The Janei conception of the afterlife, like many others, includes a probationary period. Like the rest of the Janei hereafter, this state is little-described, yet shapes a surprising deal of the Janei psyche. Traditionally held to occur during the ten minutes following death, the Ten Trials have long been the subject of examination for the ethical tradition of the faith. Following in the footsteps of countless other purgatories throughout history, the Ten Trials ask the questions of right, wrong, and the ultimate.
Overview: The Ten Trials, or Liltei in which they are held to take place, are a state of being into which the valen-aka enters following its mortal death. The exact nature of this state is vaguely defined, even in the most ancient of documents. The events within are held to be meaningful and at least partially objective, but the matter of whether or not they occur in empirical immaterial planes of existence is not known. Whether or not other souls can be met or otherwise interacted with is also not known. Given the relevance of personal relationships in the earliest trials, much debate has been made on whether or not other people in the Trials are simulacra, other beings in the same plane, or, in more contemporary times, telepathically-contacted minds. Time is for obvious reasons held to be fluid in the realm, which can allow for various trials to be completed at different rates despite the fact that each passing minute on Earth marks the completion of a single one.
The Ten Trials: The namesake of the afterlife, the Ten Trials are the obstacles that the soul faces on its path towards the spirit world and ultimately transcendence. The Trials are sequential in nature, with lower, earthly concerns and problems being confronted first before the psychic and spiritual worlds are confronted later. The Trials are commonly known to increase in severity and hardship as one goes on, and so prayers directed to a deceased loved one usually increase in fervor as the final minutes approach.
The first ring of Trials are those Illusion. In esoteric traditions, this corresponds to the lithri of Illiae. The obstacles of this ring are the ways in which one limits their perception of the world, as well as the modes of thought which one uses to either absolve themselves of blame or meaninglessly flagellate themselves.
Ulion: The first trial, Ulion, severs the veil of ignorance that clouds the valen-aka, allowing it to see things as they truly are. The degree of shock that this causes is held to vary depending on how superficial and blind the person was in life. In true adepts the severance may not even be felt, while in the worldly it may appear as though the universe is ripping asunder. Once the veil is opened, the soul finds it increasingly difficult to lie to itself, for good or ill, and this only increases as more trials are completed. In contemporary times, it is also held that Ulion is when those with cognitive impairments in mortal life are able to see the world as it truly is, facing a unique problem of their own.
Veya: The second trail, Veya, challenges the ways in which an individual sought pleasure in the world. Unlike later trials, this mostly revolves around the mundane, and can often vary significantly from soul to soul. The obstacles faced include in what ways a person enjoyed their time, as well as the type of pleasure derived, whether it was able to be appreciated, and what one sacrificed in order to partake of it. Veya covers all little forms of joy, and thus even the most ascetic of spirits may find their bird-watching days judged with existential scrutiny. Common manifestations of Veya would be finally having all the time in the world to do what you wanted, or finding your way to the next trial through a constant parade of your favorite mortal delights.
Jiri The third trial, Jiri, confronts one with the veils that surround personal interaction. This includes the white lies of common discourse, what one wished to say but never did, and the objectification of individuals through the derivation of pleasure from them. Even hermits may find themselves facing the problem of why they refused personal contact, and whether or not it truly meant something. This trial governs the lower echelons of social interaction, and thus higher concerns of particular relationships may be confronted in later trials.
The second ring of trials are those of Futility. In esoteric traditions, this corresponds to the lithri of Kithringo. The obstacles of this ring are those of ambition and finitude, the limits imposed upon us by the world and ourselves. This conondrum is complicated by the fact that in Janei, such imposers are held to be one in the same.
Ahken: The fourth trial, Ahken, deals with how one confronts their passions. This includes the value of pursuing one's goals, the sorts of sacrifices they may have made in order to enable such ambition, or one's failure to follow their flame. The trial is not entirely monolithic, and can vary from person to person. One might find their monumental effort was devoted to a trifling path, or that a lost cause should have been given their all. Another might find that they let something of indefinable beauty die because of their own lack of effort, or that it would have been right to have left some ground unseeded.
Kemen: The fifth trial, Kemen, concerns how one's efforts affected the world and the lives of others. This includes both the paltry waves of a life with few accomplishments and the cascade of cause-and-effect from a world-shaker's career. As with many other trials, the way in which this is dealt with can vary. For some, an unremarkable life might be a sad but noble end, in either scorning ambition or helping out a few overlooked souls. Others might find the potential of one's work wasted when only used for their own benefit, or find that their accomplishments caused splendour in some domains and ruin in others.
Ichto: The sixth trial, Ichto, concerns itself with questions regarding desire and the will itself. This includes how one wants things, the different kinds and levels of desires, and 'who' wants each thing. Unlike some of the other trials, these questions reflect less on the personal character of the individual and more on how they perceive these mysteries of the will.
The third ring of trials are those of Loneliness. In esoteric traditions, this corresponds to the lithri of Urius. The obstacles of this ring are those of value, of the point of things and the indefinable aspects that drive all things. The severity of this ring is second only to the last trial, and the soul often finds itself faced with the inconsistencies that seem to rend the veil of philosophy and the world.
Zeilei: The seventh trial, Zeilei, deals with the nature of wonder. An unassumingly difficult to trial, this includes how one seeks it, why one seeks it, and the point, if any, of its seeming obscurity. In ancient texts it is actually suggested that this trial is a common obstacle to souls, as they latch on to the supernatural climes of Liltei when confronted with a void of meaning. Insidiously, such a move does not retard their progress, but it does stall it. For this reason, Zeilei is often referred to as the Midnight Sorrow or City of Ghosts.
Viquis: The eighth trial, Viquis, regards the value of the soul. It asks of its nature, the point of its seeming limitations, and why it has value. A prime aspect of this trial's difficulty is the paranoia incited in the soul by the question, and the ways in which it paradoxically loves and hates itself. Ancient texts suggest that this is where many philosophies meet their beginning and end. Some say that easy answers are not found here, and others that that is exactly what the soul wants to think.
Cierno: The ninth trial, Cierno, is where paradoxes and the purportedly insoluble questions are confronted. The pain of the spirit here is only slightly less than that of the tenth trial, and the subject of far more speculation. Its domain includes gaping flaws in existence that theodicies traditionally confront, as well as the things that seemingly cancel each other out in the striving towards perfection. In Cierno, the soul must confront every part that is lacking in their worldview, and mend it to their utmost ability. Bitterly, the soul also knows that it will still likely go on to the spirit world before finding Transcendence proper, and yet must strive to utterly complete this task regardless.
The final trial is unbound from the Rings.
Vanyetta: The tenth trial, Vanyetta, includes the challenges of every prior trial as well as issues incomprehensible to the soul prior to reaching this trial. The pain and ecstasy of this trial reaches unknown heights, and is thus rarely speculated upon. Notably, it is held that some may find immediate Transcendence upon completing this trial. Discussion exists on whether or not this involves personal character, or whether such a thing matters at those heights, but no concrete answer to this question exists.Mysteries of the Trials:
Why does divinity seem to attenuate?
What is the point of purgatory if all is perfect?
Why must the soul strive when it knows it will reach and already is Transcendence?
Why do I coddle and flagellate myself with equal abandon?
What is effort?
How can things escape cause-and-effect and be truly free?
Author's Notes: As one can guess, this was made for fun. Purgatory is a perenially popular subject for human beings, and I thought it couldn't hurt to make a spin on it.