Following the formation of our "unlikely team", the six of them arrived at the gates of Apollon. Well to call it a gate would be an overstatement. Apollon, covering an area about 0.6 km2 found itself between the Zaiph Run on its west side, and the Neapais Coast on the east. A small wooden fence, about three tall, surrounded the borders of the city, acting as the city's walls. A small break in the fence acted as the "city's gates". Known as the Sun Gate, the entrance was where the two main highways, the Zaiph Road and Neapais Way, leading to Apollon met.
The adventurers strode into the city with a purpose. The road took them to the agora, the city center, of Apollon. Two statues, standing ten feet tall, sat on either side of the wall. One depicting the great politis god, Apollo, the patron of the citystate, and the other a great Apollonian hero Tarchon yios Tarchon. Beyond the two statues, they found the large open area of the agora completely crowded with people. Black and gold banners hung from the red roofs of almost every building, showing the symbol of the Apollon Games, the golden lyre.
The first stop the adventurers made was at the city's local bulletin board. Upon it they discovered dozens of advertisements for the games, and another paper almost hidden by the ads. This specific paper declared that their had been a thief robbing the people of Apollon blind. The poster offered no other information other than the fact that the Council of Apollon was offering a reward for the thief's capture. Aderous removed the wanted poster, so he could return to that matter later.
The adventurers continued wandering across the sea of people in the agora. Market stalls, betting tables, and the like filled every available stoa (a building with one wall open to the elements). At the Judgment Stoa, they noticed that, despite the festivities, and hustle of the crowd, a court proceeding was in progress.
Standing at one side of the stoa was a khemnazimian (basically an egyptian) slave being prosecuted by a large, muscular politis man. The slave was begging and pleading that he was innocent, and asking if someone, anyone from the crowd would come represent him. The politis man scoffed, saving the slave had no right to be represented because he was guilty of trying to poison him.
Before anything more could happen, the adventurers stepped up, well at least four of them stepped up, declaring they would represent the slave. The council called for a five minute recess while they got situated. In the meantime, Tin the athen, and Guanthak the cyclops, wandered into the crowds of the agora. Tin was in search of a painters shop, looking to commit some petty crime. The two hooligans managed to find just what they were looking for. While Tin distracted the merchant, Guanthak swooped in and acquired some paint, curtesy of his five-finger discount. The two of them began to paint their new tag, the Owlclops, all over the walls in a back alley.
Meanwhile at the Judgement Stoa, Aderous disguised himself and approached the politis brute. After the two became acquainted, Aderous learned his name was Brygos yios Daphis. Brygos was too be a contestant in the Apollon Games. Under his disguise, Aderous cast a charming spell upon Brygos and began to question him. Apparently Brygos' dad had previously won the games several times, and it had come Brygos' time. The man claimed the slave had tried to poison him to remove him from the games. Aderous tried his best to convince Brygos to with hold on the court proceedings until the ends of the games. This whole thing was not worth any of theirs time, and Brygos couldn't be toppled so easily. Brygos agreed to the plan.
At the same time, the others, Aeolian, Razark and Gilberus spoke to the khemnizamian slave. The slave introduced himself as Qeb. Through discussing with him they learned that Qeb worked outside of the city on a farm. Qeb claimed he wasn't even in the city until earlier that morning, when he entered brining extra supplies from the farm. Of course there wasn't anyone that could confirm his story, but the adventurers chose to believe Qeb. Aeolian, being a dryad of the woods asked to see the cup that had been poisoned. He was very familiar with poisons, and he could test the cup and show that their was no poison in it, thus further proving that Qeb was innocent. The proceedings resumed, and Aeolian brought up how Qeb wasn't even in the city when the poisoning happened, which Brygos claimed had happened the previous night before. Aeolian then took the cup, and test it for poison, realizing then, that a very potent and deadly poison had been used in the cup. Brygos also had the vial, which Aeolian also tested. However, one particular thing about the poison was it was a complex poison to craft. Much to complex for an uneducated slave to craft. Aderous brought up the fact that they should resume the court after the games. They all had better things to do then sit in court. The council agreed, and the court was adjourned.
Brygos approached the adventurers and wished them the best of luck in the games. He also told them they were to register for the games at the Temple of Apollo up on the acropolis. Aderous, Aeolian, Razark, and Gilberus headed into the crowded agora, setting for the acropolis, and searching for Tin and Guanthak. They managed to find the athene and cyclops in the sea of people, and they continued to the Temple of Apollon.
