Elves of Sulestan barred the entrance again. Meekly, I told everyone I could go back to the tent and avoid unnecessary violence today. Everyone balked at that idea and Master-Sister Caminata took a hold of my hand Masters Azariel and Tyvernos continued in. The Sulestani tried to get Master Azariel aside but Master Tyvernos was loud and poignant in his rebuke of their attempt.
On the way to the pedestrian entrance with tickets I am told that were delivered and box seats, but not from whom we saw another group of Elves try and block my way. Only to be pushed out by the LGC Guards or better known as the Mistoan Knights and Llornian Mercenaries working for the LGC. It wasn’t until we took our seats in the box that we had any clue as to the tickets origins. We were to share a box with the Defilers themselves!!!!!! I was also so overjoyed to see ALL of them together !!!!!!! Yes Bro.. sorry for the misspelling I mean Rod Rambler was sitting next to Mikala!!! The Gods of Light had answered my prayers once again!!!!!! They were laughing and telling stories as though no time had passed for them at all. I waved briefly and then flipped around to give them privacy in exchange for the glorious seats!
How do I explain the most glorious display of might and magic I have ever seen!!! Well I learned again to watch for guile and cunning for my grand little buddy had pulled it out in the end!
The Tri-Arcanum Magic Guild and therefore the Eastern Territories wins another event!!!
In gnomish flair he offered Malah the winning object after he was declared the victor! He just let Malah do all the work and swooped in and stole the prize when Malah could not figure out to take the fruit of his ‘labors’ and run over the finish line. It was poetic justice for the dark but alas their time was not at an end, just keep reading for that part. I found out listening to Xar-Xar bicker behind me that Malah had won the Mystical Freestyle duel and so was likely in contest for winning the Lung of the Lawgiver! Still I was the only one to have won two of those events so I was not worried. When I stood and thanked the greatest champions of the World (yes that includes Rod Rambler), Xar-Xar stood and asked us to have breakfast on the following morning after the awards ceremony. Master-Sister Caminata asked if we were staying that long and I snapped yes in excitement! To which Xar-Xar turned to our leader and Master Azariel confirmed we would be delighted to.
Quixis and our rather impressive set of guards escorts us home. Not long afterwards Jaymus Murray asks if he can interview me further than what little time we had after I won my Golden Sweep of the Pentathlon. Brother Indaris came along to prevent either of us from being waylaid by – oh Hades the list is to damn long to pick one person or group that wants me dead. Lady Torchwood I am sorry for swearing Master Tyvernos is an enveloping influence. We went back to the “Ras” or as I like to call it “Ras Magnificent” because some of the castles I have been into were not as lavishly furnished as this kingly inn. As grand as the Dwarven Fortress of Etrinan was – spartan – would be a distinct descriptor. Although a word of warning for “normal sized” folks or my bigger cousins giants and such. To find a chair that will support you here you must be an epic world spanning hero (the Defilers have a Troll among their order), or win two gold medals at the Lopanic Games, HAHAHAHA!!!
The Elven sports scholar and I headed to a table in the restaurant as Brother Indaris waited in the lobby. They had raised a circular table and added steps to the booth side of it so when I took my seat Master Jaymus and I were much closer to eye level! Now the chair issue came into stark perspective from smaller folk’s view. I see the effort they went into making me feel at home if even for a brief time and I was humbled. Then the interview began with notes about I prepared myself for each of the competitions. I even got his view point of why he thought certain events were more difficult than others. I took this moment to try and pay homage to Brother Malkin.
I have faults because I am mortal, maybe longer lived than some but mortal none the less. I still feel what I said to the noble scholar-monk was correct. But I do not hate him or dislike him in any way, and despite the gulf between us I feel honored and a better person for having his influence in my life. I saw this moment as a way to honor the man that I promised I would not trouble any further with my presence. I feel the world does not value study enough and Brother Malkin and the Library of Bletherad are an illustrious bastion of the past, present, and future. I tried my best to say that as eloquently as possible. I want the world to know were it not for his tireless devotion to information I would not have been half as successful as I was.
