5. Heshog's Gladiatorial School of the Stout Hearts (Warrior's Guild)

This large stone, two-story building is a training school for those who wish to learn the skills of the warrior. Weapon training and specialization, ranged expertise, unarmed combat and battle tactics are just some of the things taught here. Heshog's Gladiatorial School of the Stout Hearts is a well-respected school and trains many of the sons and daughters of the local aristocracy, who have become significant benefactors. It also acts as the local fighter's guild for those wishing to enhance their skills.

The warriors and fighters who train here undergo a grueling regime, which includes spending much time practicing their art in the practice arenas. A large open arena at the center of the building is nearly always filled with those training with their weapons, and the air is nearly always filled with the sound of the clash of steel.

The school is well known for its highly popular wrestling bouts, as well as various other events put on for the public which show off the skills of the Stout Heart students. The wrestling bouts have become so popular in Blackfen that the school now put on events in the market square, where more people are able to see the competition. The most successful wrestlers can earn a very good living from it, as well as achieve something of a celebrity status (see the Quick Guide to the Stout Heart Wrestling Bouts below for more details).

Although many students come and go, some have remained at the school for years and have established reputations for themselves in Blackfen for their wrestling and fighting prowess. In particular, Kral 'The Beast of Blackfen', a powerful half-orc, and Sassia, 'The Human Cat', are exceptionally popular and always well supported. Not far behind these in popularity are Farasop 'The Demon' Harrik, Jarisek 'The Fearsome', and Istminian 'The Slippery', all of whom have been trained - and continued to be - at the school.

The school was set up over 100 years ago by Heshog, a tough dwarf who settled in Blackfen after his own community was destroyed after an assault by a large number of orcs on the rampage. Having lost his family and everything he owned, he started out training young people how to fight, until he eventually had enough to purchase the land the school now stands on, where Heshog's Gladiatorial School of the Stout Hearts was founded.

Although Heshog is now at a venerable age, he continues to participate fully in the running of the school. The general control and daily running, however, has been handed over to his long time friend and trusted partner, Krilnoch Silverbeard. Heshog is also the Second member of the City Council and with Krilnoch having taken over the permanent seat of the representative of the dwarves, they presently hold a powerful position within Blackfen.

Both Heshog and Krilnoch are significant members of the Dwarven Defenders of the Silver Hills, which Heshog was instrumental in bringing about. He is now more the symbolic head of the organization, with Krilnoch having taken charge and dealing with the practicalities of running the organization. Both are, of course, highly trained and skilled and soldiers of the highest order, though Heshog is far too old to practice the art any longer.

Krilnoch was born in Blackfen and trained by Heshog during his youth. He later took up military service, where he saw action on several fronts before returning to Blackfen. Heshog had soon employed him as a teacher and he has worked his way up the ranks and is now a significant and influential citizen of Blackfen and especially well respected amongst the dwarven community.

Quick Guide to the Stout Heart Wrestling Bouts
The wrestling contests held weekly in the main arena at Heshog's Gladiatorial School of the Stout Hearts are very popular amongst the population of Blackfen, who gamble on the outcome of the pairings. Matches can be anything from one-on-one melee action, to pairs, to one against two or more. They can even see teams matched against one another.

The following offers a quick and dirty guide to the rules followed by those partaking in the events, as laid out by Heshog himself and enshrined in the school's Heshog Rules of Fair Combat.

Weapons: only unarmed combat is allowed and all weapons are banned from use.
Armor: only light, non-metal armor is allowed to be worn in a bout. All other armor, including any type of shield, is banned from use.
Visibility: a combatant must be physically in an arena and remain clearly visible throughout the duration of the bout.
Flight: combatants must remain on the ground and are not allowed to fly or levitate or benefit from anything that might be construed in this way throughout the duration of the bout.
Spell Casting: for the duration of the bout, spell casting of any kind from the combatants is illegal. Any occurrence of spell casting will see the bout stopped in the favor of the opponent.
Magic Items and Effects: The use of any magic item, device, or the effects derived from a magic item, are stictly prohibited, including any magical healing or any magic to increase strength, stamina or any other physical or mental abilities. Any use of such magic will see the bout stopped in the favor of the opponent.
Combat: a combatant must attempt at all times to inflict only superficial (that is, non life-threatening) damage upon their opponent. Any combatant adjudged to have purposefully inflicted intentional lethal damage receives one warning. Upon a second occurrence (within the same bout) the bout is stopped in the favor of the opponent.
Bout: A bout is of an unlimited and unbroken duration or until a judge stops a bout and calls the winner. The winner is otherwise awarded when the their opponent (or opponents) are unconscious or withdraw from the bout.
Reward: after each bout, the crowd will throw coins into the arena, which is the winner's reward (less a 25% cut taken by the School). The better the bout, or the more popular the winner, the more they are likely to please the crowd and be rewarded more by them.

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