Also known as the Hall of the Duels, the Obsidian Hall is a huge chamber shaped like an eight-sided prism, where Magisters of the Colleges of Magic compete every eight years for the station of Supreme Patriarch. Situated in Altdorf, the thick walls, ceiling and floor are made of gloss smooth obsidian. The black stone is the bane of magic, totally refractory and inactive. Wizards can feel their power dimmed by the presence of so much while all around them.[1a]
Under the symbol of their own Wind of Magic, the Masters of the other Orders stand in alcoves carved in the eight walls, protected by powerful enchanted barriers. All of this is necessary to contain the powers that both defendant and challenger will unleash during the match. The objective of the duel, however, is to reach the centre of the Hall, where an altar stands shaped in the guise of the Great Wheel of Magic. The Staff of Volans—the Staff of the Patriarchs—levitates above this hub.[1a]
Standing eight feet from their wall, the duel begins after a preparatory ritual. The challenger is then required to take the first step, after which the battle commences. The first contender to lay their hand on the Staff will immediately have their powers amplified by the ancient artefact. At which point the other wizard normally surrenders, if they know what's good for them. Anything is allowed to stop the opponent from approaching the altar, and in the past there have been fatalities among the contestants.[1a] Tradition, however, demands that the duel is not fought to the death.[2a]
In older sources, the duel continues even after one participant touches the Staff, though their opponent usually surrendering since the wielder is now that much more powerful. Now the duel ends upon the first combatant touching the artefact.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Empire (6th Edition)
- 1a: pg 54
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Empire (8th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 18