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The Trials

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Btvs Although this article is based on canonical information, the actual name of this subject is conjectural.
Angelwings
"We'll test your valor."
The Valet[src]

"The Trials" were a series of tests set up by The Powers That Be as a challenge for champions who wished to grant life to dying individuals, giving them a "second chance". However, beings resurrected through magic could not be cured as they had already been given a second chance. Also, not only the contestant put his or her life in the balance, but that of their "collateral's"; should the contestant fail, not only his life would be forfeit, but that of the collateral as well.

The Trials took place in a location accessible through what appeared to be an empty pool in which the contestant had to take a leap of faith. The first trial pitted the contestant against a powerful demon who could even put himself back together if he was dismembered, making it difficult to defeat him and claim the key to the next part of the trials.

The nature of the last two of the trials seemingly varied depending on the contestant (although this is unknown as Angel was apparently the first person to pass all three). When Angel underwent the Trials in an attempt to save the now-human Darla from dying of syphilis, he had to walk barefoot and barehanded through a hall covered in crosses and put his hand in a stoup filled with holy water in order to reach a key. During the final one, in which the contestant had to face death itself, Angel was placed in front of a device set up to shoot dozens of wooden stakes, allegedly so that their life could be sacrificed in exchange for the life the contestant wanted to save. In reality, the contestant simply had to accept death to succeed, Angel passing the Trials when he confirmed his willingness to die for Darla.

Though Angel ultimately succeeded, he failed to save Darla, as she was already on her second life. However, as Angel was still owed a life because he survived the Trials, the Powers That Be arranged for the birth of Connor.

Trials

  • Faith: the pool
  • Valor and intelligence: Tor
  • Pain: Crosses and holy water
  • Death: Stakes

Appearances

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