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The Big Picture

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The Code Duello

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  • The Code Duello

    THE MASTERS OF THE COURT
    Lord Bernier
    Sir Gaudis
    Dame Hannah

    Premier Honor Lords of Court
    The Queen
    Lord Chancellor
    Lord Marshal
    Lord Treasurer
    Lord Chamberlain

    INTRODUCTION

    A duel is a one-on-one combat between honorable persons, and can be used to solve serious disputes. All duels are governed by the Dueling Code, or the Code Duello. A duel is only possible when there has been a slight to one's honor, whether it be their own or someone they feel bound to protect. Duels are most emphatically not an act of retribution or revenge.

    Any allegations of misconduct during the full proceedings of a duel (from challenge to finish) may be taken to the Masters of the Court of Honor. If someone issues a challenge and is refused, the Court of Honor can be appealed to for a ruling on the honor of the refusal. The Court also answers questions touching on the manner and practice of dueling. Violations of the spirit and rules of the Dueling Code will (if detected and reported) result in censure by (at least) the Masters of the Court of Honor.

    The decisions of the Court of Honor may be appealed to the Lord Chancellor, and decisions by the Lord Chancellor may be appealed to the Queen.

    HOW DUELS ARE BEGUN
    • Someone who feels their honor has been insufferably transgressed upon issues a challenge.
    • Person issuing challenge is termed the 'injured person' or 'party', and are said to have requested or demanded satisfaction.
    • The challenger must consider whoever is challenged to be worthy of it specifically, in a position to provide satisfaction in a duel.
    • Stating that one will not issue a challenge due to the unworthy nature of the person giving offense is tantamount to saying the person is not honorable.
    • Challenges should only be delivered in person directly after offense. If done later, a second should issue the challenge in behalf of the challenger.
    • Challenges may not be delivered in writing, unless it is a second hand delivering a written statement by the challenger in which case the second must confirm that the challenge has been received and accepted or not.
    • If challenge accepted, the two primaries must avoid all social contact until the duel takes place.

    WHEN DUELING IS IMPERMISSIBLE
    • The Queen and her Lords may prevent a person from dueling; for a time, with a certain person, or persons.
    • Challenges with widely different social rank is permitted, but frowned upon. A person of high rank is under no obligation to accept the challenge of someone of a widely lower rank.
    • Persons married or in a close family relationship may not duel.
    • If a person is not physically fit, they may not duel.
    • The Queen can order all duels forbidden for a time (i.e. times of war).

    CONDITIONS FOR A DUEL

    There are several conditions that must be met:
    • Sanction is not required; however, dueling without sanction can result in social disfavor, censure by the Court of Honor, or actual punishment (loss of status, position, rank, or privileges).
    • The consent of both parties is absolutely required. Dueling to the death without mutual consent is murder.
    • Seconds or friends must make at least a pro forma attempt at reconcilement, and must arrange the conditions of the duel. The offer and acceptance of an apology brings the challenge to an end.
    • A delay of at least one day (from the challenge to the actual combat); duels fought with less than a day's delay are viewed with disfavor.
    • Challenges must be issued or communicated within two days of the challenging party becoming aware of the offense (which might, of course, be years after the commission of the offense itself). If more time passes, the nature of the offense cannot have been unbearable, and the affront is said to have expired.

    ON SECONDS
    • No duel can be fought without at least one second for each party.
    • The second has two duties: to the person he or she is seconding, and to the Dueling Code.
    • If the second cannot follow the above, he or she should withdraw and a new second chosen
    • Seconds do not have to be a friend or even an acquaintance of the principle
    • The spouses, parents, or children of a primary should not be seconds.

    SANCTION FOR FORMAL DUELS

    Each party to the dispute chooses a second (presumably a friend); the seconds call together upon some competent authority an honor lord of the Queen s Court, or the Queen herself. The Chamberlain is most often conveniently available for this, but the Chancellor, the Lord Marshal, or the Lord Treasurer are each also empowered to sanction duels.

