The Trial Beneath the Light is a legal process used among the Children of the Light for charges laid against one Child by another. The trial takes the form of a one-on-one sword fight that ends upon the death of one party. According to the High Inquisitor Rhadam Asunawa the right to Trial Beneath the Light was often claimed by the accused, when he knew that actual evidence would convict him. The right had not been claimed among the Children for four hundred years, until Galad Damodred challenged Lord Captain Commander Eamon Valda.

Trial ritual

A request for Trial Beneath the Light is first presented to the Lord Captain Commander, who may grant or deny the request. The accuser then calls out the accused and details specific charges against them. If the accused party refuses the challenge, he is instantly declared guilty. Otherwise, the accused must deny the charge and accept the challenge. The fight is sword-on-sword with no armor.

During the trial, the highest ranking Child not involved in the combat serves as Arbiter. Members of the Hand of the Light are not allowed to serve as Arbiter or interfere in any way with the trial once it has begun. Before combat begins the Arbiter says the ritual phrase:

"Under the Light, we are gathered to witness Trial Beneath the Light, a sacred right of any Child of the Light. The Light shines on truth, and here the Light shall illuminate justice. Let no man speak save he who has legal right, and let any who seek to intervene be cut down summarily. Here, justice will be found under the Light by a man who pledges his life beneath the Light, by the force of his arm and the will of the Light. The combatants will meet unarmed where I now stand, and speak privately, for their own ears alone. May the Light help them find words to end this short of bloodshed, for if they do not, one of the Children must die this day, his name stricken from our rolls and anathema declared on his memory. Under the Light, it will be so."

If words cannot be found to settle the dispute, the fight begins. If the accused dies, he is considered guilty. If he does not, he is acquitted.

Trial of Eamon Valda

Galad Damodred challenged Eamon Valda to Trial Beneath the Light for holding and (he assumes) murdering his stepmother, Morgase Trakand. Because Valda had to grant the request for trial, Galad waited until Valda gave his approval before he laid out his challenge.  Valda, a blademaster, taunts Galad to try to enrage and frighten him when they meet to speak before the fight. After a long battle in which Galad pretends to tire, Valda is slain. Galad assumes Valda's title as Lord Captain Commander as a result of his victory.