For many years, the land of Terengaria (Weldwyn, Norland and Merceria) was ruled by independent chieftains, who often warred with each other, fighting battles for local supremacy. All that changed in what is now known as Westland, when the invasion of mercenaries occurred almost one thousand years ago. Under the leadership of Lord (later King) Loran and his advisor, the Mage Weldwyn, the tribes banded together in a defensive pact. After the battle of the Plains, where the mercenaries were pushed east, the chieftains permanently united in their desire for security, knowing that they could be invaded again at any time.
Loran, in his wisdom, knew that once peace was attained, old prejudices would surface, so he set out a method of conflict resolution. The lord (chieftain) of any region could choose a champion to fight it out with a rival's champion. The winner of the conflict would then be considered the winner of the argument, with the King and the other nobles there to ensure that the rules were followed.
In the early days of the kingdom, the champions met regularly, but as time went by, there were fewer and fewer conflicts. Also, with access to Life Mages, the matches were seldom life-threatening, and the fighting soon became more ritualized and organized.
These matches eventually drew spectators, and in the year 93, the King of Weldwyn invited all the champions of the realm to come together in a grand tournament. This proved so popular that it became an annual event, with the king awarding the winners with gifts. As the tournaments, which they are now called, grew in popularity, the number of events increased beyond the original single melee combat, as well as inspiring similar contests in other cities.
With the kingdom almost one thousand years old, the tournaments have evolved considerably. Young men will often compete to win fame in regional events, hoping to gain a berth in the yearly games in the capital, Summersgate. However, nobles can still send delegates from their cities to take part in whatever events they deem desirable. The most prestigious of these competitions is jousting, the introduction of which coincided with the development of chainmail protection.
The warriors who compete in the jousting are referred to as 'Cavaliers', so named because of their association with cavalry. For the most part, they tend to be haughty and arrogant, but no one can question their bravery. In order to earn the honorific of cavalier, they must be successful in a tournament. This usually means placing in the top three of a regional competition.
The rules of the joust are straight forward; an opponent must be unhorsed, or, after three passes, the champion will be determined by the competitor who has the higher number of points. These are earned by hitting different parts of their opponent.
Jousts are considered the most dangerous of sports and are not allowed to take place unless a Life Mage is present. Even so, there have been deaths over the years. The art of jousting has grown to become a profession on its own, and jousters now frequently travel the land practicing their craft at regional competitions.