|First printing||November 17, 2003|
Champion's Trial is the final book in the second Legends cycle and finishes the story started in Assassin's Blade and Emperor's Fist. It is written by Scott McGough and was published in November 2003.
A dragon sits on the throne of Madara, and his regent rules with knives in the dark. The islands bleed, the mainland shakes, and even the champion has forsaken his office. Does no honor remain in the empire?
Ask Ayesha, who turned her hands from breaking artifacts to making forests. Ask Wasitora, whose cat-dragon kits fight the armies of evil. Most of all, ask Tetsuo, who must regain his honor by destroying the emperor he once served.
This book ties up the dangling plotlines of Emperor's Fist.
The Kentsu is still occupying Kusho and ravaging Argenti, Ayesha Tanaka still resigns inside the Sylvan Library, and Tor Wauki still serves under the shapeshifter Halfdane in the guise of Barktooth Warbeard, who has been poisoning Kusho.
Tetsuo and Kolo Meha have been hiding from the emperor ever since the end of Emperor's Blade. Tetsuo is preparing for the upcoming battle and has been training with Wasitora for some time. Meha has made friends with the Nekoru and her five kittens.
On Argenti, Jorgan Hage meets Sergeant Chada, the only survivor of the troops Ayesha led against the Sylvan Library. Chada reveals that Ayesha has been overwhelmed by the forest and is now acting as its avatar. She has already killed all Kentsu troops in the forest. Hage leads a few troops into the forest and the rest on a final assault against Lady Caleria who has moved to the northernmost tip of the island with the refugees from Lisu. But Ayesha's ingenuity and blue mana base combined with the strength of the forest is enough to kill all Kentsu forces on the island. Just before he is about to die, Hage is saved by Overdark and transported back to the Madaran mainland.
Overdark sends other Kentsu forces to Sekana to lure Tetsuo out of hiding, but they are destroyed by Meha and the kittens. For his failure, Bolas robs Overdark of the use of his body, linking his mind with all of his minions.
Tetsuo realizes he must act now or Overdark will kill more innocents to lure him out. He sends Meha and Wasitora to various places in the empire to run errands for him, while he himself heads for Xira Arien. Tetsuo still has a score to settle with her, before he can go after Overdark.
Xira Arien attacks Hatoki in the Umezawa Manor, but Tetsuo shows up and saves his standard-bearer. Xira is seriously wounded and flees into the swamps west of the manor. Tetsuo tracks her down, kills her, and blasts her body into a crater of molten glass.
Ayesha arrives on Kusho along with the last attack on the Kentsu she and Magnus had devised. They have greatly enhanced the deadly coral reefs around Kusho, and they now grow with enormous speed, destroying Kentsu ships and eating the soldiers within. Two ships are left behind and Ayesha tells the Kentsu to get off Kusho in a few days, or they'll all be killed. The soldiers, decimated and having lost all trust in commander "Warbeard", decide to leave.
Ayesha then meets up with Tor. Ayesha uses a seed she got from Magnus to cure the black mana poisoning on Kusho, and the two of them head off to the cave in which Gosta Dirk is receiving medical treatment, hoping to find Ramirez DePietro/Halfdane there, so they can get revenge for Kei's death.
Overdark orders Hage to gather two legions. One is to be stationed near the Imperial Shrine in which the regent resides; the other will level Umezawa Manor, but that group is intercepted and routed by Wasitora.
Mega arrives at Overdark's keep, and completely levels it to fulfill his pilgrimage and becomes a seventh circle master. Overdark is now cut off from his main mana source.
Tetsuo arrives at the shrine and conjures a meteor storm to level the Kentsu forces stationed there. Only the black-mana-infused Jorgan Hage survives, but is killed by Tetsuo's sword. Umezawa takes the berserker's war hammer and casts a spell on it that sends it hurtling to the edge of the atmosphere.
Ayesha and Tor engage Halfdane, who turns into several forms until Ayesha manages to trap him by freezing the pond he stands in. The shapeshifter doesn't even try to pull free, for he is mesmerized by his many reflections. Tor casts a black spell to destroy the shapeshifter.
Tetsuo and Overdark fight one on one in the Imperial Shrine. Both seriously hurt one another, when Bolas decides to call it quits. He tries to erase Tetsuo's mind, but the ex-champion deflects the spell on Overdark, so Bolas has to undo his magic. The regent calls upon his most powerful spell, but Tetsuo strikes first and kills Overdark. Exhausted, he absorbs the energy of Overdark, for he now has to fight an enraged Nicol Bolas.
Tetsuo flees to the Meditation Plane and Bolas follows him. Then Tetsuo calls down Hage's hammer, which completely obliterates the Imperial Shrine. Bolas is furious, for the shrine was a focal point of powerful blue, black, and red mana, which he needed to stay on a plane for long. He strikes at Tetsuo, but discovers brute force is not the way to win a battle on the Meditation Plane, and Tetsuo apparently kills him.
Several weeks later, Tetsuo, Meha, Ayesha, Tor, and Wasitora and her kittens are reunited on the beach of Sekana and reflect on what has happened. The Edemis are once again in uproar, for Caleria demands reparations from Madara. What is left of the Kentsu has turned into several small armies loyal to the noble who pays the most, and groups within the empire like the Ærathi all want to fill the void the death of the emperor has created. The others convince Tetsuo to restore order and justice in the empire, and he sets off to do just that.