    The Chamberlain (or other sanctioning authority):
    • asks the seconds who the parties are; asks whether any attempt has been made for reconcilement;
    • ensures the parties are not barred from dueling (due to hierarchical, social, legal, physical, etc. conditions);
    • enquires and consents as to the form of the duel (the weapons to be used, any strange variant rules, and the desired outcome death or wounding, or some number of wounds, a cry for quarter, or some other measurable or detectable finish);
    • enquires and consents to any victory or defeat conditions involving Castle Marrach's court or society (i.e., changes to official positions);
    • enquires and consents to the time and place of the encounter and issues instructions to prepare the site if need be;
    • instructs and charges the seconds to see that no chicanery takes place, and to carry out their duties as representatives of the Court of Honor at the duel;
    • instructs and charges the seconds to contact an authority as soon as possible if there is some obstacle to the duel proceeding, or if one of the parties wishes to withdraw; formally approves the duel, with the restrictions agreed to previously;
    • advises the seconds to have the principals put their affairs in order; causes some form of notice of the duel to be made public. This notice will include the names of the participants, and their seconds; the time and date of the duel; and some of the elements of form.


    Master Jeweler
    Master of the Court of Honor




  • #2
    PUTTING ONE'S AFFAIRS IN ORDER

    Persons wishing to produce registered wills should arrange to have their testament taken down and filed with a Court Clerk (or the Royal Archivist). Other wills and testaments, not filed in the archives, may not be enforced by the Chancery. The Court Clerk may also be willing to hold messages for delivery after a person's demise.

    BEGINNING THE DUEL

    Someone may be designated to bring the weapons and give them to the seconds, or, if agreed upon, the principles may use their own.
    • All spectators must stand at the sides of the room, and the principles in the middle before the duel.
    • The seconds may act to keep control of those present (i.e. making sure people are standing at the sides of the room), may ask for reconciliation once more, but they are only obligated to be present
    • Once the duelists have taken up their positions [command: duel name], and each saluted the other with their weapons, the duel begins, and cannot be interrupted by the spectators; the spectators and seconds should not enter the middle of the area.

    THE DUEL ITSELF
    • During the duel, the combatants must remain in the room, but they may move about the room
    • The Court of Honor can decide if the use of unequal or unusual weapons in a duel is a violation of the Dueling Code.
    • In a duel to first blood, a single wound ends the bout and the duel itself.
    • In duels of a more serious nature, the fighting ceases momentarily when a wound is received; the seconds may wish to enquire if the principals can or wish to continue. If a continuation is agreed to, the duelists re-engage [duel and salute as usual; a duel to the death might thus consist of as many as eight bouts].

    FINISH OF THE DUEL
    • In a formal duel, the passage of arms is completed when either the agreed-upon conditions are met, one of the combatants surrenders [command: surrender], one of the combatants leaves the room, or both of the seconds agree to end the duel [although this is not enforced by the system].
    • [A bad connection should not result in a lost duel. The seconds are responsible for observing their principals; if they think too much time has gone by without any communication, they may wish to call out some notice of this. Honorable duelists should not take advantage of inconvenienced opponents in this situation.]

    PRACTICE

    For the practice of swordplay within the Castle, the practice room, armory, and various open courtyards are normally employed. Practice may also take place in the guard rooms, the quarters of the Winter Watch, or the personal room of any guest.
    • Blunted or rebated weapons are normally used in practice.
    • Opponents move to the middle of the room, salute, and begin; no seconds are required. In a friendly bout, one where no blood is to be shed, the duelists may acknowledge a hit (
    • Challenges from newly-arrived guests may be honorably refused until they prove themselves able to give and receive satisfaction 'Dueling is for those worthy of it, my dear ; however, non-fatal dueling is certainly possible before then, if only as practice'

    INFORMAL AND UNSANCTIONED DUELS
    • If an immediate or sub rosa duel is felt to be needed, the parties to the dispute should still choose seconds.
    • The seconds negotiate the nature of the duel when and where, and to what lengths; they also will have to obtain weapons by some method or other.
    • An informal or unsanctioned duel may incur the wrath of the Queen s officials, or the Court of Honor, or both, or neither. Much depends on the circumstances, and on how much the affair deviated from fair and traditional dueling. Combat without seconds is almost never recognized as a proper duel; it is no more or no less than combat, proper in some circumstances but not in others. The Queen and the Court of Honor do not look with favor on common murder.


