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Under A Darksun Part II New Allies

Anony Mouse

First Post
Hi Megamania!
I just found this storyhour and ive been reading the back issues for 3 days straight! (almost) I LOVE Athas and it is very hard to find decent fan fiction that really captures the flavor i remember from the pentad and tribe of one. Also, with those books it was obvious that they were leading to some big world-changes with avangions and Sorak and the rest (My memory is kinda rusty...) Epic one might saybut of course TSR never suported us that long, it is good to see that you have noticed the intricate plot and have built a reasonable story about a regular hero, that may one day lead to epic proporsions! Hell your even playtesting your story. I just get so sick of fan fiction where the story is told entirely from one characters point of view because the author cant stand beside themself to see the heros flaws. My hat goes of to you! Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou!!!!

Donny, aka Anony Mouse

"May the Spirit of the Land guide your steps."
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Yes I do have plans that would reach epic levels. I just need to find time, energy and tweek my brain to pick it up again.
I was trying to point out that the heroes are "everyday" people also complete with their downfalls and weaknesses. I really stressed that with the Nibenay "nobles" and templars story arc.
I'm leading up to some big stuff with the elemental clerics.

Your remarks are getting me thinking about it again.

If you like this one you may enjoy Strikeforce: Morituri. It begins at 18th level and deals with MAJOR stuff. I kinda wanted to answer which campaign worlds are official. TSR/WoTC or the individual DM's. Answer- both. It also involves characters from multiple settings and game systems. Superheroes, pre-Cleansing Wars Darksun, Kalamar and my name sake- Megamania.

If you liked this you may like that one also.

Thankyou again for the compliments.

Anony Mouse

First Post
Hey Megamania,
I see that youve had problems with writers block. For me I go through phases where I write and phases where i draw. i spend weeks doing one until i am sick of it and the quality of the art has become embarrassing. but i force myself to keep at it even if it means scribbling on paper pointlessly. by draining my brains ability to even do a decent drawing i find my writing skills at peak after taking a break from art of both kinds to read a good book (sometimes a book i love and somtimes something new, depending) then i switch over to a different medium. you have to remember that a part of writers block is that you are using a certain part of your brain ("Inspiration") to fuel your creative skills and it needs both time to relax, as well as a variety of outlets. it sounds like you accomplish this by writing different story hours. just remember you must balance your creative outlet with your inspirational input. this may be accomplished simply by reading other SH's. personally i like to get lost in a big book. My favorite author is Michael Moorcock. His Eternal Champion series is very long and diverse, an endless source of inspiration for me. He has a new release called Gloriana which is very different from your average fantasy but i was thoroughly impressed at how enthralling it was! I also enjoy the comic Poison Elves, which is more of a comical fantasy outlet, just silly absurd stories :) Anyhow back to my original point... hrmm what was it..oh yes your writers block: another thing is that it doesnt seem that your getting much feedback. Im surre that that is part of the problem too. Viewers seem to only thank you for updates and demand more updates.. personally, i only read a story if i can fall in love with the characters, and if i love them then im always want to discuss them and whats going on. So if nothing else, when were between updates the viewers should discuss what they think.

Just my opinions, hopefully i can kickstart this storyhour :D No Pressure of course... Your just inpiring me to write an Athasian Story.:p See ya next time!
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First Post
I read the entire first story...

I read your entire first segment, and I will say I'd *love* to see this continued at some point.

I always loved DS, never got a chance to play it (besides the CRPGS by SSI in the early 90s), and you have a way of bringing the characters to life.


I do plan on it. I just have too many things going on at once. I have the three Story Hours going (would love a fourth) plus life.

Last night, meaning to get a book of random maps I keep I grabbed my Darksun map collection instead.

accident or on purpose .....? It's got me thinking either way...where to after Balic?


Bumping since anything of mine that goes into archives can not be called up currently. I hope to save Strikeforce: Morituri.



Much has happened since the last the heroes were spoken of.

Mania has continued to train on how to battle other gladiators within the Balic Arena. He has had little happiness during the time. He has been beaten and broken only to be healed over and over. His fellow gladiators both befriend and hate him. He is a good man (for a gladiator that is) but too damned good. He over shadows many of them. He is just too strong, fast, durable and smart for them. Many resent him for it.

Cosa has been taken hostage and tested for becoming a cleric of fire. She passed even though she has no wish or care for cleric abilities- much less fire. She senses there is several hidden agendas within the small group of worshippers she has been exposed to. She suspects treachery and that she is being used by some of them.

Belinda has been on the run. After her last inquiries into Cosa and Mania, she was forced out of the city of Balic. She is returning but is unsure how to go about it.

