The Lopanic Games: The Isis Gambit

=======
| Reader Note: This has been
| sent to Ondemeira the White.
| At the castle of King Guy the First
| in the city of Credia. A copy was
| made for each current member
| of CrIsis not in custody.
=======

Dear Lady Torchwood,

Since you said you were to be here at this, …no these (not this) games I wanted you to know the religious epiphany of what I believe is the visual machinations of the Isis Gambit. Now I have had some time to think about this and the more I think about the Lopanic Games the more I believe we were sent here not because of the Lung of the Lawgiver. I believe the lung was actually a secondary goal! I believe we were sent here to put right a wrong and save a knight from himself!

Sir Thurgood Andress

Now the reason I believe our winning the lung was a secondary goal is the departure of the Defilers of all things. These heroes (yes that includes Brother Malkin even if he doesn’t care about his fellowship anymore), one and all were being ask to stay and watch in obscurity until another ‘Group’ would come along and replace them as the guardians of this world. The Pantheon of Ra can do whatever they want, yet they try and let us live in free will and make our own choices to learn and be better. In other words we have been granted the ability to screw up and become more knowledgeable for it.

That is a big leap of faith on their part!

Now when I had joined my new family in Wisdom over a year ago. They had just come from Llorn and had offended the aforementioned knight above. However, a passage sticks with me about what Master Cava wrote:

‘ …In the Hall of Right, we met with the Duke (who was very shouty), a dwarf who looked like he knew how to handle himself in a fight, and a strange elf-woman who whispered things into the Duke’s ear every time he looked to be winding down, and started him off yelling at us again.

I’ll summarize his shouting by saying that my extreme political acumen and polished silver tongue had once again saved the day, as the Duke’s son was one of those “diplomats” I oh-so-gently rebuked in Haven.

Oh dear.

This insult was made worse by the fact that the Duke absolutely hates religion of any stripe because one of Rurga’s people was caught with his hand in the till. I have met Rurga, and I have a very hard time believing this, especially in light of the fact that this man is still alive.

Come to think on it, I think the elf-woman has the Duke under some kind of spell because she would whisper into his ear the most whenever anyone brought up the Church… ‘

and then this part later in the same missive:

I fully intend to investigate the mind-controlling she-elf and this magical, brain-eating rock garden. Perhaps we can free Llorn of some great evil and the Duke won’t insist on an embarrassing published apology from us.

This elf woman I believe to be an agent of the Dark, now I don’t know if she is working directly for Zizean and I am also not sure having never met her whether she is a Changeling fallen from grace or some other Demon in disguise. This is the purpose I feel is the source of the Isis Gambit! Having been thrown in a state of war for a solid year of running across the world and slogging for days on end with undead creatures, and dying twice, I have been on edge. Then between Brother Indaris and Master Asher I have been reminded of why the Great Lady chose me, she said it was my piety she found impressive. My late mother gave her life for the Great Lady and my first father did the same fighting evil. I found that CrIsis as a whole had a part to play in the Gambit and it started with Isis requesting her priest to cheat.

Yes I wrote cheat, but before anyone reading this screams sacrilege just remember I am going to explain the Isis Gambit, this is just the groundwork.

~ The 7th of THOTH / Day Six of the Competitions ~

This was the final day of the Pentathlon, the Stadion. Master Overkill saw I was awake and huddling with my legs drawn up to chest.

Terrified!

When he asked me what was wrong I told I was hearing Zii’clymnt and Ca’Van’s voices crying out my name and then the smell of fire. Watching A’zad’s tower go up in flames and I couldn’t stop them as they held me down over the flames to burn alive. To be a warlock or wizard was a big deal and now that they had rune weapons they were going to level the playing field and make sure I stayed away from Luur’na. Whom at the time was dating the bearer of the black runesword: Lightning Striker.

He put his hand on my left arm and was touching the scars I fought the urge to flinch. The old sea Dwarf looked up to me, “You’re not alone I have no idea why me kissing a baby makes for a positive portent in the life of that child or this child. We’ve been fighting so long it will take time to not look for daggers big guy.”