Set up outside the temple was a table, with a afro haired satyr sitting behind it. The group approached the eccentric looking satyr, and proceeded with registration. The friendly satyr then took it upon himself to explain the events and rules of the games. In total, the satyr told them of five events in the games, being: Wrestling, Archery, Javelin Throw, Chariot Racing, and the final event of Arena Combat. Teams and individuals would be grouped together in different bouts, earning points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place wins. The lowest individuals and teams in each bout would be eliminated after each day of competing.
The exact rules of the games were a different matter. The Apollon Games were overseen by a games council and they had come up with a set of strict rules, which were absolute, but at the same time up to complete interpretation by the games council. There rules were as follows: Magic is by no means off limits, though improper use of magic can result in disqualification or further prosecution, and it is up to the games council to determine what is and isn't improper use of magic. Personal weapons, equipment and items are allowed to be used in the games, and should any contestant require equipment, it will be provided to them. Tampering with the games in anyway will result in immediate disqualification and possible further prosecution. Harming any of the other contestants outside, between or during the games, can result in disqualification or further prosecution. And the last rule, if the games council seem anything they don't like they are allowed at any time to implement new rules. The satyr assumed them the last rule hadn't been used if quite some time because their wasn't a lot the games council didn't like.
After hearing the rules of the game, the satyr had each of the adventurers sign the registration, though most of the group was incapable or didn't know how to sign their own name. The satyr gave them one last piece of information, the location of the contestants sleeping area. Before the adventurers could head to their sleeping quarters, they were greeted by a very happy, very bubbly politis man. He introduced himself as Ray yios Ray, the patron of the Apollon Games. He declared he wished to sponsor their team, and asked if they would join him in one of the stoas for a drink. They accepted and followed the man.
Ray purchased some of the finest Satyr Red Wine, and shared it among the group while he discussed. The politis man told him, he believed that they had the best chance of winning, and he wanted to place his bets on them. By sponsorship, he really meant gambling. As the games went on he was going to place a bet on the person looked like they were going to be the winners. Ray explained that he wasn't telling them this as a threat, but more as a vote of confidence. Ray then left them with the bottle of wine and took to the streets.
The adventurers left the stoa and headed to the "inn" where they would be spending their nights.
Upon arriving in the "inn", Razark instantly took to making friends. He found a man, sitting alone in the corner, wearing dark clothing, and a mask to hide their face. The elaffi centaur introduced himself, and learned the man's name was Nine, like the number. Razark tried his hardest to make friends with this man, but quickly learned he was not one for talking, and he soon retired to bed.
While the rest of the group rested for the night, in preparation of the following days events, Tin, Guanthak, and a take-along Aeolian, took to the streets again, looking for more opportunity to commit petty crime. In the dark of night, the athene and cyclops took to the residential areas of Apollon, looking for one specific house in particular. The three of them managed to find just what they had been looking for. The house of Brygos yios Daphis. Tin and Guanthak then proceeded to paint their newly established tag, the owlclops, all over the man's family home. After the deed was done, they took off and returned for a good nights rest.
The morning followed, and the adventurers gathered at the Temple of Apollon for the days first event, which happened to be Wrestling. The dozens of contestants were broken into their bouts and the ladder was arranged. Each match would be three rounds, and the winner would move on, the loser being eliminated. In the adventurers bout they had a satyr actor by the name of Pip, a large cyclops by the name of Khulok, the mysterious name Razark had met named Nine, the large politis man Brygos, an athen man named Quarter, five other politis Apollon citizens they never bothered to learn the names of. The sport was to be held at the Theatre of Aphrodite.
Before the match, the team was assigned a coach, a quirky satyr by the name of Phil. He didn't give a good first impression to the team, mostly because of his lack of knowledge on the art of Wrestling. The team was each assigned an opponent for the first wave and the games began.
The first wave saw Tin up against the skill less actor Pip. Tin made short work of the fellow. Guanthak was paired with the mountain of a man, Brygos, and unfortunately the politis got the better of the cyclops. Each of the other members of the team managed to best their opponents, some only just scraping by. The masked man Nine managed to defeat his own opponent, but circumstances lead to the accidental death of his opponent. Although it deemed an accident, the adventurers couldn't shake the feeling that the death had seemed off.
The second wave came. Aeolian faced off against the great Brygos yios Daphis, and through means of lighting his beard of fire, and flinging spiders. It was unlike anything any one had seen. Needless to say, Brygos was not happy with being bested by an insane dryad. Tin and the centaur Gilberus, and come out on top after some major hair pulling. Razark and Aderous faced next, and by some stroke of luck, or magic, the bard beat the centaur hunter. Nine faced and defeated the cyclops Khulok, with no death this round.
