Astria

Entry 1: The First of Many Trials

From the records of Trevor Amergin, a chronicler for the Adventurer’s Guild

Today saw the induction of four new members into our ranks though time has yet to tell exactly what sort of adventurers they will turn out to be.

They are:

Balanar Snow
Beldan Onyxfist
Jevyn
Serk

Personally, I have some doubts as to the wisdom of forming a party comprised of a vengeful fugitive sorcerer, a compulsively gambling dwarf, a one armed mad scientist, and a half-orc fighting his innate savage nature. However, these decisions are not made by lowly chroniclers, and given our low recruitment numbers as of late, I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

It was in the early hours when Head Instructor Dolgrun fetched the four from their rooms in the trainees quarters. Many stairs later and the party stood before the Room of Trials where every other adventurer before them had stood and been tested. Dolgrun warned them of what was to come. There would be three trials: one of might, one of wits, and one of will.

It should be noted that while the chamber is perfectly safe (merely some illusions whipped up by the men down in the research division), trainees hoping to become official acting members of the Guild must accept the trials as reality and act accordingly. From what I’ve read of those who have failed the trial of might, illusionary death feels about as authentic as the real thing (minus the end bit, of course). And if that’s not enough incentive, the overseeing instructor monitors the party closely. Those do well become official guild sanctioned Adventurers with exceptional performance rewarded with signing bonuses. Those who do not pass muster are sent back into training or gently encouraged into other employment. Makes me glad us paper jockeys only had to pass a written exam.

Anyway, armed with only their basic equipment, the party stepped into the dark room as Dolgrun shut the stone door behind them. Not a moment later, the first trial manifested itself in the form of a dingy dungeon filled with cracked stone columns and, though the party had yet to see them, four giant spiders hiding in massive webs on the ceiling. As the others’ eyes adjusted to the light, Beldan moved forward toward the center of the room while Serk surveyed the area. Only a hastily barked warning from Serk stopped Beldan from stepping into a sticky, translucent web. Unfortunately, the noise roused the spiders who descended from the ceiling, hungry for their next meal. Any hope of surprise spoiled, Balanar cast light so that he and Jevyn might be able to see in the dark room, and they prepared to face their foes.

The spiders advanced on all sides with Beldan rushing out to meet one as Jevyn peppered another with crossbow bolts. Beldan’s axe struck true, embedding itself into the spider’s brain. Serk, meanwhile, barely managed to dodge a web flung at him as he concentrated on summoning a flaming sphere. Wheely, Jevyn’s mechanus, grabbed the spider weakened by Jevyn’s bolts and tore it in two, pieces of spider dangling from the legs clutched in its mechanical hands, and providing Balanar and Jevyn with an opportunity to prepare their next attack.

It was at this moment I asked Dolgrun if he should really have let Wheely in, given that the automaton was like having another person in the party. He replied that we did not separate animal companions or familiars from their masters and that Wheely was no different. He would be no help in the next two trials anyways. I held my tongue but it still seemed unfair.

Two spiders remained. One advanced towards Beldan who had now moved in front of Serk. It lashed out with poisonous fangs only to bite down on the heavy oak of Beldan’s shield. Wheely stood between the other spider and its prey. Seeing way past it bit Wheely, dealing only superficial damage and recoiling that the taste of Wheely’s cold metal armor. A swift punch from the robot crumpled part of the creature’s thorax and several of its legs, bringing it to the edge of death. Jevyn attempted to finish off the beast only to have his bolt go wide. However, Balanar managed to finish it off with a well-timed magic missile. With Beldan missing his counterattack against the final spider, it looked like glory for the last kill was up for grabs as Balanar unsheathed his rapier and hurried forth. Before he had the chance though, Serk’s flaming sphere appeared, cooking the last remaining spider in its shell.

With the final enemy slain, the spider’s corpses began to glow and gathered in a soft, warm light, transforming into a golden goblet before dropping to the dungeon floor with an unceremonious clank. Drawn by the glitter of gold, Beldan reached out for the treasure. As his hands clasped the goblet, the glow grew until it became a blinding light that consumed the chamber and everyone in it.

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