The One That Got Away
The Royal University, Toys for the Sandbox #44
With Toys higher page count of late, it has been awhile since I had idea overruns for an issue of Toys. This week, however, as I was working on the map for #44 a bit of space opened up and I realized it had a story to tell, not enough to give it its own issue, but a story that needed telling. So here it is – a new One That Got Away.
The Dueling Green
Tucked between the School of Theology and the School of History is a open, overgrown space. A low gateless wall surrounds this thick tangle of grass and small shrubs. This is the dueling green. It was common in the early days of the city for members of the king’s court to come here to settle their differences with steel when words had failed them or emotion ran too high. Shortly after the university was founded, however, laws were passed making it illegal to duel in city limits. That, of course, did not stop people from meeting on the dueling green so the king had the wall built to keep people off the piece of land. Some say there was another darker reason the green was sealed away.
At the center of the green is a magical sword that was used by one of the king’s advisers. The sword was broken during a duel and the adviser, his comrades and opponent all vanished. The green is now a place filled with twisted wild magic. Once the wall is scaled the space inside is much larger then it appears to be from the outside. This bit of cursed ground can be healed if someone manages to repair the spells that are bound to the blade. According to a long forgotten law if there is someone who can do this, they will be awarded the plot of land and the blade.
The old dueling green is haunted by those who died there. If one enters the green on a moonless night and brings one of the ghosts something that belonged to them when they were alive, they will answer three questions.
There are several secret gates in the wall around the yard making it a perfect place for clandestine meetings. Members of the first families who know about the gates meet there. The thieves’ guilds use it too. Now someone has placed magics on the stones of the wall that listen to what happens in the green. The first families want that person found and dealt with. So do the thieves. The culprit responsible is a young, penniless wizard who is a follower of Dorman Rookers, the leader of the isolationist movement.