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COLUMN OF CHALLENGES
“Even when The People are at odds with one another, we unite by sword and become the blade. The One willing, a Battle Lord rises from the Challenge to wield its hilt.”
- Old Proverb of The People
The Column of Challenges is the physical demonstration of these ancient words... The People’s model for leadership ascendancy is driven completely by skill and the respect gained from that skill. Anyone may challenge the Battle Lord at any time. This includes the First Blade of any Clan as well as prisoners/slaves taken from the field. It is a rule which harkens back generations to put a definitive end to the infighting that once plagued the Clans.
The offer to accept servitude or Challenge takes place at the Seat of Coir (“Justice”), generally accepted to be The People’s version of a “royal” throne. The physical simplicity of the seat should not detract from its symbolism. The People believe to their very core their call to battle – their very way of life is – above all, just. To insult this sentiment would be…unwise.
If a Challenge is called, the Battle Lord and challenger will meet in armed combat at first light. Each has one ankle tightly bound by a leather strap. The other end is then attached to the Column, a massive tree carved with screw-like threads inserted into the ground. The device is carefully balanced in a way that draws the combatants closer together as it descends into the ground. Rough grooves on the Column and the hole into which it bores into creates a “screw” type motion.
The victor is the one still breathing after the encounter.
The Column isn’t only used for challenges for the seat of the Battle Lord. Any internal conflict which cannot be resolved through the councils (and where the war council in particular grows concerned at fractured leadership) can be settled in this way. A Battle Lord who is not a participant in the Challenge must give their approval for the Column to be used, however. Use of the Column to settle matters not pertaining to leadership are rare.