The heirless King Ardashir I of the Magocratic Kingdom of Persis is falling ill, and before dying intends to name a wizardly successor based on the outcome of a sorcerous tournament to the death. The main contenders are Balthazar, the king's seer and master of scrying; General Loge, leader of Persis' armies, a War Mage with a focus on flame magic; the beguiling enchantress Lilith, queen of neighboring Partha; Rhiannon the conjuror, daughter of a druid and barbarian chief, strong in nature spells; Uzume, a mysterious summoner; and the protagonist, an urchin with a handful of cantrips to help survive the streets at night, visiting in hopes of learning a thing or two about magic use by observing the proceedings -- but accidentally, and terrifyingly, thrown into the competition unarmed and outclassed. To survive, the hero needs to somehow win the competition. An unusually MUD-like entry in the 2004 IF Compo (placing 18th), this game pits the player against an array of stronger opponents in an enclosed castle complex, all interacted with through a robust TADS text adventure interface. Since the emphasis is on survival, not storytelling, descriptions and character interactions are terse and to-the-point -- more Colossal Cave than Zork, with a generous helping of Legend of the Red Dragon mellowing the difference. A winning strategy involves thorough exploration of the environment, scavenging arcane knowledge and artifacts from the grimoires of adversaries slain by other competitors, and having the dumb luck to be in the right place at the right time to do so. By the end of the game you should have tamed the denizens of the castle's dungeon, mastered the respective sorcerous schools of all your ex-rivals, brought life to inanimate objects and brought back from the dead extinct monsters to do your bidding -- leaving you in a position for kingship to seem a far more plausible possibility than when you started. But to get there, you're going to have to tread lightly and do plenty of hack-and-slash RPG-style stat-building.