30 Flamerule 1372
Having passed the qualification rounds, the five are allowed among the roster of twenty-four contestants. On the very first day, Galen manages to rank second in the archery event, then Dragonkiller and him take the first two places in the gigantic gauntlet built in the middle of the city’s stadium. Later that day, Ruknar takes on the shape of a bear and beats Dragonkiller in the final match of the wrestling event. Taking advantage of the small fame he’s gained, Dragonkiller goes to the stand of an armorsmith selling his wares to the contestants and makes a deal, borrowing a suit of full-plate from him while leaving behind a magical sword he still hasn’t used as deposit, while making sure to tell everyone who asks who the maker of the armor is as payment for using it. In the contestants lockers, Dragonkiller also meets a human barbarian named Natarra, who is quite impressed by his strength and size, and whi whom he develops a friendly rivalry, making bets on which of the two will fait the best on the following events.
31 Flamerule 1372
The second day of competitions starts with a horseback joust. His horse slowed down by the weight of his rider and the armor he’s wearing, Dragonkiller doesn’t manage to rank any point, but with his mother’s longspear bringing him luck, Lazoryel finishes third. The joust is followed by a hunt in the nearby Gray Forest with prizes for those who bring the biggest trophies in time for the royal cooks to prepare them for the evening’s banquet. Using his tracking skills, Ruknar stumbles upon a wounded unicorn being beaten to death by one of the other contestants. The man, who reveals himself to be a banite monk of the Iron Gauntlet offers Ruknar five hundred easy gold pieces to just look the other way and let him finish his job. Without a care for the unicorn, but hating being told what to do, Ruknar instead takes his bear shape, charges the monk, and kills him, then takes his gold pieces and lets the unicorn escape. With luck smiling on him, Lazoryel brings back a pair of dire wolverines which assure him of the third place. Meanwhile, Galen spot a huge dire boar which he starts riddling with arrows, but the boar intends to fight back, and Galen is forced into melee combat, a fight he might have lost if Ruknar hadn’t rushed after hearing the boar’s cries a minute earlier. Owing Ruknar a large favor, Galen thus takes the hunt’s first place, with the barbarian Natarra finishing second.
Just before the banquet, everyone is troubled by the news that one of the contestants has been found dead in the wood. To make matters worse, another contestant who was supposed to take part in the hunt has disappeared at some point since the last evening, as has the armorsmith to whom Dragonkiller had left his magic sword. During the banquet itself, the contestants get the chance to meet many of Lyrabar’s nobles and socialites, as well as a good number of Impilturan paladins. Each contestant is then asked to make a show to impress the queen, who will then decide the winners of this event. Passing his shapeshifting as illusions, Lazoryel manages to be named second. While Ruknar’s and Larena’s tales don’t impress the crowd as much, they manage to let slip passages of the prophcy they’re following, leading scholars and paladins to discuss it with them during the meal. However, they stop talking with paladins when one of them lets slip that he has good reasons to believe that a group of travellers wanted for murder near the northern border might be hiding in the capital city. To make matter worse, the party meets with Melvas the Red, who has finally caught up with them. He’s well aware that they are the ones wanted for murder throughout the country, but vows not to denounce him as long as they promise to work with him afterwards, which makes the group none too pleased to say the least, and might have pushed Ruknar to take the form of a bear and lunge for his throat if the whole scene hadn’t taken place during the queen’s banquet. Before leaving, Melvas does reveal to th eparty that Lazoryel’s abilities come from the fact that he’s not an avariel as he claims, but rather a fey’ri, a race with nearly as much demon blood as sun elf running in ther veins, a fact which he also uses to blackmail the party. As Melvas leaves, Ruknar and Larena both spot a metallic brooch underneath his red cloak, one displaying a lyre in a diamond, just like Barend’s.
After two days of competition, Galen, Lazoryel, and Dragonkiller all still have their chances to leave with the famed Alabaster Cup in their hands. The third and final day of competition starts with series of mageduels in which both Lazoryel and Larena take place. For once, Larena’s powers are allowed to shine and she finishes in first place, able to defeat every one of her opponents. Lazroyel nearly ranks third but gets eliminated when the Evereskan sun elf wizards he’s dueling forces him to flee with her fear spell. He would later take his revenge the way he knows best: by altering his shape and using his magic to seduce her and bring her to an inn’s bedroon.
The last event of the games consisting of a series of armed duels, only Dragonkiller chooses to enter, while Larena, Ruknar, and Galen cheer for his from the bleachers. The goliath slowly makes his way up and defeats his first three opponents. As he is figthing for first place in the final fight of the event against a masked swordsman who dared to show up with the goliath’s own stolen magic sword, royal guards and paladins block all entrances to the arena and ask the crowd to leave one by one, filtering every single person passing. Afraid they’d been recognized by one of the paladins at the queen’s banquet the day before, or maybe denounced by Melvas, Galen and Larena climb over the bleachers and jump down down. They’re unfortunately quickly surrounded by guards for whom Larena summons a pack of ice wolves to serve as a distraction while she and Galen escape in the city’s streets. They’re stopped by a giant of a man who claims he has a ship ready to leave in the harbor which they can use to flee the city, assuring them that their friends will be brought on board as well. Ruknar, escapes the stadium easily by taking the shape of an eagle, and follows his friends from the airs all the way to the harbor. As for Lazoryel, who becomes aware of the commotion as he leaves the inn, he’s stopped by a lean man telling him that his friends are currently escaping toward a hip in the harbor. But when Lazoryel refuses to follow him or believe his story, he’s knocked unconscious by a sap and dragged toward the sea.
Unaware of the reasons for the commotion, Dragonkiller is removing his plate armor in the contestants’ locker when royal guards come to arrest him regarding a case of murder. Convinced that he’s done nothing wrong and can easily argue his innocence in time to receive his Alabaster Cup, he lets the guards take him away. Just a few minutes later, however, the goliath and his four-man escort are put to sleep by a magic spell, and four sailors come out to stuff Dragonkiller in a large chest and carry it as swiftly as possible to the harbor.
When Dragonkiller comes to his senses, he’s surrounded by Ruknar, Larena, Galen, and a still uncounscious Lazoryel, all aboard the Stroudhold, a merchant’s ship quickly leaving the port before the guards can realize what’s going on and board a boat to catch up. The captain Tselner Woolman is very pleased to finally meet with warriors as competent as the five before him, and offers the party to take them all the way to the Moonsea, for a small sum they’ll have weeks to agree on.