So in this accounting to the great Brother Malkin,
We talked about (he said to omit that part about Rystrom Khejas.), the war between the Giants and the Gromek. I talked about how I had been “killed” twice once by each race. I had to go into some description of a Gromek because it was a race he had never heard of before. That led to an explanation of the territory dispute between them in the Baalgor Mountains. A distinct segment of this he did not record using the Crystal and that part is what I won’t write down here.
Once we got back on track I explained a few of the events about how I studied with Brother Malkin’s help and then trained for the dueling with Master Overkill and Brother Indaris. Then we talked more about my life growing up in the Baalgor Wastelands and how it shaped me into a natural pentathlete. The last item he talked about was my request to be given a surname since my people get them for items of power great things they do, etc. Jaymus talked about older games using wreathes of golden leaves for the victor and despite all the other names I “the Golden” to be merged with what I am, so Goldenhorn because to me it marks my success at showing the world monsters can change through trials. Goldenhorn or Zarrintaj in ancient Dwarven it shall be! The interview ended and I thanked him for the honor and he paid for Brother Indaris and I to have a meal before we headed back home to the sea of tents.
The ‘Closing Ceremonies’ were held in Alliance Park, and each competitor was given a wreath to lay at the feet of their chosen god. I laid mine upon the statue of the Lawgiver. From their we made the procession to Juggernaut Stadium where we had tickets from our future breakfast companions for normal seats. The boxes here are much smaller and I can’t imagine how they might all cram into one themselves, HA! The Guilds are announced for countries they represent and the last two are the Tri-Arcanum Magic Guild & Gold Coast Trading Company! I was waving my banner all the way there amiss the cheers and jeers of the pro & anti Xerx’ses crowds. All the winners, be they bronze, silver, or gold were given red ribbons and told to not lose them. Tomorrow morning we would receive our medals and the winner of the Lung would be decided in the private ceremony at the – GIGANTIC – structure called the Tower of Angels. I was indeed the only Gold Medalist with two ribbons!
Then the stadium was treated to a fairly impressive list of musical bands, singers, and various physical acrobatics! Quite the spectacle indeed, with the Defilers being introduced to near universal cheers!!!! After they cries of joy subsided Empress Jesslyn took the stage and thanked everyone for coming to her second time hosting the Lopanic Games since taking on her role as ruler of Lopan. Then she mentioned the names of the eleven athletes that had lost their lives and were unable to be brought back to life. The whole of Palladium seem to mourn their passing as the stadium joined in prayer. This was followed by Rod Rambler and his protege Commander Terramore singing the closing song and with that for all but the winners the Lopanic Games were over.
Quixis and our rather impressive set of guards escorts us home once more to our tent where I begun penning this missive and reflecting on how the world would never be the same for me now. In a good way mind you but this was just so overwhelming an experience to take in!
~ The 10th of THOTH ~
This morning found CrIsis outside at the – GIGANTIC – structure called the Tower of Angels. The first group to go in was those that had won Bronze. They came out holding a bronze leaf and bronze ring some of which had already adorned their fingers with. The second group was those that had won Silver. They came out holding the same leaf and ring. Only the metal was silver for their rank. Then came time for those that had won gold. They called those by name leaving only nine of us gold medalist still outside. Our fellow victors emerged with a golden leaf and ring that nearly all were already wearing and smiling.
Now they called forward the ‘Nine Victors of Ten’
Santhor the Elf, for his Grand sweep of the Swimming Events!
Tyvernos the Gnome, for his victory of the Freestyle Mystic Triathlon!
Malah the Elf, for his victory of the Freestyle Mystic Duel!
Gor’las the Dwarf, for his victory of the Weightlifting event!
Ylren the Elf, for his victory of the Archery event!
Overkill the Dwarf, for his victory of the Rowing event!
Rafanon the Human, for his victory of the Pankration event!
Xerx’ses the Minotaur, for his victory of the Dueling event!
