The contestants are greeted by the leader of the Chromatic Lords, the Red King. The tourney was only another test before the final one, the one where the mystical mantle of power would judge its future wielder. Before the start of the festivities, it would seem that Beren had some familiarity with the Red King, as his casual and nonchalant display left many of the contestants and the eight sages in awe and shock. After a night of rest, the group assembled once again and were escorted to a large circular pit dug from the mountain rock. The Chromatic Lords sat and judged, while the elven guardian from before presides over the ceremony. The final tourney was about to begin. 

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The contestants were gathered to another wing of the tower, greeted and escorted by the same ancient elf in dark robes. After passing through a doorway that led to a different set of mountains, the path ended at a large circular pit carved out of the mountain rock. A spectral procession of the Chromatic Lords sat on ghostly thrones, high above the arena. The high winds were cold and vicious, while the presence of snow was not as prevalent, the extreme environment could prove to be useful to some who preferred the cold.

The elf guardian stood before the eight warriors. “Greetings again, the lords and lady shall preside over this tournament as observers. I shall be your conductor of the upcoming events, my rulings are final. Two contestants will enter the arena and fight. Death is not necessary, but you must incapacitate your opponent. You may also knock your opponent out of the arena, should they be unable to return to it within ten seconds, they are disqualified and lose the challenge. Fighters that are incapacitated or unable to fight for longer than ten seconds lose. Any warrior that surrenders, lose. The victor of each bout progresses further until a single fighter is left. But know this, a champion will not be declared until the Mantle determines otherwise. The Mantle’s judgment is absolute.”

The eight remained silent and nodded to acknowledgment. The elf produced a wooden box with a large circular hole cut on the top.

“To determine which of you shall fight, there are eight spheres in this box. Place your hand and retrieve your sphere. There are four colors inside, those with matching colors will determine your opponent. You will have a few moments to prepare yourselves once the selections have been made.”

One by one, the fighters plucked the fist-sized spheres from the box. Shiro, the Black Frost had been paired against Lao Jiu, the White Swan. Beren was paired with the oversized Goliath warrior, Rend of the Adamantine Dragon, Jade Tiger against the Kenku assassin, Shink of the Twilight Gale, and Mei Fong would fight against Hangul, the Demon of the Nura Clan.

The warrior from the White Swan had notable elven features, but also human traits as well. Mei assumed that he was most likely a half-elf. She had spotted the man chanting hymns and sermons that were synonymous with those who trained with the White Swan clan. A priestly monk in a such a bloody ordeal, perhaps some prayers would be needed for the departed from this tournament. Shiro was a pale-skinned human with black spiked hair, as the two approached the arena, he shed his dark robes to reveal a nearly clear and pristine muscular physique. She had heard stories of his powerful abilities to manipulate elemental ice.

The elf stood at the center of the arena and assessed both warriors before shouting the start of the fight.

Shiro instantly tossed large jagged pieces of ice towards the lightly robed White Swan priest. A yellow glow emanated from him, causing the shards of ice to shatter and break around his divine aura. The priest launched a series of fiery bolts at the Black Frost, which he easily deflected with his bare hands. Mei knew he had created soft pillows of airy ice to absorb the heat of those spells. He was good. Shiro began chanting, and the arena became encased in dense fog. No one could see past the makeshift cloud, but the sounds of their fight were still recognizable. The sound of weapon strikes, words to powerful spells, and their shouts to each other. Mei found it difficult to keep track of the action, she turned to both Beren and Jade Tiger to find them transfixed on the arena. Their eyes moving through the cloud as if they could see the fight itself. She deduced Jade Tiger with his sense of smell could follow along with the trail of scent from both fighters. But what about Beren? She thought.

The fog cloud began to fade, revealing the clear victor. The priest of the White Swan was encased in a solid block of ice while Shiro stood triumphantly next to the frozen spectacle. He was declared the victor; the next fight was to start as soon as possible.

Beren and the tall Goliath walked over to the arena. The warrior announced himself as Rend, for he was good at it. A giant sword with jagged edges, showcasing many uses and abuses on the weapon itself. Any swordsmith would lament at the sorry state of the blade, yet it still remained intact despite everything. Beren cracked his knuckles and stretched into a few poses before meeting his opponent in the center of the ring.

“Ready? Fight!”


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