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- The edicts of Rak'Shir(src)
The duels were infrequent, and often involved long planning ahead of time. It was rare to be surprised by a duel. They were generally watched by thousands of Tal'darim as a source of entertainment. Attacking a superior outside of Rak'Shir was punishable by public execution.
The common edict of Rak'Shir was "defeat your masters, or fall beneath them." In truth, in Amon's mind, the essence of Rak'Shir was "defeat your masters, or rise beyond them." For Amon, death was the ultimate ideal, and the Tal'darim who took part in Rak'Shir were secretly mocked by their god.
Rak'Shir duels had two "primaries," the challenger and the higher-ranking challenged. Others could participate, with some duels involving thousands of Tal'darim on each side. The declarants "bonded" with the primaries becoming "supplicants", enhancing their psionic power. The winner was expected to push or throw their opponent into the pit. A long duel could take hours as the winner slowly pushed the loser toward the pit.
All Rak'Shir duels started at sunrise.
Duels usually took place between ascendants. If an ascendant refused to duel, their subordinates did not join the duel either.
By law, Tal'darim could not kill a Tal'darim superior except in a Rak'Shir. Doing so resulted in a long and public death.
When someone declared, they were bound to their primary until victory or death. To reject a declaration of Rak'shir or go against the laws was considered an act of cowardice.
During the duel, only the declared combatants could engage each other directly but the primaries' supplicants were allowed to engage one another. Supplicants could not engage with combatants, but could provide psionic support.
Tal'darim were expected to declare for one combatant at the start of the battle. Joining a duel without declaring was considered surprising but not a break of customs.