Football

Football is a sport that hails from early elven states, during times of which it served as a non-lethal sort of duel regularly occuring between groups of warriors, with only the fights for posts of sorcerer-kings always fought to the death or enslavement. It was mostly stamped out – for a variety of reasons – during human invasions, recently living through a resurgence.   It was officially accepted as a sort of 'national' sport by dark elven nation of Vhessan Empire in late preimperial/early imperial eras. During these times, the steady supply of slaves coming from the wars of conquests against humans disappeared following lost wars with hellanan hoplites. Thus, the ceremonial duels between slaves coming from rivalling entities (be it wealthy citizens, generals, or even empresses themselves) that were a type of divine trial, were deemed no longer economically feasible, with slaves having much better uses than dying on blood soaked arenas.   As such, the new method of trials (used also to settle a variety of disputes in a non-lethal – for disputants, not for slaves – way) was introduced. Being an old elven pastime of football, with two teams of elves trying to make small balls reach goals which gave them scores. The Vhessan way was played on smaller scale (with 6 players on each side) and smaller playing ground, due to limits of underground Labirynth.   Over time the new sport became more and more popular, soon nearly completely replacing the old duels to death (and generally majority of really brutal sports in Vhessan). Soon most of the respected vhessan citizens had their own teams, with internal leagues played within each city, with the champions playing to gain championship of karists and arkarists (dark elven dukedoms and grand dukedoms) or, even, empire as a whole, as empresses had their own teams. With owners doing everything to improve their team, good players were soon reaching nearly insane value on market.   Also over time best players became nearly a celebrities, with many talented free vhessans actually voluntarily enslaved so that they could pursue that career. It also spread throughout Imperium as a popular pastime for citizen (not to mention something that could be bet on), with dark elven districts in major cities being main method of contagion, although never reaching the level of popularity it has in Vhessan Empire, since it has to rival another popular sports and entertainments.

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