Blood Flags is a professional combat sport played in Universe X, in which Arkn, Dekn and Half-breeds compete to take over areas of Ersis. It was founded by the Sanguinal'estiere (in conjunction with the Ythen) as a means of laundering illegally-obtained Ethric crystals.
Blood Flags began as a series of brawls between Arkn and Dekn on the Seeds (and Outliers) of Ersis. These skirmishes, being the natural outgrowth of the war between the races, were especially brutal. While it's uncertain when the first Ersian brawl took place, the first recorded incident occurred in Heck 2.4.61987 in an upscale indoor shopping establishment (which was frequented by both Arkn and Dekn, and a common meeting place of the U.M.E.E.C.). The incident (known in U.M.E.E.C. records as the "Mall Brawl") started as a skirmish between a group of Dekn and a group of Arkn, all of them young adults; it quickly grew into a massive brawl involving roughly 300 individuals, Arkn, Dekn, and human alike. The incident resulted in 5 deaths (4 human, 1 Dekn), over 60 U.M.E.E.C. (and 9 human police) arrests, countless injuries, and the partial destruction of 2 stores and a fountain (as well as 3 bottles of wine and several musical instruments, due to the in-house band of a restaurant joining in the fray).
During the following decade, Ersian brawls resulted in many casualties (Arkn, Dekn and human alike), an incalculable amount of property damage, and countless non-humans being sentenced to Tartarus by the Ythen. However, even direct threats from the Ythen couldn't curb the bloodlust; not only did the fights continue, but brawls started to became more "official" and organized: regular brawlers began holding war councils to arrange fights, and individuals on both sides (as well as human employees of U.M.E.E.C. and SEEKER) started betting on the outcomes of battles, often using Rethrycs as currency. Alphos'eli Persophelus, the head of the Persophelum crime family, turned this into a lucrative business venture, setting up underground gambling dens in the Elevrium and throughout the Seeds and using them to launder Rethrycs.
Eventually, Alphos'eli approached the Ythen and suggested making the fights an official, regulated sport. The Ythen agreed, as it would provide a means for the Arkn and Dekn to work out their aggression without harming humans. Thus, the Inter-dimensional Blood Flags League (IBFL) was established. Professional and amateur leagues were formed, with teams from both in each inhabited realm of the Empyrium and the Elevrium (with the number of permitted teams based on the number of inhabitants in said regions). The Sanguinal'estiere continued to use the sport as a means of laundering Rethyc crystals; almost from the beginning, the crime family had fighters on all levels on their payroll, and began fixing fights (through both physical and mental means) to ensure the outcome.
Blood Flags allows Arkn and Dekn to duel on Ersis in a legal manner, without involving humans (or upsetting the Ythen). In Blood Flags, Arkn, Dekn and Half-breeds enter fights known as Blood Duels, in order to gain control over Ersian locations, or Flags. Fighters gain profit and notoriety for winning multiple Flags. The more regions a fighter controls, the higher their hierarchy or rank.
Rules and Stipulations
- A Blood Duel can be scheduled no more than 2 weeks in advance.
- Once a Blood Duel has been declared, both opponents must agree to the terms of the match before it can commence.
- No less than 2 IBFL licensed officials (referees) must be present before a duel can commence.
- A fight can be between individuals or teams. This includes a match between an individual and a team. A team may consist of up to 6 fighters; an imbalance of no more than 3 to 1 is permitted.
- A fight can involve any weapon from the IBLF's approved list. Up to 3 weapons are permitted per opponent. (However, only one weapon can be used at any given time.
- A fight shall last no more than 5 rounds. Each round shall last no more than 10 minutes, with a five minute break in between rounds.
- If one participant concedes or is no longer able to fight, a winner will be declared. In the event of a team competition, all members of a team must concede in order for a winner to be declared.
- Any non-lethal injury is permitted. Fatal injuries and direct kills are forbidden.
