Shalegkua is a Ka dueling sport which has gained a cult following in all corners of the universe for the sheer brutality of even its most tame variations.
The primary goal is for the two combatants to enter the Gut, hold eachother's left hand, and either throw eachother out of the ring or punch eachother unconscious.
Though Shalegkua originated in The Pact, it is only legal to televise it in Hedon Space, where consenting bloodsport is legal.
Tourneys have a bi-decennial cadence so the occurs during the Monolith Olympics.
The lights of the colliseum dimmed. All eyes turned upwards to Bel-Shaz'zr in his floating throne. His voice echoed from the speakers.
"The time has come again, my darlings. The Shalegkua championship. Two Ka enter and fight for blood, glory, and our entertainment. It's archaic, it's bloody, it's everything civilization pretends to be better than and I love it."
Though there are non-Ka variations of Shalegkua, they are not taken seriously. Shalegkua is a Ka sport specifically, as part of the tactics involve the Ka ability to muscle-lock and ripping into eachother with fists that can crack granite and talons which can puncture steel.
It was with great fanfare that Dartha and Andraku descended the ramps on either side of the arena. Arena-Lord Bel-Shaz'zr, Monolith of War, presided over the final championship from his floating throne some fifty feet above the stands. He announced each of their names in turn as they gripped the hooks on the each of their starting platforms (The Mouths, and the hooks were the Fangs) and hoisted themselves up.
Dartha, the defending champion, earned the louder roars.
The arena is broken up into two sides: Blood (Red) and Bruise (Blue). Combatants begin in a Mouth, run down the Gullet, and collide in the Gut.
A Shalegkua Arena is a meter-high stage made of extremely durable material. The Trenches are an additional half meter deep, and the Pits are an additional meter deep. It is not uncommon for injuries to occur in the Pits or Trenches at slightly higher rate than the rest of the arena.
The first Shalegkua arenas were constructed in the caverns below the deserts of Kajh-Tai on the Ka and Sazashi homeworld of Jhoutai.
The modern naming of the areas of the arena harkens back to the brutal era of Shalegkua's creation, wherein champion's fights would be held within an arena made of the carcasses of slain beasts.
On some worlds this tradition is very much alive even today.
And they're running down the gullet. Andraku's got the lead. He's first to the gut. Ooooh! What a tackle, Andraku's lead gained him a precious few feet and they've collided Bruise-side of the Gut. Dartha's holding his own, though. They're trading blows. Dartha's pushing him towards the Blood Trench. Will he... Oh! Oh! Oh! HE DID. HE DID IT. He beat Andraku at his own strategy on the first round. This is going to be one hell of a fight here today, folks.
An abiding tradition-turned-rule of all variations of Shalegkua is that the Shalegkuashi do not trade blows until they have a firm grasp of eachother's left hands; this is called the Grapple. If at any point the Grapple is broken then the round immediately ends and the Shalegkuashi must return to their Mouths for a new round.
Dartha gave an ear shattering roar as he and Andraku collided mid-leap in the Gut. Their palms slammed together with a meaty clapping sound which eclipsed the crack of Andraku's trapezium fracturing.
Andraku held the Grapple despite the pain, and locked his muscles to prevent Dartha from breaking the Grapple. He knew Dartha's tactic: to wear him down with Grapple breaks and tackles until he was an exhausted, easy target. No.
Their feet hit the mat and Andraku began swinging, pelting Dartha's gut with punches.
In Shalegkua there are Dest, Kril, and Khaan:
- If anything but your feet touch the arena, that's a Dest
- If any part of you touches outside of the arena, that's a Dest
- If you hit someone after breaking Grapple, that's a Dest
- If you are knocked out, that is a Kril
- If you are killed, that's a Khaan
These make the win and lose conditions:
- If you gain three consecutive Dest, you lose
- If your Kril lasts more than 10 seconds, you lose, otherwise it's a Dest
- Khaan ends the game
Whenever a Shalegkuashi gains a Dest, or the Shalegkuashi stop gripping hands, a round is considered over. Each round they return to their Mouths, and begin anew. There is no limit to the number of rounds.
Shaleg (Fist) + Kua (Dance).
Shi means 'person'.
A Shalegkuashi is a "Fist Dancer"
To drop or fall
OutfitShalegkua fighters are outfitted and dyed in the colors of the side of the ring they started on, either Blood (red) or Bruise (blue). For decency they wear shorts. Depending on the variation of Shalegkua being played, padding and cloth armor may also be worn.
TriviaAs Sazashi males and females have similar attributes, Shalegkua is unisex.
Shalegkua began as a way to settle wars between clans in lean times.
Today's special: 2 for 1 dental repair.
There is so much unf on this article. The arena, the quotes. It feels very visceral, and the rules are very simple. Fitting for the Ka who participate. The side bar is pure awesome.
Very solid article! All the little details give it a lot of life.