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Aradi--Arena 60

For untold centuries, the island now called Aradi lay deserted, a wild and windswept land occupied only by wild boars, birds of every description, reptiles both small and large, and the occasional dragon. The last dragon to live in the low hills that make up the bulk of Aradi was called Zylleix, and he came to live there one hundred years ago.

Zylleix found the cavern system that riddled the island hills a perfect home, and made his store there for several years, until the gargoyles came. The gargoyles coveted Zylleix's great treasure, and they battled the dragon until at long last, he was killed and his caves plundered. The gargoyles then left the island alone, not noticing or caring that it was the largest island in the northern chain, and returned to their homes on the islands to the east.

The island once again was deserted. The remains of the dragon sank slowly into the hilltop he had been left on, until only his ribcage remained visible, rising like white fingers from the hill. It was this that the boatload of Raltuman fishermen saw, and what attracted them to the hilly island.

The Raltumans were both an exploratory force and colonists. The leader of the Raltuman Nation, recently come under the protection of the Andorian League, believed that there were livable lands to the north of the small peninsula that jutted from the mainland and made up the total of the Raltuman lands. This man, Ylirri Five-Families , who had gone from being the Head Chief of the Nations to Duke under Andorian rule, was filled with ideas of a great land that he could claim, presenting it to the High King of Andoria and thus ensure his nation would be the greatest in all Andoria. He had sent the boat, the Aradi Alyia (which meant "Sunrise Dancer"), to find this mythical world for him. Needless to say, they didn't find it.

But they had found this island. The dragon's bones beckoned the men to search the land and they found a wealth of game, plenty of fruit and places to grow more, and of course the cavern-riddled hills. The hills whistled eerily as the wind whipped through them, and the fishermen fancifully named their new home Island of the Whistling Dragon.

The men set about building a small village of huts, clearing fields for planting and setting up fishing lines, meaning to head back to the mainland for women as soon as they were settled. Alas, it was not to be; the Aradi Alyia was washed into the cliffs that sheltered the bay during a terrible storm and broken on the rocks. In addition to the loss of the ship, they had lost many men. Those who remained set about trying to build a new ship so that they could get word back to the mainland.

In the meantime, Duke Ylirri died and his son, Irriand Six-Families, came to power. He wondered what had become of the colonists and finally sent a force of ships out to discover what had happened to the Aradi Alyia. Being of a more practical mind than his father, he sent five vessels, one carrying women. They found the island with no trouble--only two of the men remained alive. Eventually, they said, all the others had died; a violent strain of fever had left them too ill to try to continue with their plan of escape. These last two had held on in hopes that someday someone would come from the mainland and find them.

The men and women of Raltumas found that Island of the Whistling Dragon enchanting. Although overgrown, the work the first men had done was extensive and impressive. The leaders of this new force, Chiefs Kalidon Two-Families and Rerrianarsis Four-Families, set their people to work at once. They knew that this was a valuable and profitable place. Word was sent to the Duke of their discovery, and the new village on the Island of the Whistling Dragon was named Aradi, after the lost ship that had founded her.

In the last few years, Aradi has grown into a sizable town. It subsists mostly on the fishing trade, although the hunting is excellent, and farming is reasonable. Since the fever which struck down the first colonists, there hasn't been a sickness there, and it is known across Andoria for its healthful climate, and many people travel there for vacations. In fact, many times people arrive for a short stay and end up making the island their permanent home!

When the island rulers, most notably Peace Chief Rerrianarsis, began discussion of the building of an arena on the island, the debate reached the ears of one of the newcomers to the island, one Eulalie Dunsel.

It must be noted that in Raltuman culture, women are not permitted to own ships, work on the crews of ships, or bear weapons. This came about as the result of a rather long and involved story concerning a mage and a curse. However it came about, the women of Raltumans have been, over the years, even further downtrodden. In many cases, they are not allowed to own land or operate business...and this situation did not at all find favor with Eulalie Dunsel.

An enterprising businesswoman in her own right and one-time First Lady of Dullens, Eulalie Dunsel had, when her husband had been defeated in the mayoral election of Dullens, embezzled the entire city treasury. With the Dullens city treasury in her pockets, a beguiling smile on her face, her bumbling husband and five daughters, Eulalie had gotten out of the Charter Cities area, gone up the coast, out of independent waters and into Andoria--where, she believed, no one would come looking for the erstwhile Mayor of Dullens! Eulalie, in her husband's name, bought up all the land that the arena was to be built on and sold stock to other women of Aradi who also desired to see things change. As soon as the arena and its holdings were all snugly in the hands of the female population of the island, Eulalie organized the League of Female Gladiators. This League was to protect all female warriors; if they wished to bear weapons and fight in HER arena, then they were most welcome!

Eulalie's fears of retribution vanished. The arena was built and opened under her supervision. The Arenamaster, Kaylei, was her own oldest daughter. The city of Dullens never sent anyone so far to find them, and as the months passed, it seemed less and less likely that they would. The ex-mayor didn't understand how it came about that he and his wife owned the new arena, but he didn't complain. He got along well with Rerrianarsis, and Eulalie was happy--what had he got to complain about?

Plenty. As the years passed, Eulalie was targeted by an assassin; she died of what was initially thought to be food poisoning, but clever investigation by some of the warriors of the arena proved otherwise. The assassin, and who hired him, were never found. However, it changed things--the arena went to the city, and Kaylei left the island with her lover, Lady Protector Willow (they were later married in Andorak). Old Horatio Dunsel still lives on the island, mostly in seclusion, for Aradi's stiff, bloody politics bother him no little bit and he'd rather stay out of it.

Aradi is a fierce, proud, vicious little town, cutthroat and businesslike. They do not tolerate treachery or treason, yet it is rumored that there is a Chaos Gate open on the island itself, and that Chaos Lords roam free in the streets. This could be, as most people believe, just one of the many myths that frequently surround arena cities, managers, and warriors. They are almost violently Andorian, most willing to shed blood to prove that Andorians are hardly the "weak, fainting flowers" that Delarquans would paint them.

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Published on: 2002-07-14 (1375 reads)

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