The third wave, the semifinals, saw Tin against Aeolian. Unfortunately the dryad's crazy tactics didn't work a second time, and Tin was triumphant. Next Aderous faced off against Nine, however the bard was no match for the mysterious man's exotic fighting style.
The battle for third place had Aderous facing Aeolian. After a spectacular match, the noble bard was the one on the podium.
The final match came down to Tin versus Nine. This battle was one for the ages. Tin put up the defensive, studying Nine's fighting style as they delivered quick, weak blows. Tin set himself get punched, opening up an opportunity in Nine's defensives. Round 1 went to Tin. The following round saw Tin tricking Nine into opening himself up for further attack. The man's blows were coming quicker, with less power. Nine was becoming rash in his haste to win the day. Needless to say, Tin had no problem putting Nine down in the sands.
With Tin taking first place and Aderous third in their bout, the adventurers team was ahead in points. Brygos humbly congratulated Tin on his win, though it was obvious he wasn't happy it wasn't him.
The afternoon saw to the Archery event. The bouts were organized once again, with the same people as the morning and the event began. Each ring of the target would offer a different number of points. The event was played over three rounds, with three arrows shot pure round. Every round the targets were moved farther back, increasing the challenge of the event.
For the most part, the event went smoothly… almost. Halfway through the event, of the politis' bow string snapped, sending his arrow sideways, striking another contestant in the head, killing him instantly. Like the death earlier in the morning, it was an accident, but something seemed off. Regardless the event continued. Razark, extremely confident in his archery skills, felt he would claim the prize of first place. However in some unforeseen event, Aderous managed to come out on tope after the three rounds, dropping Razark to second, and to everyone's surprise, Guanthak placed in third. With a total of 10 points for the day, the adventurer's team was currently at the top of the leaderboards, including the other bouts.
Following the events of the day, Ray yios Ray, the patron and owner of the Apollon Games, organized a feast, as a opening ceremonies, and welcome to the contestants. The adventurers joined the feast, which had an attendance of almost one hundred. The adventurers learned that the two deaths in their bout were the only deaths to happen during the games, and Razark noted the mysterious absence of Nine from the feast.
During the feast, Tin and Guanthak decided it wasn't for them and made plans to continue their stream of petty crime across Apollon. They started to stuff their pockets right as Ray called for everyone to take their seats. He started to give a wonderful speech, the same one he gave every games to commemorate the start of the games. He acknowledge Apollo as the symbol of the games, and just as he was halfway through the games, Brygos yios Daphis became projectile vomiting blood across the table.
Chaos started as Brygos clenched his gut, falling dead to the floor. Ray tried to call for order, just as Nine burst through a back set of doors, with a khemnizamian slave his hands. Nine threw the slave to the floor, declaring he had tried to stop the slave before he poisoned Brygos, but was unable to. The slave, who his actually Qeb, the slave from the previous day's court proceeding. Razark started to accuse Nine of being the one to poison Brygos, saying he is unwilling to show his face, so he must be guilty of something.
Nine, forced by Razark's hand, removed his mask to reveal his is actually a dryad. He tells them he wore the mask to hide is identity, because he know if everyone knew he was a dryad, they wouldn't take him seriously. Nine uses Aeolian as a perfect example. Nine then proceeded to explain he had found Qeb skulking around the halls, and was wondering what he was doing when he found a empty vial. He was too late to stop the poisoning so he made sure he stopped the poisoner.
Razark then began to question why Nine wasn't at the feast, and why he had been near the kitchens anyway. Nine explains that he provided most of the food, and was overseeing deliveries, and the cooking. Aeolian then took the empty vial and confirmed it was the same type of poison used the previous attempt on Bryogs' life. They are certain that Qeb is working for someone else, because the knowledge to make such a poison was beyond that of a slave's.
When they began to question Qeb, he refused to speak, and nothing the adventurers could say would make him talk. Before they could further question Qeb, he took his own life. The adventurers deduced that Qeb was most likely not a slave, as he had no branding to prove it. Ray is furious that such intrigue was going on at his games.
Razark then took to accusing Ray of the killings, saying that Ray had mentioned not wanting Brygos to win, but one of his teams members. Ray was not happy about the accusations, as he is the patron of the games, so why would he ever mess with them. Ray then announced the feast was over, and it was best in all the contestants returned to their sleeping quarters. Ray assured them he would increase security for the night.
Before the adventurers returned to their own beds, they came to a realization. Clearly someone was trying to thin the competition, it was only a matter of who was doing it.