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Delarq Tor--Arena 58

Delarq Tor is an outcropping of the Rirorni Plains, separated by a 150-foot cliff from the lower Smoking Plain, in the center of the Delarquan Federation. "Delarq" is an ancient form of the Eyrian word meaning "enchanted," because the stones in the vicinity still glow faintly from the many arcane battles that have been fought here. At the crest of the Tor, with a commanding view in all directions, stands the lofty Sunrise Keep, said to cast its shadow all the way across the Smoking Plain to the Trier Sea at the instant of dawn. Built five centuries ago by the Mordanti, the keep was dedicated to the earth-goddess Ruvian. Though Sunrise Keep has changed hands several times, the temple of Ruvian in its deepest chambers, and the wisdom of her prophetesses, have always been accessible to any pilgrim.

In the year 430, the rulers of the Mordanti Confederation, the Osksi Empire, the Kingdom of Talcama, and several smaller city-states of southern Alastari, met in the great keep to sign the Charter of Destiny, thus forming the Delarquan Federation. Delarq Tor (which belonged to the Osksi Empire at the time) was declared neutral ground--not the territory of Osksi, Mordant, Talcama, or any other city or tribe, but only Delarquan. The Crown Council began to meet at Delarq Tor every spring, as soon as the snows melted--and occasionally at other times, if a need arose. Eventually they began to keep ambassadors there on a permanent basis. A few months after the creation of the Federation, the first black pegasi of the Delarquan Air Force were brought from Talcama to be stabled in the keep. They were soon supplemented by a joint cavalry whose mission was to protect the trade routes from bandits. To service this growing political and military presence, a small community was built half a mile east, on the wide grasslands of the Rirorni Plains. Its largest building is a temple to Mantor the Bright, Sword of Heaven, with an associated combat academy.

Delarq Tor today is a very small community whose streets teem with off-duty soldiers in all the different uniforms of the Delarquan cities, as well as pilgrims, priests, diplomats, spies, tradesmen, and treasure hunters (the still-smoking battlefields are a profitable--but dangerous--place to hunt for old weapons, alchemical components, and souvenirs). Though the caravan route does not pass through the village of Delarq Tor, it does bend around to come near the bottom of the cliff, and a stairway has been carved in the Tor, so the keep and the village also receive tourists from lands undreamed of, far beyond the boundaries of Alastari. This rowdy community is governed by a Lord Regent (or, at the moment, a Lady Regent), always a Delarquan of royal lineage. The current regent is the notorious Princess Chrysanth of Sunset Island, half-darkelven daughter of King Cyrath.

The arena was intended to be a showplace of Delarquan fighting prowess, where foreigners and Delarquan nobles alike could applaud the skill of the cream of the Federation's warrior class. Because of impending attack from the south, however, the Federation stepped up all types of warrior training, both military and civilian. The arena was opened before construction was even complete. The crowds still cheer from their stone-tiered seats, the nobles applaud from their fur-draped couches, and the Skaithvarnish bookmakers still give odds on everything from the length of a fight to the color of Chrysanth's favor. But without notice, the gladiators of Delarq Tor may be called to battle.

Delarq Tor is ruled by Princess Chrysanth, half-darkelven daughter of King Cyrath of Sunset (by a previous wife).

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Published on: 2002-07-14 (1271 reads)

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