UNKNOWN – The fate of the Amarr Empire was decided this weekend as the first round of the Amarr Succession Trials concluded with the emergence of five champions, each possibly representing the next Emperor of the Amarr Empire. The champions are: For the House of Doriam Kor-Azor, Ecliptical of MASS; for the House of Idonis Ardishapur, Detaitiv of BIG; for the House of Jamyl Sarum, Shrike of Evolution; for the House of Davit Tash-Murkon, Con’Mal of Everlasting Vendetta; and for the House of Temal Kador, Warhound of Pak. The galactic implications for the outcome of these trials are enormous, as not only will the victor of these Trials determine which of the Heirs shall rise to power, but also which Heirs are doomed to death by suicide as required by Amarr tradition.
The Trials were held at an undisclosed location far beyond Empire space borders. The “arena” was a 40km by 40km area of space with a perimeter marked off by specialized force field arrays. The arrays used warp-scrambling and stasis-webifying technology to prevent combatants from leaving the field of engagement. Columns constructed of steel-reinforced asteroids on either side of the arena marked the starting points of both the “Red” and “Blue” teams. Ships were forbidden from moving or locking targets until specifically ordered to do so. When both teams were in position, a ten-second countdown commenced, after which the opposing fleets—each composed of 4 frigates—engaged each other in combat.
Some last minute tournament changes—specifically, the new rule disallowing the use of sensor dampeners and energy neutralizers--forced some teams to abandon the tactics they had practiced for weeks in preparation for the Trials. House of Sarum combatants were especially challenged with the late rule change, as they competed first in the Trials.
The teams deployed a variety of tactics, weapons and ship configurations with varied success. The frigate of choice was the Punisher, and most teams divided their ships into pairs of long-range “snipers” with EM penetrating weapons and “tanks” with shorter ranged, high-damage weapons and shield hardeners.
The result was a brutal yet magnificent display of naval warfare, as the objective of both teams was nothing less than the unconditional destruction of the other side. In some cases, the arena was littered with the frozen corpses of fallen gladiators—dead not from the hands of their victorious opponents, but from having committed ritual suicide as a result of being defeated in Trial combat. Lopsided battles became increasingly rare as the rounds advanced closer to the finals, at which point every victory was attained by the narrowest of margins. The team leaders, all of which were Amarr citizens, were fearless and fought as though answering directly to a higher providence. There was a passion in these trials that few outsiders have been privy to; it revealed the very soul of Amarr, and the conviction of their beliefs cannot be questioned. All of the combatants were gracious to one another even in defeat, wishing the victors well and praising the name of the House they fought so fiercely to represent.
Even as the Amarr Succession Trials continue to unfold before the eyes of the galaxy, the governments of the other states remain ominously quiet. No officials could be reached for comment, and more importantly, none of the Heirs would respond to our request for statements. A date for the final rounds has not yet been released.