In the years that follow, historians will no doubt want to dissect the events of the past few days with a fine comb. For this reason, I will try and recount my version of them to the best of my ability.
It began five days ago. It was the day I was finally going to be brought up to the Cave of Trials, where I would be tested as a true hero. I had been there before, but I failed the test and so was required to repeat my last year at the Academy. This time would be different.
I was led by Shagold Stoneheart, one of the instructors at the Academy. With me were three other students who were to graduate that day; Hinny the Changeling Bard, Willow Ashwood the Gnome Rogue, and Ubashu the Shardmind Psion. They seemed a competent lot, so I was not worried of the challenge ahead. It was a long trek up the path to the base of the mountain that took us about eight hours.
When we entered the cave at the base of Mount Kalem we were faced with a long hall that we had to cross. This was the hall trials, and the first test. There were a dozen barriers between us and the end of the hall, each requiring a different type of skill. Though passing through each obstacle was no easy task, together we made it to the end.
Moving on to the next area we came across someone else in the cave. A man named Quinn who had formerly been a member of the League but was kicked out due to behavior problems. It seems that he wanted to go through the trials for his own personal reasons and had made it this far on his own. His help would later prove instrumental. The second test placed us in combat with four coloured skeletons. They died quickly, but just as quickly reanimated. To stop them for good, we had to push each one into one of four pits that shared the colour of the skeleton. This might have been hard if not for the Shardmind, who had psionic abilities to posh them with his mind.
Our third test was one of faith and patience. We were in an enclosed room with many things to interact with along the walls. Almost immediately following our entrance the room closed off and the ceiling began to descend. The objects surrounding us were ultimately just distractions, and the true way out appeared to only wait. Our friend the rogue didn’t like waiting, and so she expertly picked the locks on the door to the next area and we got out that way. It seems our teachers mean for us to learn there is more then one way to accomplish the same goal.
Our fourth test was a test against our ability to see through lies. An Eladrin woman was locked away in a cage with a massive drake in the far end of it. The drake had already eaten the other person in the cave, as evident by the bones that laid about, and was sleeping for now. The woman begged us to let her out but something about what she was saying rang untrue to me. I was cautious. However one of the others opened the cage anyway, and when they did the drake disappeared and the Eladrin’s features changed to be a mangled Eladrin Vampire. She immediately jumped at us, clawing for our throats. It would have been much easier to just leave her in there, but thanks to the extra help from Quinn we vanquished her and moved to the next and final test.
Our fifth and final test placed us in a strange fighting ring, platforms elevated above the ground and spinning around in multiple directions. There we had to fight a mutated Bullywug and some Stirges that called this cave home. Staying up on the platforms during the fight was the most difficult part of the challenge but we managed to balance and fight at the same time, eventually subduing the Bullywug and the Stirges alike.
When we did an image appeared before us. The image was that of one of the world’s greatest heroes of the past, and one of the founding members of the League. He told us that we had past the final test and that we have earned the right to call ourselves heroes. A portal appeared below him, to which he said would bring us back to the Academy, where a celebration awaits us.
We all passed through, eager to see what would happen next.
Little did we know it was something none of us expected.