Arena:Manual Intro Story

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This is the story found in the Arena Player's Guide

English Version[edit]

AR-misc-Story Header Eng.png

Talin awoke in the darkened cell, his head pounding from the blow it had received. A single candle guttered and flamed in one corner. Occasionally the clink of chains could be heard as they swung in a slight, fetid breeze. He knew where he was now. It came back to him even as he struggled to his feet. Fighting off the nausea he made his way to a crude stone bench.

I have been taken by the Emperor, but for what? His thoughts were interrupted by a low moan that came drifting down the corridor outside his cell door. Suddenly he was glad for the obvious strength of his cell door. I have been left to die, he thought incredulously. They did not even bother to strip me of my possessions. Indeed, upon self examination Talin found that he still carried his dagger and his pouch of money. It seemed that the Emperor had no fears of his escape. And why should he? He did a quick circumspection of the room, finding that except for the slime covered walls and floor, no water or food had been left. A slow death indeed.

Suddenly the air near the center of the cell seemed to brighten, slowly coalescing into a globe of brilliance. Talin fell back, shielding his eyes from the glare. The light receded, and in the purple afterimages of that burst he could see the shimmering form of a woman floating, her body draped in gossamer and blown by an unseen wind.

“Do not fear Talin, for it is I, Ria Silmane.”

Talin looked on in shock as the figure of his friend took on form and substance, though somehow it did not seem to lose its edge of etherealness. “Ria! What in the name of the Lady has happened?”

Ria’s face seemed etched in grief, drawn by a sadness he could not comprehend. “Talin, do you remember the last time we saw each other? It was at the Mid Year’s festival. I fear that is where the evil took form.”

“What happened to you?” Talin asked in a shocked whisper. He had known Ria since he had been summoned to court to learn under her tutelage the ways of Sorcery. Ria had been the senior apprentice to Jagar Tharn, the Imperial Battle Mage of Tamriel.

“I am dead, Talin. Only my powers keep me in this form, though the pull to the afterlife is strong. I can resist, but only for a time. It is imperative that someone know the truth; that someone stop the evil which has struck from the heart of the Imperial Seat.”

Talin sat down once more, his legs seeming to no longer obey. Left to die in a cell, my friend already dead? What has happened to us all?

“The Emperor is not who he seems to be, Talin. He is in fact, Jagar Tharn. The true Emperor was captured by Tharn and shifted to another dimension, a prison in which time runs much slower than on this plane of existence.”

Talin looked up, his face a mask of shock and outrage, “But what of the Amulet of Kings?”

“The Emperor is not dead. Only in the event of his demise would the Amulet warn the Elder Council. Tharn was meticulous in his planning. With time in the dimension in which the Emperor has been imprisoned running at a fraction of what it does here, it will be centuries before the true Emperor dies. And when he does, who will care? Those people will have seen the glorious rule of Uriel Septim VII end generations in their past. Tharn must be stopped, here and now.” Ria’s face had a resolute set, one that if Talin had noticed, would have sent shivers of foreboding through his body.

Talin looked around, “Why are you here? I am but one, and not skilled in much of anything. Why not go to General Warhaft, or the Imperial Guard?”

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Ria shook her head, “They have been captured along with the Emperor, and Tharn has transmorphed others to take their places, those who are loyal to him only. I cannot trust anyone else with this Talin. As you said, Tharn will not search for you as he would someone he considered a threat. Most of them are dead already. You can see the disdain the Wizard has for you, not bothering to even bind you in this cell. He does not see you as a threat, and in that arrogance he has made his first mistake.” For the first time the ghost of Ria Silmane smiled, and to Talin it was as if the sun had come from behind a cloud.

“I wish to escape, that is sure. Beyond that I know not what I can do, Ria.”

“Take this,” at Ria’s gesture a ruby key flashed into being in a niche in the northern wall of the cell, “it will unlock the cell door. You are in the sewers of the Imperial City. If you make your way west, then south, I can effect your escape.”

Talin thought a moment, “It will not do to have me surface in the City [sic] itself, for I would be quickly captured. I think it an uncommon occurrence to see a man pull himself through a grating on a city street. The guards at the least will have questions, ones I will be unable to satisfactorily answer.”

