The 120th Overlord

Hope Naharis

Shortly before the end of grace, Hope Naharis challenged Overlord Lilith Anderson for her title. Lilith agreed to waive the remainder of her grace and accepted the challenge. In appreciation (or perhaps to soften her up), Hope supplied the Overlord with a series of pre-challenge gifts. Overlord Anderson chose to test Hope, and used Hope's own person-of-honor, Jaycy Ashleana, the loyal baron of Old Market. Olaf von Trunk declared the barony of Dockside as a renegade and stepped in to counter. A close fight between Jaycy and Olaf ensued, reaching sudden death before Olaf managed to take the win and clear the way for Hope's challenge. As soon as she took the ring, Hope seemed prepared and ready to secure her first Overlord title. She jumped out to an early lead, scoring three unanswered points in the first three rounds. A trade in the fourth brought Hope to an early match-point and while the Overlord managed to score one more time, Hope closed out the fight 5-2 in 7 rounds, securing her first Overlord title! A very emotional Hope Naharis celebrated her victory with champagne in the company of her friends. (Details)

Hope's first challenge came shortly after her reign began, and after she posted a set of rules that heavily favored her teammates in House Royal. These rules did not set well with the entire community - one Salvador Delahada included - who called them "stupid" and extended the same belief to Hope herself. Hope set out to get the opinion of the Barons on if the challenger should be tested, but when the time came, she dismissed those who had spoken up on the boards to forgo the Test of Worthiness and declared she would issue one because she did not believe Sal had the most altruistic of intentions in his pursuit of the title. Loyal Baron Matt Simon stepped up to issue the test, and to the surprise of many, the lone Renegade Baron Maggie Harker did not step in to counter. Maggie explained later that she did not do this because of Salvador's wishes. But one has to wonder after the result if either would want to rethink this strategy, as Matt swiftly dispatched Salvador with a 5-0 victory in 7 rounds. Hope's first defense ends without her having to step into the ring. (Details)

Runner-up in the 2020 Summer All-Ranks tournament Rachael Blackthorne chose the Test-Free Overlord Challenge Grant and in short order, issued challenge to Hope. The Overlord arrived late to the challenge, and without the Test option on the table, opted for a single match to decide who would wear the crown. Perhaps Hope was not completely settled in due to her late arrival, as she gave up the first point in the match. Hope battled back to tie it in the second round, and thus a pattern began where Rachael would take the lead only to see Hope tie the match back up in the following round. This continued until the seventh round, where Hope took her first lead of the match to move to match point, and the next round saw a trading of cuts, which concluded the contest and saw Hope step away with a close 5-4 win. No sooner did Hope retain her title than chatter in the Arena about her next challenge was overheard. (Details)

Hope's next challenge came from the winner of the Fall All-Ranks Tournament. Young Amaris, fresh off winning the tournament and claiming the Overlord Challenge Grant as her prize, wasted little time in using it to challenge Hope by posting a rather well-done and fancily decorated piece of stationary. When the challenge came, Hope offered to let the challenger pick the format between a single duel or best of three, and Amaris opted for the latter. Amaris wore a peculiar bouncy set of armor, and while it protected her from harm, it did not stop Hope in winning the first match 5-0.5 in 8 rounds. The young Warlord came back in the second match, foregoing the defensive suit and literally letting her claws out. The match came to sudden death, and Amaris scored the final point to win 5-4 in 10 rounds. The final match was much more drawn out and both showed caution, and just when it seemed Amaris might be able to literally claw back to take a win, Hope put the match away and won 5-3 in 13 rounds. The third challenge capped off a good month for Hope, as her Real Rhydin team had just weeks earlier claimed a title in the Iron Fists League. (Details)

Hope's next challenge came from a Warlord who had only just moments earlier been named as such. Ria Graziano wasted little time from when she officially became Warlord to challenging for Overlord, and barely beat another challenger to the punch, getting her notice on the board seconds before another. This came on Challenge-tine's Day, when all unchallenged Barons were challenged at nearly the same time. The goal seemed to be simple: defeat the Overlord and/or remove her Loyal Wall. Hope's met her challenger near the end, after most other duels had been decided, and opted to have Loyal Baron Morgan Chae test Ria. Freshly minted Renegade Baron Caleb Feren used his right to intercede, and successfully cleared the way for Ria to meet Hope by dispatching Morgan by a 5-3 score in 10 rounds. The new Warlord was not quite up to the task of dethroning Hope, as though the duel was close in the early goings, Hope scored the final two points of the match to break the deadlock and retain her title, 5-3 in 8 rounds. (Details)

It isn't often that anyone faces two challenges in two weeks, and most often those are challenge queues, but as soon as Hope's defense against Ria was official, she was challenged by Renegade Baron Caleb Feren. It was strongly hinted that Caleb had no desire for the title, but was merely accepting a bounty placed to take the mantle from the Overlord - something that was likely related to his challenge in which he won his Barony. Hope wasted no time in answering the challenge, and the match was set a few days later.

While most were expecting a Test of Worthiness - with two other Renegade Barons ready to intercede - Hope instead opted to take matters into her own hands with a best of three. The first match was close throughout, but Hope continued her momentum from the previous week and took a late lead into a close victory, winning 5-4 in 8 rounds. The second match was not close at all, but it favored the challenger. Caleb got out to a strong 3-0 lead in three rounds, and traded once in the following two rounds to win in dominant fashion, 5-1 in 5 rounds. Heading into the third match, Hope discarded the training sword she had been using in favor of what appeared to be magical green chains. The two duelers traded the lead with Caleb scoring first, falling behind Hope, and then moving out ahead to a 4-3 lead... but the Overlord was not to be denied this defense, and Hope scored the final two points to win 5-4 in 8 rounds. While Hope was obviously happy with the outcome, so too it seemed was Caleb, since it appeared he was paid for the challenge, and winning was not a condition of terms. But still, Hope notched an impressive fifth defense, and earned a break as she would wait to see who the challenger from the All-Ranks Tournament would be. (Details)

Hope's next challenge came from a familiar face: Rachael Blackthorne, winner of the All-Ranks Tournament who claimed the prize of the test-free intercession. With a test off the table, Hope deferred to the challenger to choose the format, and Rachael opted for a best of three instead of the single duel format which was used the last time the two faced off. Hope wasted little time in opening up a lead in the first round with a quick thrust, and maintained the momentum up to a 4-1 lead. Rachael would make no headway in a comeback here, as the two traded blows to end the duel with a 5-2 victory for Hope.

The second duel saw Hope continue her success from the first duel, this time working up a 4-1 lead in four rounds. Rachael, though, was able to show her skill and determination which won her the tournament, and worked her way back to within a point in the next three rounds. Hope was able to avoid a sudden death situation and fend off a third match, as the two traded thrusts to end the duel with a 5-4 score in 9 rounds. After the successful defense, Rachael informed Hope that she would be back, and it seemed that a third match would be on the table between the two. For now, though, Hope's reign as Overlord continued on. (Details)

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