Throughout the year the priests of Toln, elder god of War, hold festivals and events in praise of him. These festivals include trials of strength, endurance, and skill in battle. In preparation for these festivals many warriors come to train and spar with each other in the temple of Toln. During these festivals the priests also select the finest gladiators to send to the Great Games.
The Great Games are mostly held in the eastern half of the Empire in the larger cities and towns. The gladiators fight in the arenas while spectators watch and bet upon the winners and losers. These fights are not to the death, although many are horribly wounded, maimed or killed during the fight. The match will end once one combatant yields, becomes incapacitated, falls unconscious, or dies. Healers and priests of Mures are normally stationed nearby, but many of the seriously wounded expire before aid can arrive. The Games are single elimination events, one loss and the warrior must wait until the next year to fight again. Anyone can join the Great Games, with or without the sanction from the Church of Toln. No magic is allowed during the competitions, either in the form of spells, enchantments, or magical items. Cheating will result at least in the disqualification of the gladiator, but far stricter punishments have been given.
The finals of the Great Games are held in the Imperial High City of E'gath. The finals of the Great Games attract a large number of eager spectators, citizen and non-citizen alike. The arena is just outside the city walls of E'gath and can seat an astounding number of watchers. Seating is cheap, only one talon for the day, and vendors travel the halls selling food, drink, and other small items. The Games last the entire second to last week of Batila, from the 19th to the 24th.
The final winner of the games is declared the Grand Champion of the Empire by the Emperor himself. The Grand Champion may ask for a boon from the Emperor, normally this results in a rise in social class and standing. Criminals often may remove their brands and receive amnesty, non-citizens become citizen, and citizens become lords. Other boons are asked, and if reasonable will be granted by the Emperor. Few gladiators are unreasonable.
© 2000 J. K. Wykowski & T. Coonrod