Ria smiled again, “I am not as helpless as you may suppose. Even in this form I am able to work my magic, but to do so depletes the energy I use to remain on this plane. Your escape however is paramount to all other considerations. Get to the south-west corner of this sewer. There you will see a Shift Gate. It will transport you to another city, where you will appear inside their city gates. Teleportation between cities is common enough, I doubt you will come under scrutiny. With that you will be far enough from the center of the Empire to begin.”

Talin felt a faint fear gnaw in the pit of his stomach and he whispered, “Begin what?”

“Your training, of course.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as Talin looked at his friend. He did not entirely trust his ability to help her; to really make a difference. The alternative however was to allow the man who had killed his friend to continue the charade. Talin was not one to let a lie go unanswered. Ria concerned him however. Even now he could see the fringes of her form dissipating, and her face took on a worn and lined expression, as if she were tiring. He did not relish the idea of being alone in this, not knowing who he could trust. “Will I see you again?”

“If you survive these sewers and escape, I will come to you again. There is much I must investigate first so that we may find a way to free the Emperor from the dimension in which Tharn has placed him. Only by his release will the truth come to light. Remember Talin, Tharn has taken on the form of the Emperor, and no one will gainsay his word for yours. Had I been able I would have appeared to the Elder Council, but my body lies close by, forgotten and decayed. In this form I cannot travel far from my mortal remains.” Ria looked down, her once wheaten tresses hanging limply as the ethereal wind diminished, “I cannot come to you again as I have now. It takes energy I dare not squander.”

She reached out and touched Talin on the forehead. He felt a slight tingling, like an itch behind his eyes. A moment later it was gone. “I have linked us so that I can appear to you regardless of the distance, but I will only appear to you henceforth in your dreams. The way is safer and less costly. It is very important that you rest now and again, when you are safe. It will only be during those time [sic] that I can reach you.” Ria looked into Talin’s eyes, “You are entering a dangerous arena, my friend. One in which the players are beings beyond your mortal comprehension. I see in your destiny the ability to transcend. There is a power within you as yet untapped. Look for me when you have gained some experience in the world. You are my last and best hope, Talin.”

Before Talin could respond the form of Ria faded from view. In the deepening gloom Talin could feel the icy fingers of fear creeping slowly back into his flesh. Then the glint of ruby caught his eye. He walked over to the niche and picked up the key. It felt warm to the touch, and strangely comforting. He thought about his friend Ria, dead now though she clung to unlife for the sake of justice. He thought about Jagar Tharn, who had killed his friend and attempted his own life. Such evil could not be permitted to grow, or go unchecked. Looking about the cell his purpose became clearer, as if his ruminations had opened a door to the beginnings of understanding. Perhaps Ria had ensorcelled the key to produce this reaction, he knew not, but a litany from his old Armsmaster came to mind and he whispered, “Given the outcome of certain death, die with a blade in hand.”

The cell door was a massive construction of iron and steel. He paused only a moment to listen. The moaning was gone, but from the darkness he could hear dozens of tiny claws skittering and scratching the damp mossy brownstone. Occasionally red eyes gleamed out at him. Talin inserted the key to the lock and turned it. With a groan the mechanism released and the cell door swung open on rusty hinges. Despite the noise nothing flew out from the darkness to attack. It was as if the sewer itself had decided he was no threat, and turned its back on him. “Tharn,” he thought, “you will not escape me so easily.” Grabbing the candle from its holder Talin drew both breath and dagger as he ventured into the darkened hall…

AR-misc-Jagar Tharn.png

The Quest

To rescue the
Emperor from the
dimension in which
Jagar Tharn
has imprisoned him,
by recovering the
eight pieces of the
Staff of Chaos.

French Version Translated[edit]

AR-misc-Story Header.png

For centuries, several factions fought to divide the kingdom of Tamriel. In essence, this constant flow of war and peace turned the country into a veritable "Arena" of life, where passions led some to glory and fortune, others to early death. A solution was finally found in 2E 896 (2nd Era, 896th Year) by Tiber Septim, which allowed him to subjugate the entire country and proclaim himself Emperor under the name of Septim I. The difficult years of the war had nevertheless left their traces on the rabble. The name Tamriel, which means "Dawn’s Beauty" [1] in Elvish, rarely came out of anguished mouths, and gradually fell into oblivion. In this kingdom where life and death were just a coin toss [2], the inhabitants of the known world gave it another name, which better expressed their sorrows: the Arena.

