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The Twenty-first Year

Borgia Feast -- Politarchopolis
September 6, 1986 (AS XXI)

"A Borgia feast is one where the participants try to poison all the others. The kitchens are poison free so that all dishes are safe until they reach the hall. The allowable poisons are usually pepper, almond essence and chilli powder. Those who have allergies to these poisons shouldn't come to the event. These ingredients are not allowed to be used when cooking the dishes so you can tell when you are poisoned. It is considered bad form not to eat or drink at the event so that others can have a go at you. Having a taster is also considered bad form.

"When poisoned you die in an appropriate manner. Some just gasp and fall to the ground. Others give a soliloquy prior to their last breath. Some will shriek and spasm before dying. A popular method for a couple is once one dies the other does a Romeo and Juliet. They announce that they cannot live now that their other half has died. They then eat or drink some of what had poisoned their beloved. It is amusing when they chose the wrong thing and are told from the "dead" one that it was the soup and not their drink which had been poisoned.

"After dying you put a black armband on and continue enjoying the feast but are not allowed to do any more poisoning. Hopefully no one else will try to poison a dead person. The idea, of course, is to avoid dying during the event.

"Good fun is had if you catch a person trying to poison someone. They can then be taken to the high table where the high table judges the poisoner and provides an appropriate punishment. Usually they must eat or drink the poisioned article to prove that it isn't poisioned.

"We are meant to have good manners and assume that there are no poisoners in the hall. So a challenge is to offer a treat to people and see if they eat it. Will they trust you and eat it or not? Some previously trustworthy people can leave a long trail of bodies around the hall until someone puts two and two together. It is a fun type of event where the normal mores are turned around.

"If I remember correctly, at this event I was the first one poisoned. The person sitting next to me had poured some pepper into my eating bowl while we were standing around at the start of the event. I hadn't noticed in the darkness and it got onto the piece of bread that I had been nibbling on while waiting for the first course. I had a ring with a concealed compartment filled with pepper and everything. I learned my lesson and survived a good deal longer at my next Borgia feast." -- John of the Hills

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Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.

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