Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (19) by DMFW ()
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The first day of the games dawned sunny and clear. Klane rose early and after a quick breakfast of bread and honey, made his way to the sporting grounds outside town where spectators and competitors were already beginning to gather. He felt very nervous and not a little sceptical, yet somehow in the confusion and anguish at the forge last night he had agreed to help the Order of the Silent Word to escape the Great Burning with their library. It seemed a hopeless plan but all that they had to work with was the possibility of winning in the games, so that Klane could claim the blacksmith and all his family as chattels for his own Rider tribe.
Unfortunately Klane didn’t have a Rider tribe at the games, but that small problem at least was solved when Ethan declared that should he succeed, the independent Riders of the Thranish tribe would join him and ride back across the Western moors of Ulumol as his escort and the witnesses of his triumph, uniting at last with his own true distant people.
“Our finest sportsmen have been bloodied and bowed by the damned Pralannians and their cowardly attack”, Ethan spat, “My friends may no longer be able to match them in athletic prowess in these games but we shall not be caught by surprise for a second time. If you win through, you can count on us as your allies and the scum will not find us so easy to best again!”
“These lands grow dangerous”, he added. “It is time that my people moved on and we would be glad to join our fortunes to your own and find new pastures beyond the Glass Lands if you would lead us to them!”
They were brave words but Klane was unconvinced, not only of the promises of the leader of the Thranish Riders who had been so soundly thrashed by Muttu and his mates, but also of his own prospects of achieving anything in the games on his own.
No better idea occurred to him, however, and presenting himself once more under his alias of “Alderon”, Klane declared himself ready to compete. There at the table again were Verindu, the leader of ceremonies and his advisers, Jythra of the Nykwin and Thorawn from the Conclave.
In that time the people of all the Earth used a simple currency they called “Faces”, issued (even though they did not know it) from the Conclave and preserved from generation to generation because it was cut from some synthetic glass-like mineral of immense durability which no Rider or town person could duplicate. The value of a token was determined by the number of faces the geometry presented, coupled with its colour in an ascending order of red, green and blue. A red torus, having a single face was the lowest value unit, followed by an ancient coin like object with three faces (front, back and rim) then each of the Platonic solids, tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron, worth four, six, eight, twelve and twenty units respectively according to the number of faces they possessed. A red icosahedron was worth the same as a green torus, and values of green tokens proceeded to multiply up in the same fashion until the blue series was reached where the pattern was repeated. In this way a blue icosahedron represented the most valuable token being worth eight thousand times the value of a red torus.
Most people seldom had need of the rare blue tokens and even the green ones were uncommon. But at Great Burnings the Conclave made available special ceremonial blue tokens of much larger size than the standard currency to be awarded as prizes. These would be used by the Riders to buy their chattels when the townspeople were auctioned.
“You can enter any event you like and as many as you like”, Verindu said. “Before each competition we will announce the prizes and the terms. Be careful to preserve your strength because you cannot win them all. The games begin with simple running races, from long distance to sprint.”