It is now the year 3E 389 [sic], almost five centuries after the coronation of Emperor Septim I, and Emperor Uriel Septim VII is now on the throne of the Arena. The Imperial Guards are elite troops, whose sole task is to ensure the personal safety of the Emperor. Their leader is Talin Warhaft, a human who has undergone Spellsword [3] training. Warhaft has formed a close-knit and effective team, capable of annihilating any threat to the Emperor. Things seem idyllic, but conflict still shakes the Empire.

Jagar Tharn, the Imperial BattleMage [4], had become jealous of the Emperor's power. While he was the head of the Elder Council [5] and considered to be the absolute authority in matters of occult sciences, he saw himself as the Emperor's lackey, or rather his dog, who must always be at his master's disposal. Such a situation was unacceptable to Tharn, ravaged inside by his thirst for power and his jealousy, which gradually turned into hatred.

But the Imperial BattleMage [6] was cunning, and he realized that he could not kill Uriel Septim VII. Apart from protection due to his position, the Emperor had used spells on himself and his Imperial Guards. If one of them were to die, the Elder Council [5] would be immediately alerted. In that case, the Emperor's heiress, Princess Ariella Septim would ascend the throne. Such a scenario was unacceptable to Tharn, who would only change masters, and would be even more ashamed to serve a woman.

In order to take control of the Empire, it was not necessary to kill Uriel Septim and the Imperial Guards. They had to be imprisoned. Tharn had to solve a difficult problem: to get rid of the Emperor and his court. He had to deceive the Elder Council [5], because if the Emperor disappeared, the end result would be the same. The only difference was that the accession of the princess to the throne would be delayed until the end of the investigation.

It was in the Emperor's banquet hall on the day of the Harvest’s End [7] festival that Tharn devised a perfect plan. He listened with an absent-minded ear to Warhaft, who spoke of his travels, before he met his present companions, to an admiring princess. He was just beginning his career as a warrior, and had just celebrated his 16th spring. He had met another young Spellsword [3], a human named Marten. He used to call himself "Marten the Blade", a nickname he earned a few years later. They became friends very quickly, and even though they were barely older than the Princess, they were already dreaming of fame and fortune.

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Warhaft, in an attempt to illustrate teamwork, recounted how Marten had cast a spell of Illusion [8] on himself during an ambush by bandits. The spell changed his outward appearance and made him look like the leader of the bandits. Marten had taken advantage of the confusion he had caused to lure the bandits away from Warhaft's wounded body. They had traveled together for many years, then Marten had a son. Not wanting him to grow up without ever seeing his father, he abandoned his travels and took the mother of his son as his wife. Eighteen winters had passed since then, and Talin's face lit up as he thought back to the good old days of long ago.

The idea sprouted little by little in the fertile mind of Tharn. He realized that the only way to take control of the Empire was to act as Emperor himself. He would have no trouble summoning the beings he needed to ensure his personal safety. In this way, no one would notice the disappearance of Uriel Septim or Talin Warhaft and his Imperial Guards, since they would still exist. Only the disappearance of the Imperial BattleMage [6] might seem strange. But Tharn knew the solution.

The following day, Jagar Tharn officially requested a leave of absence to pursue magical studies that interested him. Emperor Septim, already very troubled by the absence of the Imperial BattleMage [6] of the court, knew the importance of research for those whose vocation was the study of the mysteries of magic. [9] He accepted the request and wished Tharn success, asking only that someone be chosen to replace the Imperial BattleMage [6] while Jagar worked on his research. Tharn appointed Ria Silmane, his oldest apprentice and a powerful witch, to assist him. [10] This choice was fully approved by the Elder Council. [11]

Then came the month of Sun’s Dusk. [12] In the Imperial Training Hall, where Talin and the Guards were working on their combat tactics, an ornate seal appeared on the floor. Tharn smiled, then summoned the Emperor with his Guard, claiming that he had found something strange. When the Emperor arrived with Talin and his team, Tharn cast the spell. The seal flashed once, then surrounded the Emperor and his Guard with a wall of flames. They were trapped. They tried in vain to break the magic barrier. Imprisoned by the seal, they could only watch helplessly as Tharn transformed into the Emperor's appearance. He then summoned demonic beings, who also transformed themselves in front of the astonished Emperor, to take the form of Talin and the other guards.

