Warrior Ceremony is third stage of Journey of Life and Death.
The warrior ceremony is held at the old land of the heroes, also known as the final grounds.
The desert tribes consider this a holy land, only those who pass the coming of age ceremony may participate, and the ones who pass the warrior ceremony can earn fame not only in their tribes, but throughout the desert.
They also receive a piece of power passed down by the ancestors, it is rumored that the stronger power are given to those who pass higher levels. The nature of the power is unknown because for some reason the ones who passed never revealed their powers to the public.
About 6 out of 10 warriors do not return. Participation in the ceremony is a great honor. Because it's held every three years and each tribe doesn't send any more than ten warriors.
- Protect the women and children.
- The responsibility to ensure your tribe's survival.
- the patience to wait for the right time.
- The sacrifice needed to protect your comrades.
- The will to never give up until you succeed
- The trust to leave your back to your allies.
- The honesty to never betray your allies.
The Warrior Ceremony consists of eight trials during Yulian's participation, though this number may be larger than usual due to a high number of soldiers from the continent. Typically the Desert Tribes sent less than 10 worthy warriors to participate each year, but the continental kingdoms sent hundreds, forcing the Shire tribe to adjust their practices in order to reduce the number of participants and maintain the integrity of desert tradition.
The First TrialEdit
The first trial transports the participants to a forested area where they must pass a test based on simple combat.
- Competitors have until moonrise to pass the trial.
- To pass a competitor can earn 10 points or survive undefeated through the trial.
- 1 point is earned for killing an enemy.
- 2 points is earned for neutralizing an enemy without killing them.
- 245 Warriors pass.
- Shuaruri Tribe earns 130 points earning a group advantage in the next trial.
- Yulian earns 32 points, earning a personal advantage.
- Many participants from the continents eliminated.
The Second TrialEdit
After being transported to a ritual area listing the Warrior's Code, the warriors are brought to a similarly forested area, this time filled with powerful Magical Beasts. The warriors are placed in a magically protected space within the forest with the beasts unable to enter.
- Participants must survive for 7 days.
- Participants cannot kill anyone.
- If they do kill someone they must kill at least 3 to pass.
Though the trial seems simple, the participants are only given enough food for 50 people at most, resulting in a great deal of infighting over the food. Yulian and the Shuaruri are awarded food individually for their personal advantage in the First Trial. This trial aims to force participants to leave the safety of the magical barrier in order to hunt for food and survive, proving themselves worthy warriors and experienced in desert survival. The Pareia group temporarily allies with Gahan and the Dupure tribe and pass easily.
- 84 Warriors Pass.
- Most of the participants from the continents are eliminated.
- All those successful can resign safely and be given proof of their achievement.
The Third TrialEdit
The surviving warriors are brought to a rest area full of food, weapons, and nice living quarters. They are told that the next trial will begin within three days, and that from this point onward they will not be able to forfeit during the trials. To the surprise of many, the next trial begins within a half hour, though thanks to Trickle's analysis the Pareia group is prepared. The Third Trial again takes place in a forested, mountainous region.
- Reach a mountain temple within a month.
- The temple will be indicated by a magic arrow.
Curiously, it is stated that one can forfeit at any time, despite the opposite being stated at the end of the Second Trial.
At the beginning of the trial, the Pareia group is surprised by an attack of Poison Fog - an illegal interference by Ranoia and a spell far more powerful than should be seen in this level of the trial. Trekol and Yulian manage to disperse the poison, but Yulian is poisoned, forcing him to stay behind while the others reach the temple. The Five Brothers try to kill him, but Yulian manages to survive with the help of Keredos and the Vega warriors.
- 78 Warriors pass.
The Fourth TrialEdit
- The Trial will begin 12 hours after the Third ends.
- Warriors can henceforth forfeit at any time, but will not be rewarded if they resign mid-trial.
- Warriors cannot speak or make a sound.
Before the trial begins, Trekol leaves as he cannot fight without spell incantations. Marudun sends home the knights he think might have potential for their safety, keeping the rest as meat-shields. A curative magic field is is set-up to remove the poison from Yulian.
The Fourth Trial begins suddenly, transporting the warriors to a wasteland area where they are surprised by ghostly reaper illusions - any that utter sounds of surprise or speak are teleported away. After fighting through illusory monster, the warriors move through a hidden door and enter an open chamber. The light within the chamber begins to to go off and on, inciting the more bloodthirsty competitors to attack in the darkness and eliminate the competition. Many rivalries and alliances come to a head here and gradually most of the competitors are drawn into a shadowy melee.
The Fifth TrialEdit
Before the trial begins, it is announced that it will be an individual test. The Pareia tribe attempts to treat Pere's wound but ultimately he is forced to withdraw due to the injury. Thrint refuses to wake up, and the group elects to have him surrender as well.
The Warriors are brought to a mysterious room with two doors that open into dark voids.
- The test must be performed individually.
- No one may attack another participant.
- Enter the door on the left, exit through the door on the right.
