Unlike the sports of other regions, Mangaians participate in the violent and often aggressive Ignalu. Deprived from the name of an old warrior legend, Ignalu is a bi-annual gladiator-style tournament in which participants fight to achieve the title of Glatorian, “The Victorious One”. The events take place in specialized arenas throughout Mangaia’s cities; there are five major ones:
- Coliseum of Ikir (main arena located in capital)
- Malum’s Arena (named after an infamous Mangaian)
- Ignalu’s Citadel (the first arena built)
- Arena of Mt. Vakama (arena nearby the massive volcano)
- Lair of the Kardas (named after the fearsome Kardas Dragon, the arena is know for its rugged and deadly terrain)
Arenas are designed to hold large crowds, allow an artificial lava lake to run through, and to hold wild Rahi.
Every six months, warriors from all over Mangaia attend this massive tournament. The Ignalu is divided into three events (Warriors can only participate in one per day);
1. Ignalu-Ka: One v. One Combat
This involves two warriors battling until one surrenders or the judges deem the injuries too serious. There are no time limits.
The opponents are allowed to utilize any melee weapon; however it must be blunt enough to not sustain major cuts. Shields, nets, and fire-welding techniques are permitted.
The warriors must be equipped with leather paddings on their torso, mask, upper arms and legs. Additional leather armor is allowed, but often is deemed “cowardly”.
If a fighter surrenders, the opponent must yield their attack; if they continue they would be disqualified from the tournament. Once a fighter declares their surrender, they must accept their loss; any attempts of foul play or trickery results in immediate disqualification and public humiliation.
2. Ignalu-Sa: Lava Jousting
This specialized event involves teams of two facing off each other on the lava lake running through the arena. They are equipped with metal poles and lava boards. The task is for the teams to knock their opponents into the lava. The scoring goes as follows;
- Knock out the team with one member left= 1 point
- Knock out the team with both members left= 2 points
- Both teams knocked out simultaneously = no points awarded unless match point; then whoever falls in last receives the point.
Whichever team reaches a score 10 or above is declared victor.
Surfers who have fallen into lava must immediately swim to the riverside and wait until the round is over. Any attempts to aid their teammate or attack the enemy team will result in the deduction of 1 point; team disqualification if it continues.
The metal pole is the only weapon allowed to knock off your opponent; intentionally using one’s body to knock off the opponent (i.e ramming, leaping onto the opponent’s board, punching/kicking) will result in a 1 point deduction; second offense is 2 points, third is team disqualification.
3. Ignalu-Za: Battlefield Scenarios
Two large teams (usually of 10-20 members) will participate in a pseudo-battle encompassing the entire arena. Each team will have a small stone structure to use as a base.
Battles can involves Rahi, restrictions on certain weapons, lava jousting, etc. The theme is chosen at the start of the Ignalu event, and the teams will have an hour to plan and strategize before taking the field.
The goal of the battles is to overrun the opponent’s base and burn down their flag. The flag can be hidden wherever inside the base; however the opponent must bring the flag outside and display its burning to achieve victory.
In general, any weapon type is allowed; however, it must be blunt enough not to slice off limbs. Every fighter must be equipped with metal armor to participate.
If Rahi are in the tournament, they are permitted to be killed if necessary. Beasts are not too dangerous for fighters; however if someone is severely injured/ killed via Rahi, they are often shamed for being weak depending on the nature of their death.
The Ignalu Tournament lasts for a week; warriors fighting near their closest arena until the second-to-last day where the finalists battle in the Coliseum of Ikir. The following day is the Glatorian ceremonies, followed by huge festivities.
Reception of Ignalu
A majority of Mangaia’s people adore the tournaments, believing it both to be an exciting festival and to display the best of their regions. Glatorians are often respected by the masses, and will be chosen as fighters for the military if the leaders see potential.
However, the Ignalu has received some negative stigma, often by older veterans and fighters. They see the tournament as a waste of potential, and the Glatorians who only fight in events but not warfare are seen as spineless cowards. It also is seen as excessively violent from other Artakhan regions; Ihuians have described it as “proof of the true barbaric nature of the Mangaians.”
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