Event synopsis: Maria Nearl

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Maria Nearl
Maria Nearl event.png
Consumption and entertainment suffuse the modern land of the knights.
For the sake of her family's prestige,
a young Maria Nearl embarks on the path to the Kazimierz Major.
However, the young lady has yet to realize the meaning the word "knight" now carries,
nor is she aware of the inner workings of modern Kazimierz......
A long and arduous journey lies ahead of Maria.

A New Challenger Appears!

The Nearls' creed: "Fear neither hardship nor darkness!"

It's the 24th season of the trillenial Kazimierz Major, an annual competitive jousting event held in Kazimierz that could make or break a knight's life. During this time, the famed Pegasian Kuranta family, House Nearl, were in danger of losing their knighthood due to the absence of a Knight Primus since Margaret Nearl, the Radiant Knight, were exiled from Kazimierz. To save the Nearls, Margaret's sister Maria decided to participate in the Major without consent from her uncle Młynar and supported by her aunt Zofia the Whislash Knight as well as the Nearls' accomplices which includes the Ursus ex-craftsman Kowal, the half-Nightzmora ex-campaign knight Vogelweide, and the Liberi bartender and ex-competitive knight Marcin.

Nonetheless, the news of Maria's participation in the Major draws the public's interest and hopes that the young knight could come close, if not match, the Radiant Knight's legendary performance. Unbeknownst to the public however, an intrigue involving the Kazimierzian corporates sponsoring the Major for their own interests, all of which are part of the General Chamber of Commerce, is happening behind the scenes, which could be detrimental to Maria's professional career.

Maria Nearl vs. the Plastic Knight

Maria's Major debut happened in the first match of the preliminaries, where she is pitted against Szewczyk the Plastic Knight from the Roar Knightclub. Before the match, Zofia who acted as Maria's second warned Szewczyk to not underestimate Maria.

On the match itself, Maria was initially overwhelmed by Szewczyk's tactics of withstanding attacks with his nigh-impenetrable armor while barraging her with crossbow shots and attacking her in melee at times until she noticed a flaw with Szewczyk's armor. Maria exploited the flaw by forcing Szewczyk to exert himself so the armor would overheat and leaves him helpless in close combat, allowing her to defeat the Plastic Knight and scoring her first victory. Maria's performance also piqued the interests of Sona the Flametail Knight and Greynuty the Ashlock Knight, members of the Infected knightclub Pinus Sylvestris.

While celebrating her first victory alongside the Nearls' accomplices, a salaryman named Malkiewicz approached Maria and offered her a deal to join the Eszeweria K.C. jointly sponsored by Słoma Food Co. and the Kazdel-based MARTHE, but despite the potential benefits, Maria refuses to accept the offer to not tarnish the Nearls' honor.

Maria Nearl vs. the Brassrust Knight

The second match pits Maria against Olmer Ingra the Brassrust Knight from the Bloodboil K.C., infamously known for his brutality. Despite Zofia's concerns and advice to forfeit the match, Maria fights on nevertheless. Sure enough, Olmer was able to overwhelm Maria with his relentless attacks, giving her almost no chance to retaliate, but Maria refuses to give up and fights with all she have. In the end, Maria is knocked out but Olmer also passes out due to fatigue, resulting in a draw.

In order to bolster her score aggregate to progress further, Maria participates in the Fireblade Melee battle royale under Zofia's advice. During this time, Maria also comes face-to-face with Sona as the two fight their way through other knights and each other, with Maria's determination throughout the bout being enough to impress Sona as she learned that the Zalak is an Infected. However, the revelation also caught the attention of the Kazimierz National Council who sent the Armorless Union to "clean things up" while Malkiewicz warned Zofia that the Council also have their eyes set on Maria.

Later Maria and Zofia had a fallout regarding the former's participation in the Major, followed by an argument between Maria and Młynar about the same subject. Meanwhile, Szewczyk expresses his disdain for his removal from the Roar K.C.'s lineup before being hospitalized after an "incident", and the A.U. assassin Platinum makes her move towards the Ashlock and Flametail Knights.

Maria Nearl vs. the Left-handed Knight

Maria's next opponent has been decided to be Tytus Topola the Left-handed Knight, and in the meantime, the Council's speaker Czarny visits Marcin's bar to inform Maria about it and offered her more proposals to join the Kazimierz General Chamber of Commerce-sponsored knightclubs, but she turned them down. Right after Czarny leaves, Sona and Greynuty seek refuge on Marcin's bar after their encounter with Platinum leaving the two Infected knightesses injured.

"I won... and for what...? Fame...? Money...? Honor...?"

On the match between her and Tytus, the Left-handed Knight turned out to be a formidable opponent for Maria, who struggles to hold him at bay and eventually on the verge of losing, but Zofia's encouragement and her realization that she is a proud Pegasus who must not fear no hardships nor the darkness as stated by the Nearls' creed allowed Maria to renew her resolve and put up a good fight against the Left-handed Knight, eventually defeating him after a dragged-out match. As Maria questions what does she receive for competing in the Major, Zofia came to her side and apologizes for being too harsh with her.

"...Would anyone want to have a meeting in such a boring, historical place?"

Later that night, Czarny invites Platinum to the Champion's Wall where they discussed about the famous MVPs of the Major, including the three-time MVP Degenbrecher the Black Knight who is now in the service of Enciodes Silverash from Kjerag, and the last Major season's MVP Dikaiopolis the Blood Knight, before the Speaker orders Platinum to carry out her mission and keep a close watch to Młynar.

Maria Nearl vs. the Executioners

As for her next match, Maria was pitted in a team battle against the Snowyheel K.C. where she was to be paired with the rising knightess Justyna Valentine the Fartooth Knight. However, on the day of the match, Maria was forced to fight alone after Justyna reportedly disappeared following a violent brawl, and by this point, the National Council had seen Maria as a threat to the status quo in the Major, and in an effort to dispose her, made the twin Sarkaz "executioners", the Corrupted and Withered Knight, Maria's opponents instead. The Nearls' accomplices realized that Maria is in danger after learning about what happened to Justyna and attempted to save her, but was stopped by Platinum.

What happened in the arena is no longer a match, but a one-sided torture where the twin Sarkaz knights relentlessly assaults Maria, leaving her battered and badly injured whilst the twins' Arts prevent her from even fighting back effectively. At this rate, death is all but certain to Maria.

Return of the Radiant Knight

The Pegasus sisters, reunited and fighting side-by-side

However, as Maria's fate is seemingly decided, all of a sudden someone crashed into the arena, who managed to overpower the twin Sarkaz knights. That person is revealed to be none other than Margaret Nearl, the Radiant Knight herself, who had returned to Kazimierz not only to save Maria, but also restore honor to all Kazimierz. Now fighting together, the Nearl sisters were able to defeat the Corrupted and Withered Knights. As the spectators welcomed Margaret with a jubilant celebration after their "victory", the Nearls' accomplices and Zofia joins them, the former were able to proceed after Margaret's sisters-in-arms of the Followers, Nightingale and Shining, "persuades" Platinum to back off, before returning to the Nearls' residence where Margaret settles the "old scores" with Młynar.

The Radiant Knight's return also caused a huge stir in Kazimierz: Czarny was unceremoniously fired and exiled out of his failure, allowing Malkiewicz to succeed him as the Speaker of the Kazimierz National Council; Pinus Sylvestris is preparing themselves to strike back in the Kazimierzian Infected's name; and Rhodes Island who had sheltered Margaret arrives in Kazimierz, setting the stage for Near Light.