The world of Athas is changing. The Sorcerer-Kings, immortal rulers who have guided and shaped the Tablelands for centuries beyond measure, have stirred to action once more. City-states rumble with the sound of quarry and construction, the sands shift under the ceaseless tracks of the merchant caravans, and the winds carry countless rumors and lies.
Perhaps a Sorcerer-King has died – or perhaps Kalak of Tyr is spreading lies of his own downfall as part of some clever trap. Some say that the dead walk the Great Ivory Plain in full daylight – while others claim that those who walk are not the risen dead but something far worse. There have even been rumors of the most outlandish sort – of oasis springing up in the deepest desert, fully formed and lush and green, with precious water of purest blue just waiting to be claimed.
Change has come to Athas – and even here, among the spires and winding streets of Nibenay, that force can be felt. The templars rush about in unheard of urgency, tending to tasks and organizing even the most minor detail, without a moment’s rest or hesitation. The guards polish their armor until the crests of bone and spurs of obsidian gleam in the sun’s harsh light. The traders and their beasts of burden bring with them tales as well as goods and both are bought with coins of fired clay in equal measure.
And it is change that has brought you to this moment. Your life, the only world you have ever known, was forever altered when you were brought to this cage. You do not know why this was done – none of your captors would spare you so much as a single word of explanation. You do not know who has ordered this – a templar that you angered without realizing your offense? A merchant who was confused and mistook you for a thief? A lover who was spurned or friend who felt betrayed or even a sibling who wanted to cut you out of the line of succession?
None of that matters now. The weight of the collar around your neck makes the who and the why immaterial in the moment. You have been made a slave – and the markings on the bars of your cell make clear exactly what sort of slave you are to be.
You are under the grand arena of Nibenay itself. You have been sent here to fight, and to die, for the pleasure of the crowd.