"The first day of the Fair of Merd saw a swarm of people entering the walled city of Germaine to set up their stalls in the marketplace. Jugglers, courtesans, artisans, storytellers, and vendors of every commodity imaginable thronged the plaza, each vying for the attention of the passerby.
"Chance for gold! Play the game of Kings! Double the contents of your purse!"
In one corner of the market sat an ostentatiously-attired young man. Before him was a gaming board set with curiously-wrought playing pieces which gleamed in the late morning sun.
"Chance for gold! Play the game of Kings! Double the contents of your purse!" Few of the passersby did more than momentarily glance at the board. One onlooker, however, stopped in his tracks and surveyed the table with puzzlement written upon his face.
"Try your luck, sir?" queried the young man.
The potential customer, a large barbarous sort, shrugged his brawny shoulders, and took a seaton the provided stool, which groaned ominously. Even sitting down, he towered over most people. He scratched in turn his hairy pot-belly, his long mop of dirty-brown hair, and the matching beard which grew wildly from his broad face.
The young man withdrew from a pocket of his cloak a large deck of cards which he began shuffling flamboyantly as he explained the rules of the game. *
*Originally written by Michael T. Smith and Don Walker