Copyright 2012 Clara Bright
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Bramble's coming of age celebration had come and gone with little fanfare. No one had expected skinny, feckless Bramblebrush to be selected for the yearly temple trials, yet there he stood at the sealed stone portal. His friend Songdart, a stronger and more trial-ready young elf in Bramble's mind, stood beside him. The doors would open for and admit only The chosen, but Song had a habit of following wherever he went.
"Remember you promised me you'd be careful, even if it means failure," Song said, his steely gaze fixed on the towering doors. Bramble suspected Song would follow him through the trials himself if he were permitted.
"I don't intend to fail," Bramble said. It was supposedly impossible to die during the trials, but one could easily fail by retreating or losing consciousness. It was a test of endurance, it was often said, not prowess. "Besides, everyone expects it."