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A Bolian martial art, and associated combat ritual. Seemingly elegant, yet brutal in purpose, adel’iin dates back at least to pre-history, if not to the ancestral race of Proto-Bolians. It’s been revised and updated over the eras, but its core principles remain the same. Simply put, adel’iin is a form of underwater wrestling: a graceful contest of two combatants beneath the waves. The intent is to immobilize the foe, historically for one of two purposes. In its earliest form, adel’iin (or a primitive version thereof) was employed as a contest between males, for the right to mate with a female. The loser, once immobilized, would be held underwater while the winner stuck his head up to breathe; this continued until the vanquished male submitted or drowned. The winner could then go on to another bout, this time with the female, though the act of submission on her part entailed copulation rather than death. The natural flexibility of an average Bolian, the interaction (or lack thereof) of their skin oils with the water, and the relative vulnerability of he who takes time to surface and breathe, makes adel’iin as much a contest of stamina as dexterity. Modern adel’iin is still practiced in tournaments, with the loser going slack to simulate death and signify his surrender to the judges. Also, certain families - particularly in rural regions - still make a point of asking a suitor to defeat one of a daughter’s fathers, before he’s permitted to marry her. It should be noted that the custom of completely shaving the scalp, even in those Bolians who can grow extensive hair, is a direct result of adel’iin as a means of resolving disputes. While the practice of challenging another Bolian to a duel beneath the waves is rarely used, it’s never formally been outlawed. Having a head of hair is a decided disadvantage when using adel’iin, not only because of the added drag but because it provides an ideal handhold - early adel’iin resembled ‘catfights’ from pre-warp Earth, with much hair-grabbing. The shaved head has persisted into modern times as a silent message: ‘I know adel’iin, and can best you’. Whether or not the Bolian in question really knows adel’iin is another story, but the message is there. This may seem at odds with the noted pacifism and social solidarity of the Bolians, but like most cultures they retain a degree of the warrior ethos, even if it’s merely a respectful nod to their forebears.

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