As I strode forward not a crowd of 40 but nearly 100 of the Sulestani Elves swarm over the LGC guards and I am surrounded by nine Elves two with swords and now have to endure the being stabbed once more without retaliating! I tried to say I forgive you but let us be truthful about how many times you can A) get stabbed with a weapon, B) coated with poison and C) forgive your attacker. I knew better than to retaliate but was genuinely worried I may die this time for the third time. After my flesh is pierce for the fifth time I finally use a ‘Cloud of Slumber spell’ and half of my attackers and the throngs behind them fall asleep! Thus allowing for the remaining outer edge to loose their support and I can see my friends and guards fighting their way to me. Soon some guards burst through and begin to help me deal with those that resisted the spell, they themselves were strong enough to resist the cloud as well. When one of the Elvish attackers was de-masked a guard called that it was an EVIL & UNDEAD abomination!!!
Turning on my attacker I realized it was Darksong, the Syvan! Swinging Mindprancer, the RUNE SWORD at me!!!!!!!!! Now genuinely afraid for my life from what I had seen it do to the group before, I ACTED!!! I reached out and laid my hands upon his shoulder and upper right arm. Just as swiftly I ripped his arm COMPLETELY OFF!!! To which I was given an amazing piece of knowledge regarding this creature as it cursed CrIsis and teleported away. It feels pain! I dumped the runesword and arm into my bag with the dimensional pocket and knew what I would do with at least the sword later. The fight had been broken up but I had to admit real, genuine fear at the thought of facing an opponent with a runic weapon. I need to find one for such encounters and when I finally face off with Groun’na.
After I was ushered into the antechamber just past the door with Sir Thurgood Andress they continued to call for the contestants:
Sir Kalnear the Human, for his Grand sweep of the Mounted Combat Events!
Xerx’ses the Minotaur, for his Golden Sweep of the Pentathlon Events! Since he is already inside can we get a cheer for his double win! The ROAR from outside vanishes with the door’s closing! The inside of the massive tower has changed once again to appear as a single story structure with a fifty floor high ceiling. Sitting upon her throne on a raised dais was Empress Jesslyn, holding the Lung of the Lawgiver! Wishing to appear as impartial as she could a huge glass cauldron was wheeled out and I was amazed looking at the hundred scroll within it. She decided to forgo the established tradition of simply choosing and left it up to chance from Lady Luck. I wondered if Master Azariel and her went to the same branch of the Church of Light. She also made it VERY CLEAR that magic would not be wise in here and that’s when I noticed the wards remembering a “certain” vault in a Holy City that shall remain nameless. Ha! I got a subtle joke in a log finally!
Well when Malah accused her of cheating by skewing the odds she rebuked him rather sternly with words Master Tyvernos smiled at. Then she drew forth the scroll and read the winner I remember thinking – be a good sportsman even if you loose. So began clapping for Rafanon who won the Lung. Now I am mortal and couldn’t help feeling I have failed the group somehow, and part of did think that if something underhanded were going on it was to prevent a Sulestani riot. I found my spine quick enough and said to myself, Lady Luck was invoked and this is all part of a greater plan! Then the three medalist for the Dark – Malah, Gor’las, and Rafanon touched amulets and I think teleported away. I felt magic but I don’t know for certain if it was amulets or the wards which seemed brighter to me.
Both Masters Tyvernos and Overkill noticed a trapped door and it seems that they tunneled an escape route and gave the place the slip! Sir Thurgood was not happy with my statement about poor security, but I told him these plans were made before he took the job. Explaining the three were to be arrested for damaging the property of the Empress of Lopan, try to bring them in alive. Off he went as Master Tyvernos, Master Overkill, and myself gave chase through the tunnel. The next hour was surreal, as we were soon joined by Master-Sister Caminata in bird form. When we had come out of the tunnel it was under the tunnel of Bes. Which now makes me realize how Malah had disappeared at the beginning of the games when we were in Titan Park before. I noticed them fleeing over the far wall and smirked at my height! With magic we took to the air to pursue them and we used Carpet of Adhesion and sleep to tackle the group and handed them and the lung back over to Sir Thurgood when he caught up.
~ The 11th of THOTH ~
This whole day was spent waiting as we champions waited to be called after the trial of the three. No one tried to kill me this day, it felt like a vacation.
