Part 10

One week of intense workouts later, and you've done all you can to help the Golden Shoes prepare. She knows your arguments forwards and backwards, practicing them while jogging, jumping, and swinging a blunted sword at an impressive-looking practice dummy. Reecho has kept in touch, checking on your progress, and Amele has helped you expedite the bureaucratic process, getting your Champion into a duel with the Pride's Champion in record time.

Now you're back in Trebulin, home of both POUNCE and the Pride of Arraveen. Curious Felisi stream into the Capitol building, crowding the Debate Arena and whispering as you make your way inside. Amele brings you to your seats and all you can do is stare across the recessed dueling grounds at the members of the Pride. Eight of them look back at you with steely eyes, deep and unfathomable. The other few lean forward, perhaps sympathetic to your situation. Or perhaps, they are just hungry.

A hush falls over the gathered crowd when an official in robes with elaborately draped sleeves steps out onto the floor. "Order! Order!" he shouts, tapping on a gilded shield. "We have before us today a suit for sponsorship, brought forth by the sentient species called the Humans. Their chosen Champion, known as the Golden Shoes, shall present arguments in duel with the illustrious Champion of the Pride. The debate shall begin at the clanging of the shield." He moves to the edge of the floor slowly, dragging his heavy garments.

"I am Kaylata!" A thundering voice booms from below the Pride, "Known as the Steady Tower, the Clear-Voiced and Unmovable. I speak for the honorable Pride of Arraveen. They will grant no sponsorship." A Felisi of substantial size in silk sparring clothes stalks to the center of the ring, carrying a wicked blade. "Who speaks against?"

Your Champion steps out onto the floor below you, and there is no denying that she is much smaller than the Tower. She glares fiercely across the arena anyway. "I speak against! I am Sechiri! Known as the Golden Shoes. I speak for the wandering Humans. They will have sponsorship!" She prowls forward carrying her own blade until she is toe to toe with the other Champion. The shield clangs on the sideline.

And with that clang, the duel begins. The Tower slams her sword down toward the Golden Shoes who leaps backwards just in time. "Outsiders are not Felisi!" she shouts, continuing to press forward, "Only a Felisi--" she swings, clashing swords with the Golden Shoes, "--can be trusted--" she presses forward, "--to uphold our reputation." The sword crashes down again, and the Golden Shoes is forced to dodge with an awkward tumble, leaving her leg open where the Tower scores a hit. The Golden Shoes recovers and retreats to the side while the Tower smugly addresses the crowd. "Only those Felisi born here and raised here can understand us. These Humans are too different, appearing suddenly and trying to sneak into our world. Outsiders!"

The shield clangs again, and the two champions continue their duel. "Ouch! This is going poorly," Amele whispers while the Golden Shoes stumbles and the Tower earns another monologue. The fight continues, and the Tower explains how the Felisi must protect their reputation, and only exemplary Felisi should be allowed association with Araveen on the galactic stage. The audience begins to cheer.

And then something shifts in the air. The Tower launches a powerful swing at the Golden Shoes, but she jumps towards it, diving under the blade and coming up behind to score a hit. "Hear me now." Her address reverberates throughout the chamber. "The Humans are here to seek, to find, and to know. It was not long ago that we Felisi ourselves wove our steelsilk ships and set out into the stars. These Humans have the same ability, the same courage, and the same curiosity that we ourselves display. They are worthy of our sponsorship." The shield clangs.

The Tower tries to resume her previous pace and regain the advantage, but the Golden Shoes leads her around the floor, dodging and pulling her forward into longer and longer reaches. "The Humans seek knowledge--" she leaps backwards, "--to discover everything worth finding." She twists as she lands, scoring a decisive hit on the Tower's massive shoulder.

"What shall they think of us, of our home of Araveen? Shall they call the Felisi closed-minded, not worth a visit? Or shall they think of us as I think of us: Strong enough, wise enough, and open enough to embrace these new explorers? If we Felisi are worth discovering, we must sponsor the Humans and enable their discovery." She turns directly to the Tower. "How could you think the Felisi unworthy?"

The shield clangs again, but the Tower does not resume the fight. Instead, she lays her sword on the ground right in front of the Golden Shoes. "The Champion for the Pride yields. The Pride of Araveen will sponsor a visa for the Humans and introduce them to Avallonis and the Federation Council." The Golden Shoes raises her sword in triumph, and many of the spectators cheer, including a few members of the Pride itself.

You have found a sponsor to help you.

End of Act I: Stay tuned for Act II during the Kickstarter Campaign!


A smoky world and the home planet of the Zibzab. It is difficult to get to since the Zibzab have converted it into a giant spaceship, complete with atmospheric shielding. Its main exports are Zibzabian jewelry, scrapyard junk, and secret knowledge.


A tropical mountainous world and the home planet of the Eglabites. It contains the tallest peaks known to the Federation, including Mount Goliath and Mount Tyrant, both part of the Wendon Mountain Range. Scientists often visit it to study its unique biomes, with lush rainforest in the valleys and dry alpine habitats in the mountains.


Small hedgehog-like sentients that live on Terragast. They keep to themselves, hiding in hard-to-reach places, and refuse to apply for Federation recognition. They often play tricks on unwary travelers. Their spiky fur allows them to blend in with their surroundings along with the lichen and moss that grow on their backs.


Small potato-shaped aliens with stick-thin limbs. They think they are the most superior sentients in the Federation. They excel at research and development. Zibzab children learn advanced mathematics and engineering techniques quite early. They can also see colors outside the normal range of other sentients. Like the color floob.


Catlike humanoids from the desert planet Araveen. They are proud, strong, and quick to judge, but, once a friend, they will always stay loyal. They revere the arts of music, epic poetry, and martial arts. An average Felisi is able to keep several, if not dozens, of books memorized in her head for easy recall.


Swashbuckling humanoids from the planet Cullicut. Their fearsome appearance, with facial horns and sharp teeth, belies their playful nature. They make great mercenaries. If not for their love of games and parties, they would probably rule the sector with their superior firepower and technology.


Medium-sized aliens with large feet and a passion for surfing. Most Lackerdoods just like to relax and take life easy, especially since their original homeworld was destroyed long ago. They now call the desert planet Urvellion their home. They excel at languages and invented the first version of Federation Standard.