The next morning, after dreaming again about the gods calling them on their quest, a few members of the new party of adventurers compare notes and realize that they’re having similar dreams. Sojourn is very cheerful about it, saying that they’re on the right path and the Armadillo is leading them. Cecily is grumpy, but this is not unusual.
The map shows Verimal that they must travel off the beaten path into the wilderness, which makes Sojourn happy. After traveling through rocky and mountainous terrain, they eventually come to a narrow, hidden valley. The cliffs above them are dotted with many nests. Eagle’s nests, as a matter of fact. As they watch, an eagle flies from one of the nests and comes toward them. As it nears, they see that the eagle is massive, and upon it rides a man with long white hair and the robes of a wizard of the Eagle.
The man dismounts and introduces himself as Uthar Madragos, wizard of the Golden Eagle. His giant eagle’s name is Harax. He’s here to preside over their trials, which they must pass in order to continue on to the royal valley. There are three trials, The Trial of the Goat, The Trial of the Bear, and The Trial of the Eagle.
Verimal knows enough about religion to know that the Goat is a regional god, god of mountains, hunger, greed, and surefootedness. The Bear is the goddess of winter, motherhood, and death. The Eagle is the goddess of air, travel, anger, and hatred.
For the Goat’s trial, the travelers have to climb a cliff and cross a narrow stone bridge without the use of magic. It’s a physical feat, testing their strength and agility. Uthar flies to the top of the cliff and watches from above to make sure they don’t cheat. The party makes it up, with Bella doing most of the heavy lifting.
For the Trial of the Bear, the party faces two frost giants. This is a little more difficult, but they pass this test as well.
Uthar tells them, “You have done well. You have passed the trials of Goat and Bear. But for your final trial, you must defeat me.” He leaps on Harax and flies away, already casting a spell as he goes.
It’s a long battle, ranging all over the valley. Uthar summons various creatures to fight the group, and they continually try to attack him instead. Eventually he is knocked unconscious and slumps over Harax, who flies away, deeper into the mountains.
The group doesn’t have to wait long wondering what to do… In a few moments, they hear the popping sound of people teleporting here from far away. It is a group of Barvan soldiers, in golden epaulets and winged helmets. They part to reveal a beautiful lady in their center. She is relatively young, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and introduces herself as Lady Rara. She is here to guide them to Eagle’s Nest.
Next – Chapter 3: The Secret Fortress