Copied from Summary
- Stuck at Home: Getting Out. As soon as the trial is done, Toini and Raoul escapes into the hills to see some old friends of Toini’s and to get out of town for a bit. During a routine scouting mission they encounter a strange presence and get lost in the hills for several days tracking it. Toini meets the shaman of the hills.
This needs to be split into two stories. One for the test, and one for going into the hills. Check “stuck 4.5” for the next part.
- Trial of Faith
When Toini is called to a Trial of Faith she takes up shelter in the clerical cells of the Temple of Telos, but will she find the peace she needs, and what challenges will the trial hold?
This is a story about facing a difficult yet unknown challenge. It’s about trusting in yourself and in what you believe in.
Tropes – Story
Who is Toini this time?
What does Toini want? She wants to get the supid challenge done and over with.
What does Toini need? Vacation, seriously.
- Toini formally accepts the challenge and claims a cell at the temple.
- Toini meditates and prepares. Prince Adrian comes to visit.
- Toini takes, and passes, the Trial of Faith.
A Trial of Faith has been requested and Toini has twenty four hours to acknowledge and accept that the Trial has been issued.
Grumbling about incompetence and red tape she packs her stuff together (a change of clothes and her guns, and not much else). She tells Paivi she’ll get a cell at the temple and won’t be back until after the trial. Paivi tries to put on a show of being worried, but no one falls for it. In the end she just settles for “it’ll be good to have you out of my hair for a while” and everyone’s happy again.
Toini shows up at the temple, accepts the challenge and demands to be given a cell for her preparation. Seemingly no one really thought about that, and it’s a little bit embarrassing for the local church seeing as the press is there to get the scoop on the drama.
Eventually Toini gets a cell though, and she finally gets a bit of peace and quiet. Something she begins to realize she hasn’t had in way too long…
Toini begins to look forward to some time on her own and for a while it’s quiet – maybe a day or so. She’s asked not to be bothered by anyone but Raoul or Paivi from outside of the clergy. And from within, only the high officials and the ones bringing her food will see her.
One day Raoul shows up and lets her know that Adrian has requested to talk to her. He’s been in touch a few times but so far they’ve not actually managed to meet up. Toini grumbles a bit but eventually agrees to receive him. It’s not like she actually has any doubts about the trial anyway, and she’s mostly just locked away to avoid any further undue attention.
Adrian eventually shows up. He’s smuggled in a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers – he’s the prince after all (Mari would kill him). They sit around and chat for a while. Toini talks a little about what she does. Adrian a little about what’s happened since last. He mentions their old officer from the air station is now in the camp in Gotecan Hills and Toini asks if maybe he can arrange for her to go visit. She doesn’t want any more attention than she’s already had and it’d be good to be out of the city.
Toini avoids mentioning Roy.
It’s clear to both of them that they’re past any romantic involvement. Adrian might have been interested, but Toini’s not in that place anymore, and Adrian’s not too fussed. He’s still pretty keen on the idea on joining her for a bit of adventuring though, but Toini puts a stern stop to that line of thought as fast as she can.
It’s time for Toini to perform the Trial of Fate. She’s spent the last 24 hours in isolation and meditation and she’s as ready as she’ll ever get.
The Trial takes place in the main hall of the Cathedral of Telos. Telos is the god of wealth, power, and responsibility. Ek is the god of nature. Up here in the north Telos stands in very high regard whereas Ek is almost completely unknown. For the most part, Anja (Anna) fills the place Ek would have had he been more well known.
The great hall is filled to the brim. It’s not often paladins come this way and it’s even more rare that one of them will have to stand a Trial. Everyone who is someone wants in on it.
Toini does a little speech, saying how she’s seen that people here are strong and wealthy, but how they’re failing at taking responsibility for the world around them. Essentially, she’s reprimanding the entire clergy for failing to honor all of the three aspects of Telos. As she talks, birds come flying in from somewhere, mice and rats and squirrels and other animals living within the city comes in. The wild animals that you don’t keep as pets. They all gather around and she welcomes them and they settle in around her.
She says something about how they shouldn’t forget about everyone else they share their world with, and then she just stands there.
People start muttering and then the marble floor cracks open and a great oak shoots up towards the ceiling.
Optionally, Toini is called upon to prove herself in the cathedral of Telos and to show in front of his holiness that she speaks with divine authority. Toini says how she knows Telos and his ways well. She says she fought against Veronica in Komost, and she fought beside John Goode in the Black Revolution. Both claims are somewhat shocking to those who weren’t aware.
She says how she stands in front of the migth of Telos with the full support and power of Ek at her side, and how she has no fear. She then goes on to scold the local clergy for failing their responsibilities towards the world around them and how they don’t look to nature and the environment in their pursuit of wealth and power. This causes even more uproar.
As she speaks, the twigs in her hair grows wider and burst into bloom. She reaches up, plucks a barb from a branch and the pricks the palm of her hand on the barb. She reaches out her arm and drips blood on the marble floor of the hall, and where her blood falls, flowers begin to grow, and then grass between the flowers, and a small tree shoots up. She ends on how nature is always present and must always be remembered.
Note: don’t make this too preachy.
End with how it all comes together quite nicely and how there’s really no doubt Toini is a paladin now.
As soon as she’s cleared she departs, gets a new set of clothes from the pub and heads off into the mountains.