Tournament In The Jhelom Arena
 

Lewis the fighter

UP: Pacific

    It was a quiet evening at the Jhelom arena. I was standing on the walkway suspended above the grounds when a magical blue gate appeared below and out stepped upwards of fifteen or so well-clad warriors. I was astonished; this many warriors hadn’t set foot in the arena in a long time. Peering down upon the group I noticed one of them was dressed in a gold hemmed brown robe with the hood pulled close over his face.

The warriors were calling out his name, saying ‘Elder’ and ‘Seibh’. I deduced his name was Elder Seibh. The Elder calmed the crowd and had them stand in a line as he explained to them, and me, what was going on. I listened intently. Apparently the Elder was holding a tournament of sorts to test the skills of warriors. In my excitement, I nearly called out how I would like to join, until realized my sword and armor hadn’t seen battle in a long time. I figured I would remain a silent spectator.

I was reminiscing about the old times when I had come to this arena to fight fierce monsters and even fiercer humans. Then I heard the name of some common monsters that startled me back to reality. Elder Seibh had spoken the names of five monsters from across Britannia. None of them were too tough and I wondered how it could be that these warriors would test their prowess against these denizens of the land. I noted that I had taken on such monsters in my younger days with ease. Then I heard the Elder state the rules for this tournament. The monsters he mentioned were: a corpser, an orc lord, a troll, a bone knight and a lich, in increasing order of difficulty, I would imagine. It was the rules that shocked me however. The rules he said were as follows:

· Contestants will fight monsters one on one and must stand adjacent to their opponent at all times. Moving from your opponent will be considered a loss of the match.

· Mages and archers are allowed so long as they stand next to their opponent.

· Only weapons and armor of grandmaster make and below are allowed. No magical equipment.

· Hiding and the invisibility spell are not permitted, the fights must be continuous until either the citizen or the monster is dead. Citizens may safely yield if they so choose.

· No poisoned weapons allowed. Poison via the spell is permissible.

· And lastly, most importantly, no healing during combat. Healing between matches is fine. Curing is allowed during combat by whatever means possible.


I was baffled by these rules. No healing? No silver weapons to vanquish the undead? Perhaps this was a greater test than I had previously thought. I wondered why these warriors would commit certain death. Then the prizes were announced.

· First place is 20,000 gold and a magical weapon
· Second place is 10,000 gold
· Third place is 5,000 gold.


I stood calmly by as I watched the contestants face their foes. The corpsers and orc lords were dealt with quickly until their corpses littered the arena floor. The trolls gave a little trouble to some of the warriors. Then came the true test. A bone knight is a worthy foe even with healing and silver weapons. To fight it otherwise seemed pure folly. But many of the warriors won and from up above I applauded and silently envied them. Some of the warriors even dispatched the knights with a flourish, as easily as they would slay an orc. I was impressed. But the liches were to come and everyone knew how fierce their spell casting could be. I had seen warriors perfectly healthy one minute and dead the next. I was eager to see the results of this last round.

Six of the original fifteen contestants had made it through to fight the liches. And to my surprise all of them won against the fearsome creatures. It was then that I wondered how the champion of this tournament was to be determined. Elder Seibh informed the victors that another lich would be fought and the results timed. The warriors stood by, ready and determined. Two of those who had been previously victorious had died the second time around. A nearby wandering healer brought them back to life and I looked down as they gathered their belongings from the burnt corpses. Three of the warriors were skilled indeed. They dealt with their foe quickly and calmly, barely sustaining any injury between the quick jabs and thrusts of their blades. I didn’t recognize the three, but the others who watched spoke their names. They were Gilthas Stargaze, Soulblighter, and Peacemaker.

Soulblighter dispatched his foe quickly, only taking 23 seconds. Gilthas and Peacemaker tied with 20 seconds. Elder Seibh stated that they would fight again, only this time would be something new. Something that wouldn’t wander in fear after it was nearly dead. Something that could cast devastating spells and take a fair beating. The spectators determined they would fight a reaper. The evil trees grew in the arena.

Gilthas Stargaze was to go first. He stepped forward, somewhat reluctant, muttering something about flamestrikes. He fought the reaper bravely. I leaned far over the rail in my suspense. Gilthas had taken several of the more devastating spells and lived. His armor was black from the heated flames. Yet in the end the reaper fell to his axe. It had taken Gilthas 31 seconds to rid the arena of the foul tree. Peacemaker stepped up with an air of confidence about him. He walked steadily toward the reaper and engaged his foe. He withstood many of the same spells Gilthas had. But in the end his quick katana and strength proved the difference. Peacemaker dispatched the reaper in 28 seconds.

Elder Seibh handed over a check to each of the winners and passed on a magical war mace of sorts to Peacemaker, telling them each ‘Well done’. They stayed for a bit, chatting about various aspects of Britannia. And as quickly as they had arrived, they were gone. I retired to my quarters to dream about the deeds I had witnessed that night and reminisce about my old days in the arena.

Lewis the fighter