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Dwes Eg: Firehold, Cimmariac, Sentern, Kyr'terr, Dragonhead, And Erinika--Arenas 68-73





"Delarquan trash!"

The Guardian stirred and opened his eyes, the first rays of morning poured in through his window warming the cool island air. The sword point pressed firmly to his throat somewhat ruined the moment, as the urgency of the situation finally hit home. A tall, bearded man in plate strode forward. "Let the man up."

As the soldier eased back the Guardian sat up and tied on his loincloth. "Who are you, I'm in no mood--"

A flash of anger crossed the man's face. "You are in no position to dictate anything!" The anger subsided and was quickly replaced with a superior smile. "I am Bjorn Raillyan, spokesman for Earl Yort Desshien Torres of Zorpunt. This island is Andorian land!"

"This island is mine by right of the Steel Mandate!" the Guardian hissed. "I passed the test of battle long ago and took the isle in battle with its owner, a renegade Andorian."

Bjorn shook his head. "The Steel Mandate is Delarquan, I am Andorian. Besides, we're taking it back...look out your window."

The Guardian rushed to his window. On the eastern edge of the island, just off shore, stood three huge Andorian warships. "Your men are held in the foyer by mages, and your tower is filled with a fraction of the troops at my command." Bjorn laughed. "There was rumor that you had a wizard, but I see that was only a rumor."

The Guardian smiled. Tenkol had escaped.

Tenkol burst into the room with a flash of light. "You fool!" he shouted at Bjorn. "I am an archmage! You, my brash friend, are at a most precarious disadvantage. I was in Zorpunt recently gathering information, when I caught wind of your plans! At this moment King Cyrath of Sunset is on the island with a fleet of warships and soldiers!"

Bjorn turned deathly pale as a clatter arose in the lower levels of the tower. The Guardian leaned closer to Tenkol. "Why didn't you warn me, or at least inform me you'd summoned King Cyrath?" he whispered.

Tenkol leaned back as the clatter grew louder. "I scried Bjorn as he was entering the tower, but before I left I also scried King Cyrath nearing the island."

"Then you were never in Zorpunt?" the Guardian asked.

The door burst open and two guards stood at attention as King Cyrath strode in, with Mallory, Marco, Joshua, and Archangel behind him. "So," he said, walking up to Bjorn. "The Andorians have taken an interest in one of Sunset's annexations!"

"What?!" the Guardian shouted, taken aback by Cyrath's statement. "This is MY island!"

The two men ignored him. "Our ships are at a standoff," Cyrath said confidently. "Your move."

Bjorn smiled. "Attacking Andorian ships would be an act of outright war, and with the invading Rirorni, the whole Crown Council would tear you to shreds."

"Then we stay at a stalemate. Your presence here is a act of war, as the Guardian is in fact a Delarquan," Cyrath said, and took a seat on a small couch.

Bjorn began to turn red. "Then the Guardian taking the isle is an act of war on And..."

"Enough!" the Guardian shouted. "I am not a Delarquan!"

Cyrath's mouth dropped open. "You mean.."

"Not full blooded, anyway," the Guardian admitted. Bjorn began to laugh. "My father was half Delarquan and half Andorian, my mother was darkelven, norken and more than likely both had some Rironi in them." The Guardian drew a deep breath. "I belong fully to neither Federation nor League. Jhelum is my chosen home, second to Dwes Eg, and I will defend both to the death!"

"Traitor!" Bjorn shouted contemptuously.

The Guardian's sword flew into his hand from its rack across the room. "Hold your tongue before I cut the damn thing out!" the Guardian spat. "The Andorian League turned its back on me long ago!"

"Long live the Delarquan Federation!" Cyrath shouted.

"Long live the Delarquan Federation." the Guardian replied with a saluting gesture. "I have a proposition for both of you."

The Guardian walked over to his desk and took from beside it a large rolled parchment, five feet in height. He unrolled it on the floor, weighing down the edges. "I figured someone would challenge my right to the island sooner or later. What you see before you is the city of Dwes Eg. The population is the island already accepts me as their leader, and when I proposed the idea they were overjoyed.

"Not too long ago I performed a rather large task for the dwarves, and they have been in my debt ever since. This will settle the score. Sometime either tonight or tomorrow an army of dwarves will arrive and the city will be raised in one month's time."

"Impossible!" Cyrath said shaking his head. "No one in Alastari can work that fast!"

"Apparently you've never seen the dwarves work," the Guardian said, standing. "Let me finish. You have presented me with a perfect opportunity. Neither nation trusts the other, so Cyrath, you will address the Crown Council, and Bjorn, you will address your superiors on sending Andorian and Delarquan troops loyal to me to Dwes Eg to provision the city. In return the isle is neutral ground between the two nations, and the Crown Council may meet with the Imperial Concordance. I will act as master of ceremonies."

Bjorn remained silent for a moment, considering his options. "You are Delarquan born, and a Jhelumite, too."

"And Dwes Eg is nearer Andoria than the Delarquan nations," the Guardian countered.

Cyranth moved closer to the map. "Why is there an arena?"

