The Promise of Our Future

Every five years or so (five years and eighty-four days, to be exact), a series of competitions is held in and around the city of Feypoint in the Grand Duchy of Elvenpass. These games offer the youth of the world - those not yet old enough to be considered adults by their societies - to demonstrate the skills and talents that they were born with, or which they acquired through training and practice as they learned and grew and prepared to take their places in adult society. According to the advertising, these games celebrate the Promise of Our Future, and so have come to be called the Promise of the Future Games, or just the Promise Games for short.

Eligibility

All youths from anywhere in the world that are within the recognized Ages of Adolescence (see table below) for their particular Ancestry are eligible. To enter Guild competitions, one must be sponsored by a guild member. For citizens of the Grand Duchy, this is usually not a problem. For citizens of the First Kingdom, the Grand Duchy of Eastguard, sponsorships from their guilds are honored. Youth from other countries must apply to the appropriate Guild in Elvenpass for temporary sponsorhip. This request is almost always granted if work of a sufficient caliber is offered as proof of skill.
Contestants must pay their own way to and from the City of Feypoint, but once there, if their qualifications are accepted, they are entered into the games at no further cost to themselves (see the Logistics section in the sidebar). It is not uncommon for wealth local patrons, or even whole villages or towns to pool resources to send their youth to compete.
Logistics
All competitors are given free lodging and meals accomodations in or near the city of Feypoint for the Games. (The various Guilds provide accomodations for contestants in their sponsored events within the city itself; the Archduke handles costs of accomodating competitors of the Personal Skills games in a lavish tent city erected just outside the city near the venues of the games themselves.

Timing of the Games
The Future Greats Games are held to coincide with the occurrence of the double lunar eclipse called the Necromancer's Eye, which occurs . The games themselves are held during the three week period that predates the Eclipse itself; the Closing Ceremonial Banquet at which all winners are honored is held on the night of the Eclipse at the Grand Duke's Palace in the city of Feypoint. This is in keeping with the Human tradition of Thwarting The Necromancer whenever the dreaded celestial event occurs.

Athletics and Personal Skills Competitions

These are six categories of competitions which test the physical abilities and personal training achievements of the various contestants. Winners in these competitions can expect to be courted by Nobility looking for instructors for their children or men-at-arms, Gladiatorial stables looking for exciting spectacles, Elite Mercenary groups looking for specially skilled individuals, and even Adventuring Companies looking for skills to complement their existing abilities.
Archery
There are four areas of competition in each of three disciplines: longbow, shortbow, and crossbow. The competitions in each are Still Target Shooting, Moving Target Shooting, Distance Shooting, and an Overall competition which combines scores from all three of the others.
Armed Combat
There are two disciplines: Finesse Fighting and Overpower Fighting. Specific competitions in each lay out the nature of weapons and shields (if any). Special weapons and magical protections limit most real damage in these competitions, though this is by far the most hazardous set of competitions in the set.
Horsemanship
There are two disciplines here: one where the competitors perform with horses they have trained, and and one where the competitors are randomly assigned horses they have not yet worked with. In the first discipline, there are five areas of competition: Jumping, Handling, Flat-course racing, Obstacle Racing, and an Overall (combined) competition. In the second discipline, only Flat-course and Obstacle Racing are contested, as well as an Overall that combines scores from the two.
Foot Racing
There are a number of individual races. Some are short distance sprints while others are long-distance endurance tests.
Unarmed Combat
There are two disciplines: Grappling and Throwing, and Freestyle in which striking with fists is permitted. Different weight classes are devised for each discipline to determine winners in each weight class.
Swimming & Diving
Two competition areas are contested here. The first is a number of swimming races which, like the Foot Racing events offer both short-sprint and longer endurance individual races. The second is a deep diving competition in which contestants must attempt to retrieve objects anchored at varying depths, with the deepest items scoring the highest.

Artisinal Skills

These are competitions sponsored by each of the six Artisinal Guilds of Elvenpass. Each Guild offers competitions in which contestants demonstrate skills they have learned in apprenticeships with guild journeymen and masters. Contestants must be proposed by a guild member, though there are provisions for contestants from countries other than the Grand Duchy to qualify if trained by a craftsperson beyond the reach of the guild. Self-taught entrants are very rare, but they, too, can be qualified.

Winners in these competitions can expect a promising future in their craft. From the set of winners in each guild's competitions, the Grand Master will select one to become their "journey-apprentice", a five-year position during which they will learn the secrets of that Grandmaster, and will be conferred Master status upon completion of the term. Other winners are granted Journeyfolk status immediately, and are often courted for private positions with nobles, mercenary companies, city organizers, and others. Even some non-winners are approached by noted Masters with opportunities to finish out their apprenticeship learning that Master's techniques.
 
Culinarians
Competitions for preparating Meat Dishes, Non-meat Dishes, Pastries and Cakes are held, as well as an "overall" competition requiring the planning and preparation of a complete banquet. Winners can expect to be offered positions in the kitchens of high nobility, or be approached by Patrons operating fine dining establishments in cities across the world..
Lorekeepers
Competitions are held in six disciplines: Penmanship, Secretarial Dictation, Literary Writing, Performance Writing, Graphic Art, and Music. Winners of the first two can expect envious senior positions in noble courts, universities, or larger cities. Winners in the latter three can expect to be courted by potential Patrons of the Arts.
Stonesmiths
Compettitions include Stonecutting in which each contestant must craft four differently shaped blocks that fit together perfectly in a pattern they are provided; Bricklaying, in which speed, uniformity, and strength of product are judged; and Free Sculpture, in which the competitor is free to craft a work of art of their choosing. Enviable patronage positions for the latter, and Respected positions with nobles and city planners for the former two can be expected for the winners.
Clothsmiths
Competitions in Tapestry creation, Lacework, Tailoring, and Ball Gown creation are held. Patrons will vie with each other to secure the exclusive services the winners of these competitions.
Metalsmiths
Competitions are held for bladesmiths, armorsmiths, farriers, and filigree (gold and silver) smiths. While examples of fine work are required to gain entry to these competitions, it is products made from scratch by the contestants during the competition that determine the outcome. Winners can expect numerous offers of employment from the the affluent.
Woodsmiths
Cabinetry, Coopering, and Free Carving competitions are held by this guild. Winning coopers may be courted by the wealthier merchant companies or nobility to ensure sound storage and transport of mercantile products. Winners of the other competitions can expect good Patronage offers.

Comments

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Grandmaster KajetanWrites
Kajetan Krakowiak-Świątnicki
15 Aug, 2021 06:30

Interesting article. Gives me some ancient Olympic games feelings. I think you made a mistake in the age table. Shouldn't the column with "races" be called "ancestries" or something similar, instead of age?

Check out the world of Veneficia
18 Aug, 2021 13:25

The Olympics definitely inspired me, but I didn't want to limit it to "sports" events. In addition to showing off physical prowess, youth have opportunities to show off creative talent as well - and some poor kid from the boondocks could, with the right talent, end up lifting themself out of squalor as a reward.

15 Aug, 2021 21:08

Well thought-out! I am personally reminded of the traditional Lughnasadh games of the Celts. Sounds like a very big deal in your world, too, and I can see numerous jumping-off points for adventures!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
18 Aug, 2021 13:27

Yes. Many opportunities for adventures. Escorting a contestant from some distant village to the games... Investigating some strange happenings / thefts / disappearances during the games... Investigating cheating... Even something as simple as a party that's down a member "shopping for a replacement".

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