The contest for the Divine Cornelian took place over EIGHT rounds of elimination and a final traditional round with three contenders where the winner was whoever held the sands when the time was up.
Throughout the contest the level of skill, effort and endurance shown reflected well on all those who took part and I have seen already that those who were using their entry as a learning experience are quickly reaping the benefits in terms of increased confidence and speed of reaction that only such a sustained, high intensity conflict could bring.
Before the night of the gem quest four captains had been pre-selected, they were given the opportunity to select the core of the team that they would be leading. The captains were Salvador (red team), Lukien (green), Vinicius (blue) and Ketch (gold).
The first three rounds were used to whet the appetite of the gem-questers and have them hungering for victory, as well as the points on offer. To unknowingly foreshadow what was to come it was Plaman who was the quickest to the first sands and the first to gain points in the competition and his fellows in the blue team - however, in this first round, as battle began in earnest it was Salvador's team that began to demonstrate what they would do for the whole contest and managed to end the round holding all three sands and despite barely having a scratch had laid waste to the their enemies, the rune-staves of Skippie posing a particular problem.
In the second round, the other teams began to find their feet and put up more resistance, they began to coordinate amongst within their teams more fluidly and the blue team, often quick to the sands found themselves winning the most points in this round. In an exciting end to the round, Vinicius managed to kill Salvador and stealing a sand with just seconds to go on the round - ultimately leaving the blue team with two sands and Skippie of the red team holding the third.
In the third round, the last of the opening sequence of rounds the normal business of the contest resumed with Salvador holding all of the sands at the end having snatched the third sand with the slaying of Flagg of the green team, merely seconds before the end of the round as so often happens. A bitter blow for the greens who had been struggling to gain many points at all by this point.
After a short recess it was time for the first elimination round with both the green and the gold teams knowing they had to out-perform the other to stay in the hunt for the Cornelian, with the greens very narrowly behind the team of Ketch. This round proved one of the more exciting rounds once again, with Salvador's team once again dominating and raining death on their opponents only for Vinicius of the blue team to slay him as he held all three sands with but two seconds to go.
Ketch, mindful of the precarious position his team were in and on the possible verge of being ejected from the team managed to grab one of the now free sands in the very last second. Thus was eliminated the green team, who sadly by now had already been abandoned by their captain, Lukien in an ignoble act. However, the top competitor of the eliminated teams would go forward to a later stage of the contest and in this case that was Flagg who had been unlucky a number of times to have the sands wrestled from his grasp.
In the fifth round of the contest, the gold and the blue team knew that with their scores so close and far behind Salvador's team, they simply had to out-score each other on this round to ensure they ventured further in the competition. Despite fierce competition and frantic efforts, particularly towards the end of the round, Salvador and his red team managed once again to secure a complete victory, inflicting much death on their enemies and ending the round with all three sands.
The gold team, with the lowest points were eliminated from the contest, with Ketch being put forward to a later stage as the most successful of his eliminated team due to finishing with the sands in an earlier round.
With just two teams left the format for the sixth round began to change slightly, and rather than elimination being decided by the team performance it was down to the individual points with the bottom four scoring mortals on the scoreboard being eliminated. From this stage the quality of competitiveness reached a new level and everyone fought hard and well for their right to continue into the competition, many who have previously had relatively little experience in combat exceeded their own expectations.
But, when all was said and done it was Dankus, Plaman, Skippie and Jimrey who were to leave at this turn, Jimrey being a late-addition to a team and short of rounds to push up his point toals. It was at this fateful juncture that Prometheus, weary from his exhaustive effort requested to trade his place in the contest for one of those eliminated, and once having been granted such an opportunity he those the old thief Plaman, newly returned to the land who had impressed him with the many times had managed to steal the sands from under the noses of opposing teams.
At this stage of the contest the best of the eliminated teams returned, Ketch, and Flagg and the contest was down to the final ten contenders. The scores were zeroed and the top five performers were allowed to select a partner from the bottom five to take part in the next round, with the bottom two out of the three partnerships to be eliminated. Salvador fatefully chose Plaman, Khursun chose Ketch, Vinicius chose Flagg, Aerian chose Zamphere and Mirales chose Teryn.
Once again Salvador along with Plaman proved their supremacy over the other teams, securing the sands with relative ease and slaying their opponents for good measure. It was at this stage that the teams of Mirales and Teryn along with Aerian and Flagg began to struggle, they found themselves unable to lay their hands upon the sands and ultimately this proved their downfall, they were eliminated from the contest with the lowest scores.
With just sixth people left as we entered the eighth round it was again very simple, the three partnerships remained as they were and the bottom three performers would be eliminated, leaving a final round of three contenders and a single sand. This was a particularly fiercely contested round and yet, as had happened through much of the contest, the ability to navigate the land and inflict death whilst avoiding it himself proved a great boon to Salvador and his allies.
Ketch, having hold of a sand and thus ensuring that his partnership with Khursun ended up on higher points than the partnership of Vinicius and Flagg, never ventured forth to try and gather more, and yet despite this, if but for one more death of Ketch or one more slay by Khursun it would have been her and not Ketch who joined Salvador and Plaman in the final round.
Finally after such a marathon contest it is no wonder then that it was a question of the fatigue of Prometheus that allowed Plaman a way back into the contest. The final round followed much the same as the others, Salvador dominated, holding the sand for almost the whole round but sadly for the Bard of Thakria he learned that even for an old Thief, if you give them the slightest of chances at the greatest of treasures, they may very well steal it from under your nose.
Written by my hand on the 22nd of Leaflost, in the year 1311.