In a randomly selected order, the warriors pass through the door and face an unknown trial before coming out through the second door at a seemingly random time interval if they succeed.
Though the trial for each person is unknown, Yulian goes through a sort of obstacle course of freezing temperatures, booby traps, an octopus-like tentacle monster, and a magical demon barrier. It proves no challenge for him, and it is likely that he finished more quickly than any contestant.
- 18 warriors pass. (unofficial count but at this point only named or otherwise notable characters remain)
The Sixth TrialEdit
When all participants finish (or presumably fail) they are brought to a new room. The room opens onto a barrier that separates the room from a dark forested area.
- The trial begins as soon as each participant leaves the room.
- Participants may not turn around until they reach the finish line.
The set up of this trial creates an interesting dilemma due to the now bloody rivalries between groups. Whoever leaves first is in great danger if they have an enemy behind them as they cannot turn around to fight, so determining the order in which they leave the barrier, as well as how well they can run - or fight while running.
Haisha proves the quickest to act and enters first, Yulian has Shubeon follow him and then stands a dramatic guard at the entrance to protect their backs by intimidating the other contestants. He allows Keredos to pass as well. Then Hilay and her uncle, as well as Hebina enter together (as Yulian regards their group neutrally) and are followed by Gahan. After a face off the Inama Prince pressures the quadruplets into going as he knows their secret, and creates a relatively safe competitive order. Yulian will follow the brothers, then the Slav and Palemore, the other Shuaruri, the prince will follow them, and in turn be chased by the cannibal, while the prince's head knight, Boyes will follow last. After they all depart, trouble goes down.
Boyes and Jinechel fight in the base, as Inama intended. Boyes is killed and eaten.
Hilay and Hebina fight side by side while running, Hebina stabs Hilay's uncle and holds him hostage to escape her and Gahan. Hebina is able to reach the finish before they can stop him.
Haisha and Shubeon pass unaccosted. Keredos fires arrows up to delay Hebina.
The brothers turn to attack Yulian, but he outruns them.
The Shuaruris and Inama pass without incident, and Jinechel comes in last, much to the Prince's annoyance.
- 16 warriors pass.
- Hilay's uncle dies at the hand of Hebina.
- Boyes is killed by Jinechel.
The Seventh TrialEdit
Before the Trial, two teams of eight are created from the remaining participants, and it is reccmoneded they form truces and fight together.
Shubeon and Hebina both forfeit as they do not trust their respective teams.
Prince Inama warns Yulian about the apparent quadruplets - and the five names listed.
The Seventh trial takes place in a snowy environment and consists of waves of powerful Demon Beasts, which prove a challenge to fight on their own. Yulian realizes what the Prince told him, and is able to reveal the invisible fifth brother - Vera - to the magical beasts which quickly devour him. He is able to split up Ver and Vero and they also fall to the the horde. The rest of the participants survive until the arrival of an unexpected challenge.
It is somewhat unclear if the Dragon is an official part of the trial or a side effect of the wrongful intervention of both Noya and Ranoia (Based on the overwhelming power of the beast, and it's completely unexpected appearance it seems to be an interloper in the Ceremony), but with the Shire Tribe in shambles it serves to reduce the number of surviving warriors - as only one can move on to the final trial.
The pressure of the Dragon's first roar stuns all the participants except for Yulian (who defends with his Heavenly Aura). Yulian helps Haisha and Gahan escape safely. Keredos is able to free herself and leaves as well.
Maradun duels with Jinechel and nearly kills him until the Shuaruri step in, Yulian steps in to aid the prince. The two sides fight until the Dragon interrupts, allowing the cannibal to escape and killing Palemore. The Prince releases his true form and manages to resist the dragons attacks with increased abilities and magic equipment. Slav attempts to attack the dragon but is completely outmatched by it's magic and must be saved by Yulian twice before escaping through the portal. Hilay repels an attack of the dragons using a powerful ability, but is exhausted and chooses to flee. Marudun and Yulian fight the dragon as best they can, but can barely delay the beast. The Prince leaves after his magic weapons are destroyed, and Yulian tries to enter the portal but as he is the final challenger left - is unable to escape.
Yulian is quickly outmatched by the Dragon, but Dirik appears and with the strength of the Wae soul stone he just ate is able to briefly immobilize the Dragon. Yulian attempts to escape, but is caught and badly wounded by the Dragon's magic. Thankfully Noya arrives and saves the day. Though even he struggles slightly with the Dragon. After killing the monster, Noya helps heal Yulian and feeds him the Dragon's soul stone before leaving to deal with whatever mysterious things are happening on the upper levels of the universe.
It appears that Yulian faces more Magical Beasts from the Seventh Trial, and he presumably completes the Seventh Trial successfully as the next we see of Yulian is his triumphant return home
The Eighth TrialEdit
The final trial can only be taken by a single person - and has only ever been completed by Venersis. It is a mystery to most, and consists of multiple parts.
