Trials of the Sword
The Trials of the Sword
On October 15th, each year, all of the children in their eighth year of life, born to parents in Castle Dreth or Caeth, the original lands of House Dreth, must report to the Trial Master at the lake in Caeth.
The location of The Gathering is symbolic, as the lake directly overlooks the Iron Cemetary, where the weapons of each fallen soldier is displayed, upright, plunged into a stone mosaic. Though their bodies are burned, their weapons serve as a lasting reminder of their sacrifice.
When all the children are assembled, the following passage is read;
"By decree of Floxod Havarth Dreth the First, and reinstatement by each ancestral heir there after, including our current Lord-General, Sithire Asnerith Dreth, you are all hereby conscripted into the service of the Bloody Fifth Regiment for a period not currently determined.
You are about to begin a trial, a trial that will determine the course of the rest of your lives. Coursing in the veins of many of you is the blood of great warriors, men and women who fought, and perhaps died, for this hallowed organization. You, the children of warriors, have much to live up to. The rest of you, those from the farms, or the rest of Minkbrantha, you have much to be rewarded with.
Say goodbye to your family. You have five minutes."
The Trails Camp
Located across the lake, between the graveyard and a small, sheer mountain is the Trials Camp.
It features several rudimentary barracks, a training yard, an armory, a fitness area, and obstacle course and a fighting ring. There is no dining hall. All gathering places are located outdoors.
Toughening Phase, 4 Months
The initiates are exposed to danger, simulated and real, physical and mental challenges and extreme circumstances. They are also forced into situations where difficult decisions must be made, or there is no good decision at all. During this phase injuries are routine and wash outs or drop outs are high. This is the phase that filters out anyone lacking the resolve, traits or personality to be successful.
Soldierization Phase, 4 Months
The initiates are trained in the finer arts of war. While they had been carrying and using weapons and armor the hole time, learning basic discipline and formations, this takes things to a far more advanced level, involving squad, platoon and company tactics, specialized weapon systems and non-traditional combat.
Leadership Phase, 4 Months
Individuals are pressured to lead. They given more difficult scenarios to solve and lead their own field exercises under the supervision of the Trails Master. By now most of the initiates are highly skilled warriors capable of operating as a team. They are tough and tenacious. By and large, most will make it into the Fifth Regiment. The Leadership Phase identifies the Knight Candidates.
Break, 1 day
Before the final phase initiates are allowed to spend one day in town with their families. At this point they are addressed directly by a member of House Dreth, who wishes them luck in the finals.
Survival Phase, 2 Month
Initiates are separated into two person teams and dropped off in remote locations. They are given extremely limited tools and no weaponry. They are to survive for one month. Trainers are used as 'enemy' who hunt and attack them. If found and captured, they are removed from the Trials.
Recovery Phase, 1 Month
At this all the initiates have been selected for either the Bloody Fifth or Knighthood. Those that were not selected are sent home with orders to return for reserve duty at age 16. The rest are given the finer points of their new occupation, given uniforms, weaponry and taught the culture and concept of war.
Dame Victoriana Steele