The betrayal of Jagar Tharn was over. No one would notice their disappearance, and their look-alikes stood there before them like a reflection in a mirror. Tharn explained to the Emperor that time passed more slowly in the dimension where he would dispatch them. When they eventually died, several generations would have grown up on Tamriel. And for them, the glorious reign of Uriel Septim would be centuries old. Even if the magic of the Amulet alerted the Elder Council, [9] they could not know for whom the bell tolled. Nevertheless, he assured the Emperor that he would take care of everything, including his precious child, who would certainly understand the value of fostering "family" alliances, so to speak. Tharn's casual pride in his success and the threats to his daughter struck the Emperor straight to the heart. He was a brave and just man. In spite of his excessive pride, Tharn had meticulously prepared his spell. In a few moments, the Emperor and the Imperial Guards would be sucked out of this world and propelled into another dimension, chosen by the Imperial BattleMage. [6]

After their disappearance, Tharn [13] walked with great strides toward the seal, and touched it in the center with the Staff of Chaos to complete the spell. Both the Staff [14] and the spell were linked to the very power of the land. Jagar Tharn then broke the Staff [14] into seven [15] pieces and cast a Banishment spell, scattering them throughout the farthest reaches of the kingdom. For, the bond being completed, the Staff [14] could not be destroyed. He then examined his new "Imperial Guard”. The spell he had used would last until he decided on his own to banish them. Jagar Tharn intended to use all the powers of an Emperor to enjoy his reign in the Arena...

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The Quest...
Save the Emperor from
the dimension in
which Jagar
Tharn imprisoned him, by find-
ing the eight frag-
ments of the Staff of
Chaos.

Notes[edit]

Proper names were translated to the those used in the English version of the game

  1. French “Beauté de l’Aurore ” translated to “Beauty of the Dawn” or “Dawn’s Beauty”]
  2. French “plusqu’un” corrected to “plus qu’un”]
  3. French “Sortilame” translated from “sort lame” to “spell blade” or “Spellsword”]
  4. French “Magicien de Combat Impérial” translated to “Imperial Combat Magician/Wizard” or “Imperial BattleMage”]
  5. French “Cercle des Anciens” translated to “Circle of Ancients/Elders” or “Elder Council”]
  6. French “Sorcier Impérial” translated to “Imperial Sorcerer/Wizard” or “Imperial BattleMage”]
  7. French “Fin des Moissons” translated to “End of Harvest” or “Harvest End” ]
  8. French “Dillusion” corrected to “D’illusion]
  9. This sentence was restructured to help convey the original intent that Uriel is concerned about loosing his BattleMage, rather than being concerned because Tharn was previously absent.
  10. This sentence was restructured to help convey the original intent that “oldest apprentice” and “powerful witch” are both qualities of Ria Silmane, rather than two individuals.]
  11. French “Conseil des Anciens” translated to “Council of Elders” or “Elder Council”]
  12. French “Bas Soleil” translated to “Low Sun“ or “Sun’s Dusk “]
  13. Original has a typo and has “Thorn” instead of “Tharn”]
  14. French “Bâton” or “Staff” is capitalized in the original. It is unclear if this is a shortened title as in; “The Staff”, or this is simply a typo.]
  15. French “sept” translated to “seven”; While this is clearly an error it isn’t classified simply as a typo. The word for “eight” is “huit”.

Original French Version[edit]

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Pendant des siècles, plusieurs factions se sont battues pour diviser le royaume de Tamriel. En substance, ce constant flux de guerre et de paix a fait du pays une véritable « Arène » de vie, où les passions ont mené certains vers la gloire et la fortune, d’autres vers une mort prématurée. Une solution fut enfin trouvée en 2E 896 (2ème Ere, 896ème Année) par Tiber Septim, qui lui permit de subjuguer le pays tout entier et de se proclamer Empereur sous le nom de Septim I. Les années difficiles de la guerre avaient tout de même laissé leurs traces sur la populace. Le nom de Tamriel, qui veut dire « Beauté de l’Aurore » en elfique, ne sortait plus que rarement des bouches angoissées, et tomba peu à peu dans l’oubli. Dans ce royaume où la vie et la mort n’étaient plusqu’un [sic] jeu à pile ou face, les habitants du monde connu lui donnèrent un autre nom, qui exprimait mieux leurs peines: l’Arène.

