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Not all that sure it belongs here, but it's fantasy battle related, and essentially fluff. If you're not aware, there is talk over in the AoD forums of reforming the Arenas and creating a solid background which Arena Masters can draw on. Just something to make their job easier, if they have neither the time or inclination to create their own setting or background.
It started because I had one idea, a phrase that just came into my head. So, deciding to write just that single phrase down for future reference, I ended up with this!
It's how my brain works. Most of the time it just sits there and dribbles, but when it gets going its like your African Rhino; ponderous and dense, but unstoppable until it looses interest. Apparently Rhinos have short attention spans too, which suits me to a tee. I'm going to stop this analogy before it gets any more disturbing...
Anyway, writings! Enjoy.
~ ~ ~ ~
It was five years ago when I first stumbled upon the arena within the jungles of Lustria, and I did so completely by chance. Still, to this day, I am unnerved when I return to that place of endless bloodshed and countless lost souls.
Unless completely sure of your path you find your surprise complete when the oppressive, steaming jungle yields within a single step to dark, cool stone. You find yourself staring around a tremendous clearing, unseen until only a moment before, though the sun is still concealed behind a thick canopy and falls in scattered beams amongst the tangle of vines and undergrowth.
The arena itself rises before you, pillars of a grey rock so dark as to be almost black towering skyward. Scowling stone gargoyles reminiscent of the native fauna guard the entryways, adorning the heavy stone doors cowled beneath elegant archways.
It is cool inside, dark within the shroud of the arena. Dank and crumbling stairs lead to the encircling stands, rows upon rows of stark stone benches staring at towards the smooth, sand-scattered, blood-washed stones of the arena floor.
I have walked on that floor. I have stood where countless souls must have fought, and died, defending their dreams, their honour, or maybe an unending grudge that has existed between races for years. I could almost hear the distant clash of weapons, smell the sweat of fear, exertion and panic. And the blood…
I have returned to that arena several times over the course of my travels, and it has always been empty. And yet, there is always blood on those stones, always wet to the touch. I shiver every time my fingers grace those well-trod stones and come away stained crimson.
And yet, no matter what time I have passed that way, I have never seen another soul. Sometimes, in those rare moments when the jungle momentarily quietens, I am sure I have heard voices. Cries for help, calls for mercy, or whispered pleas for freedom. They have always come from beneath me.
There are two doors that lead beneath the arena. Two doors which admit opponents to the floor of that slaughterhouse. I have never been able to breach them, never been able to find another way beneath the arena floor. I know not what resides beneath the stone, what contestants may face as they wait to face their foe within the arena. Nor do I know what would possess one to come here; it is a stark, lifeless place, clouded by fear and death. I feel it even when surrounded by my dependable, trusted companions, and I see that haunted look mirrored in their eyes.
What would drive a man to partake in such folly? To risk life and limb, and for what? Honour? Riches? I know of no prize that could tempt me here. No prize in all that land.
The Arena of Death. It chills me to my very bone to even think of it. And yet, time and time again, I find myself on that stone floor, staring up into the empty stands, and wondering… what would it be like to see them charged with spectators? To have their cheers and shouts echoing in your ears as you emerge into the sunlight, and face your foe across the blood-slicked floor? To take the prize at the end...
It chills me to my bones, and yet… there is a thrill therein. An undeniable attraction. Maybe one day, when the stars align, I will find myself travelling to that jungle, following countless others as they fill the stands. And my heart will rise and fall with each swing of each blade, as each contestant faces their fate.
The Arena of Death. A place of fear, of death. And yet a place of such promise. A place undeniably charged with life. A true wonder hidden deep within the jungles of Lustria.
One day I will go there. One day I too will face my fate. Maybe not on the sand and stone floor, but… I know not what the future holds for me. I only pray that I will be ready.
~ From the writings of renowned explorer Stephan Van Kallenburgh
Very nice work there so far Deadstar, I think that it would be great if the writers could get together and create a background for several arenas. If we pursue the Cult of Librarium idea, then we will need several arenas scattered around the world, as well as the Gran Arena.
If you like, I might see what I can come up with and post a couple of ideas/backgrounds/settings.
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain (It's time to roll the dice)- Mattrim Cauthon