Yirawyn Taennyd, Queen of Ceriloth, found herself in an unenviable circumstance. She was finding that her time was often being spent settling what she considered to be minor questions of legality and morality that she quite honestly didn’t feel like tending to. Since almost every resolution involved combat of some kind, she figured that a place to resolve these things where the rules were clear would be a great way to return her to a life of languishing decadence. She could then handwave people from her sight without invoking any ire from the commoners.
So, she set about the creation of The Courthouse, initially a simple circular amphitheater where people awaiting their turn in combat could view the carnage below. Her financial advisors thought that this would result in a positive cashflow once The Courthouse was complete. They were right, almost overnight, a cottage industry appeared to support the masses who arrived at the courthouse to settle their disputes. The key to this cottage industry was that anyone arriving for combat was VERY loose with their money, believing that they were inches away from death.
Over time, The Courthouse was added to, with new arenas being added on to the outskirts of the previous ones, with the largest arena being built some 20 years after the very first arena.
Eventually, Queen Taennyd passed on, as people do, and her original intent was perverted into what we have now. The bloodlust of the crowd was reaching fever pitches and they often simply wanted to watch people die, and would toss people into the arena, and the combatants were MORE than happy to finish them off. Since this shift in paradigm, the crowds have been very careful to organize themselves into position such that they can individually control portions of the courthouse, to protect themselves.
This well-known wonder of the world is the nation of Ceriloth’s answer to many legal questions. The Courthouse, as it has come to be known, is a HUGE gladiatorial arena, located just off the road halfway along the long road between the central metropolis of Ethe and Ceriloth’s capital city, Realoth, it is almost directly south of Ostumdall, a military training city of the nation of Firalin.
Any contentious battle that cannot be resolved expeditiously by the parties involved is often settled definitively within the walls of the Courthouse.
The Courthouse consists of a large central arena, many hundreds of feet across, sided by several smaller oblong arenas, with bleachers surrounding each one for spectators to watch the events.
It is possible for a warrior of decent skill to make an excellent life for as long as he survives in the Courthouse. Many disputes are resolved here, and much societal blight is put to their expected demise for the delight of the crowd.
The only catch is this: all fights that begin in the Courthouse are to the death, without exception. There is no mercy, no quarter, and no clemency. Once you step foot inside the Courthouse, your issue WILL be resolved, by the death of one of the combatants. If you lack the conviction to kill your opponent, the bailiffs will happily dispatch any straggling victim. This applies equally to EVERYONE, and many a quixotic noble has met his end inside the walls of the courthouse.
One idiosyncrasy of this particular place is that often people who are not actively involved in the dispute being settled are thrown into the arena if they displease the crowd. The unlucky spectator must then choose a side immediately and hope that side wins. If the unlucky spectator does not choose a side, someone will eventually put him to death. For this reason, NOBODY enters the Courthouse without being fully prepared to do battle, and clans that do not wish to potentially be thrown over the edge by others control sections of the bleachers. They keep order in their own section while they are there, making sure that no fights start that could result in being sent over the top. However, there are "public sections" that aren’t quite as organized. Start a fight in there, and you’re likely to be escorted over the top by the biggest guards you’ve ever seen, who will unceremoniously dump you into the center of the Courthouse arena.
The clan sections of the bleachers are basically open by invitation only, meaning that any newcomer to the Courthouse is likely to find themselves in the most unruly of situations, a place where the slightest misstep of social graces will find you tossed over the wall and into the death ring of the Courthouse.
One thing to note about The Courthouse. If you find yourself in a situation to pick the time of your battle, choose the morning. Because the arena cannot reasonably be cleaned while combats are actively taking place(since anyone entering the arena is immediately set upon by the crowd), over time, the arena floor becomes covered in blood, body parts and equipment, making it VERY difficult to hold combat there at the end of the day, but making for interesting viewing as the combatants stumble over torsos and shields of the fallen.
- Random chance: it looks like a happening place, why not check it out? Some feathers are ruffled and the guards toss you in the middle.
- Someone asks for your asssistance: There is an upcoming "conflict resolution" that someone has asked you to assist them with. Maybe it’s someone you know and trust, maybe it’s just for the money. You know what you’re getting into, is it worth it?
- Assassination attempt: Poor commoners have rushed the noble box and thrown the nobles into the arena. They are simply youngsters, even though they have swords. They will be slaughtered if someone doesn’t jump in to save them.