Research: Code Duello
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Lord Erec enters the library to inquire about local customs regarding duels and the codes that govern such personal contests. He especially seeks out the old practices that were governed by the Knights of the Merciful Sword. He makes some preliminary investigation.
Zrukk's body was found by the Lord Marshall Alagarn, and by the mercy of Siamorphe he was brought to life again. He and the Lord Marshall then met in an honourable duel, the end result being Zrukk lying dead at the Lord Marshall's feet one last time. His body was thrown atop the pyre, his evil body emitting a foul stench as the purifying flames licked at his skin. At long last the battle was over, and the slime cult finally broken.
"The Usurper King despised the nobility. None know the exact reason, but his duel against the paladin Sir Langston of Siamorphe was well-documented by eye-witnesses. During a dinner held in honor of his first day as "King", Gondegal had openly announced his intention to dismantle the lands of the nobility and redistribute them to more worthy owners. When Sir Langston asked, "With all due respect, does that imply that all the current owners are unworthy?" Gondegal is said to have flown into a rage, insulting and berating the elderly paladin with such vigor that Langston eventually felt compelled to challenge the much younger man to a duel of honor. Gondegal's victory that day affirmed several things, his hatred of the nobility and his amazing skill with the blade. Despite a two decade advantage over Langston, the paladin had remained in the eyes of many the best duelist in the region and Gondegal defeated him with evident ease."
The process of dueling often has been used by vassals to resolve a conflict which either the king can not, or will not intervene upon. Although such duels have fallen out of favor since the twelfth century, the still occur quite frequently between the nobility–and in some rare cases between nobles and common appointments to the royal bureaucracy if we remember the famous duel between Lord Gutnomer and War Wizard Labee in 1150. Dueling still maintains a legal proof of rightness in a case despite many arguments that pure proof of physical strength can not definitively demonstrate moral or ethical exactitude. The counter-argument of course is that a fuedal society requires strong men to protect it, and even should a man be incorrect in terms of law his greater strength is better for the nation than a weak, but correct lord."
Duels: Duels are permitted but only if they pose no danger to any others, excepting those who formally agree to duel. Citizens should seek to clarify rules of dueling with the Knights of the Merciful Sword.
Mr.Moloch last edited by
He finds some fragments of a book titled, "Musings upon Dueling" by Abbot Evenhand in 1361.
"I am most ambivalent upon the subject of duelings. The distant history of the duel goes back many ages amongst the followers of Tyr, and of course our neighbors the elves have a history stretching back to the very Dawn of Days. Some of the earliest histories of duels predate the concept itself, there are stories and myths of Chondathan chieftains who settled disputes where there was little evidence with ordeals of several variety and amongst warriors at least one ordeal was the Ordeal by Blood, through which the rightness of a conflict was judged by the man most willing to shed his own blood in battle. The first to surrender was considered to have held the wrong argument, the first to die was always found blameless in the dispute.
From these beginnings I imagine many duels in human communities must have developed. The elves held dueling mostly as sport, few duels were fought beyond the first draw of blood, it does not seem to have ever been considered a means to end disputes without further bloodshed. Indeed, most elven tales of duels actually occur upon battlefields when champions sought one another out to settle ancient and longstanding disputes or through sheer wrath caused by the sight of an enemy upon the field or the loss of a close friend.
Early duels in Cormyr could only be fought legally by knights or those of higher rank, and even then only with the consent of the king himself. Women, youths under 14, and men over the age of 70 were specifically denied the right to duel. Though it is clear that women gained that right at some point within the nation's first two centuries, with at least one claim that it was the kingdom of Orva where women were exclusively allowed the right to duel. This claim though is quite dubious, likely based on a misreading of the Lay of Vanyanna.
Amongst the followers of Tyr, duels were always to commence under the light of the noon sun. Both combatants had to be armored and equipped with weapons of their own choice, and clear terms of a duel were established before hand by each duelists second. Issues frequently discussed before a duel could begin included:
Demands of Satisfaction: Did both seconds, in consultation with a superior cleric of Tyr agree that the demand for satisfaction in the duel were valid, and that the risk of life demanded such a serious venture or could some other means of mediation be arrived upon. Additionally, both should agree that the challenge to the duel was issued publicly, and by which party. As the second party, being challenged, has the right to call for the Field of Honor and Terms of Combat should agreement not be reached between the two parties.
Field of Honor: Duels had to be fought upon the fields blessed in the name of Tyr, and several important holidays exist where dueling is strictly forbidden. Clever abbots through history had postponed duels for several days, allowing cooler heads to prevail, by interpreting exactly which holy days dueling was forbidden upon. All holy sites have forbidden the ritual days of Seeing Justice on the first day of each month, the Maiming on the thirteenth day of the month, and the Blinding on the twenty-second day of each month.
Terms of Combat: Duels are typically allowed only to first blood for matters of honor, though when the offense is criminal or the insult to honor could lead to recriminations or a loss of status then the duel can be fought until a status called gravely wounded which allows a combatant's second to call for an end to the duel when his champion's wounds appear grave or life threatening. In a case where the allegation is heresy, treason, or other high crimes against nation or church, then the terms of to the death can be agreed upon with the consent of the ranking priest. In such cases, a second must find two additional stand-ins, creating a Triad to oversee these combats.
I am uncertain if dueling though fits the nature of the Knights of the Merciful Sword. Despite the history, and many would claim the glory and honor found upon a field where both contestants are willing to risk life and limb for honor; is this merciful? Does it truly promote the good to condone battle between men and women who must be brothers and sisters? Rather I should see these duels replaced with a new manner of ordeal, a trial where the two at odds must face a challenge together and win honor for their mutual deeds. Send forth these men to battle ogres, giants, and tame lairs of bandits; there they may put their courage and steel to a test worthy of Tyr. Each man's honor and courage will shine, as shall their humility as they put aside their contest for a greater cause altogether; and if there be any truth to the Demand of Satisfaction, then the lack of courage, honor, and piety in a man will be demonstrated just as aptly before the seconds who accompany upon this exploit.
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Erec thanks the librarian for the assistance provided and reads through the information provided with some satisfaction.