The City of Harfast. A large fort surrounded by several small villages and dominated by a large tower called, originally enough, The Great Tower.
But Harfast is not known for its history of impressive battles, nor indeed for The Great Tower, but rather, it is known as the headquarters of the Albadynian Guild The Champions. One of Albadyn’s first adventuring Guilds, many people have sought membership due to the pedigree of its members: people renowned world over for their greatness and power: Xandra the Dragonblood Knight, Archaemon the Blackbird of Bromstead, and Aja Whiteshield, who withstood the might of the terrifying Jade Dragon.
It is for this reason that a new character enters the story: a novice adventurer who bears the mark of one who has great heart, but not great skill. Her age: eighteen. Her hair: short and brown. Her most noticeable feature? An eyepatch over her left eye. Despite this, her demeanor could easily be described as perky and eager to see where life takes her. She has not allowed the failures of the past to drag her down.
Her name? Mary. A rather plain name, she will be the first to tell you, but that will be followed by a small talk about the beauty of simplicity.She has come to Harfast with a small amount of gold in her pocket and the pack on her back as her entire collection of worldly goods: she has been cast from where she was and used it to propel her to where she wants to be.
As she approached the guild hall, its somewhat ominous appearance made her falter: made entirely out of polished black stone with red banners hanging off the two upper-story balconies (each of which is embroidered with a black cross), the Champions Guild Hall was built by Dwarves out of polished Onyx. A very expensive (and very durable) structure, which was given to the Champions after they did a job for the aforementioned Dwarves.
After Mary recollected her nerve, she entered the building. It was surprisingly cool inside, and before her was a wooden desk, whereat at man was seated, and before him was a large (and very old) book.
“Welcome. If you seek to hire the Champions, please place your request on the board: I assure you someone will help you as soon as they become available. If…” The man had clearly given this speech many times before.
“I want to join your Guild!” Mary exclaimed, cutting the man off mid-sentence. His eyes narrowed and he surveyed her briefly.
“Very well, come forward and be seated.” He said, and Mary willingly complied. He opened the book and drew forth a Rook-feather quill.
“Name?” He asked matter-of-factly, with his eyes fastened to the book.
“Uhm… Mary Windstorm” she replied. He wrote it down and asked the next question without hesitation
“Combat Skills?” Mary regained her composure and shook off her uncertainty before replying.
“I am skilled with a saber and a hand crossbow.” She smiled: this was going well.
“Previous Adventuring Experience?” He asked, still steadfastly glued to the book. Mary was glad for it: she faltered. Thinking about her past adventure made her remember its disastrous result.
“I completed a Quest in the town of Stonewall. I was tasked with clearing out a Bandit camp.” She had tried her best, but a small quiver escaped in her voice.
“Completed?” he asked, still fastened to the book. That was beginning to annoy Mary.
“Well, completed enough. I vanquished all but one of them, but then I took an arrow…” The man raised his face and narrowed his eyes, judging what she would say next.
“…to the eye.” Mary said slowly, unsure of why he was suddenly so intense. He nodded, looked back at the book, and he sighed.
“Well, you have been truthful, and that counts for something. You have to pass our entrance test before you can join, however. It is not too difficult, but it winnows out those who have the spirit for the work, and those who do not.”
NEXT TIME: TRIALS