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.
Michelle posted an invitation to Kruger for what may very well be the first formal opal "dance off". We've heard of dance off's to save the galaxy but this marked unprecedented territory, exhilarating. On the night of the 2nd they met with Kruger sporting an emerald blazer and Michelle matching style in accessories for the dance off. The amicable challenge began with Kruger scoring two consecutive points. Michelle mirrored him and tied the scores in round 4 before each fighter scored a clean point in either direction. A trade followed pushing them to sudden death and after a round to catch their breath Kruger evaded to earn the first bout. The second bout saw even less parity between the fighters. Opening with a trade there only three rounds where the scores varied, the lead never more than a single point, before another sudden death came only this time it broke for the challenger evening the challenge total. The third and final match was much of the same only this time it was Kruger who was developing incremental leads. Only by a point he managed to get to 3-2 before Michelle tied it up and then went on to score two in succession claiming PathFinder in three matches, 4-5 in 10, 5-4 in 9 and 5-3 in 7.
Michelle's first and only challenge for PathFinder came from one Matt Simon. Claiming to have a goal and that this would prove to be the first rung on the ladder he challenged the sitting Opal. The two agreed to meet and fight it out to determine the future of PathFinder. Coming out the gate hot Michelle took the first win 5-1 making the spectators thing this might be a quick affair. Outback veteran Matt Simon had other thoughts on the matter; while less one-sided he retorted with a 5-3 victory to push the challenge into sudden death with match three. The third match looked like it would go the same with Matt claiming a lead. Michelle facing a deficit began clawing her way back before she forced sudden death. Ultimately it would come down to a tied match and Michelle would evade the final punch to secure her first and last defense of PathFinder before ascending in the next Diamond Quest. In three bouts scored 5-1 in 5, 3-5 and then 5-4 Michelle defends PathFinder.
In an elegant missive detailing the machinations of a performer, Kruger posted his challenge to Salvador on the cork for all to see. Elements of showmanship, reprieve, goals and failures alike led him to in his words seeking Terra-master(possession of the Tower of Earth and PathFinder simultaneously) and that brought him to Salvador. The challenge ignited with a trade of both men kicking out low and from that moment on the match would never see a lead larger than a point. The parity between both fighters was on display as the rounds filed off. Kruger obtained two leads of only a point throughout the match with Salvador swiftly tying them until they traded to Sudden Death. Displaying some impressive technique Kruger utilized finesse to create the opening to score the winning blow securing the first match 5-4 in 9. The second match introduced a special cage(not Outback certified, will look into this) that enclosed both fighters within the ring. The challenger was quick to take the lead in the opening round but was unable to keep it much like in the first. Salvador struck back tying the score at 3 a piece before another exchanged moved them into the second Sudden Death of the evening. One round of posturing allowed them to catch their breaths before they both went low once more pushing to another Sudden Death. In true showmanship fashion Kruger delivered Salvador's reign into a coffin with a timely flip. In two straight matches scored 5-4 in 9 and 6-5 in 8 Kruger secured.Terra-mastery and PathFinder.
Looking to claim PathFinder for a second time, Sal challenged Maggie, who'd taken it from him less than a month prior. Whereas their first title-fight lasted three bouts, this one only went for two. Maggie opened the first fight with a lead but Salvador quickly tied the score and aggressively notched point after point, eventually taking a 5-2 win. Although Maggie transformed into a bear before the start of the second fight, Sal didn't seem to let that affect him and it took four rounds for Maggie to notch her first point. That score, though, turned into another, and another, and another as she battered her way to a 4-3 lead before Salvador recovered enough to force SUDDEN DEATH and then take the final point. Not only did this challenge victory mean another stint with PathFinder for Salvador, but it also earned him the Terra Master title for holding both the green opal and the Tower of Earth simultaneously - Salvador's only the 4th dueler to accomplish that feat!
This challenge was unique in that Stitch utilized the Badass Grant, meaning the challenge would be fought under Slugfest! rules. This was Stitch's first challenge in any sport and he put on a good showing against a very tough opponent. Salvador took advantage of the Slugfest! rules and jumped from a 3-3 tie to a 5-3 victory with a brutal punch that ended the first duel. Stitch did much the same in the second match, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 lead in two short rounds, but Sal quickly landed two vicious blows to tie things up before taking the final point in the eighth round to earn the 5-4 victory and seal the first defense of his 2nd stint with PathFinder!
Eager to prove her fearlessness, Maggie challenged her cousin and opal holder, Salvador for the green rock known as PathFinder. With a nearby Catalan and Greek feast in their honor, the friendly fighting cousins stepped into the ring to see if the opal would return to Maggie or if Salvador would keep his figurative grasp on it. The first match opened with a little fake out on Sal’s part, but Maggie was quick to tie things up in the following round. The score stayed close with another tie in round 4, but Salvador pressed on with two unanswered points to strength his lead. With a trade in the final round, he secured his first victory of the night with a score of 5 to 3 in 7. In the second match, things looked to start off all in Salvador’s favor, but Maggie made her way onto the scoreboard in round 3, and then tied things up in round 4. The cousins continued to trade in the next two rounds, where they reached sudden death in round 6! It looked to be anyone’s match, but with a solid defense in the final round and a score of 5 to 4 in 8, Salvador knocked out another defense for the green opal.
