Dasid Anya -- a world of Lugubraa and Killiks, with some Tchuukthai thrown in. A world of immense, miles-tall hive cities, arcologies crammed with sentient beings.
A world of mazes. Within each hive city was a three-dimensional maze, and running those mazes was the shared, preferred sport of Lugubraa, Killik and Tchuukthai alike, at least on Dasid Anya.
Once upon a time, one humanoid had finished one of Dasid Anya's mazes. His name was Jorus Merrill -- a master of instinctive navigation.
Why do the Lords of the Fringe find themselves running these mazes? Because Dasid Anya does not want to be conquered. Instead, it will join the Fringe Confederation -- if the world is impressed by how well the Fringers do. None of them are expected to finish the maze.
All the maze runners currently sit in a competitors' common area, preparing to enter the tunnels.
"What's your plan, folks?" asked Grand Admiral Karrde. "I hope it doesn't involve smashing through the maze or otherwise damaging it. These folks get impressed enough, who knows how far they're willing to go. Their population is huge, their trade connections are fantastic. We need them as much as they need to not get steamrolled by us.
"Now, here's the problem. Not only do we have to run the maze, but there's a possibility that others are here to compete against us. Champions of the Killiks and Lugubraa and Tchuukthai, that's a given -- but there are others, foreigners, maybe trying to humiliate us. If they puzzle out the maze before we do, who knows what might happen."