~ The 12th of THOTH ~
This morning found CrIsis once more outside at the – GIGANTIC – structure called the Tower of Angels. Again the ‘Nine Victors of Ten’ were called forward but none of the Sulestani Elves were present in the crowd! I could not believe I would be un-attacked today as well! The empress declared that the two most deserving of the nine were Santhor the Elf and myself for our complete sweeps of our events. However, because I won dueling I was the most worthy. I was awarded the lung, which I immediately put away into my bag once I walked outside!
I was asked to turn in the golden feathers and I was given two gift from a Millenium Tree, whatever that is. The Leaf Blanket of Healing was explained to me and I marveled in wonder and gave one over to the group and kept the other! I was given two golden rings made for me that bore the Coat of Arms of Lopan, the Rune of Light, the date of Event, and the event Name: Dueling & Pentathlon obviously for me. Master Tyvernos and Overkill each got one as well. Malah received a staff of some kind and I also got a free enchantment on Uraeus’ Fang which gave it some lightning powers like the Lords of Lightning some of my favorite spells imitate.
I want to write about our brunch with the Defilers but I am going to wait on that since some of the information shared I have to decide what to write about. The rest of the day so many people told me how great my performance was and I just smiled and said that I was honored to compete for my guild and nation. I loved that the Sulestani Elves were just avoiding me now or giving me glares. Some children came running around a corner and I had to stop quick before the lot of them plowed into my booted feet. When I looked down and waved some ran, but one child waved back and stood up puffing his chest out. I cast tongues to speak Eastern, squatted down and asked his name. He told me Jonas and I said he was brave to not run from a Minotaur. I could see his friends watching him so I tried to make his moment shine. He said I wasn’t so tough and I smiled. I took the red ribbon for dueling (it was embroidered upon it) and presented it to him for his courage. He laid his hand on my snout and thanked me before running off with his prize. I looked across the street and saw my destination of Master Alchemist Gabriel’s shop: Gabriel’s Alchemy.
Now that I knew where it was I went back to the tent and changed into my Eastern Human form and attire and returned with my satchel looking like a ruck sack over my shoulder. We had the most amazing discussion and he is enchanting my sword and a suit of Sulestani inspired armor for me! I also have the chance to teach him some magic and learn some i don’t know. I will have to check with the group first to make sure it is okay and then let know on the 13th of Thoth what the verdict was. Oh Master Alchemist Gabriel is a Sulestan Elf!!!
From there I changed into my Elven Explorer outfit and wandered back to the “Ras” and asked to see Master Kel-ed. It is so funny watching the staff act friendly and nice based on name fame and coin spent. I knew Master Kel-ed would know me because of the dog tag sewn into my bag. He waved me over and we got into the mystic lift to go up to his room. He complimented my attire and when I told him how I acquired it we laughed and said how rich that was. Once in his room I changed into my Tri-Arcanum robe and full size. I then shared the story of Darksong when I presented him with Mindprancer the Runesword. Then I shared what I learned about it experiencing pain when I ripped it off. When the master weaver made a quip about down playing the significance, and having to still paid dues I reminded him that out of everyone in the guild that has offered to get him a rune weapon I am the only one that delivered! Also how to break the connection with Darksong was revealed from the confidential records of Tyvernos and Overkill. He thanked me explaining he did not know about Syvan and their pain response, he even called me friend as well. He did state that if I agreed to just compete in magic only he was willing to talk on my behalf to the committee about allowing me to compete in three years!
OH MY GOSH!!!!!! I need to start training, well I headed back from there to beg my friends to let me stay and learn some magic.
War Wizard of CrIsis
P.S. Although I am no priest may the Lawgiver’s judgement keep you and yours safe.
>>> Written by Xerx’ses Zarrintaj, after the events upon the of the 10th of Thoth, 70th Year of the Wolfen Empire, 2nd year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, and 343 year of the Dominion of Man. <<<
Lady in yellow dress, picture by Nomuh.
Paladin picture from Rocket Dock.
Asher the Kobold by Gaitkeeper.
Thoth picture from Logan Ridenbaugh.
Defilers and Gromek pictures courtesy of Palladium Books.
Gold Coast Flag designed and created by me.
Gor’las picture from Negorobson.
Malah picture from Ziv Qual.
Rafanon picture from Martin Punchev.
Darksong picture from Targete.