I nodded and gulp as Master Azariel & Master Asher brought in a new friend they had made from the Western Empire. Master Alchemist Gabriel was his name and I thought he was the same alchemist mentioned in Extra Edition of the Lopanic Games Beacon. The three of them went into the back of the tent and had some quiet clandestine conference as the rest of us got ready for the day.

Here is the list of the day’s Events:

  • Freestyle Boxing and Wrestling was held in the Arena of Light.
  • Freestyle Pankration was held in the Alliance Stadium.
  • Pentathlon Stadion was held in the Juggernaut today.
  • Freestyle Dolichos was being held at Lictalon’s Ley Line.

When the master alchemist left the guards said we need to hurry because they were not going to be able to hold them off forever. Three of our security detail from Galthor’s Guards came with us, and I can say they have been great in their duty, professionalism, and decorum. I would hire them again in the future with no reservations.

Luckily, I had paid for Master-Sister Caminata’s ticket to the last of the Pentathlon’s event yesterday on the way back to the tent. We had stopped at a place I called a mobile ticket building, but everyone else called those ticket merchants ‘scalpers.’ Masters Azariel and Asher headed off to I Need In where I described the roving merchants selling tickets. The rest of us headed to the stadium. Master Asher told us that morning that we now had account at the Gold Coast Trading Company and he’d shared the password with us later that night when we could be safe about being overheard. There was also a note about ‘monster haters’ at Dark Elf Alchemy so don’t go in there or Not What You See because they work for Zizean, the Agent.

Well, I soon found out about the ‘Elven Protests’ mentioned in the news reports. I was so sad because I really wanted to visit there someday, but alas I’m not going there now. The Elves of Sulestan, or at least 30 of them had barred the entrance saying I should not be allowed to compete! Where were they on the first day of the competition? No I knew this was because I had done something or was about to do something that threatened them. We had two turns of an hourglass before the start of the games. When they drew swords, two of the three LGC guards at the competitor’s entrance ran off for reinforcements.

What worried me is that there were around 400 screaming “fans?” wanting me to compete. 30 or so “armed & armored” Sulestani Elves and I could light the torch turning this into an inferno! I did the one thing I thought would help until LGC Guard reinforcements would arrive. Given the time we had to wait until the game started I knew the next thing I reminded myself how big I was and the “world” was watching how the monster would handle this mess. So I asked everyone to join me in a prayer to Osiris about praying for:

“law tempered by mercy for those that oppose us in our life.”

I knelt and began my prayer and 400 people followed my lead, so I tried to remember prayers my father and mother used to have me state when I was younger and some were etched into the blade of Uraeus’ Fang.

To my Lord Lawgiver, bringer of the paths of order and society, provider of council and caring for your fellow mortals I ask that you forgive those of Sulestan. They are bound up by pride and the ancestral hate my race did earn. Your light which comes from almighty Ra and borne on the heart of your lady, She of Countless Names, has saved me from darkness. Please now saved them from the darkness of pride, save them from the darkness of wrath, lead them to stand in the light away from the gluttonous edge of hate. May your warmth and light bathe them in humility, may patience guide their hand and temperance their heart.

For ourselves are not without fault in our lives we offer from us to those we have transgressed
All that we ought to have thought and have not thought;
All that we ought to have spoken and have not spoken;
All that we ought to have done and have not done;
For thoughts, words and works, pray we, O Legion of Light, for forgiveness, and repent with penance.

Right about this time (or just before it, hard to remember) Masters Azariel and Asher had shown up with their tickets. Just as horns blared and Sir Thurgood rode up with enough reinforcements to match the protesters. He looked the prayer circle and I leading a peaceful gathering against angry Elves with disgust and a bit of shock. He made it clear that they were going against the laws of Lopan, the Eastern Territories, and even their homeland of Sulestan to try and bar my entrance. He noted their lodged complaint with the LGC and that those officials would deal with it in due course.