It was easy enough to sneak back into the city of Balic for Belinda. But to find Cosa and Mania (assuming they are still within the city) is much harder. She decides to try out the taverns near the docks. It is common that the lawless run the wharves and templars avoid it. She goes down and notes there is little activity. She looks up and the allies and into three separate taverns and find they are either closed or without customers. It is the fourth tavern she learns what has happened.

She goes into the “Dry Oasis” and finds two people there. A scaly humanoid with a dwarves hands and body type and a woman that has a badly scarred face. Fire or acid is Belinda’s guess. “Late for the damned games ain’t cha.” Says the ½ dwarf ½ lizard humanoid. “The entire city is watching it. Said to have several new unseen or heard of creatures within it. Also, there are three new rookies with great promise. A lot of money exchanging hands with those three.”

Belinda puts down a piece and she gets grayish water with floating silt in it. The water is chalky and makes her cough as she tries to drink it. She gets right to business- “Who are these new promising heroes of the arena?”

The world seems like it is moving in slow motion. She can hear the laughter and talking of hundreds of people but it is all hazy and jumbled up. Cosa has been heavily drugged.

This is the first time she has ever left the hidden underground place she has been at. Now in great contrast, she is in an open area with many people. She thinks it is an arena but can not tell for sure. The drugs are just so great and over whelming for her. She can not think of any spells and seems to be unable to feel her fingers to caste any sort of spell or cantrip. She feels the air on most of her body. This is when she notes that is nearly naked. Only see through linen cover her breasts and a short flap covers the front of her body. She knows this is wrong but goes with it. The wind and sun feel good.

She then feels a tug on her neck and head. She is on a leash! That’s okay she thinks in her drugged state.

She vaguely makes out the faces and names of people before her. An old woman dressed is fine clothes touches her in a way that makes her heart race. But that’s okay.

She feels the leash tug at her to sit and like a good pet, she does. Before her is a large space that appears to a tiled stadium or arena. That’s okay she sleepily thinks to herself.

“I expect the best from you today. ALL OF YOU!” screams the elven trainer. “Today you fight for glory. Today you fight for your life. Today you will live unlike any other. The people in the stands cheer for you. You whom live!”

Mania is hyped up. He has been prepared for this special day for a few weeks now. He is ready. He will die today. He is ready. He will die in all his glory.

The trumpets blare and the people cheer. The games are about to begin.

Cosa’s senses someone before her. A shadow falls over her.

“Beautiful whore you have there Sirus” says the older man. “Red head. You always did have a thing for redheads.”

“Back off Lord Feddermount. Even drugged, she may bite.” Chuckles Sirus.

“Who do you look to win today’s Grand melee?”

“The ½ Giant is favored but I like the new one Artesies’ has. He has the same spirit this one has- when not drugged of course.”

“Hmmm yes, I see. I hear rumors of that one. I hear he will not kill. I hear he defies his masters.”

“Yes, the fire in him is strong and burns fast.”

“That fast will consume him and others closest to him. Did you know he was captured just a month ago. Rumor has it he traveled with the veiled ones.”

“You hear too much to keep it straight.” Answers Sirus knowing the old man is getting at something. He himself found Cosa about then. She seems of the type to belong to the Alliance. Could the two know of each other? If so, an accident may be due for the new young champion.

The older man leaves them. Sirus watches him go. He never did like him. Maybe an accident could happen to him also.



Belinda watches from the tight crowd as the trumpet players march back to the safety of their door. A man dressed in long flowing white robe hovers off a balcony that hangs about thirty feet over the playing field.. With a magically enhanced voice he begins the games.

“Welcome fellow Balicians and other viewers of the games. Welcome to the Great Balic games. Welcome to THE games of Tyr Valley.”

Belinda ignores the hype and walks along the rows of people. She has little interest in the games. Especially if this one is the best of them. The games are always bloody and violent. It is more about brute force than the brains and cunning needed to survive in the real world. Here, in the real world, was the true greatest battle.

She suspects Mania is a combatant. He fits the description of a new warrior almost perfectly. Especially about the part of not being one to bend to the slaver’s rules and fist. If Mania is anything, he is defiant.

The smell of unwashed bodies mixes with roasted ztal and silt nuts. Once the speaker finishes the crowd erupts in unison shouting and standing up. Belinda moves on to the merchant class. She hopes to find Cosa though the odds are poor.

Six gith hop onto the field. They look about in obvious fear and confusion. Crude stone spears of theirs are tossed out to them. They pick up the weapons and smell them as if to be sure they are real. A roar emits from the main gates and this roar is followed up by the roar of the crowd. The gates flare open and out rush a leaping ball of fire. Then it turns and Belinda recognizes it as a Fire Beast. A large cat-like creature made of pure fire. It stops and stares at the crowd. The fires crackle and leap from it as it sparks from a mixture of strong emotions. Fear and Loathing of the city and its people.

