Fading Suns Codex
Among the most cautiously anticipated Decados events is the Grand Masquerade, held annually on Severus and sponsored by Prince Hyram himself. Attended by the cream of Decados culture, its guests are prominent individuals from all over the Known Worlds. Many guests come and go throughout the evening, and rumors run rampant as to who is truly behind which mask: costumes are believed to change hands throughout the night. The vital – and otherwise classified – information pried from drunken lips at this event is unsurprising: what is surprising is how many people still willingly attend the event, led like gaily-bedecked lambs to a rather festive slaughter (LotR 37)
Decados nobles are fond of athletics – watching them, that is – and are most fond of what they call simply “The Games”: a series of contests that amount to little more than gladiatorial matches. (LotR 37)
The variety of these contests is almost endless. Contestants might simply be thrown into a cage and told to fight, put on an obstacle course and told to evade pursuit, and so on. Likewise, contestants might fight individually, in pairs or teams, or even in a large free-for-all. These athletic contests are popular with the nobility, who regularly sponsor games or wager on the success of various athletes (LotR 38).
The Katerina Run is the most popular of the games, for it is set on an abandoned Vau spaceship found in the Cadiz system. The game is held once every three years is among the most challenging (and eagerly anticipated) of the games. The Katerina Run is in fact open to anyone who would enter, for the prize is generous: 10,000 firebirds for the winning team, full pardon for any crimes (at least on Decados worlds; crimes against the Empire are another story), and freedom for serfs. Teams are placed in strategic locations on the ship and given a time limit in which they have to reach a specific on-board site – a task not easily done, as the odds are stacked quite heavily against the participants, from competition among contestants to automated defenses and more. Indeed, the ship itself is yet to be fully explored, and its operations are still largely incomprehensible to its Decados owners. The Decados patron of the event was once nearly killed when a serf contestant returned to the bridge with a bizarre energy weapon he’d found in a locker. Only the serf’s own ineptitude saved the lord, whose cybernetic life support kept him alive as everybody else in the room was sucked out of the hull breach which the weapon had made (LotR 38)