Full-Blood vs Half-Blood
There are two different types of Blood Flags duels. Full-bloods play a full version of Blood Flags; since Half-breeds cannot obtain much U.M.E.E.C. equipment and weapons, however, many play a "discount" version of Blood Flags, which is downgraded and low-tech, with many of the functional technological features that U.M.E.E.C. offers removed.
Half-breeds can only fight other half-breeds, and full-bloods can only fight other full-bloods. If a half-breed challenges a full-blood to a duel, they must find a full-blood to fight for them (and vice versa).
A Flag can be any area on a Seed that has been officially marked by the IBFL. Examples of Flag locations can include shopping malls, swimming pools, amusement parks, discount stores, and fast food restaurants. Residential areas, privately owned locations, medical facilities, and government facilities are not permitted to be used as Flags. A fighter is not permitted to control the same location on more than one Seed. Flags have fighters based on blood status: Full-blood Flags, and Half-breed Flags. When someone wins control over a Flag, they own that area, and will be paid in Rethrycs.
Once control over a flag is gained, the fighter must defend it from challengers; once they are beaten in a fight, they lose the Flag, and no longer have control of that area. U.M.E.E.C. distributes Blood Flag technology (in wristband form), which displays claimed locations and unclaimed locations. In the event that a that a team wins a Flag, each member of the team is considered a holder of that particular Flag. However, if one member of said team were to fight a match as an individual and lose, the entire team would lose control of the Flag.
The ranking system is as follows:
- Level 1: 1-5 flags held
- Level 2: 5-10 flags held
- Level 3: 10-20 flags held
- Level 4: 20-40 flags held
- Level 5: 40+ flags held
These levels exist for both the full-blood and half-Blood leagues. No professional fighter in recorded history is known to have legally controlled over more than 37 Flags at one time.
Rule breaking has been known to occur during Blood Flags matches. These crimes are divided into two categories: cheating, and causing the death of an opponent.
Normally, cheating is frowned upon. U.M.E.E.C's Games and Sports division monitors accusations of cheating, studying each report on a case by case basis. Cheating can involve:
- The use of unauthorized weapons (or, less commonly, unauthorized fighting techniques). This includes mind control techniques such as Morit'sengr Invokare.
- Attempting to directly influence your opponent for more than 5 seconds (Dekn fighters).
- Attempting to possess, puppet, or otherwise directly physically control an opponent (Arkn and Dekn fighters).
- Attempting to cause a fatal injury on an opponent.
- "Fixing" the outcome of a fight (through bribing or otherwise influencing promoters, fighters, judges, referees, coaches/trainers, and others).
There are usually steep fines for first and second time offenses (with a second time offense usually being accompanied by a suspension). The third time, however, the offender will be marked by U.M.E.E.C and banned from the sport. A third time offense will result in an an automatic lifelong ban from the IBFL (and all associated properties), and depending on the severity of the crime, may lead to the offender being sentenced to Tartarus.
It is common knowledge that the Sanguinal'estiere fixes higher-ranking fights. However, since they created the sport (and are strongly suspected to have connections in U.M.E.E.C.), a number of well-known cheaters within the crime family (and on their pay roll) have been able to evade punishment.
A Blood Flags competitor cannot outright kill an opponent. While maiming and disfiguring injuries are frowned upon, they are generally permitted IBFL events. In the case that a death occurs during or following a fight, the U.M.E.E.C. will conduct an investigation into the incident. If a fighter is found to be deliberately and directly responsible for the death of an opponent, the U.M.E.E.C. will mark them as a rule-breaker and one of two outcomes will occur:
- The rule-breaker will be executed (normally via cellular dissolution).
- The rule-breaker will be imprisoned (usually in Tartarus).
Underground Blood Duels
Unauthorized Blood Flags duels are strictly forbidden, and anyone caught participating in an unauthorized Blood Flags duel will be subjected to harsh penalties. However, that has not stopped them from occurring: since the game's inception, about 50 underground Blood Flags leagues have been broken up, and an estimated 2,000 unauthorized Blood Flags duels are busted every year by SEEKER.