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Jurine--Arena 61

Welcome, oh noble lords and gentle ladies, to Jurine! May your sojourn in our fair city be a delight to your eyes, uplifting to your spirits, and above all, profitable to your purses! May Kjarran the Inexorable, the Overwhelming, the All-Knowing shower your enterprises with his blessing!

Let me direct your attention to the most delicately tinted map upheld by the slaves at the forefront of the establishment. On it are delineated, in pleasing colors, the locations of the city's major attractions. (Note also, oh most discriminating of patrons, the ineffable beauty of these slaves! This most humble and unworthy hotelier can, at the merest request, supply you with a companion to brighten your stay at our establishment. Our selection includes jewels from every portion of Alastari, dusky cinnamon wenches from Trocar, the icy blonde perfection of Frafrejan maidens, the wild charms of the raven-haired Mordanti! For our patrons of the fairer sex, fear not! There is no maiden whom we cannot match with a youth equally beautiful. And for those whose tastes are more...sophisticated...wWe have, for a price, a selection of more exotic lovelies: sleek, blue-haired karragit, sultry orcish temptresses, golden-eyed Aruaki who, so it is rumored, become tigers in the heat of passion. (Let us reassure you that the claws of these maidens have been drawn.)

Yet dalliance, however sweet, is sweeter yet in the flush of victory. Visit our fabled gaming houses, follow the dance of the golden ball and applaud as Luck awards you the prize! Test your wit and skill against the greatest gamblers of the age. We offer games of chance and skill: Four Winds Tiles, Dagger's Edge, Falling Star, and the exotic otherworldly Po-Ker and Billiards! There are other games as well, more numerous and varied than I can easily describe. For those who favor more active pursuits, the exalted Emir Terek (may he be borne aloft upon the wings of a thousand ebony swans!) has established the finest game preserve in the Empire. There one may bring down red deer and wild boar, as well as the legendary Nianian swamp elk, whose antlers may be the width of a Shewish Giant! Hunts may be conducted ahorse or on foot: beaters are supplied, as well as guides, and may last as long as three days--longer trips must be arranged in advance with the Emir's Grand Huntsman Alareef El-Kharrighal.

Not for the faint of heart is our newest and most novel entertainment. Jurine has recently obtained license to open a gladiatorial arena. Here you may witness thrilling life-and-death combats; here, indeed, you may participate! (Any patron desiring to participate in the combat is required by Karnhorn law to sign three releases sworn before Kjarran in blood absolving the arena, the government of Jurine, and the Empire from any responsibility, obligation, or duty in the event of the participant's loss, injury, maiming, disfigurement, or gruesome death. A mere formality.)

For refreshment, the finest chefs in the Karnhorn Empire offer up delicacies beyond compare: whole roast boar, sow's udders stuffed with figs, peacock's tongues in aspic, Thousand-Year-Egg Soup, and other tidbits to tantalize the palate of the most jaded gourmet.

After a meal, what better entertainment than to drift through our elegant water gardens upon jeweled barges of perfumed cedar and sandalwood, to recline upon silken cushions and listen to recitations from the poets, to submit oneself to the luxury of a steam bath and massage? All these things and more await you in Jurine. Come, partake, luxuriate! We await your every command.




Jurine was originally a small farming town on the borders of the Karnhorn Empire. About a hundred years ago the ruler of the village, Imheen The Fat, was lucky enough to free from its imprisoning bottle the fennith Aroun Al-Harren Arheena, who had, but his own account been therein unjustly imprisoned five hundred years ago by the infamous Sorcerer Khalif, Jhuivakh of Old Karnhorn. (For those who may be interested, this fennith was indeed kin to Adonis Al'Edekin Kalaniah the Ever-Prepared, faithful servant of Lady Sheila Greywand; however, Aroun was, as shall be seen, a fennith of far greater age, puissant in magics great and small.) As reward for this release, Imheen was granted the customary three wishes. Being a man of prudence and no little stinginess, Imheen desired for his first wish no mere thousand golden vyahrs, but an inexhaustible source: a wallet of fine leather which would produce a fistful of coins whenever the owner reached within. For his second wish, Imheen desired a vast and lovely palace, with gardens, servants and outbuildings of astonishing luxury. He then proceeded to spread abroad the word of this new wonder. In short order, the nobles of the Karnhorn Empire were flocking to the Pleasure Gardens of Jurine, and Imheen the Fat no longer needed rely upon his magical wallet.

It may be noted that Imheen had yet one wish to request of the fennith. For many years Imheen lived in luxury and decadence, putting off the fennith's pleas to use his last wish and discharge the obligation with various excuses: he could think of nothing to crown his happiness, he was torn between the charms of two prospective brides and could not decide which to ask for, he needed to wait on the outcome of this battle, or that coup, before requesting the wish--until, at last, angry and impatient for final release, the fennith demanded that Imheen use his final wish or die on the spot.

"Very well," Imheen replied, "Though as the poet says, an impatient tongue drags behind it a sorrowful heart. You have sworn, you say, before Kjarren the All-Seeing and Seefe of the Endless Scroll to grant me anything within your power to give as my last wish?"

"I have told you this already," the fennith said, and drew his thumb along the edge of his great scimitar.

"Anything at all?"


"Beware a fiery temper, for it may strike sparks upon thine own hide," Imheen said with a wag of his finger. "Very well, since you are willing to grant me anything within your power to give, I shall take...your loyal service to me and my heirs, from this time until we shall willingly release you."

The fennith howled in outrage, but the bargain was struck, and to this day, it is said, the Emir of Jurine has him bound in service. Jurine's fortunes in the Empire have risen as the sun rises in the morning, and with the opening of the arena, our sun has reached its zenith.

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Published on: 2002-07-15 (1430 reads)

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