Episode 9: Trial of Darkness – Part 1
Damien, the deity that Marx had warned about, finally made his full entry into Entralia. His power already disabled the world portals. A number of his soldiers now patrol some of the trial areas. In particular the entrance to the trial of light has been seized. His next target is the area where the portal to the trial of darkness is located.
The Nightmare Warp reveals itself as a version of Entralia filled with a dimmed light, moving shadows, grotesque creatures and emotions that can take shape and attack. The trial of darkness in this dimension forces challengers to face their fears and anger. Most of the creatures here are aggressive. Surviving them is also a part of the challenge. As they traversed through a long valley, Lidya was curious about light and dark magic.
Lidya – “So, what’s stopping me from casting a large light flare to keep the creatures at bay?”
Peter – “Well, I am, because I told you not to do that. The actual reason is to avoid destabilizing the dimension. Concentrated light magic can cause it to expel you somewhere in Entralia.”
Lidya – “That sounds a bit fun actually.”
Lorenzo – “Please do not get any ideas.”
Lidya – “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
Peter – “Light and dark magic are opposing elements. They are connected to our spiritual and emotional energy. This is why the Mindscape was rather mellow compared to the more active Warp.”
Lorenzo – “The creatures here certainly seem quite active.”
Peter – “Yes, shadow creatures in particular prey on the challengers and drain them of energy. We should continue on to those caves further ahead. Once we cross those we should be closer to the council.”
Lidya – “The caves sound like a good place for an ambush. Is there anything we can do about the shadow creatures?”
Peter – “Hmm, experienced dark magic users can learn to charm them. They can even command them to perform specific tasks, but then again, I don’t think we can take the risk of trying. It takes quite a bit of energy and the dark magic enchantments are rather complicated.”
Lidya – “Sounds like you know your stuff.”
The group entered the caves. Every corridor and passage was twisted, one wrong turn and they would get lost. Lidya remained curious about Peter, so she asked him about his past.
Peter – “Not much to say. I had taken the trial of darkness once before. I failed and lost a good friend in the process. I had also failed the trial of light. Both events marked me, yet they bolstered my determination to continue onwards.”
Lidya – “And now you’re here.”
Peter – “Yes. I think the key this time is being able to help you. The training I subjected myself to was well worth the sacrifice.”
Lorenzo – “We are grateful. We would not have been able to reach this point without your help.”
Lidya – “Can you show me some dark magic spells?”
Peter – “Sure thing, you will surely need them.”
While Peter started teaching Lidya some of the more basic dark magic spells a low rumble echoed through the passage. They hurried to what looked like a large open cavern. Before they arrived at the exit a group of shadow creatures cut them off. These creatures were mostly amorphous blobs of dark energy. They move around looking for an opening to strike with dark magic. Peter signaled Lidya to use bolts of dark energy. Meanwhile Lorenzo tried using flames to keep the creatures at bay. Three of the four shadows that attacked had seemingly picked a target. The fourth one remained on the sidelines as if analyzing the situation. Most of the group’s magic was proving ineffective. Lidya even tried a light beam spell, which resulted in the cavern shaking violently.
Peter – “Please don’t try that again.”
Lidya – “I had to try something! These things are relentless!”
Lorenzo – “What will it take to push them away?”
Peter – “I don’t know! This is the part I failed before.”
Lidya – “I have an idea…”
Guided by her instinct and her will, Lidya gathered as much dark energy as she could. Afterwards she closed her eyes and lashed out with her mind. With her eyes closed she had a different form of vision where she could feel and sense the shadow creatures. She noticed the fourth creature and its energy. They seemed to resonate, so she tried something she wasn’t sure would work. The power of creature control allowed Lidya to command the shadow to attack the others. With the creatures now distracted by the attack, the group moved to the offensive. They were able to strike down their opponents, which promptly retreated deep into the cave. Shortly after defeating the shadow creatures and leaving the cavern a stronger rumble shook the ground. The group ran as fast as they could and now found themselves in a valley. Behind them the cavern collapsed and revealed a large hulking beast. Lidya’s shadow creature warned that this beast was far more powerful, but it promised to fight to the last of its energy. The beast has a pair of bat wings and the body of a minotaur, a creature only heard of in legends.
Peter – “This is far worse than what we faced before.”
Lidya – “Our shadow friend will help us, but I don’t think it’ll last long against this thing.”
Lorenzo – “We must muster our strength. No giving up at this point!”
Lidya – “You’re right, let’s give it our all!”
The giant beast started its march towards Lorenzo and the rest. This next confrontation would put their strength and magic to the test. As is the whole point of the trial of course.