The story begins like most stories do in Athas, with dirt and blood and the flare of battle.
Within the great warded city walls of Nibenay lies a stone pit. This pit begins at ground level and descends fifty steep steps that ring the main arena in the middle. The lowest of these steps are only broken by square covered sitting areas for those of noble blood, wealthy merchant lords, or the powerful Templar Wives of the Shadow King, come to sit and watch the games that take place within the fighting sands twenty feet below. Dusk draws near and the games during the high sun are almost drawing to a close. People cheer and shout as gladiators fight within the center arena. Nobles and Merchants are still being escorted in as most with money are not here to witness the gladiatorial matches; they seek to witness what happens at nightfall. Tonight, like every sevenday, those who have received a sentence of death by the Templars will face their end within the dust of the arena.
Two large doors consisting of lacquered bones of fallen gladiators lashed together with black stained leather cord is one of the two exits on the arena floor. These are the doors of the dead. They are only opened during the dark hours of night. On the far side of the rectangular pit are the gates of the living, a ten foot tall and wide wood portcullis. This is where the gladiators and slaves emerge from to do battle. Past the gates are the holding pens where the gladiators lie in wait for their matches. Today, it is filled with slaves and prisoners waiting for the evening, passing their final hours on this land tethered together and tied to the stone loops in the wall. This is where our heroes wait, each with their own stories of how they ended up within the dimming light of the pit. Each waiting for what draws near, striving vainly to think of a way to get out of their imprisonment, but knowing it is far too late for a miracle, even if there were any gods left.