Episode 1: Trial of Fire – Part 1
The challengers arrive at the main site, the Gates of Fernal. This group is large, but as the shamans know, it will be reduced drastically. More than twenty three candidates are seeking to master the power of fire this year. With this many, the battles will be tough. Many paths lead to the world portal, some may seem easier than others, but all are fraught with danger.
Within the trial grounds are a few, scattered villages made up of people who quit their trial to better support some of the challengers. With the latest group assembled, a spell master arrives at the location to greet them and to warn them of this chosen path.
As the spell master explains the rules, six warriors are making jokes and laughing. These warriors are on their third tryout, they know most of the ground rules. Such rules are simple, challengers may aid or hinder each other during the trial. They can rest in the few villages within the grounds, and finally they must reach the world portal ready for battle. Some of the challengers seem to have been warned and decided to make small groups while others simply began to head off on their own. One such challenger is Lidya.
When she was a child, her parents left her in the care of her grandmother. They left to take the trial. They either completed them or died, no matter what Lidya decided she would test her luck and try this challenge out for herself. After her grandmother passed away, she became desperate. Oftentimes she would approach the Gates of Fernal, only to look at them and run back in fear. One day a man saw her and stopped her from running. He said, “if you train under me you will become a great warrior”. This was something she took as a sign of destiny. Every day, Lidya trained in harsh conditions. She had to bear weights and stand blazing winds. Everything was done so she could withstand the unforgiving volcanic region of Fernal, which hosted the trial of fire. Today, Lidya takes the challenge. She quickly heads off toward the first area she knows will hold something of an advantage for her. Behind her a group of three men move out. They know of this area well. Using the quicksteps she learned from her master, she makes her way. The path she has taken is a more stable ground. Volcanic activity is reduced here. As she makes progress toward a village in the distance, she is met by a road being blocked by lava. She approaches the flow to try and follow it and find a break, but before she can go further a warrior nears behind her.
Warrior – “Give up! Quit the trial while you still live!”
Lidya – “Oh? Was this your doing?”
Lidya pointed to the lava flow. Further behind the warrior, two more approached. They surrounded her and drew their weapons. They each used an ax of varying sizes. The warrior with the heavy, two handed ax moved first taking a swing at Lidya’s head. In a swift motion she dodged the attack and hit her assailant in the back of the head with the back of her fist. He trips on the uneven ground and falls.
Lidya – “I don’t even need my weapons it seems.”
Warrior – “You’ll pay for that! Garrick! Corbin! Help me here!”
Garrick – “Sure thing Gaelin!”
Corbin – “Just do it you idiot!”
The bickering warriors were having as much of a difficult time attacking Lidya. She was fast and had a good grasp of the terrain around her. Garrick moved to swipe with his small hatchet. He was faster, but still not fast enough to catch Lidya. They kept pushing her closer to the lava flow. The heat of the region seemed to intensify with the battle. Her fire magic provides a little protection. Soon she is forced to draw her twin axes. The relentless assault eventually bears fruit for the assailants, a single scratch on the side of her arm.
Lidya – “Pah! This is nothing!”
But as the fight dragged on she noticed something different. Her arm numbed slightly and her senses were beginning to dull. “I have to finish this”, she thought. A poison was assaulting her body. The three warriors cackled, they knew this would be over soon. Little did they know, this spelled their doom. Lidya, angered by this unprovoked attack, charged her magical energies and used the fire magic to empower herself. Corbin tried to make a move to finish Lidya, but he failed. This gave Lidya the chance to strike him with one of her axes on the back of his neck. He fell.
Lidya – “One down, two to go.”
Gaelin – “You insolent girl! You will die!”
Gaelin charged forward in a fit of rage. His heavy ax was no match for Lidya. In one of his swings she sidestepped and the ax buried itself on the ground. Then Lidya unleashed a blast of fire from her hand. The wave of flames burned the skin of Gaelin’s face off. His body slumped forward over his ax. Lidya recalled the ax still stuck on Corbin’s neck. Meanwhile Garrick looked in shock as his two comrades lay dead before him. He looked at Lidya and threw his hatchet at her. Clumsily so, but close enough to make her react and hit it away with a swing of one of her axes. He then charges at her accompanied by fireballs he kept casting. As she walked forward, Lidya redirected some of the fireballs away, except for one which she redirected to his feet. The explosion sent him flying face first to the ground.
Garrick – “Please don’t kill me!”
Lidya – “Do you have the antidote?”
Garrick – “N-n-no, Gaelin said not to bring it, even if we got poisoned ourselves.”
Lidya – “Darn it. Get out of here! I don’t want to see you again.”
Garrick – “O-ok”
Garrick ran away in a panic, the burns on his leg braces clearly visible. Lidya searched for an antidote on the other two, but no luck. No antidote there either. By now the small lava flow had stopped and turned to hot stone. For the moment, Lidya could stave off the effects of the poison, but she would need to find an antidote soon. Perhaps one of the villages further ahead would have something for her.