Order of Palar
The Order of Palar is an order of swordmasters whose members are called paladins.
Each paladin wields one of the legendary wind-blades of Palar. It is believed that any who wields a wind-blade can use particular motions of the blade to create quick bursts of wind to deflect enemies and projectiles - such as a hail of arrows - making them among the most prized weapons for any swordmaster.
The windblades are:
The city of Palar has an arena which holds the Palar Tournament once a year, attracting challengers the world over. The prize: induction into the order and possession of a wind-blade. One member in the challenge is always the defending champion, selected at random from among the paladins of the order. None of the other members may be paladins. If the defending champion is eliminated, he is stripped of his title, his membership in the order, and his windblade - incentive for all the paladins to keep their skills sharp. At least one other paladin is present at the event, who is Lord Overseer for the arena for the duration of the tournament. The Lord Overseer provides the second wind-blade (the defending champion providing the first), and ensures the fairness of the competition.
The first round is a free-for-all which is declared to stop the moment the 65-th contestant is eliminated, leaving 64 competitors for the elimination rounds. The final three rounds of the tournament are fought with the two wind-blades present at the competition (one from the Lord Overseer and one from the defending champion, even if he is eliminated prematurely).
Because of this tournament, membership in the Order - which has eight members - usually is challenged every eight years, and only the most skilled swordmasters in the land may obtain or retain their title.