Nous sommes maintenant en l’an 3E 389, presque cinq siècles après le sacre de l’Empereur Septim I, et l’Empereur Uriel Septim VII est aujourd’hui sur le trône de l’Arène. Les Gardes Impériaux sont des troupes d’élite, dont la seule tâche consiste à assurer la sécurité personnelle de l’Empereur. Leur chef est Talin Warhaft, un humain qui a suivi un entraînement de Sortilame. Warhaft a formé une équipe bien soudée et efficace, capable d’anéantir toute menace qui pèserait sur l’Empereur. Les choses semblent idylliques, mais les conflits secouent toujours l’Empire.

Jagar Tharn, le Magicien de Combat Impérial, était devenu jaloux de la puissance de l’Empereur. Alors qu’il était le chef du Cercle des Anciens et considéré comme l’autorité absolue en matière de sciences occultes, il se considérait comme le laquais de l’Empereur, ou plutôt comme son chien, devant toujours être à la disposition de son maître. Une telle situation était inacceptable pour Tharn, ravagé intérieurement par sa soif de pouvoir et sa jalousie, qui se transformait peu à peu en haine.

Mais le Sorcier Impérial était rusé, et il réalisa qu’il ne pourrait pas supprimer Uriel Septim VII. En dehors de la protection due à sa position, l’Empereur avait utilisé des sortilèges sur lui-même et ses Gardes Impériaux. Si l’un d’entre eux venait à mourir, le Cercle des Anciens serait immédiatement alerté. Dans ce cas, l’héritière de l’Empereur, la Princesse Ariella Septim monterait sur le trône. Un tel scénario était inacceptable pour Tharn, qui ne ferait que changer de maître, et aurait encore plus honte de servir une femme.

Pour prendre le contrôle de l’Empire, il ne fallait pas tuer Uriel Septim et les Gardes Impériaux. Il fallait les emprisonner. Tharn devait résoudre un problème difficile: se débarrasser de l’Empereur et de sa cour. Il devait tromper le Cercle des Anciens, car si l’Empereur disparaissait, le résultat final serait le même. A la seule différence près que l’accession de la princesse au trône serait retardée jusqu’à la fin des recherches.

C’est dans la salle des banquets de l’Empereur, le jour de la fête de la Fin des Moissons, que Tharn conçut un plan parfait. Il écoutait d’une oreille distraite Warhaft qui racontait ses voyages, avant qu’il ne rencontre ses compagnons actuels, à une princesse béate d’admiration. Il commençait tout juste sa carrière de guerrier, et venait de fêter ses 16 printemps. Il avait rencontré un autre jeune Sortilame, un humain du nom de Marten. Celui-ci avait l’habitude de se présenter sous le nom de « Marten la Lame », surnom qu’il mérita amplement quelques années plus tard. Ils devinrent très rapidement amis, et même s’ils étaient à peine plus âgés que la Princesse, ils rêvaient déjà de gloire et de fortune.

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Warhaft, pour tenter d’illustrer le travail d’équipe, raconta comment Marten avait lancé un sort de Dillusion [sic] sur lui-même lors d’une embuscade tendue par des bandits. Le sort transforma son apparence extérieure et le fit ressembler au chef des bandits. Marten avait profité de la confusion qu’il avait provoqué pour attirer les brigands loin du corps blessé de Warhaft. Ils avaient voyagé ensemble pendant de nombreuses années, puis Marten eut un fils. Ne voulant pas qu’il grandisse sans jamais voir son père, il abandonna ses voyages et prit la mère de son fils pour épouse. Dix-huit hivers s’étaient écoulés depuis, et le visage de Talin s’éclaira en repensant au bon vieux temps de jadis.

