The practice of dueling is technically outlawed in the kingdom of Ornis and has been for at least 200 years. However, in practice, the aristocracy has continued the practice as part of their privileges. Most duels are fought in secret and are seldom to the death, though occasionally this, of course, does happen. Often, these killings are pardoned by magistrates, much to the consternation of the common folk.
Duels are usually fought according to the Code Duello, a “code of dueling” developed in Sianae.
A morally acceptable duel would start with the challenger issuing a traditional, public, personal grievance, based on an insult, directly to the single person who offended the challenger.
The challenged person had the choice of a public apology or other restitution, or choosing the weapons for the duel. The challenger would then propose a place for the “field of honor”. The challenged person had to either accept the site or propose an alternative. The location had to be a place where the opponents could duel without being arrested.
At the field of honor, each side would bring a healer and seconds. The seconds would try to reconcile the parties by acting as go-betweens to attempt to settle the dispute with an apology or restitution. If reconciliation succeeded, all parties considered the dispute to be honorably settled, and went home.
Each side would have at least one second; three was the traditional number.
If one party failed to appear, he was accounted a coward. The appearing party would win by default. The seconds and sometimes the healer would bear witness of the cowardice.
The sword with or without a companion weapon was the customary dueling weapon.
When using swords, the two parties would start on opposite sides of a square twenty paces wide. Usually the square was marked at the corners with dropped handkerchiefs. Leaving the square was accounted cowardice.
The opponents agreed to duel to an agreed condition. The most common conditions were until either one party was physically unable to fight or the healer called a halt. While explicit duels to the death were rare, many duels ended in death of one or both combatants because of the wounds sustained.
When the condition was achieved, the matter was considered settled with the winner proving his point and the loser keeping his reputation for courage.