At the end of Diamond Quest XI, a new rank came into being in the Outback. The six that placed highest among the seventeen competitors took home gems that night, only one of them was the coveted diamond.
There has been speculation far and wide about what the opals actually are, or what purpose or power they serve. All we know for sure is that it is a highly competitive title among those in the Duel of Fists, obtained only by those willing to pit their skills against the best of the best. Each of the rocks conveys certain small powers to the fighters who hold them, what follows are the details
of PathFinder and the combatants to have carried it.
Animation - This power can animate *small* plants (ones no bigger than ferns)
to do the weilder's bidding. They could be used to heckle an opponent
by distracting them or possibly to retrieve items, pass mugs of ale,
etc., by using their fronds. This power is only useful for brief
periods of time (again the larger the plant the less time you have to control it).
Camouflage - The user of Pathfinder's major power has the ability to slip through walls
or objects that are or were at one time animate. (i.e., The Opal could slip
easily through a wooden wall or another dueler because they are living objects
but they would not be able to pass through things such as stone or steel.)
Also, if used at the wrong moment, it is possible for the user to miss on
a winning strike or cause themselves a misstep and fall.
The opals were shattered during the 100th Diamond Quest and brought back together
during the 101st. With the reforging, the opals are more powerful than ever, though
no longer keen to lend their gifts to just anyone unless doing so fits with their
schemes. Quite often, they demand an exchange for what they share and leave their mark upon the user in
PathFinder can manipulate foliage, pass through living matter, and now alter
life itself, causing healthy things to decay and even restoring or invigorating
the life force of plants and creatures. The green Opal’s holders are also capable
of altering living matter into something other than its natural state. However,
these changes are demanding to bestow and more arduous to undo. Altering the
natural order can far too easily sap the strength – or even cost the very life –
of those who dare to reach beyond their means.
By means of a grant gifted by Eden Parker, Dakota sought claim to PathFinder, currently in possession of Mallory Maeda, for no other reason than it sounded the least threatening of all the Opals. The two began the conflict of the night with an exchange of blows. Mallory's proxy gained some leverage before the challenger managed to regain some footing to even the match back up. Some fancy footwork followed and propelled Dakota to match point. For a moment it looked like Mallory could dig her way out; yet after gaining one back Dakota was able to secure herself the first match of the night. The second bout of the eventual trilogy saw the challenger Dakota fire strong out the gate. Mallory was swift to fire back but Dakota's relentless assault proved a formidable challenge for the Opal. Rallying with two consecutive strikes and a trade, Dakota secured match point at a staggering 4-2. Undaunted, Mallory managed to tighten the defense and fake out Dakota to get to sudden death. The Opal showed her tenacity and grit securing the second match with a launching headstand to take the second bout and force a third. The third saw the same beginnings as the first match with both combatants scoring on a trade to open up. After a momentary standstill Dakota scored once again to extend herself into a lead for the third time on the night. Another trade came to put them further to their goal and by the sixth round Dakota had secured herself match point, on the cusp of her first Opal. Mallory managed to operate a well timed clothesline and get one back before the eventual trade came to end the festivities. In three matches with scores of 5-3 in 9, 4-5 in 10 and 5-4 in 9 Dakota walked away with her first ever Opal, PathFinder.
Dakota's first test as the holder of PathFinder would find its way to her from one Koyliak Simon. The only explanation given in the challenge was a "new curiosity", which was not elaborated on any further, although the fact cannot be glanced over that PathFinder remains Koyliak's sole Opal remaining for her Heir of Stormfist. The two met to determine the future of PathFinder and it started with some posturing. Koyliak found the first lead and soon after Dakota equalized. This continued as Koyliak found yet another only before Dakota struck back. As Dakota then earned herself her first lead of the night she was determined to keep it. A trade of kicks put her in match point range and with one more round she vaulted into the challenge lead up a match over her challenger. Both fighters remained in the Fern for the entirety of the challenge; the second match started with Dakota earning herself a quick lead. Koyliak quickly recovered and after one more trade that would be all she wrote for the rest of the night. Dakota pushed forward for another advantage before overcoming for a larger lead than the first match. She braced for Koyliak's Hail Mary and planted herself for her first Opal defense. In two matches, 5-3 in 8 and 5-2 in 9, Dakota earns herself another notch in her PathFinder belt!