Due to the interference of The Dragon, Ranoia, and perhaps even Noya - the Warrior Ceremony is left incomplete, as the Shire Tribe cannot administer the final trial to Yulian. During the battle for the Flowing Sand Oases, Yulian is told that the next trial will occur on the night of the next eclipse. When the time come, Yulian enters the shadow of the three moons and is transported to Tower of Pride.
The Maze of Stairs Edit
No instruction is given to Yulian, but as he follows a thin white path through blinding darkness - he comes to a vast room filled with stairs in strange and random patterns. Yulian tries to climb them, but cannot find a consistent paths and constantly falls back to the ground. Eventually he realizes that the stairs are shifting, and that not all the stairs are visible at all times - in order to pass the trial one must memorize the route from the very beginning, and trust that even if they cannot see the stair continuing up - it will be there.
Batttered and bruised, Yulian shows his unyielding and resolve and eventually makes it all the way up the maze, memorizing the patterns of the stairs and eliminating any useless false-leads. By discerning the pattern he is able to pass, coming out on a new room.
The Shadow HordesEdit
The next level of the trial takes place on a large platform filled with collumns. As Yulian steps onto the platform, he finds his greatsword waiting.
Suddenly a seemingly endless swarm of shadowy warriors charge Yulian, and though they are weak magical constructions - there seems to be no end to the waves. Yulian realizes that the constructions are all coming from the same direction, and leaps clear of the horde. At their source he finds two glowing orbs that seem to be producing the apparitions. He cuts one in half, and a giant construct emerges, much more powerful than those of the waves. Yulian defeats it, but when he moves to destroy the second orb, it teleports away. When Yulian tracks it down, he finds the orb has split into three, and that the new three teleport around when he tries to attack them. Even more challengingly, with each orb eliminated the remaining ones get faster.
Yulian manages to destroy all but one orb and their giant spawns, but by the final orb is exhausted, and unable to match it's now extremely rapid movement. By collecting his focus, Yulian is able to see a pattern in its movement, predict the orb's location, and finally eliminate it.
Upon clearing the last sphere, a giant plant like tower sprouts from the platform and again Yulian must climb to a new level. This level is divided into square grids, beginning on a simple 4x4 and there Lakri greets him. She tells him about the true nature of Venersis' ability as a God Of War is that he can see the entirety of a battlefield in real time, and that if Yulian completes this trial (more of a training really) he too would have that ability. Lakri leaves, and the 4x4 grid briefly shows a randomized set of 8 number pairs before vanishing. Yulian must memorize the pattern and match them up as one of the pair lights up. He completes this without much trouble, but then the grid doubles to an 8x8, and continues to double until Yulian completes a grid of 32x32 - 1024 section, 512 unique pairs.
Lakri appears and tells Yulian that he may move on to the next level if he chooses, and Yulian, exhausted, decides to continue. Before going up to the next level however, Yulian asks how far Venersis got on the grid trial. A reluctant Lakri tells Yulian that he had reached a grid of 38684 divisions, though he was the best of the best and unique among all that had ever taken the Eight Trial. Yulian is stunned by this, and insists on continuing with the grid until he can match his enemy. The grid multiplies once more, and Yulian continues.
After an unknown period of time, Yulian lays exhausted and unsuccessful on a 64² grid. He meditates on his problem, and eventually realizes that by dividing the field up, and imprinting it cohesively in his mind he can "watch" the whole area without having to memorize each numbered pair. By dividing it into quarters with this method, Yulian is able to easily clear all 2048 pairs and move on to one last grid.
Though the final grid (presumably a 128x128*) is so large it can barely be seen from one position, Yulian is able to complete it quite rapidly by dividing up and using his new tehnique to prioritize. ending the training in a final flourish, Yulian calls to Lakri to move on.
- The math in this trial doesn't always seem to add up. While Yulian is on the 64² grid, no number greater than 510 is shown - though the pairs should reach into the 2000s. Also, Venersis was said to have reached 38684, which would imply a 192² grid, which is not an exponent of the 4x4 Yulian started with. Had Yulian continued he would have reached a 256² grid with 65536 divisions, suggesting that Venersis may have done his trial on a 3x3 base, or perhaps more likely - the author didn't quite think all of this doubling up through.Which is fair.
The Battlefield of Heroes Edit
On the next platform Yulian meets a snarky and somewhat obnoxious man who seems to challenge him to fight. Unable to read the man, Yulian avoids conflict until the man insults Noya - forcing a fight. However, Lakri appears and interupts, demanding the man fulfill his promise. The man asks Yulian a riddle, and Yulian replies with one of the correct answers, vanishing into a new space.
Transported to a vast room full of giant warrior statues. He is able to see the ancient battles of these warriors play out in the enchanted space. As he travels down the aisle of historic statues, Yulian eventually comes to one final statue, seated on a stone throne, The Glow.
The Glow speaks with Yulian, and grants him the power of a War God. To control with a word, to see everything at once. Yulian tests his power on a large monster, and proves he is not yet a master of the abilities.
Upon returning, Yulian now sees just how strong the man really is, unfathomably.
Lakri congratulates Yulian before transporting him to speak with Maeimaria - who tells him everything.