The Elven Empire of Silthador collapsed two hundred years ago but in the Red Hills, evidence of their presence is everywhere. One out of every three people is a slave; of the slaves, the most highly regarded are the Gladiators.Of the five Free Cities of the Red Hills, Nephael is the largest, wealthiest, and most famous. The Grand Pit of Nephael is renowned the world over as the finest of the fighting rings in the city, and its Champion is known far and wide as the fiercest fighter in the world. He is a Berserker, with blood magic that activates when he begins to fight. Berserkers were long thought to be a myth or legend, but he has proven them wrong for two years running, slaughtering any who dared to stand against him. As Champion of the Grand Pit, he is treated very well: food, wine, women, entertainment, famous guests, all the luxuries he could ask for. Nevertheless, he is not content.The second most famous slave in the city is the Oracle Cassiphaea. A slave of the Great Temple of Astroph, she has another ability thought lost to the ages: prophecy. She can see the potential future of people and objects, a valuable talent that has made her temple the wealthiest and most respected in the city. While it is not a foolproof talent, she has gotten rather good at determining the likely from the unlikely outcomes.It was only a matter of time before the Temple struck a bargain with the Champion's owners. Two slaves of such magnitude would obviously produce offspring of equal or greater ability, would they not? With the bargain struck that any child of the union would be given to one owner or the other based on ability, Cassiphaea was sent to the Champion's quarters.When there, something unexpected happens. She glimpses a future where he stands over the city of Nephael as it burns, holding a bloodied sword and surrounded by his fellow slaves, broken chains dangling from their wrists. It is not a very likely future, but she wonders if she can change that. More unlikely things have happened, after all... and she would love to see a future which sees her free to use, or no use, her abilities at her own whim.For the next few weeks they plot, and the vision becomes reality one rainy night when the pit fighters' chains are broken. By the next morning the slaves have overthrown their masters and Nephael is a true Free City, with the Champion and the Oracle at the head of it all.