Belinda knows the gith do not stand a chance and moves on. The merchant crowd smells better but also are wary of her presence. They know who belongs and does not. She is a stranger. She continues on pretending to have purpose other than looking for a specific rogue skilled mage with red hair. The crowd goes crazy as the first gith charges the fire creature and is crushed and set aflame by the pouncing beast. The other gith hesitate briefly before charging the elemental beast.

“Truly a beautiful creature. I came today as much to see her as any other match. Do you feel any kindred to her my dear slave?”

Cosa hears Sirus speaking to her but the drugs make it hard for her to separate his voice and the meaning of his words from those of the roaring crowd.

“Your pet seems very quiet today brother, have you broken her already?”

“Humm- ah dear sister. What brings you to these grand games? Certainly not to chastise me or my newest convert?”

“What makes you think she is a convert?” answers a woman in white satin robes with red trim. Her black hair with red dyed tips hang out from a separate hood with a gold and silver headband.

“She survived the test of the open flame dear sister. That is why.” Smiles Sirus but with a voice filled with venom. “I will make her wife. You are invited of course.”

“To the orgy and harem of what- 10 wives now. No. No thank you dear brother. I think I will practice my psionics instead.” Her voice is filled with sarcasm.

Knowing he has psionic abilities where doesn’t he smiles. It is the usual games each time. The only time they do not fight is when at the rituals of fire. It was her that prepared the three women for the testing of the flame. She witnessed the passing and acceptance of the woman by fire. She witnessed the miracle that all clerics gain.

The ground howls as a gith gets in a powerful strike that obviously hurts the fire creature.

“Do you see- even the fire can be harmed by the material beings.”

“Betrayer!” Curses Sirus. “I should burn you here and now for that.”

“And let everyone know you are a fire worshipper? I don’t think so brother.”

“quiet” says Sirus as he calms down and looks about to see if has overheard them. The woman places her hand onto Cosa’s shoulder and quietly words a few words then removes her hand just as quickly.

“Someday dear brother- I will lead the enclave- NOT you.”

“If you were not my beloved sister, I would kill you.”

“Don’t look not, but the fire beast looks like it is about die first.”

Sirus turns to see a third gith burst into flames. He curses then looks back and she is walking away already. “Many accidents can and will happen in Balic.”

Belinda is working through a crowd of elves. Her hands touch everything of value on her person to be sure they remain there. Instead she receives a cheap feel. She ignores it knowing to slap the elf will lead to thievery of the unprotected item and a conflict with five elves. She passes to a new section and spots a strange looking sight. A dark skinned scaly creature dressed in blue robes. The robes remind her of an elven tribe she knew that ventured to Salt View once a year. The creature seemed to be accepted by the elves near her. Some in the same clothing.

“Belinda? Belinda that is you!” speaks in her mind.

She turns and spots an elf dressed in blue with wooden bead necklaces and trim.

“Curse my luck. It’s my husband.”



As the last gith dies Mania watches the slavers and beast masters lead creatures and cages around. Why has he given up? Having Cosa taken from him is bad but to wish to die? He looks at the warriors in the cells across from him. Their silence tells volumes to him. They are prepared to die but with honor. He is not. He wants to die…but why?

The last few nights have been full of bad dreams and visions. A black gaunt serpentine creature visited his mind. It tore him apart then had others in black robes heal him. He then tore Cosa apart. She was not healed. Her head was placed on a pike to rot in the darksun’s light. Belinda didn’t last any longer. He would then awaken in a cold sweat. “…father…..”

He knew he was dreaming of his proposed father. His father was suggested to be a sorcerer-king named Bane. The sorcerer-kings and queens were all evil creatures that were masters of magic and psionics. A prophecy he had been told suggested he and his father would be at conflict. Some said he would win. But to be a force of good or a greater evil? This is what brought him and Cosa together at first.

Who would want to live knowing their father was an evil and murderous sorcerer-king?

“WAKE UP YOU DAMNED FOOL!” Screams the elven trainer as he strikes Mania in the ribs with a prod. “The master expects much from you. If you fail him- he will not take it lightly.”

“meaning you will suffer” thinks Mania. “Yes.” Answers Mania.

The trainer looks at him. He wonders if the spirit has finally been broken? If so, the timing was bad. He needed to be sculpted mentally. He needed to want to fight. It was illegal, but perhaps a sample of Drakes breath was required. This drug would drive him into a murderous frenzy. He would fight until he was dead or all others were dead. Dangerous to all exposed. As being an illegal tool in the arena, he could be thrown into the matches again if discovered.

If the Kirre amazed Mania, he did not show it. The multi-legged cat with great horns roared and fought against the restraints. As the gate opened, Mania could hear the crowd howl in surprise and glee as the Kirre breaks free and runs down a surprised and unprepared trainer.

