The Grand Magus Tournament
There are magus tournaments in all of the five great cities of the Middle Lands held in different locations and intervals. Some are more and some less legitimate. Without special government sanction, most magus tournaments are usually prohibited as they can cause damage to the cities if not properly regulated. But come on, do you really want to sit through a knightly bout of White Lancers in Aerialis or bet on a bunch of Mighty Worms duking it out underground in Arda while you see squat from the stands? All of those Middlish tournaments are just promotion for the local military, feh! And if you go into the back streets... Well, as I said: they got to be really careful, and that hurts the action. Now listen, kids, if you want to see some real honest-to-gears magic-on-magic ultimate smack-down action, join the next convoy to Yamaseki because the Grand Magus Tournament is going to start in less than a month and you'll get more ''bang'' for your buck than your coin could ever hope to buy over here.The Grand Magus Tournament is held each year in Yamaseki, the capital of the Yamato Kingdom. Mages from all over the Great Land and the Ocean Belt and even the odd Nordic druid make their way to the Yamato Mountain Range each year during the month of Auri. This is both a way to demonstrate the level of magical power of each nation and for individual mages to be discovered. At the end of the tournament, the top five mages are auctioned off to the host nations, which are the Yamato Kingdom, the five great cities of the Middle Lands Magocracy, the Commonwealth of Corsia, the Baba Yaga of the great Pirate Houses, and the Monastery of the Five Paths. The auction is in the form of each party offering the mages positions, trying to outbid each other, while the mages get to decide which contract or retainership to accept.
The RulesThe tournament follows a simple elimination rule set, coupled with a short number of regulations:
- Depending on the number of entrants, two to six brackets are created. (Bracket numbers must be even)
- Brackets fight internally by elimination rules, with initial pairings being randomly determined.
- Each Bracket is resolved within a number of days depending on its size.
- During the final week, the bracket winners form the finalist bracket, and the last round of elimination fights begin.
- Mages will be disqualified when leaving the arena or harming the audience during a fight (minor injuries are usually forgiven).
- Mages may select the layout of their half of the arena for their upcoming fights, choosing from a variety of terrain, in any but their very first fight.
- Weapons and martial arts are allowed.
- The five highest ranked, still surviving entrants will take part in the auction
Around the EventBecause the brackets can be quite large, the GMT often lasts over the entire course of the month of Auri, and business in Yamaseki is booming thanks to it. Vendors set up special stalls close to or even inside the coliseum stands. The coliseum itself is located on a slope of Tenbashirazan, the highest mountain of the world. While the city is also located on this mountain, it is built on an adjacent plateau, and in fact, the coliseum was built so that a large mass of natural rock lies between the tournament and the city. A safety precaution.
The Height of TourismHowever, the fact that people have to travel between the coliseum and their accommodations in the city means they have to travel past miles of make-shift stands offering merchandise, food, and drink, and of course people use the opportunity to explore the city and mountain when they visit Yamaseki for the tournament, meaning mountain guides, bayô1
All on Number 78!Beyond tourism, the downtime between fights is used for enthusiastic betting on who will move on and who will be kicked out. Because killing is not forbidden during the tournament, people also bet on survival. But not just the outcomes of fights are the subject of conjecture, calculation, and impressive sums of money; the most hotly debated topic is who the five top-ranked survivors of the tournament will be, and who will take them home. This is where the real connoisseur makes his mint.
HistoryThe Grand Magus Tournament was established in 19 GE3
Sakura felt ill. Outside the stone-carved waiting room, she could hear the booming sounds of people stomping in the stands, the cheering screams melded together into a strange noise that made her feel uneasy, and she knew this would be it. Honor for her house, or death. She stepped through the gate as it was drawn up to reveal the arena. With this being the first fight of her bracket, it was just a flat surface of smooth stone tiles with a five shaku4A shaku is about 1/3 metersmoat separating her half and that of her opponent, who was approaching from the other side of the coliseum, too far away, for now, to recognize any distinct features. The light blinded her as Sakura stepped outside, and her stomach turned as she saw the enormous stands around her, towering into the sky, packed to burst with people, all screaming, cheering. Nervously, she touched the different prayer tags she had hidden in her kimono and obi. Her opponent looked like a tall Middlish man, and strangely, he wore many cloaks. She had heard that Middlish mages did not use prayer tags like the magic users of Yamato, but instead called the elements forth using ancient words of power. She would have to be fast. She was surprised to see the man bow courteously, and, momentarily dumbstruck, Sakura bowed as well – more out of reflex than respect. Then, she caught herself, hopped to the side in case he had been using the opportunity to prepare a spell, drew two tags from the folds of her clothes, and slapped them to her legs. <Speed of Wind!> she thought to herself, feeling the magic unleash from the prayer tags, wind whirling about her feet and legs. Wind seemed to also be the element the Middlish man was using, for his many cloaks, which were of different color, cloth, and quality, began to sway and wave like flags, spreading behind him as if he was a strange, ragged peacock. Sakura bent her knees deep to jump out of the way, but as she tried to push herself off, she was picked up by a force so irresistible it knocked her off her feet, rammed the air out of her lungs, and tossed her all the way back into the waiting room from which she had come, where she lay on the ground, dazed. She had been knocked out of the arena. No honor, no death, just shame.