From the trials of death, we are delivered.
We pushed ourselves to fight on and prove our worthiness to our Dark Lady.
We were able to complete a ritual to balance the stamina of our party amongst all. Not only a sound strategy, but also in hindsight I think this is a metaphor for the lessons these trials are to impart to us: we must rely on each other to fulfill our duties.
Our fifth trial saw us divided again in a broad hall, with niches on either side. The niches contained icons we needed to reposition in niches on the other side of the hall. The task was complicated by a strong team of skeletons, many of which radiated a dangerous aura of flame. We were able to exploit their flame aura to harm their compatriots.
After defeating the foes, the fifth challenge was done.
We pushed on to what would prove to be our final test. We were able to start together. Each of us had an aura of power about us, which we needed to transfer to sacred statues in two corridors at opposite ends of the chambers we found ourselves in through demonstration of devotion in two positions. We were challenged by a couple of zombies and a small flock of horrible, undead stirges.
I called up the most potent protective blessing I had remaining to lay over the whole group. While it would prove taxing to maintain throughout the encounter, I believe it was likely the best contribution I could provide. It is proving my own personal challenge that I must realize my position in the party requires me to recognize that supporting the others in the group is more vital than striking down foes with my axe. I never realized this would be so difficult for me to deal with, but I must find a way to rise to the challenge and grow into my role.
With heroic effort, Hali and Dirge held the middle with passing assistance from others, until the rest of us were able to return from working on performing our devotionals to assist in holding off the enemies. In the end we prevailed as a team, and decided to exercise some wisdom and call that battle our last. Our foes had been growing stronger, our skills tested more sorely, and our resources were growing thin…
We passed through the portal and found ourselves in another circular chamber, where we were greeted by the cloaked figure in black again. He said the Raven Queen was pleased with our performance, but they believed that we would be sorely pressed if we continued on our current path of investigation. Beyond the enchanted items we received in reward for completing trials, we received a powerful blessing that would help us to hold off the call to pass to the Queen’s realm if we are gravely wounded in battle, though only until the close of the year.
Once we passed back through the portal, we found ourselves flanked by temple guards, standing behind the altar where we originally left the cathedral. We were informed that we had been missing for some six days. We will meet with the Abbess in the morning. For now some of my companions have gone off for a few hours of well-deserved sleep. Myself, I will spend the remainder of the night in prayer. I don’t think I could sleep if I tried.