The great arena was filled. Scores of Dragonkings filled the ancient stone seats and mixed amongst them were many of the Exalted Host. Lunars, Sidereals, Solars and even Dragonblooded filled the stands. A powerful desmense was at stake and two groups were in contest over it. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was inside the private box of the Queen of Creation, crowned by the Unconquered Sun himself she radiated palpable authority as she rose up to speak. He himself had done nothing to earn this honor but in his last life he had saved her life in the final battle of the Primordial War and lost his own in doing so. Reincarnating far from her lands it was only recently he had returned to the the Ochre Fountain Kingdom she ruled.
Equally young and standing behind his stone chair was his Lunar Mate and champion. A scarred warrior he had been born to the tribes of the south that still offered up offerings to the Anklok and the Unconquered Sun. A recently reunited companion as well that was only here because of his oathbound relationship to him. The Queen though had started to stand and speak and her charms carried her words to all of the arena.
"Today we settle the future of the proposed city of Densador. August Champion of Light and Dipping Turning Fire have argued long and both their ideas hold merit. So we shall let them decide in battle what the course will be. Shall we turn Densador into a City of Makers or into a City of Prayer? Let the future be made on the edge of your daiklaives!" The powerful Dawn Caste's voice rang out and as she lowered her hand to start the duel the arena erupted in cheers by those watching.
His eyes snapped down to look at the battle and he had allready missed the first few exchanges. August Champion of Light was on the offensive. He was a survivor of the Primordial War and of the Zenith Caste. He held two blades of brightly shining gold in hand. The first was long and slim and swift and perfect for working out moves of speed and grace and reach. The second was shorter and double edged and jagged. A weapon for finishing foes off with. He had made a name for himself like the Queen as a gladiator for the Raptok but had always been more of a show off then she was. His opponent was the Eclipse Caste Dipping Turning Fire. She was a slight and small woman who wielded a pair of Fate Rings. She was a very proficient martial artist and diplomat well known for setting up situations where a duel decided how a deal would turn out only to trounce those who underestimated her skills.
And that seemed to be happening once again. Champion had pressed an early advantage with his twin weapons and superior reach and was forcing her back and around the grounds of the arena floor. Even as he fought he sung his glory song of his great deeds and triumphs of the Primordial War. By contrast Fire was quiet as she relented and backed away under his agressive advance. It was known he sung with charms in his voice and that as he named his triumphs he crushed the will of those he fought. The Night Caste watched the fight with a flicker of hurt pride. He had fought the Veteran once and come away soundly bested well aware of the potency and mistake of letting the man talk to you.
"Surely Your Majesty there is no point to letting the battle continue? Champion has her completely on the defensive and his techniques let him use his powerful mind affecting charms without opening him up to counterattack." He felt very young suddenly as he spoke to her and younger still as she smiled and shook her head just a tiny bit. "No, he is going to lose. It is one of Fire's more unique charms is the ability to let others think their charms have worked. Her wounds are superficial and no more. No in this it is simply that Champion is too proud and has been too successful while she has always been careful and methodical."
He sat back and wished he had charms to see the actual interplay of charms at work rather then the powerful visual effects of light and essence in the arena below. What he did notice was that Champion had performed the Iron Whirlwind Attack and yet there was no distinctive flare up of his feared comination attack. He had left himself vulnerable. The Night Caste wasn't the only one to see the mistake and many in the arena were suddenly on their feet as Fire's anima flared into full terrible might, her weapons, fists and feet ablaze with essence as each strike was caught and avoided by her movement before she was inside his reach and had driven both her Fate Rings into the bare stomach of the Zenith.
His eyes went wide and blood was coughed from his mouth as he desperately sought to bring up another charm to stop the damage but it was too late. He couldn't make his essence flow in so many different ways at once and she had exploited his overconfidence. The Rings pulled back and he dropped to his knees and then slumped forward. The crowd burst into cheers. It had been a glorious fight. Two veterans of the War battling for years of fame to come. Soon another he would walk Creation again in a new body and a new soul but today the victor was the Eclipse Dipping Turning Fire. Densador would be the Twilight's city.
Tonight the Lunars would see off Champion's mate as she ritually sent her own soul off into her next life to join him. For the Solars though there would be a grand feast. They were warriors and champions at heart as the Queen would claim. Though he had been bothered at the waste of life and experience in the fight this was their way and as the hours grew late the the count of drinks grew he forgot all about that and joined in with the Solar host in their revels.
Then Lu Zhin opened his eyes and stared up at the blue sky above. "Was...that Sky...and Whisper?" He asked to himself, looking to his side where a certain dark haired Abyssal shared his bed.