Excerpt from ‘The history of Thanalan, from Belah’dia to Ul’dah’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
After the reclamation of Halatali by a number of adventurers for Ul’dah, it underwent a period of restoration that allowed it to begin function as a training hall for the gladiators of the Bloodsands once more. Again, the halls of the ancient cave complex rang with the clangor of combat. Halatali has since also begun to hold public events, acting as a secondary arena to the Bloodsands and hosting the grand finale of the Mythril Cup.
The Hall of the Provocatores
The initial hall of Halatali had received considerable restoration, with discarded weapons gathered up, furnishings restored, banners hung and lighting fixed. During the period in which the team accessed Halatali, the exhibition fight between adventurers and specially selected foes, a small amount of scaffolding still existed in the hall, likely to add the finishing touches to the reconstruction. A large circular platform in the middle of the room existed, surely for use as a sparring arena, and a small wooden booth stands against the wall, occupied by two members of staff that admitted potential challengers to the complex. A number of junior gladiators trained in this chamber beneath the gaze of their senior instructors.
A Provocator was a heavily armored (by gladiatorial standards) fighter who used a tower shield and gladius, modelled after the Roman legions. Their name is a translation of the word ‘challenger’ which I believe is where we can find the meaning of this chamber, as a place for those making their start in the discipline.
The First Leg
An area used as a warm-up for the warriors who fought in the exhibition fight, this wing of the complex was specialized as an area for fighting mammets and wild beasts. The area was also home to vicious ceiling traps, consisting of spiked balls that swung from the ceiling down onto the floor. Large cages hung from the ceiling containing various creatures used as targets of training, while various gladiators trained under the gaze of their instructors.
The Hall of the Crupellarii
A large, unadorned arena likely often used to host fights against large or durable foes, the guards outside of the room boasted of the fearsome cyclops within, noting that fights against these creatures were both exceedingly popular and dangerous.
The Crupellarius was a style of gladiator in Rome that wore such heavy armour that only very muscular men could fill the role. This is fairly obviously apt when describing the inhabitant within at the time of the dungeon, which was covered in heavy plate armor.
The Second Leg
Home to the most exotic of Halatali’s beasts, this series of corridors was home to the strangest of creatures, at least to the average Eorzean. A number of side-chambers existed, gated by portcullises that they might store and easily release the beasts within. A vast fan sat in the ceiling of the main room of this area, likely intended to provide ventilation to the underground caves.
The Hall of the Bestiarii
A large arena dedicated specifically to the combat of beasts, judging by its title.
The bestiarius of ancient Rome were gladiators who specialized in fighting beasts, commonly lions or bears.
The Third Leg
Unlike the two other sections of Halatali, this area was more cave than it was tunnel, significantly less refurbished than the rest of the complex. The third leg was home to the gladiators of the complex, and was filled with the weapon racks and training dummies one might expect in such a facility. The final gate leading into the Hall of the Secutores was guarded by Greinfarr, also known as the Brass Bull, a gladiator of some fame and the son of the coliseum’s owner.
The Hall of the Secutores
The jewel of Halatali was a modest coliseum. It held an array of raised seating for observers, and appeared to have a windowed observation box, perhaps used to host high ranking members of the guild, the Syndicate or even the Sultanate itself.
This hall is named for a variety of Roman gladiators that specialized in the use of heavy shields and short swords.