“What brings you here Belinda dearest?”

“None of your concern Garrisaun. Nor is it the business of the Sky Sprinters.”

“You hurt me wife.”

“Wife?!? I and how many others do you claim as a wife?”

“You are my favorite human wife.” The elf smiles with his arms outreached and open.

“I am your only human wife.”

“Belinda- please- you hurt my immortal heart.”

“and mine? Begone elf. I have business here that doesn’t involve you.”

Belinda quickly moves away. Several elves dressed in blue and brown move to stop her but their leader motions for them to stop. “Watch her. Learn what she is about. This is not her normal environment. She has purpose here. I wish to know of it.”

The voice of Sirus was becoming clear and how she hated it. He was a powerful merchant and in secret, a dangerous follower of fire whom wished to see all of his enemies burn before him. She was but a toy and a distraction to him. Or was she? More was happening here than what was visible on the surface. Was his sister here? She thought she heard her but the drugs make everything so hard to understand. Using the same skills she used in Nibenay to avoid the Templars, she continued to look drugged. She had a hidden advantage of secrecy and needed to play it up but only when the timing was right.

“Oh good- look a Kirre is going to battle a Minotaur Lizard. This has promise.”

If Cosa understood any of that, she doesn’t show it as a fly crawls over her nose and down to her cheek.

“Are you certain of this Baylar?”

“For the last time- yes!”

The two Veiled Alliance mages continued to crawl through the understructure of the arena. They were going to destroy the games if they could. They planned on planting magical spells and triggers on the moving pillars of stone. It would not hurt the sorcerer-king nor most of his council but the people would question his authority and control. It was the best they could do.



“This is a dangerous distraction. Who is to say she just happened to be here?” asked Huerroan. The elf was dressed in his tribal colors of blue with pieces of wood for accents.

Garrisaun smiled. He knew his first Lt. meant well but he did not know Belinda. For a human, she was special. He had met her about six years ago. She was young then and easy to impress. He himself was not yet a leader. His father, the Sky Dragon, master of the Sky Sprinters Tribe, was still alive and disproved of his friendship with the human girl. “Have your way with her then leave her. She is human trash. She will slow you down.” He used to say.

After the third visit to Salt View, Garrisaun and Belinda were drunken and got married. The week was something the village would not soon forget but why the Sky Dragon’s business was done with the mage he left. She tried to keep up with him but within the hour was falling behind. By the end of the day, she was no longer visible on the horizon.

That was six years ago.

Now he was the Sky Dragon. Now he led the elves of the Sky Sprinters. He understood what his father spoke of but he longed to be with her. He had to know what she was doing in Balic.

“Jassaun reports she has made it to the nobles section. When the templars moved to stop her she left in a hurry.” Says Huerroan as he mentally speaks with the tribe.

“She always did have a way with the authorities.”

Belinda could not afford to have the templars stop her to question her. They may recognize her or steal a surface thought and know her purpose- both immediate and over all. To be searching for lost friends is one thing but to be a part of the Veiled Alliance and Bodach Sentinels was another. If she was lucky, she

would be in the arena entertaining the crowd and not killed outright.

After a few tunnels are passed, she climbs a new staircase and discovers herself to be confronted by a large heavily scarred ½ Giant. Behind him, she sees templars. “great” she says under her breath.

“You go wrong way. You turn or I turn you.”

“I am very sorry.” And she turns away to get away from him quickly and bumps into a templar. The templar’s eyes are vacant. He opens his mouth to say something but nothing but a gargle comes out. “By the four winds- you have no tongue!” she exclaims.

“I warned you!” she hears from behind.

Belinda runs for it. The ½ Giant follows her.

She takes the first steps down and she spots a blue area within the dark shadows. Her ectoplasm skin spreads out from the base of her spine. She blends into the shadows and becomes silent as she goes down the steps.

The ½ giant begins to give chase then suddenly stiffens up and gurgles. He drops to his knees then all fours. At this point she can see three Sky Sprinters with bloodied daggers. “Great. Now I’m really in for it.”

“Garrisaun wishes to speak with you human.”



The sun was hot and the air dry.

It felt good.

Cosa was regaining her senses. She now listened to everyone around her. She was in a group of wealthy men with many games of intrigue going on. Her acute ears picked up conversations of assassinations, blackmail, and crimes that defied repeating.

She decided her time of escape was not yet there but soon. Possibly when returning to her cell.

The roar of the crowd alerted her to the final moments of the battle below. The crazed templars allowed a tembo into the city for the battles. It was battling a Crystal Spider. All of the defilers needed to be killed.

“What is it Garrisaun?” Demanded Belinda, as she was lead to a quiet and secluded corner.

“I never got a chance to say how much I have missed you my dear.” Answers the Sky Dragon.

