And there gathered to see the Great Game, almost every man within the borders of
the empire; sitting amongst their peers before such television sets as the Emperor
did provide in all barracks both military and civilian.
Summary: In the empire of Drakonia, the Great Game, also called the Emperor’s Game
(3:22:54), was the championship battle of a single-elimination tournament in which
each of the forty-two military academies of the empire competed for the highly prized
Standard of the Emperor. Established at the founding of the Drakonian Empire (3:11:26),
the annual tournament was comprised of a series of violent and deadly combat events
fought between teams representing the military academies of the empire. The final
battle, referred to as the Great Game, was fought between between the best academies
of the northern and southern hemispheres, respectively.
The Great Game was a highly publicized event broadcast throughout the empire. The
day of the Great Game was a declared holiday, allowing citizens of all classes to
watch the brutal competition (3:11:50). The winning team would be awarded the Emperor’s
Standard, a greatly esteemed title represented by a special flag (3:11:39). Each
surviving member of the winning team would receive a special victory ring, as well
as recognition and accolades from the Emperor himself (3:10:23-25). The Game was
taken very seriously by every academy, as a victory would earn prestige and favor
from the Emperor.
Under the leadership of the son of Areta (later named Kronus Maximillius), the Academy
of A’Kontay not only won its first Standard in the playing of the Great Game, it
maintained the title for three consecutive years — a feat never before achieved by
any academy in the four-hundred year history of the Great Game (3:12:1-21).
Now the game which all academies struggled most fiercely to win was brutal and filled
with hardships. For out of the two hundred cadets which had begun the competition
beside the son of Areta, still did only seventy remain to compete in the greatest
game of all;
To win for themselves the Emperor’s Standard and recognition; to stand above all
other military academies as being in themselves the best of the best, and the bravest
of the brave.
Earning for themselves the choicest of appointments upon the day of their commission;
to wear upon their finger the gold ring of victory which did bear the Emperor’s seal.
For in the struggle to gain the Emperor’s Standard did a great many cadets fall by
the way in battle; some being killed through fearsome fighting, while others fell
broken and severely maimed; leaving on the fields of war only the bravest and most