    Master Jeweler
    Master of the Court of Honor



    Comment


    • #3
      The unabridged Code Duello

      INTRODUCTION
      Inhabitants of Castle Marrach may decide to resolve their serious disputes by a duel (also known as an encounter, or passage of arms). A duel is one-on-one combat between persons of honor, with a specific set of conditions agreed to by both parties. Duelling is governed by the Duelling Code, sometimes known as the Code Duello. Duels are fought to express, protect and restore one s honor, the honor of someone one feels bound to protect, or (unofficially) to build a reputation as a duelist. A duel is only possible when there has been an insult or a slight to someone s honor. Any word, action, intention, or gesture, which injures the self-esteem, sensibility, or reputation of another, is for this person an affront. Duels are most emphatically not acts of revenge or retribution at least not according to the Duelling Code. Duelling is sometimes considered a ceremony of the cult of honor, an entirely unofficial, un-organized but real group nebulously composed of all persons with the right and the duty of demanding satisfaction in a duel. Allegations of misconduct by prospective or actual duelists and seconds, with regard to their participation in a duel, may be inquired into by the Masters of the Court of Honor, three respected, perceptive and impartial persons. These Masters are skilled with weapons, fully conversant with the rules, precedents, and spirit of the Duelling Code, and have some not-well-defined authority in the area of personal honor. If someone issues a challenge and is refused, the Court of Honor can be appealed to for a ruling on the honor of the refusal. The Court also answers questions touching on the manner and practice of duelling; their decisions may be appealed to the Lord Chancellor. Violations of the spirit and rules of the Duelling Code will (if detected and reported) result in censure by (at least) the Masters of the Court of Honor. Appeals to the Queen may be made regarding the decisions of the Lord Chancellor. Within Castle Marrach, the Queen, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Marshal, the Lord Treasurer, and the Lord Chamberlain are the premier honor lords of the Court.

      HOW DUELS ARE BEGUN
      Two persons have or imagine a quarrel upon some point. One of them, feeling their honor to be insufferably transgressed upon, says something like, "Sir, a gentle person cannot accept that insult there are any number of acceptable phrasings for the challenge. Persons issuing a challenge are termed the injured party or person, as they claim to have suffered some damage to their reputation, veracity, pedigree, person, etc; they are also said to have requested or demanded satisfaction. Being manhandled without permission is often considered the minimum insult that will lead to a duel, but each person is the best judge of his or her own honor. For a challenge to be made, the challenger must consider whoever is challenged to be worthy of it specifically, in a position to provide satisfaction in a duel. Stating that one will not issue a challenge due to the unworthy nature of the person giving offense is tantamount to saying the person is not honorable (and hence not worthy of attending Her Majesty s court, as an honored guest, courtier, knight, noble, or otherwise). Challenges need not be delivered in person. In fact, if the challenge does not follow immediately upon the act that gave offense, the offended party (i.e., the challenger) should obtain the services of one or more seconds, to convey his or her challenge rather than delivering it in person. Challenges may not be delivered in writing; written challenges have many opportunities for error. The seconds may convey written statements by the principals, but they themselves must confirm that the challenge has been received, and whether it has been accepted. The challenged party may accept or reject the challenge. If the challenge is accepted, then from that point until the duel is fought the two parties to the dispute should avoid each other socially. They are both parties to the dispute, in rather the same sense that litigants in a court of law are parties to a suit.


