|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
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?"
"ANYTHING!" roared the fennith, "CHOOSE NOW, INTEMPERATE DOG, OR DIE LIKE THE
GREEDY CUR YOU ARE!"
"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 (1162 reads)[ Go Back ]