Mallory's first defense would come as a challenge issued by Doran Ilnaren. By die roll, Doran selected Mallory as his recipient for the Fistmelda's Tusk Challenge Grant and as such the two were destined to dance for the fate of the Green Opal. Doran showed up for the challenge clad in his IFL gear representing the Rock Hards and Mallory was keen to accept; they began the night with a dance off. The two found the first match of the night going a bit pear shaped for the challenger as Mallory took the first bout with a score of 5-2 in 8. The second match saw our defending Opal shoot out to a lead over her Ruby adversary. Doran scrapped his way back and ate into the lead but was unable to find a win as a trade put an end to the fight and the challenge. With scores of 5-2 in 8 and 5-4 in 9 Mallory secured her first defense.
Bailey was the first to span 102 days to step up and challenge Gatito for PathFinder. With no reason given Bailey came for the Opal to hopefully claim his first. The first match of the evening started out with both fighters evenly matched. Five rounds passed with a tied score before the challenger began to create space between himself and the Opal. Gatito managed to get a point back and cut his deficit back before Bailey secured the first bout. The second bout had our fighters ascending the Bridge for a fitting culmination to the challenge. Neck and neck, they remained tied much like the first match. A trade put Bailey into a winning posture and soon after he closed out the match. Doing so secured Bailey his first Opal with a match scoreline of 5-3 in 10 and 5-3 in 6.
Not keen to allow Bailey to rest, Rachael challenged the freshly minted opal to his first challenge as incumbent of PathFinder. The two met on the 29th to see who would walk away the keeper of the green opal. The first of three eventual matches had Bailey breaking out to a solid 3-1 lead. Undeterred, Rachael began to rally back and after two sudden deaths claimed the first match with a well executed kick. The second match fired off even faster with Bailey claiming another early 3-1 lead only this time he managed to secure himself a victory shortly after. The pinnacle of this challenge would come in the third bout where the lead changed hands four times. The match was fiercely contested from sixth round onward including double sudden death yet again like the first match. Only this time Bailey would claim the victory with a timely evasion. With three fights tallying up 4-5 in 10, 5-3 in 6 and 6-5 in 9 Bailey secures himself his first and only defense of PathFinder.
When Mallory ascended to the Diamond, she left PathFinder vacant. The Outback decided to hold a week-long Slugfest tournament to determine who'd taken hold of the green opal and at the end of the week, Gatito narrowly edged out Koyliak VanDuran-Simon by a single tournament point to claim the prize!
Mallory Maeda was the second in line aiming for a shot at the PathFinder Opal at Runt's Challenge Queue. The challenge began with the incumbent earning a slight lead only to be bested by Mallory's impregnable defensive tactics. Perhaps frustrating Runt, Mallory's strategy earned her PathFinder with decisive victories scoring 5-2 in 7 and 5-2 in 8 rounds, securing her first Opal.
Stating no personal grudge against the holder Anubis Karos provided the first challenge to Mallory Maeda. Looking at the first match where the title holder found little reprieve from the challenger's fury, it looked as though the challenge might end quckly as Anubis secured himself a swift victory. Undeterred from a rocky start, Mallory answered back in the second match with a crippling rebuttal. The third and final match shared the same score as the two preceding it; only it served as the nail in the coffin as Mallory secured her first title defense with scores of 1-5 in 6, 5-1 in 7 and 5-1 in 9.
