Qor’tul evolves into Zerga’tul.
Ieuan wants to go see about that secret training area to the northeast.
Wood golem + bigcats attack at night. Fire is super effective.
Rock trolls found, but it’s day time, so they’re just statues. Try chipping at their knees some, not working too well, keep moving.
Path up the side of a mountain. Long way up. Door into side of mountain.
Party waits for several days. Eventually they get let in.
Master dude is like, a monk, or something. Also has sweet weapons. Also exists outside the rules of this universe.
Have to do chores for the master guy. Carry bricks up the mountain. Wash laundry and then run it back across some kind of stereotypical hard-to-cross system of small things. And chop some firewood.
Also, no cheating (no using, you know, your actual abilities, like magic and such).
After a few days of failures, people start getting creative.
Krusk figures out how to balance the laundry load a little better.
Kincit decides to challenge a tree to a fight. It charges and takes him out in a few seconds.
Ebix tries carrying bricks up the stairs. Eventually he gets so exhausted that he’s only able to carry a brick by somehow using a bag of holding of sorts on his own body.
Ieuan is really good at getting wood.
After doing enough chores to get significantly worn out, the trials begin. Everyone but Ieuan may skip a trial beforehand after hearing a vague clue about the contents of the trial. Fail any, can’t do any more.
If Ieuan succeeds, gets something really awesome. If others succeed, may become stronger.
First, the 5 elements: air, earth, fire, water, and void.
Then the 3… uh… other things.
Air: Write an epic haiku. Ieuan has one prepared. Everyone else feels somewhat wiser because of it.
Earth: “Let’s see how much punishment you can take.” Kincit: “YES!” … Hit the master 3 times. Ebix summons tons of pokemans, some of which manage to hit the master before getting facepunched. Krusk throws handfuls of rocks, a few of which hit. Kincit does some scimitar mastery and straight-up hits enough times before he can get knocked off his horse. Ieuan also manages to gets the necessary hits in before getting hit too much. Everyone feels tougher.
Fire: (I missed this one.) Something about jumping across hot coals or lava by jumping only on rocks. Requires great dexterity. Kincit decides to skip upon just hearing the element type. After seeing that the actual challenge involves acrobatics and fire, Ebix drops out. Krusk manages to make it across with a few nearly-fatal missteps. Ieuan learns from Krusk’s difficulties and makes it across despite not being as dexterous. Krusk feels more nimble.
Water: Cut a lilypad in half with one blow without getting the blade wet. Krusk throws an ice bomb, freezing the water, allowing him to easily cut a lilypad because the water is now ice. Kincit repeatedly swings his scimitar while waterwalking, getting very slightly closer with each swing, until eventually making a lucky strike. Ieuan pulls out a dagger and mostly cuts one in half, leaving a small strand attached, then blows on it, splitting it in half with a single blow. …yep. They feel smarter.
Void: “You must master your self.” Krusk goes first. He meets a mysterious opponent. Krusk buffs up and starts chucking bombs. The opponent is somehow unnaturally accurate with his attacks and KILLS Krusk after a short fight. He is actually dead. For real. Kincit remembers a story from his childhood or something like that and goes in with just his shield. The opponent, while still very dangerous, seems only half-overpowering. Kincit drops his shield and fights hand-to-hand. After a several missed strikes by both sides, the oppoent stops, bows, and leaves. Ieuan has learned from the others, enters naked, and has a quick spar with the mysterious opponent.
Life+Death? Mind/Soul? Not sure what “elements” these were.: Ieuan has to drink some stuff. He dies. For real. The master has an item which can revive the dead at the expense of the some user(s) of the item’s life force. Ebix and Kincit revive Krusk. Krusk revives Ieuan.
Battle? Bravery? Body? Something which clearly signified a final fight.: Fight against the master. Master is good at counter-attacking and has an instant-kill move, but doesn’t manage to kill anyone important.
Ieuan gets a sweet katana which apparently could even “cut gods”. Also learns learns how to be a Monk (gestalt class).
The others feel much stronger in their convictions as they head back to town.