After a quick breakfast we got directions to get to the Adventurer’s Guild Hall. It turned out we were only a few blocks away so we quickly headed over to get registered. The three-story building was packed full of people going about their daily lives so for safety I carried Fauna on my shoulders so she didn’t get taken. Walking up to the receptionist she gave me a look over as I was surrounded by nonhumans, and given that she was an Orc she was taking it that they were my slaves. She was about to get nasty with me till Fauna waved to her with a big smile. The receptionist waved back with a smile before turning to me.
“Are they your slaves?”, she asked me.
“No, these two are my companions. The child is…well on a technical basis yes, but she is more adopted daughter than slave to me.”, I clarified which made Fauna quite happy.
She pulled my nose playful so I pretended to take hers. Her mood changed rapidly believing I had actually taken it. Before she burst into tears I put it back on to make her happy. The receptionist confirmed with the two that they weren’t being force by any means satisfying her worries.
“Alright then. Since you have no apparent dislike for nonhumans I will make this quick, and easy for you.”, she said, “We have a simple ranking system in our guild, and only three rules that must absolutely never be broken. The rules are as follows…”
The rules went like this:
1) The Guildmaster’s word is law in this group. If you get the idea that the rules don’t apply to you we will dump your sorry butt on the curb after taking all the funds you earned in the guild.
2) Under no circumstances does your position in the guild make you more important than civilians. If you are caught using them as disposable items you will be sentenced to death by hanging, and your body will hang outside the guild till your corpse is picked clean by the birds.
3) There will be zero tolerance for anyone who rapes any women, or commits a crime while in the guild. Anyone who breaks that law…well let’s say they haven’t been seen again.
“The ranking system like I said is very simple.”, she explained, “Starting out you will be Wood Rank Adventurers. After completing two quests you will rank up to Stone. The next rank up will come after three successful job completions which will put you at bronze. At that point rank ups will be given solely by the guild staff’s discretion, and with the Guild Hall Leaders permission. The ranks after words will be explained to you as you reach them.”
“May I ask what the top member is currently ranked at below the Guildmaster?”, I asked.
“The top team of seven are all Meteor Ranked Adventurers, but they have been their for years. There are only two ranks above that, but no one has made it that high in nearly two centuries.”, she said handing us our badges.
When she handed us only three with our names on them I asked about Fauna’s badge.
“She is too young to join the guild as a member.”, she said.
“Couldn’t she be like an apprentice or a squire?”, I asked.
“Squire?”, the receptionist said confused.
“You know a knight protects people, but the squire is the one who follows them around learning how to become a knight while not actually doing any real fighting. They learn the basics like armor care, weapon care, survival skills, and can spar with the knight honing their skills giving them an edge over the competition when they come of age.”, I explained.
“Wait one moment…”, she said running off.
Moments later she came back with a man, and asked me to repeat everything I just said to him. I did as she asked, and when I finished the man asked one simple question.
“So what does the squire do when the knight is in combat?”, he asked hypothetically.
“The squire would be in a safe place calling out any enemies that might attack the knight from behind. In effect, they become a second pair of eyes for the knight. When it is all said, and done they collect the loot while the knight stands guard.”, I said.
“I see. We have had many requests from Adventurer couples wanting to bring their kids, but never could quite find a position for the kids. What you just described is exactly what we are looking for complete with title, and job description. Now all that we need is a rank system for them.”, he said thinking.
“Why not go with animals?”, I asked, “Base the ranks off the natural food chain starting at mouse, and ending with say…dragon? The more skills the child can display that are important to Adventurers the higher their rank climbs. The guild can maintain exactly what they believe are key skills so the children have things to aim for.”
“Brilliant!!”, the man said, “That is a great idea, and very simple to implement! Your adopted daughter can be the first Mouse Ranked Squire!”
He ran off returning a few minutes later with her badge which she held with pride. Other Adventurers hearing a child received a badge asked what was going on. The man stood up on the counter proclaiming the new system of Squire for those deemed to young to be full-fledged members of the guild. He listed out the ranking system, and how the children could increase their ranks. Hearing the news there was a mad rush out the door of couples going to fetch their children. Apparently quite a large number of people had been waiting for this, and the came pouring in with their excited children.
