Shalegkua Tradition / Ritual in Ethnis | World Anvil


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


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.

— Audiostream Announcer

The Sport

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.

4th 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
Bane, Destroy(er)


  Shalegkua 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.  


Duelling Fist
In which two combatants plant their feet in a single spot and take turns punching and dodging eachother. In this variant you aren't allowed to punch until you've been punched at, and the goal of the game is to dodge the hits. You gain points depending on where you land your blow, and when the match is over you tally score to find the winner.

A gentle variant of Shalegkua which is decided entirely by Dest and in which combatants wear padded gloves and armor. This variant is popular in the other Banners, especially among humans.


As Sazashi males and females have similar attributes, Shalegkua is unisex.
Shalegkua began as a way to settle wars between clans in lean times.

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Victory and Social Status



The crowd's bellows were deafening as they pounded against Andraku's ears.

They were calling for his death.



The battle had been going for seven rounds now. Dartha's shoulder and face was pulp from repeated blows, but he still stood strong and proud.

Andraku wiped some of the blood away from the wounds of his shorn ear and burst eye and shakily clambered back up into the Blood Mouth. The Fang was slick with his blood, and he nearly slipped as he pulled himself up. That would've been his 3rd Dest in a row, and a humiliating way to lose.

Andraku's toes carved grooves into the arena as Dartha tried to hurl him into the Bruise Pit. Dartha was growing tired, and desperate.



Andraku's talons whistled through the air. Ten rounds ended in an explosion of bone splinters and brain matter. An eyeball splattered against Andraku's palm as he reached down through Dartha's skull and heaved his jawbone free of its moorings. He held it up victoriously as the crowd roared.

Dartha's corpse dropped to its knees, supported only by its deathgrip on Andraku's hand as the remainder of its brain sloughed out from its casing and splattered onto the Gut.

Becoming Amun-Shalegkuashi (the Champion Fist Dancer) comes with great glory and wealth. As the Transcendent Monolith (God) of War, Bel-Shaz'zr, crowns the winner the title of Amun-Shalegkuashi.

In addition, Bel-Shaz'zr provides the Amun-Shalegkuashi any one of his extra palaces on any one of his luxury worlds, as well as a full staff of servants, chefs, trainers, opponents, and concubines. This lifestyle usually proves their undoing several years later when they have to defend their title.



The crowd applauded Goser'ra's victory as she sprayed the closest of them with the blood spewing from the stump of Andraku's severed arm.



Sindokei spat his broken tusk into the cratered remnants of Goser'ra's face, then fell to a knee as the blood loss from his wounds got to him.

Don't you love it? Oh... my darlings... you are such beautiful monsters.

— Bel-Shaz'zr
Andraku after his landmark victory.


Please Login in order to comment!
Feb 16, 2018 05:03 by Barron

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.

Apr 8, 2019 19:17 by Eoin

Very solid article! All the little details give it a lot of life.

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