The Trial is a harrowing task bestowed upon chosen members of Earth upon his or her death. Typically, each Trial consists of six newcomers, called Trialites, each with an assigned role to be discerned by the individual as the Trial progresses.
Introduction to the TrialEdit
Only in the worst cases do new Trialites realize that they are dead and lose their minds completely, succumbing to the inherent darkness of the world and becoming one of its many populating shadowlings. Once the Trialite has accepted this fact, he or she will then begin the journey of self-discovery and of unlocking his or her powers.
The level of shadowlings at this stage is at minimum, presenting almost no challenge to all but the most unprepared of Trialites. Typically, they are small, pygmie-like creatures that, while small, are still fast. If the Trialite is too careless, it is possible to receive shadow-poisoning from these creatures, as with any shadowbeast.
Once the Trialites have banded together (any who have failed to join the congregation are usually overwhelmed later by the rising level of shadowlings), they will notice their powers begin to develop; it is worth noting that not even those who choose the Trialites are aware of what Trialites' powers will be. During this time, Trialites will also discover their signature weapons; however, it is entirely possible to complete a Trial without ever having discovered a weapon, as in the case of Brooke.
Once the Trialites have reached a certain point, they will find themselves compelled to part ways; sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or trios or any combination thereof. These tests are actually built by the emotions and memories of the Trialites, thus forcing them to overcome part of themselves to be able to venture further into the dead life. This test is particularly dangerous because weak-willed Trialites will not be able to see past the ruse. It's not uncommon for a Trialite who performed brilliantly during the Introduction fail to make it past the first test.
Upon completion of the test, Trialites are returned to the shadow world, where they must once again find each other and plan their next steps.
It is during this phase that the Trialites begin to truly develop into their afterlife personae, having obtained a certain level of mastery over their powers and become aware of the rules of their new universe. The shadowbeasts released are now of an upper-tier, requiring extensive cunning, teamwork, and individual power to be able to accomplish their new goal. The goals vary by Trial and participants: They can be rescue or escort missions, or slaying a particular beast. It is up to the Trialites to determine what their goal is.
This is the penultimate stage of the Trial, and is where many Trials have ended completely.
The final stage of the Trial is practical in nature: the world of the afterlife has its outlaws and targets; Shadow Lords are the most frequent of these. The remaining Trialites are pitted against a captured Shadow Lord. It is not unheard-of for a sole survivor of the Becoming stage to face a Shadow Lord alone, though it is indeed exceedingly rare that the lone Trialite best the Shadow Lord and become a full member of the afterlife community.
Regardless the number of Trialites, once the Shadow Lord has been defeated, the truth of the Trial is revealed and Trialites can decide to become a part of the community or be killed on the spot to assume to the highest, uncharted planes of afterlife. This choice is not always obvious, though the choice does exist.
Most Sages can live up to their namesake: They are typically wise and capable of interpreting data in a much more efficient manner than their colleagues. Sages are usually great leaders and skilled in directing the flow of battle or overseeing a large organization with ease. Their powers manifest in ways that enable them to take advantage of their great intellectual and mental capacity. The downside to most Sages is that they are often blind to their own emotions and those of others, often acting in strictly objective manners; this can and has led to dissent between Sages and their inferiors.
Not all Seers have the ability to see the future, but they are often able to see through lies that would stump even the logical prowess of a Sage. They are, in some ways, the exact opposite of a Sage: Seers rely heavily on intuition, which they'll find to be almost always accurate, whereas Sages use powers of reasoning. Seers are also heavily in touch with their emotions and the emotions of their allies; some Seer abilities even allow the manipulation of these emotions.
Protectors are all chosen because they possess one trait that defines them: They all put the needs of others before their own. Protectors are quite used to self-sacrifice and never seem to find the ambition to perpetuate their own advancement, because that would take them away from the people they care about. Protector abilities manifest themselves in ways that separate danger from their charge; the most common of these include teleportation and the creation of magical barriers. Because of their very nature to protect others at all costs, Protectors have the highest mortality rate during Trials.
Warriors are chosen because they exemplify an innate ability to rid an area of unpleasantries. It's common even for pacifists to be chosen as Warriors because they can indirectly combat the source of malady; medical professionals, or even those with a strong interest in medicine, are a good example of this, such as in the case of Shawn. Ocassionally, a pugnacious but kind-hearted individual may be chosen to be a Warrior if his or her potential Trial abilities are thought to be great.
Elementalists are typically resourceful and cunning before their death, and their abilities tend to mirror these traits. Usually, the individual chosen to be an Elementalist comes with a certain fondness of a particular item or genre of items, so it's no surprise that the Elementalist's abilities enable him or her to manipulate these items in exotic and miraculous ways, such as a control over flora, if the Elementalist has an affinity for plants, or a power to control water, if the person was nautically-inclined.
Providers are typically the strangest of all Trialites, because their abilites vary so greatly. Some Providers never really even seem to develop abilities, but possess an uncanny streak of luck; in these cases, they come in high demand - like an accessory to augment a Trialite's resistance to harmful, long-lasting effects or always seem to be just out of reach of an enemy. Providers who do develop active abilities, though, tend to develop powers which allow him or her to procure items beneficial to the team's advancement or visit otherwise unreachable areas. Common active abilities of a Provider include teleportation, flight, speed, or telekinesis.