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The Jhelom Dueling Pit Challenges
As of late, reports have reached my ears regarding challenges within the Jhelom Dueling Pit. In the past, however, it seems I have been awfully busy and missed out on the opportunity to attend one of these "challenges". Recently the opportunity presented itself and I took advantage of it... 

I had just arrived at the East Britain Bank when I heard the news, the local crier was shouting the announcement that the Jhelom Dueling Pits were open for challenges, and almost any creature could be challenged! Intrigued by the possibility, I decided I would make an attempt to attend the spectacle. Unfortunately, I had no means of rapid travel to Jhelom, but luckily a band of mages who were attending the challenge offered me passage by means of their magical gate. I thanked them, and carefully stepped through and arrived just outside of the Jhelom Bank and Jeweler. I rushed to the east, my parchment and quill in hand eagerly awaiting the opportunity to chronicle the evening's event.

As I approached I could hear the shouts and conversation of those within the arena, several shouting suggestions to the challengers below. I could make out the roar of a drake, which immediately hurried my pace. Several guards stationed outside of the arena instructed me to the entrance on the eastern side. I hurried in and met another guard, asking him directions to the observation area. He pointed to the stairs leading to the deck above and I swiftly moved up them. 

I pardoned my way past members of the observing crowd, luckily acquiring a spot next to the deck wall. I placed my parchment against it and began taking notes. Now, admittedly, I am not much of an adventurer myself but the thrill of the battles intrigued me. I peered down upon the arena as guards escorted in participants. Apparently challengers could face the creature of their choice alone or with a party of three or fewer members. In this particular case, a sturdy warrior was challenging a lich lord. He soon felled the beast, and exited the arena to observe from above. I then noticed that an older gentleman was escorting each challenger to the other side of the arena to prepare for their challenge. I heard a few folks nearby me mention that he was "the pit master". I scribbled some brief notes and watched as the next group of challengers was hurried in. 

As the pit master lead the three challengers to the other side of the arena I noticed them debating between one another. It seemed as if there was some discussion in regards to what they would be challenging, and I was eager to see what their final decision would be. The moment soon arrived, and the pit master released a daemon into the arena! I immediately stopped taking notes and watched as the three battled the violent creature. The beast moved quickly around the arena, the adventurers regrouping several times in an attempt to prevent the beast from escaping. However, escape seemed to be the least of the daemon's desires. Instead it lashed wildly at the challengers, both with its bare claws and a volley of magical spells. Again the adventurers regrouped and then rushed at the beast all at once in attempt to subdue its attacks. Soon the attacks of the challengers proved too overwhelming for the beast and it collapsed to the dirt floor of the arena. I heard the pit master congratulate them as they moved out of the arena and to the observing area above. I took some notes and continued watching. 

The night went on as most do and saw a large variety of challenges. Drakes, dragons, daemons, undead, elementals, orcs, ogre lords all served as challenges throughout the night. Some challengers were successful against the beast they battled, some were not. Although some were defeated, they lost nothing. They were resurrected and kept all their belongings and were congratulated on a valiant attempt. Before long, I noticed the crowd shuffling around and I was curious why the sudden movement. Soon I found my answer. 

After all the individual and group challenges have been completed, a finale battle is conducted in the arena. Any willing adventurer may enter the arena, all at once for a free for all, “enter at thy own risk” challenge. At this point the pit master, along with his guards, release the surplus of remaining creatures for the entire group to battle. On this night, the finale challenge consisted of fire and ice creatures. I decided I would continue to observe from above while this dangerous challenge took place. The pit master issued his final warnings, and the beasts were released. I watched as a large assortment of beasts wandered the arena, quickly selecting adventurers for their targets. Dragons, fire elementals, daemons, ice fiends and snow elementals were all unleashed upon the willing challengers. The cries of both man and beast echoed throughout the arena as both beast and challenger were slain. The battle continued for quite some time, while the observers above cheered and shouted down at the challengers below. The battle concluded when a large white wyrm was released into the arena. The warriors quickly positioned themselves around the beast while mages and archers provided support from afar. The beast was slain, collapsing to the arena floor and creating a deafening echo in the process. The pitmaster strode back into the arena and congratulated the challengers on their success. He bid them farewell and promised to see them soon at yet another tournament. 

Exhausted from my travels and amazed at what I had witnessed, I decided I would politely ask for a magical gate from a mage returning to Britain. However, I paused before doing so since I noticed one of the stationed guards nearby. I approached him and spoke with him briefly about the Jhelom challenges. He informed me that challengers could indeed select what they wished to challenge but the following is not available: Some of the lost lands creatures, balrons and ancient wyrms. He explained that most other creatures could be challenged, but creatures only; these were not gladiator tournaments. The guard also informed me that the pit master was named Tykryon Valier, a former Captain in the Chaos army. Now retired from the army, he runs the tournaments to attract visitors to the city of Jhelom. For his work, he receives some compensation from the city. The guard explained that Pit master Valier attempts to conduct the tournaments each Tuesday in the evening, and announcements are always passed along to the criers of each town in advance, and are conducted on both Trammel and Felucca, a different facet depending on the week. The polite guard bid me farewell as he wandered off to close the pits for the evening. I decided to be off myself, but noticed that the arena was empty. It would be a bit more difficult than expected to get home to Britain. 

Luckily a benevolent mage near the Jhelom Farmer's market was kind enough to provide me a magical gate to outside of Britain. I stopped at the Blue Boar tavern to finish my report before retiring. An exciting evening no doubt, but several questions still flood my mind, as they normally do. I decided the answers would have to wait until I can speak directly with Tykryon Valier. Hopefully that encounter will shed light on Pitmaster Valier's past as well as his motivation to conduct regular tournaments. 

Until next week's tournament, farewell! 

Published: August 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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