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The Game Masters of Spire Island - Chapter Two

Simeron Steelhammer (Benjamin La Count)
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William had indeed heard mention of the Game Masters in a few of the more ancient texts he had researched but it was normally just a passing reference. All he really knew about them was that they lived on Spire Island before the Plague and they were near god-like in power.

"I know very little about them, save they lived on Spire Island in ancient times and were supposedly very powerful." William answered.

"There is more then that according to the legend. It is said they were so powerful that they could travel between the different planes of existence and even walk other worlds. So powerful were they that when they grew bored with normal sport, they built a place deep within the Crystal Sphere of Argyle to hold special games. They would gaze out across Argyle and pull people or creatures from her face down into their game world and make them slaves. Then they would force the slaves to do battle of every kind imaginable and possibly un-imaginable, both physical and mental. It is said that they even forced battle on a spiritual level at times, forever warping the victor and utterly destroying the loser. There was no way to stop this from happening as nobody knew when they would strike and most people on Argyle didn't even believe it was happening. The strongest or luckiest of those captured would rarely be returned to Argyle to tell the tale but, even then, they were changed in ways that could not be seen with the eye but could be felt with the soul. Their warnings fell on deaf ears save for a few who knew the loss of a loved one or worse, had experienced the same.

In these games, the Game Masters would bet money, jewels, items of power, slaves and even pieces of Argyle like mere trinkets. They cared nothing for the slaves having to do battle, seeing them only as mere cattle to be used for their whims. Some were heartless and cruel while others were kind and benevolent but, even the most generous of them still made it clear that their captives were property. It is said that the Game Masters would sometimes take a pleasure slave for breeding stock and mate with them. Others say that they never pleasured themselves but, would pick certain slaves and pair them off for breeding purposes, much like farmers and animal breeders do now, trying to "improve" their stock's value in the games."

Salina drank her drink and poured another for herself. William had not touched his yet and put his quill down now and took a small sip from it, more to appear to accept the offer of it then to really drink it. It would not due to lose his wits to drink this night. He had already learned more in this short time then several months of research had gathered him.

"To the Game Masters, the games were everything. Rules were never broken and even the most vile among them understood this to be an unbreakable truth. Bets were never made that could not be covered and no bet was ever whelched on. Rules of the game were made before the game began and were adhered to in both spirit and letter. The more kind among them would offer freedom to their best slaves in exchange for victory in especially deadly or high stake games as an added incentive to win. Eventually, enough of the slaves returned that they gathered a small following of people that believed. They gathered the most powerful items of power and the most powerful of magics they could and set forth to stop the Game Masters.

They set out for Spire Island but, the Game Masters were ready and set out a great storm about the island to destroy them. It is said that this is the same storm that rages about the island to this day from time to time. Many of the gladiators perished in the storm but enough made it through that a great battle erupted on the island. The Game Masters fled in the end but the amount of magic released forever changed the landscape of the island, twisting it in many perverse ways. Some say this is where the Plague started while others say that the Game Masters released the Plague first and it only ended with their defeat. In any case, the gladiators that remained used their last magic to make sure the Game Masters never returned again to plague Argyle. When the survivors returned to Greater Argyle, they founded the Crucible to give thanks to Moradin for delivering them from the Game Masters. A dwarven cleric was there and made the wise suggestion that a Tournament should be held once a year to honor the fallen and remind all of Argyle of the pain and suffering many had endured. It was then decided that such a contest would be held and that it would be opened to any of the races that chose to attend. This was the beginning of the guild and the Tournament we have today though, if this be true, the reasons behind it have been forgotten."

Salina again drank her drink and William again sipped a small amount of his. As she refilled her glass, she looked up at him and met his eyes. He could tell this was not the end of the tale, at least, not quite. He noticed how still the night was, heavy with silence. The lights seemed lower, weaker.

"And that is perhaps the saddest thing of all for dear William. The games still go on though, I do not know if the same Game Masters run them. I do not think so for normally, they only take someone for one contest before returning them, if they survive. And even then, it is not often they do so for, they are satisfied with watching our contests mostly. I would hate to think what would happen if they were the same ones and decided to act according to the legend now that Argyle has become so magic poor and few items of power remain to stop them. I am sure you agree that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and will understand."

William looked up then and saw in her eyes sadness, almost a pity. But, it was like she was fading. He then noticed that the entire room seemed to be fading. Too late, he did understand all to well.

The Councilor stood up, finished her drink and set her glass and the crystal bottle back on its tray near the window. She replaced the table where it had been and put the scribe's tablet carefully on a shelf in one of her bookcases, setting the nearly full glass of brandy on it. He would want to drink that when he returned, if he returned. She sighed heavily and picked up a dust cloth and began cleaning the various items on the bookshelf.

"Far too many glasses to clean." she said shaking her head.


The Game Masters of Spire Island - Chapter 2 © Simeron Steelhammer (Benjamin La Count)

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