“I have better things to do than speak to you about mistakes made when I was young and innocent.”

“Innocent? You dear were anything but innocent that night.” The other elves all smile at the memory.

Crimson in anger and embarrassment, Belinda fumes. She has not the time for this. She needs to find Cosa and Mania. She is certain they are here within the crowd of many thousand. Mania is a combatant but Cosa could be anywhere.

“Go stuff yourself- you weren’t that good Garr. Now leave me. Or have you forgotten- I’m just a mere human.”

“Forgotten? I can not forget you and you are no mere mortal human. I gave you my heart. I would again.”

“And your father…”

“Has passed away. I am the new Sky Dragon of the tribe.”

Belinda softens up slightly. She had not heard. “I am sorry. But I need to go.”

“Please- let me help. Who or what do you seek? Our many eyes and minds would search far more than your one mind and two eyes. It would please me.” He softens his own eyes and facial features.

She wants to believe him but can not. It has been years but it still pains her. “Go.”

“Very well my mortal love. Go and may the wind be with you and carry you to your destiny.” And the elf bows and watches her go.

“What did her mind reveal?”

“A man and a woman. She believes them to be here and against their wills. The man resembles the one they refer to the next champion of Balic. The woman I have not seen. What are your orders?”

The elven leader thinks quietly for a moment then straightens up. “Listen close my tribe, this is what I wish to be done….”

“If you wish to die- wait until tonight. Now you must kill for your master and myself.” Snarls the elven trainer to Mania.

If Mania heard him, it doesn’t show. He has given up. He wants to die.

Angry, the elf leaves to prepare the next match. He leaves Mania alone with his thoughts of self-destruction. No one notices the rat that sneaks in between the feet of the other warriors. It stops behind Mania and looks at him. It wiggles its whiskers and waits. Nothing. The fur rises on its shoulders and it turns to his ankle and nips him.


“Fine! What do you want?”



The pain of the Darksun’s crimson light cut into Mania’s eyes. He has been underground resting or waiting for battle now for 48 hours. He and the others are led out. There are twenty-four combatants. Races vary from human, elven, dwarves to B’rogues and a thri-kreen. They are chained to a raised pillar of stone along the outer edges of the arena. The center pillars are raised in a formation of a pyramid. They act as steps reaching the center raised pillar which has a grand flag with the national markings of Balic.

Mania has no wish to be here.

= I see him brother Sprinter. He stands before the templar division =

= Thankyou brother Sprinter =

“Tell me how much you have missed me Belinda my love.” Asks Garrisaun while mentally speaking to his elven tribe.

“I never loved you Garr. You caught me at a vulnerable moment. I was young and had no idea.” Answers Belinda as she looks across the area noting the out coming warriors. This is the final battle. If Mania is here, he will be in this arena, in this contest. Unknown to her, about 60 feet away to her left, is the templar section where a withdrawn Mania stands.

= Grand brother Sprinter- from what the woman spoke of, this human looks more like a wiped kank than a furious tembo.=

Garrisaun ponders on this.

Cosa is certain that any attempt to run will be futile. They are about 50 feet away from any exit. To maintain her appearance of being drugged, she can not reach for her leash to pick the knot on it. What to do?

“Ah- there is Artesies’ new champion. I hear he is a wild one. Strong and incredibly fast.”

Cosa rolls her eyes towards the direction he is looking. Black top and breeches. Black boots. Light colored hair. Could it be? She almost reveals herself at the surprise of it.

“I hear he has the devil in him also dear brother.” Adds Allina, Sirus’ sister as she returns with a small bundle.

“No doubt he does. What have you there dear sister? A package from a secret admirer?”

“It matters little to you. Have you any wages?”

“Are you asking me to wager?” Sirus asks in surprise.

“No. I never bet. I always pick the winner.” And with that she settles down and sits motionless.

= If you are whom I think you are- be ready my Alliance friend.=

Suddenly, things make less sense to Cosa. Sirus’ sister is a Veiled Alliance member? And what is she doing?

“For the last time Baylar- place the blue clay on the pillar there and the red clay on the pillar nearest the center.”

Baylar grumbles as he switches the blue with the yellow clay. He knew everything had to be just right so that no one was seriously hurt- only scared but crawling under the arena beneath the magical pillars was something else.

“Nathen…Nathen…. NATHEN!”

“WHAT!” composure. “What is it Baylar?”

“Do you hear something?”

The contest was about to begin and the pillars were beginning to tremble and shake.

“Hurry! We must leave!”

Crouched to fit within the five-foot space, the two alliance agents begin to scurry. A few pillars to their left drop with a dull thud. Suddenly overhead, a pillar rises. “HURRY!!!!”


“Nathen?” ah Nathen….