After waiving Grace specifically for Kruger, Salvador accepted the challenge from the Anvil and after picking out a pretty nice hammer (this was not used in the challenge, but perhaps will see it in the rings over in the Arena at some point!) they set to meet in the Outback within the week. Opening the first round with a trade, the two stayed close on the scoreboard, with the tens of thousands of Kruger’s fans cheering them all on! Hitting sudden death in round 7, and then suddener death (highly technical term there) in round 8, they stayed tied until Salvador swept under Kruger’s defense. With Salvador taking the first victory of the night with a final score of 6 to 5 in 11 rounds, they pressed on for the second match. Looking like he was controlling the match, Kruger reached match point in round 5 with Salvador only getting on the board once in a trade earlier in the match. But as caller Eregor said: “Sal was down but not out, and after a breather round he started a comeback in Round 7, scoring 4 points in a row to win it 5-4 in the 10th!” Impressive comeback train there Salvador, sealing the deal on another defense in current reign of PathFinder!
Following a career-high performance in the Iron Fists League it should have been a surprise to none that Mairead would come knocking for an Opal. PathFinder it seemed was the one she had her eye on and she and Salvador were content to arrange their due time in the limelight over dinner. The two would meet on the 20th for what would be the first challenge of the new year as well as the first of the past several to make it to a three match finale. Salvador would make his statement early into the challenge as he met Mairead out the gate with an emphatic defiance to her belief that she was the rightful possessor. Surely close to setting fire to the ring Salvador put on a crushing display of things scoring five consecutive points in five rounds surrendering his only point in a trade. Would this be a sign of things to come in the continuation bout? Maybe; as fate would have it the roles would reverse in the next chapter as it was Mairead who would find the control for a majority of the match. The opening round would be the only one that Salvador would claim for himself before Mairead dominated the next 8 to claim her own bout in the match. This would lead to an exciting climax in the third and final fight on the evening. Salvador would claim the first strike as the two matches prior however he found starker resistance as he got himself to three points holding only a solid point lead over Mairead. Mairead would posture for an even keeled score before jabbing to claim herself her first lead of the fight. With one round spent gathering their breaths, both fighters collided in an exchange which would put an end to the challenge and Salvador's chapter as holder. In three bouts scored 1-5 in 5, 5-2 in 9 and 5-4 in 7 Mairead would earn herself the rank of Opal by securing her first ever, PathFinder.
For the sole reason of "wanting your rock, avocado girl", Salvador challenged Dakota for the right to wield PathFinder. The two would meet on the night of the 28th to decide who would leave with the green opal. As the challenge went underway it was Dakota who would find the upper hand. Starting with a show of footwork she evaded Salvador and managed to keep her momentum rolling resulting in a staggering lead of 4-0 in 6 rounds. Salvador was able to fire back and earn himself a tally in the score column before Dakota swiftly put an end to the first match directly after. With one win under the belt it seemed likely that Dakota's odds of taking the rock were solidly in her favor; however the second bout of the night would prove to be the equalizer. Salvador opened up with another punch and this time found his mark. It would take no more than seven rounds for the challenger to up the ante and score five unanswered rounds for a shutout in the PathFinder challenge forcing a match three. The climax of the challenge would begin similar to the match prior. Salvador came out and dominated the first five rounds scoring 3 unanswered points. However Dakota began to strike back finding three consecutive points to tie the bout at 3 a piece heading into the ninth round. The challenger found a lead once more with a punch and after a two round respite secured his victory and the PathFinder opal by going low. With the match scores of 1-5 in 8, 5-0 in 7 and 5-3 in 11, Salvador claimed PathFinder!
Salvador's first challenge with PathFinder within the rings would come at the hands of Haru. With an amicable challenge the two agreed to meet on the eve of the 23rd to settle the affair. Getting the festivities underway the challenger Haru pulled out the gate with an early lead and from that moment onward they were off to the races. In alternating fashion the incumbent and challenger would exchange leads five times over the course of the fight never letting one another pull more than a single point ahead. Eventually the double-sudden death would come to a close with Salvador narrowly pulling out a victory. The second match would carry a different silhouette than the first with the challenger Haru claiming a 3-1 lead by the sixth round. However that would mark the end of the challenger's night ultimately; Salvador would rattle off a four-round scoring spree going unanswered and closing the book on his first defense. In two bouts scored 5-4 in 10 and 5-3 in 11 Salvador secured his first defense of PathFinder.
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.