A second later I saw Sir Thurgood fall from his saddle and I heard Master Asher scream about an attack by magic from the elves and . . .

. . . BLACKNESS!

When I came to Masters Overkill was leaping from ‘protecting‘ Sir Thurgood, alongside Master Asher, to attacking an Elven wizard. Above me was Master Azariel, Master-Sister Caminata and Brother Indaris whom then moved to try and help the Mistoan Knight but was politely rebuked as he had come around as well. A full blown riot had broken out and there were a total of six dead: 3 Sulestani Elves and 3 of the LGC guards. I had the option to act in the last bits of the melee but elected not to. I needed people to see me not blindly react to violence with violence. Still not sure if I was doing the right thing but it seemed wise at the moment. A few fans were arrested because they would not stop harassing the Sulestani Elves that had been put in chains and in the case of mages, gagged as well.

It wasn’t until I heard Jaymus Murray begin his announcements that I truly understood why the the Sulestani Elves had attacked. The last person to perform the “Golden Sweep” was Anion Nerodin of Sulestan and it was done 933 years ago. The next person to get as close as I had been was Lord Kilnaron also of Sulestan, 102 years ago. Then he went on to make a point that for this games it seems monster races were allowed in on a trial basis. I suspect this was due to Western Empire wishing to try a Wolfen slave against the other athletes. I guess he was eliminated because I still have not seen this mysterious creature. Hearing them announce my name the chanting is a near deafening ROAR!!!

XERX’SES!!!
XERX’SES!!!
XERX’SES!!!
XERX’SES!!!

After the roar died out I began to hear again . . .

. . . and he finished second in the final event, the Stadion race, by a hands breath…. We shall see if Xerx’ses shall suffer a similar fate!

Speaking of the Elves of Sulestan, they tried to block Xerx’ses entry into the event today. They have lodged a formal complaint with the LGC, the Lopanic Games Committee, to have the entire Pentathlon thrown out! They eventually were broken up by the LGC security detachment, headed by an angry Sir Thurgood Andress, a Mistoan knight from Llorn.

Going into this event, the standings are only a determination for who will gain the silver and bronze leaves- Xerx’ses is dominating this Pentathlon!

* Xerx’ses – 32 points
* Cobert – 19 points
* Rahl – 18 points
* Joe – 17 points
* Blaife – 11 points
* Arleep – 12 points

The favorite for this event, by far according to those wagering on the event, is the Elf Rahl. In fact, leading up to the Games, many had thought he would only be entering the running events, but when I interviewed him prior to the Events he said he wanted the Lung, so he entered the Pentathlon. However, barring a freakish event, like we had in the Javelin event, (poor Foster- at least he is alive!) Xerx’ses cannot lose. Since there are no weapons in the Stadion, there is little chance of that!

The crowd is raucous here! The noise is deafening, and the loudest cheers by far are for Xerx’ses! The Elven protesters are trying to overcome the cheers- it seems they have adopted Rahl as their champion, but they are being drowned out by the shouts for the Minotaur!

The race began and in the first three portions I maintained a second placed leader spot, I was worried but I dug deep in that last quarter of the heat and like an ‘Ace in the Hole’ I found my body willing to push itself to the limits and passed Rahl by a mere *”3″* Elven meters. I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I DID IT!!!
I WON!!!

I made to shake everyone’s hand that competed to which Cobert, Arleep, and Blaithe did so. However, Rahl, spit upon me and Joe just punched me in the face. It was then that Jaymus Murray, himself, descended to interview me personally and I want to say I remember everything I know his reporting is fair. I knelt down when he came up so we could be eye to eye and I “hopefully” would be slightly less intimidating. During the interview I told I was a wizard, I was born in the Baalgor Wastelands, but also explained our last names to him. That we get them for great deeds or items of power we have done with them. I asked Jaymus Murray to give me my surname in his article and I would bear my surname with pride it was won in the land of the Fair Folk and gracious people of Eastern Territories. Kind enough to honor me with competing for their land.

