Qharus, Lands of Lore
Standing just beyond the northern gates of the town of Joceri, sits the Palgani Arena. Built 48 years ago of stone and wooden construction, the arena continues to be renovated every year with some minor improvement to the structure or to the variety of facilities it contains. Originally just a wooded grove with a clearing that was open to the sky, the area was used as a secretive meeting place for duels to be fought over debts of honor or coin. Fifty years ago Andrux Palgani purchased the land and tried his hand at farming. The farm turned out to be of minimal success, due mostly to Andrux’ lack of experience or skill as a farmer. Andrux had been amused but slowly more agitated as his sleep seemed to be often disturbed by individuals from Joceri, wandering out to his property in the middle of the night, usually in a state of drunkeness; looking for a place to fight without being interrupted by the town guards. At first Andrux would open his window and shout at the trespassers to take their brawling someplace else. One night however, a crowd of a few dozen people filed onto his farm and tramped through his fields as they followed a pair of men that were looking to settle a claim that each made on the affections of a woman of promiscuous tastes. When Andrux came shambling out of his cabin to roust the revelers off his property, one of the spectators tossed a pouch of coins and told him to keep quiet and not call for the town guards. “Just go back inside and let them enjoy their fun. We’re not going to cause any trouble.” Angry but curious, Andrux opened the pouch and counted out the contents, discovering more than forty gold pieces. His eyes suddenly lit with the spark of a new idea, Andrux went back inside and let the fight continue outside.
When the morning came, Andrux went outside to start his chores, finding a few stray wine bottles as he passed among the animal pens, eventually making his way to the small clearing near to a livestock pond where his animals watered themselves during their day of grazing. There he noticed that a few of the spectators of the nocturnal brawl had dragged several small hay bales to fashion an area to sit and watch as events unfolded. Andrux didn’t care who had won, only that he had profited greatly by allowing the locals to pursue their violent inclinations without fear of being dragged away to the town stockade. A few days later, Andrux had crafted several benches, and set up a perimeter of torches to outline a basic area to contain the bouts of brawling. After spreading the word to a few tavern servers, and a couple of innkeepers about his ‘Fighting Pit’. a new local entertainment was born. At first it was only an occasional brawl, but in time Andrux discovered there was a lot more coin to be had by arranging for some fights to be scheduled. In five years time, the few wooden benches had evolved into several rows of tiered benches and a pair of shelters on opposing sides of the field for the combatants and their secondaries to gather to support, aid, and lend emotional support to the fighters they were cheering on. Andrux saw his profits increase yearly as he charged a fee of a small percentage of any gambling that happened during the brawls, as well as a fee to use his property, which at first simply took on the name of Palganis’ Pit. Twenty-five more years passed and Palgani gave the operation of the family business to his son, Yaric. The young Yaric took over with fresh ideas, a callous streak of sadistic ideals, and dreams of expanding the profits of the Pits. Within three years he enlarged the pit area to double its previous size, had a stone foundation set into place around the borders of the newly dubbed ‘Arena’, and installed stone benches at the higher tiers of seating under the newly shaded canvas awnings to provide a place where honored guests could sit in more comfort. Yaric also began arranging for slaves to be brought in a few times a year and the first “Battle to the Death” matches were arranged. Soon, it wasn’t uncommon to have full capacity crowds in the viewing areas, and Yaric counted the coin he made from each of the 280 guests, as well as the percentage from the gambling as well as the sale of wine and other pleasurable amusements.
Now the Arena has quietly become a tourist destination, with several larger events scheduled on a regular yearly basis. Nobles, gentry, and wealthy merchants can be found among the 800+ seats during the larger ‘Festivals of Battle’, Through careful marketing and incentives to individuals to support and engage in the gladiatorial activities, the Palgani Arena has become a destination for those jaded with life to come and gamble their coin while witnessing the pain, mutilation and death of the fighters