Il Duello del Fuoco

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A display of Duello di Fuoco at the 2018 Festival Cavalleresco d'Volscina
A display of Duello di Fuoco at the 2018 Festival Cavalleresco d'Volscina

Il Duello del Fuoco or Fire Dueling is a long-standing Volscine tradition dating back to the 14th century and the era of Dallacquan rule over the Asciec Peninsula. Modern Fire Dueling is a form of non-lethal fencing common at festivals and other displays of Volscine culture. Though the practice varies from region to region, it is most often a mock swordfight between two lightly armored performers, and held either at night or in a darkened space to give the audience a better view of the flaming weapons.

History

Since the practice's advent in the 14th to 15th centuries, Fire Dueling spread from its point of conception in southern Volscina to the rest of the Volscine Empire, notably being recorded in texts from 15th century Cavellan and in the city-state of Varenica.

Origins

Fire Dueling is said to be based on the myth of I Cavalieri Solari ("The Solar Knights"), a medieval epic following two Volscine knights, who although noble in nature, are nevertheless forced into opposition of each other through the complicated politics of the early Volscine Empire. In the seventeenth and final chapter of the epic, the two knights meet for their final duel on the highest mountain peak in the Empire, each wielding legendary swords of fire obtained on their respective journeys. The clash of their flaming blades was said to "...light the midnight sky like the break of dawn" (Pg. 1137, The Solar Knights of Volscina, Staynish Translation), but by the time the true dawn had broken, both knights lay dead on their counterpart's sword.

Early examples of Fire Dueling apparently originated in theatrical recreations of I Cavalieri Solari in Volscina, wherein two actors would don stylized armor and wield fire-hardened wooden swords lacquered in a highly flammable mixture likely based on pine resin. Typically held at night, these performances were spectacles the likes of which had never before been seen and became extremely popular among the Volscine noble class.