You can read the interview for the rest of what we talked about and my new name in his article, I took the stand with Joe and Rahl as we did in Wisdom at the exact same spots! Which means Gold Coast won the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place of the event and the Eastern Territories won the “Golden” Pentathlon. This was no longer in control of the Kingdom of Sulestan. I wonder if King Hafton might grant me the privileged of residing in Wisdom? Sir Thurgood in his duty bound honorable self gave us a large contingent to escort us back to our tent, which took 3 hours!!! Yes 3 hours!!! All the well wishers, people wanting to touch the red ribbons tied around my wrists. I am still not sure why rubbing my horns will bring people luck, but it did get me out of kissing children.

The night ended with first with my classic prayer at the Temple of the Cult of the Great One:

To the Lords and Ladies of Ra’s benevolent fellowship of light!

May the good monk/bard and warrior/merchant find their souls healed and faith in friends restored. I seek not mending betwixt me and the monk for that would be avarice and gain for which I have not prayed. I beseech thee to before the last of the Defilers flee this world for your warm embrace in the hereafter and he is left behind. That he sees his brothers and sisters again for the fellowship they were, are, and shall always be for those of Palladium.

I want to thank my mother and 1st father, thank Luur’na for being kind and caring, wish her and Zeelik centuries of happiness and many children. Mergerij for helping to train me.

A prayer for my 2nd father that life for him is well and he is happy out in the world.

A prayer for Old Gregg for helping me find my way home and helping Zeelik now.

A prayer for all of CrIsis, my best friends and loving family.

May I win tomorrow not for me but the glory of my people. May I serve as an example that their is a brighter path and evil does not have to be the road of our destiny.

Your servant now and forever,
Cyrus Far’zan, named by his mother, Xerx’ses, chosen to remember the Lawgiver’s servant that was his first father.
P.S. may Masters A’zad & Aesyl find peace as well in the Lord of Wisdom’s hall.


Then finished listening to a discussion about something that happened to Master-Sister Camminata today trying to buy tickets for the Dueling tomorrow. It appears that the rumors of Changelings may actually be about Werewolves!!! I have no idea but shape changing beasts always sound dangerous to me. Our Elven Druid turns out to also be our resident werecreature expert! I had bad dreams of Ms. Hopper turning into a Wolf beast and easting me alive for an article, not a great sleep, ugh!

~ The 8th of THOTH / Day Seven of the Competitions ~

This was the final day of events I was in. Here is the list of the day’s Events:

  • Freestyle Mage Dueling was held in the Alliance Stadium.
  • Dueling was held in the Arena of Light.

Brother Indaris (and Oathbringer as you will see in the Isis Gambit) and I were in Dueling. The good Brother was carrying his ‘special’ sword into his final two matches before the first place fight, and this competitor was named Bruce, a human from the Bizantium. Brother Indaris has a mean swing with that shield of his and dominated the fight, winning in the end. I went up against a dwarf that could have passed for Master Overkill’s twin brother. Our battle was good and comical because each of us was dual wielding and both lost control of a sword. I recovered first and grabbed the red bearded Dwarf’s fallen blade and blocking him from getting to my fallen sword. He eventually yields and I help him to his feet. Master Ankal Boughtor was what he gave me for a name.

Brother Indaris and I moved on to the semi-finals where the good priest faced off against Joe each of them with sword and shield. I watched this fight and knowing what I knew about the good priest’s ‘special’ sword. I saw the blade Joe was wielding make a ‘wicked’ bite into the priest’s side and cannot say I was surprised if Isis had not made this part of her gambit. Brother Indaris fought Joe to the death and the entire fight was a barrage of strike followed by shield parries!!! IT WAS A BRUTAL SLUGFEST BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARK!!!!

In the end the ‘special’ sword of the priest of light cut into Joe’s skull just over his right ear. His helm exploded and pieces went flying! The Priest of Light had triumphed over the Champion of Dark and all of it with a festering wound I could smell from the sidelines. It reeked of chemicals/reagents/poisons or magic to leave such a mark with a single shot.