      Master Jeweler
      Master of the Court of Honor



      Comment


      • #4
        WHEN DUELLING IS IMPERMISSIBLE
        The Queen or Her Lords may forbid persons to make or receive challenges for some period of time, or from some person, or from a category of persons, etc. Encounters with persons of widely (OOC: OB denizens challenging Lords, for instance) different social rank are possible, but may result in loss of favor or even punishment for one or both parties; certainly persons of high rank are under no obligation to accept challenges from those of a widely lower rank. Persons married to each other; persons not physically fit; and persons in close family relation to each other may not enter into a duel. The Queen may from time to time issue restrictions upon encounters by her subjects; for instance, in time of war, duelling may be forbidden entirely.

        CONDITIONS FOR A DUEL
        There are several conditions to be met before a duel can be fought:
        Approval or sanction by the authorities is not required; however, duelling without approval can result in social disfavor, censure by the Court of Honor, or actual punishment (loss of status, position, rank, or privileges). The consent of both parties is absolutely required. Deadly combat without the consent of all parties is regarded as murder. Seconds or friends must make at least a pro forma attempt at reconcilement, and must arrange the conditions of the duel. The offer and acceptance of an apology brings the challenge to an end. A delay of at least one day (from the challenge to the actual combat); duels fought with less than a day s delay are viewed with disfavor. Challenges must be issued or communicated within two days of the challenging party becoming aware of the offense (which might, of course, be years after the commission of the offense itself). If more time passes, the nature of the offense cannot have been unbearable, and the affront is said to have expired.

        ON SECONDS
        No duel may be fought in Castle Marrach without at least one second for each party. A second is some other person, also capable of providing satisfaction, who agrees to act on behalf of one (and only one) of the parties to a duel. The terms representative or friend are sometimes also used to designate seconds. The second has two duties: to the person he or she is seconding, and to the Duelling Code. This censure can fall equally heavily or in some cases, more heavily upon the seconds. If a second cannot not both fairly represent his or her principal, and also the Duelling Code, he or she should withdraw, and the duel should be re-arranged with a new second. There is no requirement that a second actually be a friend, or even an acquaintance, of his or her principal. Persons should not serve as seconds if there would be some substantial conflict of interest involved; also, the spouses, parents, and children of a duelist should not serve as his or her second.

        SANCTION FOR FORMAL DUELS
        Each party to the dispute chooses a second (presumably a friend); the seconds call together upon some competent authority an honor lord of the Queen s Court, or the Queen herself. The Chamberlain is most often conveniently available for this, but the Chancellor, the Lord Marshal, or the Lord Treasurer are each also empowered to sanction duels. The Chamberlain (or other sanctioning authority):
        • asks the seconds who the parties to the duel are; asks whether any attempt has been made for reconcilement;
        • ensures the parties are not barred from duelling (due to hierarchical, social, legal, physical, etc. conditions);
        • enquires and consents as to the form of the duel (the weapons to be used, any strange variant rules, and the desired outcome death or wounding, or some number of wounds, a cry for quarter, or some other measurable or detectable finish);
        • enquires and consents to any victory or defeat conditions involving Castle Marrach s court or society (i.e., changes to official positions);
        • enquires and consents to the time and place of the encounter and issues instructions to prepare the site if need be;
        • instructs and charges the seconds to see that no chicanery takes place, and to carry out their duties as representatives of the Court of Honor at the duel;
        • instructs and charges the seconds to contact an authority as soon as possible if there is some obstacle to the duel proceeding, or if one of the parties wishes to withdraw; formally approves the duel, with the restrictions agreed to previously;
        • advises the seconds to have the principals put their affairs in order; causes some form of notice of the duel to be made public. This notice will include the names of the participants, and their seconds; the time and date of the duel; and some of the elements of form.
        Persons may wish, as suggested, to put their affairs in order prior to taking part in a duel. They should certainly not carry items of great personal value into a duel, as there is a chance they may lose them if the duel is lost.


