The Art Of The Sword

Fighters are a valuable asset on Nor. Whether they are a soldier in the army, a mercenary, a knight on his horse. They all live by defeating their enemy through some type of weapon, sometimes even their own body. There is an inner fraternity however that govern the most famous and deadly of all fighters. The swordsman.

Many warriors use axes, flails, maces and other weapons to fight, but watching a Master swordsman ply his craft is a thing of beauty. There are three ranks or prestige that these fighters may earn. Expert Swordsman, A Master Swordsman (Blade master), and a Grandmaster of the Blade. Not anyone with skill will earn one of these ranks. You must first be formally trained by a fighter who is already a member of this elite group. There are currently several schools of fighting which are recognized by each other capable of training the Art of the Sword. Each school has a symbol to represent the skill of the swordsman. The recognized school and ranks are below. Regardless of school, achieving one of the ranks is always done the same. It must be done by defeating an opponent of the appropriate level in single combat.

*The challenge** - The challenge can be a formal challenge, or an informal one. It must meet the following requirements though. Both participants must be student of a recognized school. The battle must be free of any outside interference. The battle must by fought with skill alone, no magic. Battle can be to the death or have some other ending. The loser of the battle, does not lose his rank, unless the battle was a challenge to that rank. A challenge may be refused, as long as it is not a challenge of rank. (Most refusals turn into a challenge or rank though once one declines). If the winner is ranked lower than the loser he is immediately raised to the rank of the winner. He may then be given a sword with the appropriate symbol, or even commission one himself. Weapon Master do not question the word of fighter, when they request a symbol or rank. They know if the buying is lying, he will soon face a challenge of rank and that will be the end of it.

Challenge of Rank When a ranked swordsman sees another ranked swordsman and feels he has not earned his rank, he may challenge him to a challenge of rank. If the challenger is a higher rank then the challenged, the challenged may demand to battle a warrior of his own rank. He may not refuse a challenge of a swordsman of the same rank as he. He may give up his rank, and relinquish any symbol marked sword to the challenger rather than fight. If he fights, and wins, his rank stands. If he loses, the winner may strip him of his rank, or his life. The winner may also declare his rank earned. Challenges are almost never done for political reason. They are almost exclusively done when a ranked swordsman truly expects another of impersonating his rank. A ranked swordsman abusing his privilege will soon find himself challenged of rank, himself.

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