Report to the Library of All Worlds, via the Chamber Platinum from it's agent Wayward Longstrider.
"The Realm of Chess is 13 gates away from Giggle. You pass from Giggle to (text removed), I hope no-one else stumbles upon it. I believe that this realm has been used by the gods for years to assert a pecking order, both in individual pantheons and overall. It might even be the site all their conflicts have taken place on, or perhaps it is something they've set up to avoid open war between themselves. Regardless it is not the place a mortal should wish to come. I barely escaped with my life, and still don't know why I was let free. As for my companions they were all the victims of the god's jealous conflict."
I created the idea for the Realm of Chess when I was contemplating an idea for a short story called The God Seller. It made me think about how the gods settle conflicts. There are tales in Greek mythology of how the gods use mortals as their pawns to settle disputes. Of course in Everway there are all the pantheons of the gods, all the gods themselves and any more you can think of. How do they decide who has dominance, which pantheon has more control over a realm, which god is supreme in that pantheon, which version of a god controls what? Thus the realm of Chess was created, where Spherewalkers are summoned by the deities to be their representatives.
The realm basically works as follows: There are 3 main ways Spherewalkers arrive on Chess. The first is by accident, which is unfortunate. The second is at the request of a god or gods that wish for their services, this could be a direct request for help or a manipulation to get them there. The third is that some Spherewalkers actively seek to go to Chess, for it is known that the favoured heroes of the gods are frequently given boons, if they survive. Upon arrival Spherewalkers are 'recruited' into a gods service. If they worship a particular god it will be that one, otherwise one that is representative of the hero, e.g. a warrior might go to Mars or Ares, a creation priest to Isis, a wise man to Odin, and so on. A god will issue a challenge to another, or to more than one. The challenge is in the form of a short contest, chosen by the challenger at the same time as naming their chosen representative and their prize, for example Set challenges Ares to a battle of wits. The heroes have to answer a riddle set by a Sphinx. Set will use Gilded Forktongue A6 W6 F4 E4, if he wins he wants a third of the priestesses from the realm of Battleguard. Ares then has to chose his own representative from his Spherewalkers to take part and his chosen prize, which must judged a fair equivalent by another god, who is agreed upon by the contestants Some of these arbiters are open to bribery, for example Loki, and others are known for their fairness like Odin. Refusal to answer a challenge is the same as losing. Once a challenge has been announced and an arbiter decided upon if anyone backs down they lose. Granting of boons to Spherewalkers once they have been announced to take part, or during the contest is considered cheating and must be judged upon by the arbiter god. The winner gets the spoils requested. It has been known for Spherewalkers themselves to be the prizes, and of course some contests are battles to the death and so forth. On very rare occasions a god may retire a Spherewalker, this would generally be after they have won a particularly good match and the god is feeling generous, or if they lose all the time but don't seem to die. The only other way Spherewalkers have been known to leave is being freed by a rival god, particularly before a challenge is issued to by that god to the previous owner.
Virtue: Law - Order The realm serves a vital purpose in avoiding war between the Gods
Fault: The Satyr - Indulgence The gods treat the mortals as pawns, rarely caring if they live or die, just
enjoying the contest
Fate: War - Great Effort vs Effort Misspent The Gods spend much time revelling and in contest, time that could be spent on
Usurper: Contest - Victory vs Defeat The whole realm is designed as a contest, where seemingly the only winners are