“You have no idea just how big of an asset you have given us. With this in place we can help increase our overall fighting strength, and quality while limiting the number of casualties. If they can learn from an early age about the things of this world they will more than likely become far more successful in life.”, he said shaking my hand.
The surrounding families were thrilled that they could take their kids now on jobs with them. Obviously the parents weren’t taking the dangerous jobs leaving those for the single, and veteran Adventurers to handle them. This meant more jobs were available which made them much happier. The jobs the families were picking were simple ones like gathering herbs or hunting hard to catch animals. This gave them the perfect chance to teach their kids all sorts of important things to make them better Adventurers. The guild hall emptied quickly as the eager families ran off to complete their jobs leaving only a few veterans who were deciding on Kill Order jobs.
Walking over to the board we looked for something simple that we could do to rank up quickly. After a few minutes Garmella found one that looked very good for doing just that.
“This job is to gather some Crystal Antlers from the Elemental Deer in the forest a few hours walk from here.”, she said, “This time of year they should be shedding their antlers making this job easy. We just have to watch out for wild animals.”
The four of us agreed as we peeled the poster of the board taking it with us out the door. We stopped by the General Store to by canteens to carry fresh water with us before we left town. The flat grassland scenery outside town was nice, and very pleasant to walk in as the wind blew across the plains. Eventually we made to the forest where we began our search. Right away Fauna was spotting the antlers without fail. The posting was for twenty antlers so that is exactly the amount we intended to find. We found eighteen of them very easily, but the last two were a real struggle. Out of the corner of her eye Fauna spotted the last two we need, and made a dash for them. As she got close I notice trees moving off in the distance. It took me a moment, but I realized a bear was charging her.
“Not today pal!”, I said drawing my sword, “Grab Fauna!!”
The two women grabbed her as they dove for cover. I passed them, and with the bear almost on my I swung my sword downwards. The sword cleanly sliced through its skull like butter killing it instantly. I yanked my sword out of its had, and took one of its paws as proof of my kill. The three women got off the ground looking at the bear. Fauna broke free of them, and stuck to my leg while looking at the bear.
“Don’t worry it won’t hurt you. I will make sure it doesn’t.”, I said stroking her hair.
The two women began cutting the bears hide off as well as other vital material off the animal. They left the meat only wanting the hide, some of the bones, a fisted sized gemstone that was embedded in its chest.
“The hell is a gem doing in its chest?”, I asked.
“It is a Gem Bear. Generally you are forbidden from killing them, but it is allowed in self-defence. In this case it went after her so it is alright.”, Esmeralda said.
I was relieved we wouldn’t be punished for the death of the bear. We took our time coming back into town taking in the nice weather. When we got back to the guild hall we presented the antlers to the receptionist who marked the job as complete. Before we left we showed her the gemstone, and explained what had occurred.
“I understand. It is mating season so the males get very territorial about their space.”, she said.
“So what do we do with the materials? Are we allowed to sell them?”, I asked.
“Yes, you are certainly allowed to sell them. Let me give you a trade slip so they know it wasn’t from a poached bear.”, she said filling out a form, “I suggest taking the material to the General Goods Store as he gives the best prices.”
We thanked her heading over there right away. The store was empty so we were able to sell our goods quickly.
“Lets see here.”, he said looking the items over, “I value these at 3 gold in total.”
I had no clue if that was a fair value so I looked over at the women for their input. They nodded confirming the price was fair. I gave him a list of supplies we needed, and after everything we still made off with a gold coin which wasn’t bad. Stocked for our trip we went back to the inn for the night to get some much-needed rest. The next morning after a nice couple of bowls of oatmeal we set off to the next town on our way headed towards the coast. The reason we decided to head to the coast was to get off the continent to hopefully evade the Empire.
The Empires influence only reached as far as the continent’s borders. The next continent which was a two-week boat ride to was roughly the size of Australia plus Central America. Esmeralda said that there was plenty of work out that way as there were less humans on that continent. I took her word on it, and that was how we decided to head west to the coast.