        Master Jeweler
        Master of the Court of Honor



        Comment


        • #5
          PUTTING ONE'S AFFAIRS IN ORDER
          Persons wishing to produce registered wills should arrange to have their testament taken down and filed with a Court Clerk (or the Royal Archivist). Other wills and testaments, not filed in the archives, may not be enforced by the Chancery. The Court Clerk may also be willing to hold messages for delivery after a person s demise.

          BEGINNING THE DUEL
          If the parties to the quarrel, and their seconds, are present at the time and place agreed, someone will bring weapons to the seconds (although the parties may possess and use weapons of their own, if they agree). The seconds and all other parties should avoid standing in the "middle before the duel begins, and the armed duelists should stand in the "middle of the area, room, or whatever. The seconds may (or may not) keep things organized, advise spectators to step back, etc.; they should (but don t have to) ask the duelists if they can yet be reconciled, etc.; but their duties are not enforced they must merely be present in the room. Once the duelists have taken up their positions [command: duel name], and each saluted the other with their weapons, the duel begins, and cannot be interrupted by the spectators; the spectators and seconds should not enter the "middle of the area. Duelists may, if they wish, conduct a full salute a bow to the audience, followed by a salute to the opponent. The duel as an affair of honor still begins from when both duelists have saluted their opponent.

          THE DUEL ITSELF
          During the duel, the combatants must remain in the room, but they may move about the room. Duels are normally assumed to be conducted with the generic sword; some persons possess and may use rapiers, sabers, cutlasses, short swords, backswords, schiavone, small swords, two-handed swords, bastard swords, etc. The Court of Honor can decide if the use of unequal or unusual weapons in a duel is a violation of the Duelling Code. The Court of Honor might admit other weapons that might be become available; these might include the foil, scimitar, single-stick, great stick, etc.
          In a duel to first blood, a single wound ends the bout and the duel itself. In duels of a more serious nature, the fighting ceases momentarily when a wound is received; the seconds may wish to enquire if the principals can or wish to continue. If a continuation is agreed to, the duellists re-engage [duel and salute as usual; a duel to the death might thus consist of as many as eight bouts].

          FINISH OF THE DUEL
          In a formal duel, the passage of arms is completed when either the agreed-upon conditions are met, one of the combatants surrenders [command: surrender], one of the combatants leaves the room, or both of the seconds agree to end the duel [although this is not enforced by the system]. [A bad connection should not result in a lost duel. The seconds are responsible for observing their principals; if they think too much time has gone by without any communication, they may wish to call out some notice of this. Honorable duelists should not take advantage of inconvenienced opponents in this situation.]

          PRACTICE
          For the practice of swordplay within the Castle, the practice room, armory, and various open courtyards are normally employed. Practice may also take place in the guard rooms, the quarters of the Winter Watch, or the personal room of any guest. Blunted or rebated weapons are normally used in practice. Opponents move to the middle of the room, salute, and begin; no seconds are required. In a friendly bout one where no blood is to be shed the duelists may acknowledge a hit ("Your point, ser ) by extending their empty hand, palm uppermost, to their opponent [possible command: "extend my left hand briefly ]. Challenges from newly-arrived guests may be honorably refused until they prove themselves able to give and receive satisfaction "Duelling is for those worthy of it, my dear ; however, non-fatal duelling is certainly possible before then, if only as practice.

          INFORMAL AND UNSANCTIONED DUELS
          If an immediate or sub rosa duel is felt to be needed, the parties to the dispute should still choose seconds. The seconds negotiate the nature of the duel when and where, and to what lengths; they also will have to obtain weapons by some method or other. An informal or unsanctioned duel may incur the wrath of the Queen s officials, or the Court of Honor, or both, or neither. Much depends on the circumstances, and on how much the affair deviated from fair and traditional duelling. Combat without seconds is almost never recognized as a proper duel; it is no more or no less than combat, proper in some circumstances but not in others. The Queen and the Court of Honor do not look with favor on common murder.


          Master Jeweler
          Master of the Court of Honor



          Comment


          • #6
            Notice of an amendment to the Code is posted here.

            StoryPlotter Geist
            geist@marrach.skotos.net

            Comment

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