Coming off of her first defense Mallory took no time to deliberate what her next challenge might look like. She waived grace for new emerald Yuzuki Kuwabara and the two would eventually meet up for their challenge. The first match looked as though Mallory hadn't missed a step; she stormed out the gate to a 4-0 lead in 4 rounds. Yuzuki managed to get on the board but was dispatched with a kick immediately after. The second match saw a departure from the pace of the first as the two wrestled closely in the first few rounds. Yuzuki found her first substantial lead of the night and took no time to seal it into her tying match win sending the challenge the full distance. The final match would prove to be bittersweet for our challenger as Yuzuki shot out to a 3-1 lead within the first four rounds. Finding the next two would prove ultimately too great a challenge as Mallory proved once again why she is so fit to hold PathFinder. Over the next four rounds Mallory found 4 unanswered points to close the challenge and earn her second defense. Mallory defended PathFinder with the scorelines: 5-1 in 6, 2-5 in 7 and 5-3 in 8.
After issuing challenge in a unique Runt-like manner, Runt kept his promise to not crush Eden (at least in the literal sense) as he defeated the incumbent Opal holder in two straight matches (5-2; 5-3) that each lasted seven rounds.
Runt's first ever Opal defense came against his hun-jarl's husband, Matt Simon. Knowing Runt was less than comfortable with the Opal and its "devils arts" , Matt issued challenge but ultimately lost his third subsequent attempt at an Opal (the prior 2 being against Gren Blockman for ShadoWeaver), this time with a match score of 1-5, 5-4, and 4-5.
Runt's second PathFinder defense came at the challenge by Jewell. The two agreed to meet at 8pm and would do combat with figurines. Jewell opened with leads in both duels but once the civility broke down and violence was unleashed, it was Runt who walked away with the Opal. He secured himself a defense with mirrored scores of 5-3 in 8 and 5-3 in 10.
Runt's third PathFinder defense came on the night of his announced Challenge Queue. Caleb Feren was the one who sought out the Opal and was Runt's first challenge of the evening. The challenge to start the queue was a pair of lightning rounds with Runt securing his defense after two wins, 5-3 in 7 and 5-2 in 6.
Hope called out for all challengers and Eden was the first to enter the fray. As it turned out, anybody else getting in line would have just been wasting their time. Eden took the rock in 2 bouts. 5-4 and 5-2.
Not content with her previous loss, Clarice Queen challenged Andrea "Apple" Anderson again. This time, Clarice won in dominating fashion in two straight duels, the latter being a perfect shut-out (5-2 in 7 and 5-0 in 5).
Kheldar challenged Jake for PathFinder during the Hydra tourney. Jake dominated the first duel, (5-2 in 6), but then Kheldar took the next two duels (5-4 in 8, and 5-4 in 8 again) to claim the Opal (and earn points for the Crew).
The creature known as Jigglypuff defeated Tasslehofl Momus in a total of 2 out of 3 consecutive matches to claim Pathfinder. Let the record state that the creature known as Jigglypuff then promptly consumed the Opal for reasons yet unknown.
Using the Opal Challenge Grant awarded to him by Kheldar Drasinia in the 2009 Masquerade Brawl, Tasslehofl Momus challenges Jaycy Ashleana for the right to hold PathFinder, and defeats her in two of three complete consecutive matches.
The XXXVII Diamond Quest occurs. Kheldar defeats Ria 5-0 in 5 in the title match to earn the Diamond. Ria and Harris are left to fight for PathFinder. Harris refuses to duel Ria on the grounds of her use of a hologram to fight. Ria takes PathFinder as her prize for second place.
A special Tag Team Tournament is held as an Opal tournament. The winning team of two received the vacant Opals - PathFinder and MoonBeryl. The unlikely team of Tareth Thorn and Cassius Maximius win the tournament with a 4-0 record. Cassius claims PathFinder.
Cass forced to give up the title when he drops below the minimum rank requirements to hold.
Walker retired, leaving the opal vacant, rather than defend against Fala. An Opal Quest was held and Fala won it there instead. to gain Pathfinder once more.
The precise date is unknown, nor is the action officially recorded, but Fala facing a decline in his own ability to be around the Outback handed over PathFinder to the officials during Diamond Quest XVII. (source: see Fala's story.)
Actual date unknow. Marzan issued challenge to reclaim the green rock on 07-21-98 and the opal next appears in an Opal quest two months later. The only hint comes from a note written by Walker, the eventual winner, indicating Harris failed to appear for the challenge.