"Another matter that was not fully planned out," the Guardian said. "I wish both of you to have your respective nations suggest the practicality of an arena here to Gladiatorial Commission--both to train warriors to protect the island form an attack by either side, to protect the isle in general, and as a relief for all the overcrowding in arenas like Mordant. Otherwise the arena will be used to execute criminals."

"I accept your proposal of neutral ground and I'm sure the Crown Council will also. The arena is an excellent provision against Andorian attack, though I assure you have nothing to fear from the Delarquans. I will, though, push the idea to the Council," Cyrath said, and turned to face Bjorn.

"I answer the same, after speaking with my liege I will get back to you on the other. I am sure he will push the arena idea as well, to provide against Delarquan attack." Bjorn sheathed his sword and strode out of the room.

 

*** *** ***

 

A month later the dwarves were finishing the city, constructed from stone they had brought and stone they had mined from the island. "Come in," he called turning from where he and Venus were watching the finishing of the city.

Mallory entered bearing two parchments. "Messages have arrived from the Crown Council and the Imperial Concordance."

"Read them, please," the Guardian said, setting down his glass of wine.

They both read the same:

"We accept you proposal of neutral ground and troops will be arriving shortly to be placed under your command. We will now see to the task of persuading the Gladiatorial Commission to open your arena for sport. On this matter the we will get back to you."

"That's all," Mallory said, rolling up the two parchments. "I left out the distrusting remarks about each other's nation."

"Wonderful," the Guardian said, turning back to the window. "You may leave."

Together he and Venus watched the first sunset over the city of Dwes Eg, and tomorrow they would watch the sun rise.

 

*** *** ***

 

A courier delivered a small roll of parchment to Princess Chrysanth, in Delarq Tor. Slowly she unrolled the parchment and read:

"Most Honored and Beautiful Princess,

Due to heavy strife and petty arguments between the Delarquans and Andorians, I am hereby resigning my position as ruler of Dwes Eg. I propose a new measure to elect seven Delarquans and seven Andorians, to the Dragon Council. I will act as master of ceremonies and will have a vote in case of a tie. My main duty, however, is as the Dwes Eg's Keeper, insuring its well being. A similar message has been sent to the Andorian League. Please issue this resignation at the next meeting of the Crown Council, thereby making it official.

Long Live the Dark Federation!

The Guardian"

Chrysanth's smile disappeared as she looked at the date embossed on the document. "Inform King Cyrath he has won our little wager. The Guardian lasted longer than one week."

 

********

 

Dwes Eg is a small island off the western coast of Alastari. It lies in Andorian waters, but until recently it supported only a few families of fishermen and goatherds. It is a lonely, desolate place, mostly low, rolling hills covered with coarse, tough grass and weathered outcroppings of grey stone. There are a few spinneys of trees on the highest of the hills. There is a small cove on the island's western shore where the fisherfolk have their huts, and a reasonable stretch of beach, but the rest of the island is surrounded by sea cliffs, not high, but steep and treacherous.

There are ruins of unknown provenance on the northern side of the island. They are so old that only the lines of the walls remain. The patterns of the ancient rooms can be seen most clearly from the air, and those who have seen them from above say that the rooms are laid out in disturbing, almost rune-like designs. In recent years a wizard built a keep on the north side, and there were rumors that the ruins drove him insane; in any case, he was driven from the keep in 502 by the manager Guardian, who then proclaimed himself ruler of the island.

Dwes Eg had long been claimed (albeit very lackadaisically) by the Andorian League. King Cyrath of Sunset Island, however, saw Guardian's move as his own signal to claim the island as a Delarquan possession (Guardian was a Delarquan national). King Cyrath's fleet and the ships of Earl Desshian of the Andorian city of Zorpunt were both sent to Dwes Eg within a month of Guardian's assumption of rule, each ruler hoping to arrive first and become de facto conquerors. However, both fleets arrived within a day of each other, and due to the fact that the Andorian and Delarquans were temporarily allied against the invading Rirorni Horde, neither government pushed for an armed conflict. Small garrisons of troops from each side were left on the island, and after Guardian and his entourage left, the garrisons stayed. Though barren and barely habitable, Dwes Eg is strategically located. The Delarquans were not about to abandon a potential base, and the Andorians were not about to let them have it uncontested. The political situation remains uncertain to this day. Although the island has been officially declared neutral territory by both governments (and a few of the Independent Nations as well) it is certain that once the common threat of the Rirorni is gone, someone will try to tip the scales in their own favor.

The arenas of Dwes Eg are Firehold and Kyr'terr (Andorian); Cimmariac and Dragonhead (Delarquan); and Sentern and Erinika (Independent). Teams from any arena in Alastari may relocate to these arenas, and a manager may run more than one team in them, a practice forbidden in most other cities. The arenas of Dwes Eg have caused a minor supply problem for the island; the huge population boom has meant that most supplies must be shipped in from the mainland. Everything is expensive on Dwes Eg, and there is a thriving black market already.

Although there is not much of a government yet, technically, the island is supposed to be governed by a council made up of representatives from all the participating nations. Since the island is populated mainly by warriors and managers and those who cater to them (the original population of fisherfolk has for the most part muttered "there goes the neighborhood" and moved to even smaller and remoter islands to the north) there is much opportunity on Dwes Eg for the warrior or manager who is interested in politics.









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Published on: 2002-07-15 (913 reads)

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