BROTHER INDARIS WAS IN THE FINALS ! ! !

Now I faced a human whom clearly worshiped Anubis the Betrayer and his flag from the corner he came from was one I had associated with the Land of the South Winds. While there is nothing in the rules to prevent the use of poisons most lawful societies find them distasteful in practice. People of many races (from my time here at the Lopanic Games) like to know they won on their own merit. Still some care about winning at all costs and on a battlefield I can see that logic, but in a competition based on skill. Even if it is not against the rules I feel it may go against the spirit of them.

Which makes me wonder if my mere presence at these games goes against the spirit of them? Clearly one nation feels that way and I feel I have to be an ambassador “Of Good Will” and so above board that no one can find fault with me. If I do this well then maybe the Wolfen can compete one day from their own lands. If not we can start our own games and just invite everyone there, hah!

Alas, “something” was used in the fight to paralyze me twice allowing him to get extra shots in on me. He was quick and constantly tried to get on my back, which I did stop. I was thankful for my gifted swords but did not get much chance to use any special maneuvers it was all I could do to swat this voracious little pest from biting me with envenomed fangs.

When I felt the second poisoned sting start numbing me up I struck hard down with Uraeus’ Fang and then let the Scorpion Strike fly. I had my giant sized cutlass with hand guard chained to my wrist so disarming would not work after my last fight. I had been practicing this maneuver and threw the sword out past my foe and then jerk back on the chain making it whip back and strike his back like a scorpion’s tail! The crowd went nuts watching it impale him through his back. Though his dying words to me shook me to the core because he had to have come from my homeland or near there.

NO! MY PEOPLE DEMAND VINDICATION, ETRINAN!!!!!!!

I checked and he entered the games as “Unknown Swordsman” under the Land of the South Winds. No one could or I think “would” give me anymore information. It was hard on me in the quiet of the hazy barrier they put up on the fights this day “for safety” we are told. Likely to prevent further attacks on me of the Sulestani Elves or others they pull to their ranks.

This “Unknown Swordsman” had me all up in a tizzy but it would have to wait, I had one more fight.

I FACED BROTHER INDARIS IN THE FINALS ! ! !

Well this sucked and at the time I was thinking I would show the Gods I could win without cheating, oh was I stupid. More and more these games were not about the lung, they were not about me. They were all about Sir Thurgood Andress, and saving the one knight that could save Llorn, only none of us knew it then. Hold this thought while I continue.

The crowd was expecting the duel of the century after witnessing the matches that had led the Priest of Light and the Golden Minotaur here!

Brother Indaris gave a prayer:

Mother, in the coming hours, center and settle our hearts. Let the light be more compelling than the painful acts of the day. Hard news will either harden us before men or humble us before you. By faith, we choose to humble ourselves before you.

He knew!!! See, looking back how stupid I was!!

Isis never asked him to cheat, she asked him to sacrifice himself!!!!!!!!!! It was all right there, but I am getting ahead of myself again. When we drew down on each other after a friendly hug to show sportsmanship at the games I said, “Brother Indaris. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete.” To which he replied.

“If you strike me down Xerx’ses I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

Seriously how did I not see this coming!?!?!?

Brother Indaris brought his ‘special’ sword down to strike me and I parried with Uraeus’ Fang. I parried so strongly that I disarmed him and sent his ‘special’ sword flying from his hand to land in the sand where it immediately changed back into Oathbringer!

The hazy barrier fell away and I could hear the crowd turn dark with foul cries! Judges raced out onto the field and I quickly presented my weapons so they could check them and me. They got the crowd to quite for the small announcement that I had not cheated and was cleared of any wrong doing. Then the crowd seem to constantly be in flux between cheering for me and crying out for the blood of the cheater, jail. The guards allowed us to rejoin our friends in the stands where we met Sir Thurgood once more and whom asked us to surrender our friend to his custody where he promised he would be safe until they decided what his sentence would be.

