A lean young man, standing against the doorframe of the hall used for greeting newcomers, addresses the group of hopeful fighters gathered before him, “You probably know most of this already, but it’s my job to run through is with everyone that signs up, so just bear with me, okay? Ahem.”

“Some thousand years ago the world was devastated by the creation of an anomalous form of energy for which no explanation could be found, an energy which has since come to be called magic. This we hold to be true, though no records stand from more than two hundred years in the past, when our safe haven, Letrua, was first created. Beyond those two hundred years and the world’s devastation at the event of magic, nothing but rumours remain. Many believe that the world we knew was shattered and corrupted by magic as punishment for venturing where we should not have, while others believe the world we now live within was the origin of magic, separate of our own, and the two worlds somehow came to be linked. Regardless of the cause, though, we humans found ourselves in a world in which we were weak, defenceless. Apparently whatever our original home was like, it lacked Demon-Beasts, and their appearance did a number on us,” the man rolls his eyes, as though he thinks it ridiculous anybody could have been surprised by the existence of the dangerous creatures generally known as demon-beasts. “Many died, leaving only the strong, cunning, and fortunate, humans to fight for survival. Among the survivors, the most capable, the true heroes, took it upon themselves to create a place safe from the horrors of this world. None who still live know how they achieved what they did or what they sacrificed for their goals, but they discovered a way to harness the same energy which had decimated humanity, a way to use magic to enhance natural strengths, empower objects, and even manipulate reality. This power was named Enchantment, and with it the heroes forged the land they sought, our Letrua. Thanks to those heroes, average people now live secure lives, while the strong guarantee safety, guarding the border, though some instead choose to keep the populace comfortable with live combat arenas, demonstrations of the strength which guarantees protection. Of course, most of that’s common knowledge, and you should at least know that last part, having signed up to become gladiators.”

“Now, most of you probably aren’t familiar with enchantment, the specifics aren’t commonly understood, sooo I’ll explain a little. Most people can’t handle magical energy without their body reacting violently, but some few of us can tolerate it for a moment, just long enough to channel it through our body and into a symbol or rune which will hold and draw energy to create the intended effect. Each symbol has its own effect and strength, but the most talented of enchanters say the standard runes are just a focus for new students, and it is their own power and intention which creates the effect, and the shape exists to remind the world of that intention, a reference to what the symbol is associated with in the enchanter’s mind. Why, I have once seen an enchanter who associated a crude, curling sketch of wind with speed, while another carved a delicate animal she had heard of, and both had equally capable effects. The number of runes an object can hold varies depending on the material it’s made of, so if you find somebody to enchant stuff, don’t overdo it. It’s not unknown to have things explode in the process of enchanting them more than they can handle. Now, these same enchantments can be applied to humans for a short time with no adverse effects, but never try to make one permanent, ‘cause the magic would inevitably corrupt and kill the recipient in a couple of hours. On top of that warning, be careful with enchanted objects. A symbol may look like one you recognise, but could have a very different purpose. Most things should be safe to carry if they don’t do anything when touched, but it would be best to have someone examine a magic tool before you touch it, let alone use it, if you have the option.”

“Now, as gladiators everyone will be issued standard equipment. lightweight leather armour, the minimum requirement for entering a battle, along with the plating enchanted to stick to the leather. Try to fight without your armour and the guards will detain you. You would die without it, unless you think your skin is as hard as magically manipulated leather. You will also have your choice of weaponry, from daggers to great hammers the size of your body. And the last thing you will be given is a medical guidebook containing information on diseases and toxins, and the treatment of such. Anything you fight may have a deadly scratch, so take care of your guidebook and it will take care of you. The back of the book has basic information on various creatures you’ll be fighting, everything we’ve recorded about them. No need to worry, though, your first couple of fights won’t be against anything too dangerous, so you’ll have time to go through the book without danger, and we have medical staff on standby for emergencies. Now, each of you is going to have to go through a test, to make sure you’re capable. Head to your prep rooms, just down that corridor,” the man gestures towards a door opposite him, “you’ll be given some information on what you’re fighting and have a chance to prepare once you’re there. And really, don’t get beaten up in this test. Even average people should be able to just scrape by.” With that the man smirks at the group and slips out through the door, out of view, leaving the gladiators-to-be to their own devices.

Hunters of Letrua

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