And the packages, whatever they may be sit and unattended.

=Do not look up young champion. I have beside me a young lady named Belinda. Impress me and she is yours. Disappoint me and ….I will allow you to fill in the blanks=

Not unfamiliar to mindbenders- Mania answers

= and Cosa? =

= Nearby = guesses Garrisaun. He smiles at Belinda and winks.

Then it happens. Now that he is aware and alert he sees her. Cosa.

“Oh look Sirus. Is it a good sign that the young Champion waves at you?”

“Ever the fool. He waves at his master whom sits several rows behind us.” Sirus lies.

What is dear sister up to? Wonders Sirus to himself being careful not to think too hard and allow her to read his thoughts.



Mania snaps out of it just in time as the horn blows and a large Mul charges towards him. His intend is obvious and includes a great deal of pain.

“Must we do this?” yells mania as the Mul tries to grab him. Mania ducks and rolls under his massive muscled arms. He kicks the mul in the lower back to drive him into the wall with his full rush.

The mul’s head smacks off the wall but he says nothing. He turns and glares with red eyes and hatred. It is only now Mania sees the thick scars along his neck. The mul is mute.

Mania braces for the next attack when suddenly the very ground he is standing on sinks rapidly. Caught by surprise, the mul leaps onto him and smothers him in the 5x5 hole.

“The champion seems to be having a bad day.” Says Sirus to his sister. “The tile he was standing on has sunken. It has created a gravesite to bury him within. And that Mul owned by Templar Tithian is taking full advantage of it.”

“As you know, the columns rise and fall randomly. It is unfortunate his sunk as it did and when it did but all is not lost.” Answers Allina, Sirus’ brother. “Besides, there are many battles that take place on the field.” And within the stands she thinks.

She watches as the columns begin to change again. The magics and psionics involved are mind-boggling she thinks. So much energy and talent just to promote violence and bloodshed. But this is what the Sorcerer-kings use to quell the fury of their peoples.

The mul was heavy and using his weight to hold down Mania within the stone walled hole. He bit at Mania’s face, once he nibbed his nose, which has brought tears to his eyes (and some blood). With harbored breath Mania pushes on. “Get….off…you muscle-bounded…freak!” Mania squirms and finally gets his feet under the human – dwarf cross breed and gives a great push that is psionically aided. To top it off, the stone pillar at that very moment has shot up. From being five feet below the original surface he is now speeding to ten feet above. The mul flies impressively away with attitude. He lands against a pillar and slides down into the space there where two halflings leap in sensing an easy kill.

Mania, from his high point, looks for Cosa but is distracted by the crowd. They cheer for him as he stands high above the others looking like a champion. An elven warrior can not stand it and goes for him. To reach Mania, he must leap and climb the pillars like stacked blocks. Mania has a full few seconds to take it in and then powers up psionically.

“Time to win this thing”

The pillar remains still as a pillar ten feet away rises. The elf riding on in with his long sword drawn and ready. The elf waits for the pillar to nearly reach its limit then leaps using its thrust to add to his own. The sword swings even as he lands on the same pillar Mania stands on.

“Agh!” screams Mania as the blade slices through his Inix black leather armor. The sword’s tip cuts onto his ribs. The pain burns…no- illegal poison burns! “Damn You!” shouts Mania.

“Three times and I aim for four by games end.” Answers the elf with little emotion. Mania jumps down and pulls free his clubs.

“You can not escape me. You can not escape the Human Bane.”

Mania curses. He has heard of this evil warrior. He hates humans and has learned how to kill them. The poison he uses is most likely especially potent to humans. The elf pulls out an obsidian dagger and does a series of maneuvers to scare Mania and awe the crowd. Seeing the shape behind him. Mania waves his arm at the elf as if to show how unworthy he was. The crowd goes wild at the move and goes crazed as the B’rohg slams the elf off the pillar, which had him at a perfect height for the 4-armed giant-kin. The elf sails several feet away and tumbles down the stone columns.

The mul kills one halfling and throws the other away. Strips of flesh are torn from the mul’s forearm and back. Woozy, he climbs up from the blood filled pit. The surviving halfling sees the elf come to a rest, his head split open. In halfling he says “dinner time.”

“It seems the combatants are more about killing each other this time than capturing the flag.” Says Garrisaun. “This will delay everything.”

“Everything? What are you up to Gar?” asks Belinda. “Why is the time of the game ending so important to you? For that matter- why is the game important to you at all. You war against the defilers that eat away at the mind of the world. Why?”

= I speak to you within your mind to reduce the chance of eavesdroppers. I and the Sky Sprinters have reached a pact with the Balician Veiled Alliance. =

“Pacts?” she says aloud.

