The red-robed priest cast the bones on the colorful mosaic floor. On all
sides, anxious nobles held their breath, and King Cyrath shifted uneasily on his
throne. The priest stared at the pattern the bones made, moving occasionally to
look from some new angle or vantage.
"There it is," he said finally, gathering the symbols of his office from the
ground and rising to leave. "The bones speak clearly, and they never lie. Kill
all of the gladiators."
"The gladiators!" said Lord Seller after a long pause. "But surely it cannot
be. In these times of famine and pestilence, the arena is the only diversion the
peasants have! If we remove them, what will we do to keep them from thinking on
the hardness of these times?"
"That is not my concern, merchant-lord. I had no doubt that you would be the
first to question the word of the Holy One, for is not the arena full of
concession stands bearing your mark and stamp? Nevertheless, the bones tell me
that if we destroy the gladiators, then prosperity will again come to Sunset.
Good day, and may our Lord Seefe be with you." The priest cast one last look of
contempt at Lord Seller, and strode from the room through a group of worried
The King stood and said to the captain of the guard, "Take two regiments of
the army. The first will stand by the exits of the arena and prevent any from
passing. The second will enter the arena and kill all they find there."
The captain, white-lipped, nodded and left, thinking of the men in his
command whom he would never see again.
Lord Seller stood a little to the King's left, lost in his thoughts.
Suddenly, he leaned over and whispered something in the monarch's ear. The King
began to smile, and then to laugh.
"The priest of Seefe has decreed that all gladiators in Sunset must die. Far
be it from a mere king to gainsay one of the clergy," he said. "However, I do
not think our Lord would mind if we obtained a new crop of warriors--after a
respectful period of mourning, of course."
Soon, all of the nobles of Sunset began to laugh.
That was why the arena of Sunset Island came to be known as the "arena of
death." A little over a year later, the great mage, Sheila Greywand, sent forth
her agents to form the Gladiatorial Commission and create the network of arenas
that now spans the land of Alastari. During that time, the nobles of Sunset had
been trying to attract gladiators to their arena, but with little success. The
protection of the Lady of the Isle proved a sufficient guarantee that there
would be no more slaughters, and at last the arena rang once more with the
cheers of the crowds, as blade met blade upon the sands. The term "arena of
death" has taken on a less tragic meaning, as the gladiators of Sunset have won
fame throughout Alastari for their outstanding ferocity.
The merchants of Sunset (and they are legion) generally pray to Filarnon the
Windgod, Mover of Ships. The worship of Seefe, God of the Endless Scroll, Patron
of Scribes, Bureaucrat of Heaven, has diminished greatly on the rocky isle of
Sunset, while the followers of Mantor the Bright, Sword of Heaven, have swelled
in number. The priests of Mantor are trained in armed and unarmed combat, and
often serve as military leaders. Dagath Sevenfinger, the Arenamaster of Sunset,
is an instructor at the temple of Mantor.
Sunset is a hilly island, not well suited to agriculture, though there are
some fine orchards. The main local industries are the herding of sheep and
goats, the production of woolen fabrics, and fishing. Sunset also produces
fermented apple and peach ciders, which are quite strong, and more popular on
the western islands than the ale which is favored on the mainland. However, most
of the island's income comes from its merchant navy, which brings goods from
across the Trier Sea--beautiful works of art from the elven lands and enchanted
trinkets from the Skaithvarn Peninsula--to sell on the mainland of Alastari.
Though staunchly Delarquan, both culturally and politically, the merchants of
Sunset trade freely with the Andorian coastal cities, as well as those of the
The main city on the island is Tivorin Dell, on the southeastern side.
Sheltered by the surrounding hills, Tivorin is a very old community built of
brown stones, with the royal castle looming over the harbor on the high northern
arm of the encircling land, and the arena rising from the bluff to the south.
Sunset is ruled by King Cyrath, the seventh monarch of the Cimordan dynasty.
Cyrath is considered a strong king, under whose rule the island has prospered
(most of the time). However, he may be the last of his line, as he has five
daughters and no sons thus far, and the laws of the kingdom prohibit a female
from wearing the crown. He has had two wives executed because they would not
produce sons, and has recently married a young Ardiventian noblewoman named
Glynnis. His daughters, Arabeth, Shendra, Chrysanth, Lyrienne, and Droxine, are
all of marriageable age (Arabeth is pushing twenty-five), beautiful or at least
good looking (Shendra squints), and sweet-natured (well...the other three, born
of Cyrath's darkelven bride, are perhaps a little wild). They will probably soon
be married off to neighboring monarchs to cement treaties and trade agreements.
Meanwhile, Cyrath's cousin, Godorin the Impaler, is next in line for the throne,
and no one is terribly pleased about it.
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