The Lost Seas
The Assassination of Kalak
Below: Artists’ depictions of the assassination of Kalak. Note that in both depictions artistic license has been taken with Rikus’ spear (most accounts describe it as both purple and double-headed).
The assassination of the sorceror-king Kalak, occurring on the first day of the year (the first day of Sorrow in the season of High Sun) in the Year of the Priest’s Defiance by Merchant’s Calendar reckoning, was witnessed by tens of thousands of Tyrian citizens. As such, many facts are public knowledge. However, despite the tens of thousands of eyes that witnessed the events, there was much that remained unseen and unknown. Even that which was seen was seen a little differently by everyone present. Therefore, there are many rumors of dubious reliability that also circulate vis-a-vis the assassination.
Virtually all agree on the following facts:
- The assassination occurred during the great gladiatorial match that King Kalak had proclaimed to celebrate the first of the year and the completion of his rainbow ziggurat, which had been under construction for years and had consumed the lives of thousands of workers and deeply impacted the merchant economy of Tyr.
- King Kalak had decreed that the games were to be free of charge to all, slave and freeman alike, and that the King would provide water to all who attended. This ensured that the arena was beyond overfull. Because of the overcrowding, Kalak had the doors closed and sealed during the match, preventing anyone from exiting or entering.
- Curiously, the dray bodyguards and courtiers that usually surrounded Kalak were not present at the match that day.
- The most exciting match of the night featured a large obsidian pyramid in the center of the floor as a “King of the Hill” match. The mul gladiator Rikus, a crowd favorite and quite famous, took the top of the pyramid and seemed prepared to hold it against all comers.
- Surprising everyone, Rikus hurled his weapon, a purple wooden double-headed spear, directly at Kalak. Sparks flew as the spear effortlessly shattered whatever invisible barrier had been protecting the King’s box. Kalak was impaled directly through the heart.
- Pandemonium erupted in the arena. Kalak was carried away (some say they saw him move as he was carried, others say he was slain). Rikus and the gladiators disappeared into the tunnels while the templars struggled to keep order in the arena. The doors remained sealed and barred.
- Shortly, a queasy feeling passed through everyone in the arena. Some began to collapse, and all were weakened and sickened. The rainbow ziggurat glowed brilliantly.
- However, after a short time, the ziggurat suddenly ceased to glow. The people found their strength returning. Rikus, Neeva (his gladiator partner), Agis of Asticles, Sadira, and Tithian of Mericles emerged into the King’s box and announced that Kalak was dead, that Tyr was free, and that Tithian was the new king. From the box, he issued his First Edict, ordering that the slaves be freed, and had the doors opened from the outside.