= When the game ends, we will strike against the defilers and Andropinis himself =

Belinda is speechless but her mind races at the possibilities. She knows how much Garrisaun hates the Balic government and the forces within. He is capable of trying to level the city in order to hurt Andropinis himself. Suddenly, she knows fear.

= and fear you should. When the flag is waved in victory- OUR victory- we trigger the trap and thus end the magic of Balic. =

Belinda stares at him in fear. He means to irradiate magic within the city. Defiler and Preserver. “This could be just as harmful to the world as the use of magic. Magic is the blood that feeds the world. If tainted it can poison it. However, to remove it kills the parts it originally fed. Do you understand Gar?!?”

He pinches her mind and she collapses into his arms. “Perfectly.”



Mania coughs twice. The first cough hurt. The second was filled with blood. This human with two clubs just had to go.

“You felt that one. Good. I promise you- one more then you will feel nothing else.”

Mania dimly remembers a human that was captured from the Ringing Mountains. It was rumored he was raised by Tigones. Others suggested by halflings. Either way –he bites and chews. He was a ranger. Bad news. Taking the moment to gather himself, he calls on the energies from within. He needed to counter the follow up attacks this savage had.

“Psionics …? I have fought and killed such.” The savage answers.

“For a savage from so far away- you talk an awful lot.”

The ranger stops his smile. He stops motion. Then blood trickles out of his mouth as it opens and his knees buckle. At that point, the pillar he stood on drops and reveals an elf behind him. He wields a knife now slick and red with the ranger’s blood.

“Your champion proves to be very lucky.”

“He is not my champion. He is the slavers possession dear brother.”

“Yes. Yes he is.”

“But what if he does win? He is the champion of the people. I can see it. I sense it.”

“Allina, my dear sister, what EVER are you talking about?” Sirus says irritated knowing what she is saying. Cosa fights a smile. She escapes today.

“He has a natural charisma I have not seen in a long time. He is a natural leader just looking for a cause. I can see it. I watch the people. I read their surface thoughts. It is the commoners that route for him. The commoners that want him to win.”


“I have heard stories of him. He detests slavery…”

“ALL slaves detest slavery!” interrupts Sirus.

“He will and has stood up to slavers. I heard one rumor he is a Veiled Alliance member from Nibenay.”

“So? Should we turn him in to the templars for the return of a favor?”

“Do you recall Nibenay’s war last year with the Gith. Nibenay nearly fell to them. He was the one that stopped it.”

Cosa smirks against her will. Nibenay would not have fallen. Mania had little to do with the battle ending. He was just in the right place at the right time.


“This is much to this man. He has a destiny that I wish to decipher.”

“You want to BUY him?” Sirus says in anger.

“No- study.”

Sirus takes the effort and time to turn and look at his sister now. Now he knows she has plans and this warrior is a part of them.

He is about to say something when the crowd goes wild. Sirus looks to see what has happened. This warrior his sister is so caught up with has won another battle. Only four combatants remain. This is not what keeps his attention however, it is the far end within the stadium. The commoners. They are up on their feet and cheering for him. He honestly can not remember ever seeing this. He sees templars with B’rohgs (Balic dislikes anything obviously giant) trying to contain the crowd.

For the first time, he feels his heart race from something other than acts of cruelty performed by himself. Revolt. One can see, sense and taste it. This warrior is influencing 10,000 people by fighting for his life.
Sirus sits back and thinks about this. He says nothing for many minutes.



An elf, a Mul and two humans remain within the arena. Each has wounds and circle around each other and the flag of victory. Mania is becoming entranced on the cheers. It was only now he has come to recognize the cause of the cheers and yells. They cheer for him. It makes the adrenaline bubble and soar.

Feeling over confidant, he goes for the flag early. In a panic, the other three react. He reconsiders the act and stops. The crowd cheers.

“He is daring and reckless. I like him.” says Garrisaun to his second in command. “Come, we need to leave before the psi-burst occurs. It would not do us well to be here.”

“And the woman?”

“Bring her. With proper conditioning, she will be mine willingly again.”

“Sirus- do you see what I see?” asks Allina to her brother.

The question snaps him out of his deep thoughts. “Humm? See what dear sister?”

“Is that not the old woman Derris? What is she doing?”

“The Oracle? Bah- she looks for her eyes and tongue no doubt.”

“Seriously brother- she seems quite content to talk to the senior templars and guards. She knows better than to force an issue with them.”

“She has seen the arrival of the giants again for all I know or care. AAAAGH. There goes the elf. Damned mul just broke it over his or her knee.”

Cosa looks across to her right and can just see an old and frail woman. She is urgently trying to speak but the people are ignoring her. It appears her eyes have been removed. Without moving, she can not get a better look.

“This is foolish. What do we accomplish? Why do we fight? For the slavers delight? For the Templars betting parlors?” asks mania as he rides a column up into the air slowly.