CrIsis had seen Sir Thurgood do his duty and job over any personal vendetta so we wished Brother Indaris our love and trust then remanded him into the knight’s custody. A thoroughly stunned Sir Thurgood then used a magical device to be heard all over the stadium.

LET IT BE KNOWN THAT CRISIS HAS NOT FLAUNTED THE LAWS AND HAVE HANDED THE PRIEST, INDARIS, OVER FOR ADJUDICATION. I WAS ONCE A FORMER FOE OF CRISIS BUT NO LONGER. THEY HAVE ACTED HONORABLY AND I ASK THAT EVERYONE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT AND GIVE THEM THE PEACE AND GOODWILL THE LAW GRANTS YOU ALL.

With prompt demeanor he turned and left with the good priest, un-chained and they headed to the jail cells that we had been in for a night. Still I didn’t see what was really happening but was glad Rurga Truthsayer had not slain my friend.

This was the ISIS GAMBIT!

Lady Luck, She of Countless Names, Isis the Just had ” I Believe / In My Opinion ” contacted Rurga about Llorn and offered to cleanse the slate for Master Cava. She would save Llorn by presenting evidence the mortal knight could not refute, forcing him to look long and hard at the Duke of Llorn, but more importantly, at those that may be corrupting his noble liege. I suspect the punishment Rurga agreed to was not killing him as she did not kill her priest of Llorn accused of stealing money. I think a very different Sir Thurgood will be returning to Llorn to wage a war in the shadows where Demons and dark little things like secrets and lies hide. How I came to that is Sir Thurgood knows his opponents. Once he had peacefully acquired Brother Indaris over 20 LGC Guards took off cloaks hiding themselves around CrIsis had we decided to do something stupid and start a fight in the stands.

He will save Llorn, this day has taught me that if nothing else.

I left my friends with copies of this after sending this to you and going to pray.

Tonight’s prayer:

To the Lords and Ladies of Ra’s benevolent fellowship of light!

May the good monk/bard and warrior/merchant find their souls healed and faith in friends restored. I seek not mending betwixt me and the monk for that would be avarice and gain for which I have not prayed. I beseech thee to before the last of the Defilers flee this world for your warm embrace in the hereafter and he is left behind. That he sees his brothers and sisters again for the fellowship they were, are, and shall always be for those of Palladium.

I want to thank my mother and 1st father, thank Luur’na for being kind and caring, wish her and Zeelik centuries of happiness and many children. Mergerij for helping to train me.

A prayer for my 2nd father that life for him is well and he is happy out in the world.

A prayer for Old Gregg for helping me find my way home and helping Zeelik now.

A prayer for all of CrIsis, my best friends and loving family.

Thanks to Isis for showing this humble servant how wise she is and cunning as well, thank you for the glimpse of your majesty, may my mother’s soul serve you well.

Your servant now and forever,
Cyrus Far’zan, named by his mother, Xerx’ses, chosen to remember the Lawgiver’s servant that was his first father.
P.S. may Masters A’zad & Aesyl find peace as well in the Lord of Wisdom’s hall.


Xerx’ses … Name Coming Soon … ,
War Wizard of CrIsis

P.S. Although I am no priest may the Lawgiver’s judgement keep you and yours safe.


>>> Written by Xerx’ses, after the events upon the of the 8th of Thoth, 70th Year of the Wolfen Empire, 2nd year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, and 343 year of the Dominion of Man. <<<


Land of the South Winds Flag & Lady Ondemira of Torchwood by AZ-Rune Art, commission him at artist@agodrebuilt.org
Noble Knight found at Dime Life’s Deviant Art gallery.
Picture of Black Sword from AQ Worlds Wiki and edited by me.
Oathbringer from Peachyco.
Prayer from the Zend-Avesta (6th century BCE), a Zoroastrian text, Persia; additional text by me.
Xerx’ses Amalgam compiled from pictures by me, Peachyco, and AQ Worlds Wiki.
Picture of Isis from Smitefire, and Rurga from Heroes of Newerth.
 

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