The Advanced Duel2 games are held upon the Isle of the Eye, located somewhere upon the Lake of Mists just below the shadows of the craggy peaks of Alastari's Central Mountains. The lake lies east of such Andorian League cities as Lyratilan and Tobir, west of the Free Cities of Riztab and Zukal, and far to the north of such Delarquan Federation states as Osksi and Mordant, where the gladiatorial games first began. The Isle is a power unto itself, falling outside the grasping designs of both the Andorian League and the Delarquan Federation. People of the independent cities and nations have long traded tales of the wealth and plunder to be had by those strong enough to conquer the Isle.
When the present empires were young and building their walls on the ruins of ancient, forgotten cities, tales were told of a Sorceress of the Eye who carried a grey wand. When these ancient cities fell to ruin, the Sorceress whom men named Sheila of the Grey Wand went to the Lake of Mists. Few could ever know by what means the foundation rock beneath the waters swelled up to form the island and the tower which rose seamless and unbroken from the lake. Sheila Greywand established herself here, on what has become known as the Isle of the Eye, defying earthly empires as well as forces assailing Alastari from other realms.
Sheila Greywand continues to weave threads of her own design throughout the realms of Alastari from within The Grey Tower, a bastion of arcane power. Cursing and blessing her purposes fall equally short of truth. Sheila is foremost a protectress of Alastari and mighty in her ageless struggle to hold back the hungering forces of ruin. Few even of the learned have guessed these forces to be the same as those which overthrew the Forgotten Kingdoms, and even fewer have guessed from what source they come.
Hardly has a generation passed that some monarch has not dreamt of subduing the Isle to his own hand, for to gain the secrets of the Tower would open all of Alastari to the sway of his empire. Expeditions and armies, men of valor and of greed, all in their time have come from the ends of their world to seek dominion o'er the Isle of the Eye. But whether a small band of opportunists or an empire's firstborn prince with mighty host, all have been rebuked. The waters surrounding the rocky island churn with beasts, terrible in their size and ferocity. Indeed, even the mists upon the lake hold visions of creatures so fell that no sea could have spawned them. Few have returned with reports of ever reaching the Isle, and those who have tell of falling upon the Tower, only to be cast back into the waters like so many waves in the wind.
And so the Isle remains independent of the desires of men, men who cannot guess in what sense Mistress Sheila is a caretaker to Alastari, ever looking to protect those who dwell here, even those who would see her ruin. Even before the time of our grandfathers, it was Sheila who first saw the need to strengthen Alastari against the malice of demons and other fell beings from beyond this plane who gaze with lust upon the realms of man. She founded a school of wizardry upon her Isle in the midst of the Lake where she raised sorcerers well versed in the ten circles of arcane lore. It was these who were first inspired by her vision to serve as guardians of Alastari.
When Mordant first erected a gladiatorial arena amidst the fens and swamps which ring that unruly city, these wandering, cloaked emissaries brought word to Sheila Greywand. From the heights of the Grey Tower, she envisioned an academy whereby the greatest warriors of the land could be trained to heights of unparalleled excellence. Yea, mighty enough that they one day could engage the hordes of even the underworld without fear or turning. This new order of warriors, each bearing the title Lord Protector, would add a new arm of strength to the land in preparation for the age of peril ahead. Protectors would train in competition amongst themselves as they had in the arena games of their own cities. But now they would train upon her Isle until the day should come to pass that the fullness of their might shall be unleashed upon the enemies of the world.
As the mists that enshroud the Isle slowly churned and rose out of sight, encircling the Tower, so came to Sheila Greywand the vision of this new order. To the inhabitants of the city surrounding the Tower, retainers and scholars, fledgling wizards and scribes, there suddenly appeared one morning a new structure upon the island. A great coliseum, with walls of outward-reaching stone, grey and featureless save inscriptions upon its four cardinal points. First was the sigildry of the baleful Eye of Wizardry. Below was a new sigil, the Guardian Sword, boldly proclaiming the standard of the Protectors for whom this arena was raised.
On that same day, just before dusk, messengers arrived at the courts of emperors, kings, and princes throughout the land, messengers whose very countenance demanded they be received swiftly and gravely. As the sky dimmed throughout Alastari, Sheila's vision was passed to the lords. Perhaps words were spoken, but none were remembered. After what seemed an endless amount of time, the darkness subsided.
As if awakening from the dark shreds of a dream, each ruler trembled with relief to find the perilous future which they had seen was not yet upon them. At that point, the lords were convinced. From that day forward, the thrones of Alastari agreed to entrust the land's greatest warriors into the care and keeping of Sheila Greywand unto the accomplishment of her purpose.
And to the warriors who were chosen by virtue of their prowess at arms a promise was given: Any warrior joined to this cause would be encloaked by the mists of the lake, outside of time, apart from the ravages of age and disabilities which every true warrior dreads in his heart. From death by misadventure or the blade they were guaranteed resurrection by the wand. But as for stealthy time, who delights in robbing men of their spirit and strength by the remorseless trickle of hourglass sand, the Lord Protectors need no longer fear him. In exchange for the boons of long life and battle lore they would receive upon the Isle of the Eye, all warriors who would become Protectors by the Advanced Duel2 Games must swear to a common creed to be held in faith by all.
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