“We fight to live.” says the human with deep black scarring on his arm and face.

“We fight to FEEL alive.” Sneers the mul as it climbs out from a ditch of submerged columns.

“Would it be better to for a different purpose?”

“What you suggest I understand but we are but slaves.”

“Really? I thought you were a champion. I thought you were good.”

“Back-off outsider!” the now angry human says as he moves to place Mania between himself and the mul.

“Some paths are chosen for us. Such this path is.”

“You can better than that. Both of you can better than this.” Mania slowly turns with his arms outstretched. The audience, without knowing what is being said roars. They believe he is mocking and daring an attack.

“You can make a difference. Join me. Join the ..oop” Mania returns to a defensive position as his column begins to descend. A column rises quickly that creates a barrier between him and the other human. The mul now rises to the air slowly.

“I am a half-breed. I would never be welcomed within your group. I have been warned of this. Of you.”

“Really?” says Mania with fake surprise. “By whom?”

“By the templars. The templars that look out for me. They look out for the city. Our king protects us. I will not join your foolish game.”

“The king that protects you….?!?!” Says Mania in a mocking voice. “Your king is not what he proclaims to be.”

“He protects us from the giants and the horrors of the silt.”

“Does he protect you or the investment he has called Balic?” Mania climbs a raised column. “You seem to be wiser than most combatants here. Think. Think about what you say.”

The human sees these two would prefer to battle with words. So be it. The black scarred human moves to the flag of victory and grasps it.

“For Victory!!!!!” and yanks it out of the post.

The crowd cheers and gasps.

Mania ignores him. He feels he is getting somewhere with the mul.

Sirus smiles. Allina’s champion has failed.

Cosa tries to decide quickly when to escape. She is uncertain when she will see Mania next.

Allina carefully reads the mind of the old woman. And pales.

Garrisaun and his elves have reached the main gate to leave. “Any time now- a new world order will begin.”

And below, under the moving columns, several packages designed to activate with the removal of the flag begin to glow. They are not where they belong however. But they function still.

The scarred whom waves the flag high over head then stops.

Mania and the mul both look to the ground.

Suddenly a shudder crosses through the columns within the arena.

“Move it! Move it dammit!” yells Mania as he begins to make for the wall. The mul frowns looking at the ground then gives chase.

The templars stop and try to sense what is happening. The other mages feel it first.

Blue and green goo bubbles through the cracks of the columns and begins to flow onto the surface of the arena.

“Keep going!” yells mania as he tries for the wall.



“What is happening?” snarls the mul.

“I don’t know but it is NOT part of the game. I can promise you that.”

“How do you hope to climb the wall? It is thirty feet up and slanted inward and is glass-like smooth. We can not climb it.”

“My first law of survival- don’t give up. I almost did. And it nearly cost me my life before this stupid event occurred. We’ll find a way.”

Cosa bolts upright. “I can feel it! It hungers for me!”

Sirus turns to her. “Witch! You were faking!” and he goes to grab her.

She grabs his ceramic cup and breaks it creating a sharp edge. She slashes his cheek while trying for his neck. In a spurt of blood he turns away and falls to the floor of the seating area. “Mania!” she shouts.

Allina id horror stricken. It is as the old diviner saw. A monster that feeds on magic. It will tear the city apart.

Several secret Alliance members gather. “This is not what the elf promised. This is dangerous and will destroy the city and her people.”

The king’s throne is empty.

“Beware- it grows and I know what its touch will do to us.”

“I damn well aware of that. However, do you see what I see?”

The mul stops and looks across the arena. “What do you see?” The mul sees nothing.

“The creature seems to be growing towards the templar area. As if attracted there.”

“True but why is this important?”

“Just a sixth sense thing. Let’s go.” And Mania changes direction to run to the area where Balic’s national defilers sit.

“It is difficult.” Says the mul as the blob is uprooting the entire arena. Columns rise and tremble. “It is tearing the arena apart.”

“I know. Isn’t it awesome.” Says Mania with a smile. A plan is forming within his mind. It is desperate but there is no other way. The heavy doors that allowed them into the city are still closed. They can only be opened from the inside. They will not open the doors for a human and mul gladiator. It is up to them to survive.


“There what?”

“That big column. It is on the brink of collapsing.”

“And as such we need to avoid it.”

“No- I have something else in mind.”

The defilers of Balic, the defenders of Balic, begin to attack the blob. Each attack makes it healthier and larger. One defiler realizes this and tries to stop his allies but they will not listen. They are caught up in the abuse and flow of arcane energies.

Cosa sees Mania running to the wall. What he has in mind she doesn’t know but she plans to be there when he does it. Most of the people are in a panic. People are being crushed as nobles, peasants, merchants, guards and commoners alike run to flee the creature.

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