Imagine our world today. Cars. Cell phones. Social ladders. Now imagine if humans weren't the only thing living in that world. Imagine that, 200 years ago, another species crashed into our world and changed everything.
The Red Race is the highlight of every year. A competition between twelve, willing contestants resulting in only one victor. The event has been called barbaric in the past, by humans and Draak alike, but the majority ruled. Turns out people like blood more than they want to admit. The race moves from sector to sector every year, attracting thousands of watchers. In an attempt to end the bloody event's long run, groups have attempted to shut it down in the past, but in the end, the income from the event proved too beneficial to the sectors. When the chance came up to end the practice, the Order and the Draakir voted to keep the Race active. It's been this way for many, many years. There are still protesters. There will always be people who disagree, but in the end, the bigger mobs have a louder voice.
Since the Race was almost shut down, it was declared a cultural practice and was kept legal in the sectors. It began as a way to execute criminals. Throw a sword at the feet of twelve, violent offenders and see what happens. I suppose that is cruel, but we all show our true colors when death is biting at our ankles. Redemption was reserved for the winner. How the race became voluntary since then is unknown, but the criminals still dominate it. The victor is granted one request and it can be just about anything.
While certain types of criminals are forbidden from entering the race such as mass murderers, rapists, terrorists, and traffickers, these violent individuals still make it into the event. There's always someone pulling strings. Someone benefiting off the profits of the winner. People who have the connections and the power to sign a piece of paper and get their own contest and into the competition. The Race is just as corrupt as some predicted it would be from the beginning, but here we are, paying to see it all unfold every year.
Victory requests have a vast range from money and property to pardons for crimes to marriage. Yes, marriage. Draak in need of a mate have been known to take a victor as his bride if a woman requests it. Men have offered their "services" to the Draak in the past as well. I suppose there is no limit to the desires of humankind.
Champions of the Red Race are remembered forever. Their fame might fade over the years, but their name never does. Champions are often offered sponsorship from numerous companies once their face becomes known to the world for the months following their victory. They receive fan mail. Marriage requests. Offers of all kinds. Some bathe in the attention while others are destroyed by it. But no matter. Next year it will happen all over again and we will all cheer them on and watch the blood paint the race red.