A duel is an engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with their combat doctrines. Different cultures and realms treat duels differently. Some encourage them as they show the true strength of a warrior. Others issue edicts that ban them, arguing that such disputes should be presented to a court of law. Some realms take the middle ground, allowing duels but putting in place a set of rules and manners which govern how duels should be executed. Some believe that in the Confession of Ilien, the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn broke away from the Orthodox Imperial Temple over a set of dueling orthodoxies.

[top]Tuor Laws of Duelling

Gilgaed Flaertes established the Laws of Dueling in Tuornen. Though he himself deplored the practice, Gilgaed knew that his young nobles would continue to slay each other over the pettiest offenses unless a lawful system allowed each party to save face.
Today there are five orders of duels:
  • Duel of Tongue
  • Duel of Craft
  • Duel of Blood
  • Duel of Yield
  • and the rare Duel to Death.

Nobles, especially those living in Haes, take only the latter three duels seriously. They consider the former two common or clownish.
A Duel of Tongue is simply an argument -- or in many cases, a contest of insults. The opponents agree on a judge, ideally a disinterested magistrate, but often the owner of an alehouse or the first passer-by who consents to the task. After negotiating a duration and number of ronds, each contestant takes his turn presenting his complaint... or his most venomous lsurs. In Haes, the wittier contestant often wins, regardless of the substance of his arguments. In the few Duels of Tongue in outlying provinces, the more persuasive argument tends to win.
A Duel of Craft involves a competition between craftsmen or artisans who each believes is work superior to that of the other. Occasionally contentious young nobles will be persuaded by their peers (or their elders) to resolve heir differences in such a duel rather than to shed blood. In these cases, each opponent insists on a contest he feels he can win, and the cleverest opponents manipulate their rivals into choosing a contest in which they have a secret talent. An expert craftsman or respected artisan judges the duel, although his authority does not keep observers from offering unsolicited opinions.
The most common and most famous duels in Tuornen involve rapiers and daggers rather than gentler weapons. While other arms are permitted, the rapier reigns as the preferred weapon of duelling. A party who wishes to use a different weapon must offer a persuasive argument.
These more dangerous types of duels always take place in the presence of an official representative of the regent. In addition, each party brings his own attendant -- called a "second" -- who protects the combatant's interest by watching for foul play.
Duels to Blood occur frequently, and the young fencers of Haes have developed a stiff-armed, high-standing style of fencing which lends itself well to pricking he wrist of arm of an opponent. Officiated by sheriffs, military officers, or (occasionally) knights or nobles, these duels end when one participant draws first blood.
Duels to Yield are the most spectacular type of duel on is likely to see. Landed lords, knights, or sheriffs preside over he events, in which opponents fight until one party concedes by casting down a handkerchief. If an injured participant will not yield despite being blinded, unable to stand, or otherwise maimed beyond continuance, the official rules him to have yielded "of the body." Losing such a duel without actually dropping the handkerchief is a celebrated way to save face. But this method does not always work: While no one has been charged with murder over a Duel to Yield since the turn of the century, there have been a dozen deaths so wrought.
Duels to Death rarely occur because the law forbid them. However, under extenuating circumstances the regent may authorize one. Only the regent can officiate a Duel to Death.

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