Finally, after months of preparation, the group starts the Earth Trials.
First they must pass a Test of Endurance and are shown to nearly empty room, the floor covered in crystals. Once they enter the crystals come alive and trap Alec, Corinna, and Salah. Bixby and Baal remain free thanks to their quick reflexes. Working together, Bixby and Baal manage to bust out each of their comrades who had been enduring the crushing crystal calamity.
Next they move on to the Test of Strength. As they approach the proving ground, they see another party of potential Alchemists being carried out by healers. They are bloodied, battered, and bruised. There is a crowd gathered to view this trial as it often proves to be quite entertaining. The party is shown into a room strewn with rocks and rubble. The debris comes alive to form creatures of stone and creatures of lava that proceed to attack. Though difficult to damage, the allies gather enough strength to smash the rock into rubble and exit the trial victorious, leaving an excited screaming crowd behind them.
They pause in the hallway a few moments to catch their breath before continuing on to Test of Steadfastness. As they approach their final Earth Test, they see a lone Dwarf shuffling out of the trial coming down the hallway towards them. He is pale and muttering to himself, “Gone. They’re all gone. Just like that…” He seems disoriented and stumbles on down the hallway and out of sight. The Genasi Earth Priest does not react and just continues to lead them. He tells them, “You must remain steadfast for 2 minutes. If you can do this they you can obtain the power of the Earth.” When they enter the final room, the crowd erupts in screams and cheers and boos. This is by far the biggest and excited crowd yet. Quickly scanning the faces, they can make out various Dwarven Nobles and important heads of state. Commander Aiden and Lieutenant Jonah have also shown up to watch the show. Jonah appears to be his usual gruff, disinterested self but there is a glint of excitement in his eyes. He is probably hoping to see some of the party members fall and not get back up. Aiden is surrounded by various Dwarven politicians hoping to entreat favors from the lead Alchemist in Portakal. However, once the group enters, Aiden shifts his attention to them and seems to ignore all else. This room is different than the other rooms. It appears to be a large raised platform surrounded by a moat of darkness. The edge of the platform drops off into darkness of an unknown deadly depth. In the center of the room sits a Warforged dressed in Earth Priest robes. As they cross the bridge to the platform they can hear a low moaning from him as he seems to be meditating. Once they all cross and the bridge is retracted, a compartment in the Warforged’s chest opens revealing a pulsating orange ball of light. The crowd hushes and suddenly someone shouts, “THIEVES! THEY STOLE MY BOOTS!!!” But before anyone can pinpoint the source, the Earthen Warforged opens his eyes and the trial begins…