L’idée germait peu à peu dans l’esprit fertile de Tharn. Il réalisait que le seul moyen de prendre le contrôle de l’Empire était d’agir lui-même en tant qu’Empereur. Il n’aurait pas de mal à invoquer les êtres dont il avait besoin pour assurer sa sécurité personnelle. De cette manière, personne ne remarquerait la disparition d’Uriel Septim ou de Talin Warhaft et ses Gardes Impériaux, puisqu’ils existeraient toujours. Seule la disparition du Sorcier Impérial pourrait sembler étrange. Mais Tharn connaissait la solution.

Le jour suivant, Jagar Tharn demanda officiellement un congé pour poursuivre des études magiques qui l’intéressaient. L’Empereur Septim, déjà fort troublé par l’absence du Sorcier Impérial de la cour, connaissait l’importance de la recherche pour ceux dont la vocation était l’étude des arcanes de la magie. Il accepta la demande et souhaita à Tharn de réussir, demandant seulement que l’on choisisse quelqu’un pour remplacer le Sorcier Impérial pendant que Jagar travaillait à ses recherches. Tharn désigna son plus ancien apprenti, Ria Silmane, ainsi qu’une puissante sorcière pour le seconder. Ce choix fut pleinement approuvé par le Conseil des Anciens.

Puis vint le mois de Bas Soleil. Dans la Salle d’Entraînement Impériale, où Talin et les Gardes travaillaient leurs tactiques de combat, un sceau ouvragé apparut sur le sol. Tharn sourit, puis convoqua l’Empereur avec sa Garde, prétendant qu’il avait trouvé quelque chose de bizarre. Lorsque l’Empereur arriva avec Talin et son équipe, Tharn lança le sortilège. Le sceau clignota une fois, puis entoura l’Empereur et sa Garde d’un mur de flammes. Ils étaient pris au piège. Ils tentèrent en vain de briser la barrière magique. Emprisonnés par le sceau, ils ne purent qu’assister impuissants à la transformation de Tharn, qui prit l’apparence de l’Empereur. Il invoqua ensuite des êtres démoniaques, qui se transformèrent eux aussi devant l’Empereur stupéfait, pour prendre la forme de Talin et des autres gardes.

La trahison de Jagar Tharn était achevée. Personne ne s’apercevrait de leur disparition, et leurs sosies se tenaient là, devant eux, comme un reflet dans un miroir. Tharn expliqua à l’Empereur que le temps s’écoulait plus lentement dans la dimension où il allait les expédier. Lorsqu’ils finiraient par mourir, plusieurs générations auraient grandi sur Tamriel. Et pour elles, le glorieux règne d’Uriel Septim remonterait à plusieurs siècles. Même si la magie de l’Amulette alertait le Conseil des Anciens, ils ne pourraient pas savoir pour qui sonnait le glas. Il assura néanmoins à l’Empereur qu’il s’occuperait de tout, notamment de sa précieuse enfant, qui comprendrait certainement l’intérêt de favoriser les alliances « de famille », en quelque sorte. La fierté désinvolte de Tharn voyant sa réussite et les menaces qui pesaient sur sa fille frappèrent l’Empereur droit au cœur. C’était un homme brave et juste. Malgré son orgueil démesuré, Tharn avait méticuleusement préparé son sortilège. Dans quelques instants, l’Empereur et les Gardes Impériaux seraient aspirés de ce monde et propulsé dans une autre dimension, choisie par le Sorcier Impérial.

Après leur disparition, Thorn [sic] marcha à grand pas vers le sceau, et le toucha au centre avec le Bâton du Chaos pour achever le sortilège. Le Bâton [sic] et le sortilège étaient liés à la puissance même de la terre. Jagar Tharn brisa ensuite le Bâton [sic] en sept morceaux et lança un sort de Bannissement, les dispersant dans les endroits les plus reculés du royaume. Car, le lien étant achevé, le Bâton [sic] ne pouvait être détruit. Il examina ensuite sa nouvelle « Garde Impériale ». Le sortilège qu’il avait utilisé durerait jusqu’à ce qu’il décide de lui-même de les bannir. Il pensa qu’il ferait bon régner… Jagar Tharn avait l’intention d’utiliser tous les pouvoirs d’un Empereur pour savourer son règne sur l’Arène…

AR-misc-Jagar Tharn.png

La Quête…
Sauver l’Empereur de
la dimension dans
laquelle Jagar
Tharn l’a
emprisonné, en retrou-
vant les huit frag-
ments du Bâton du
Chaos.