Disclaimer: I do not own the lands of Etria or Lagaard or the characters that live in Etria, like Valerie, Dr. Hoffman, Shellinka, and Captian Vilis. I do, however, own the guild characters. I have based their designs on the characters you can make in game, as well as their skills.
--Prolouge: The Guild Master's Daughter
I couldn't believe my ears when I heard his swearing up and down, as if every action I could have ever made was wrong. I was tired of hearing it. Every single thing from my school of choice to how I dressed was unbecoming of a guild master's daughter. I'm sure he wanted a powerful landsheckt like himself to brag about. I did give it a shot, but my body was never meant for taking hits. I became an alchemist instead. I could deal with configuring formulas for spells in a flash, but my reflexes were hardly anything anyone could be proud of. I was always ready for the thrill of feeling the air combust between my gloved hands, the force flinging my short black hair against the wind as I shot it at the target with all my might. He went on and on, telling me about how struggles to become the guild master so that the family may not have to venture into danger again, which only made me question exactly why he was so against me being an alchemist in the first place. That didn't fly very well. I just turned to leave when my younger brother, a young man with a helpful nature and thick rimmed glasses, stopped me from walking out. He tried to settle the dispute, but I couldn't handle it anymore. I had to prove that I could handle the pressures of battle as he could, just to shut him up. My father was going to have to deal with my being of the squishy wizard persuation whether he liked it or not.
And that's how I got here. To the large ash tree in the center of Etria, the start of everything.
--Floor One: The First Hope Filled Step
"You should know, sister," my brother's voice said behind me. "He is very proud of what we are here in Etria. If one thing goes wrong, he could be ousted from the position of guild master." When I turned to address him, he put his hand up. "Just listen to me for one minute before you shoot off your mouth, Ran. All those rumors about Father are true!"
I felt my lips purse before I said, "Dimitri, he doesn't get mad at you for being as you are." I gave a sigh and took a moment to look straight up. The vast tree which had become a symbol of Etria for everyone out there that had come to make a name for themselves off of the grand Yggdrasil Labyrinth here. "You became a medic, and he doesn't treat you like he does me." I said. "So what he went so far into the labyrinth? He took on the wyverns of the Primitive Jungle and stole an egg, defeated the Ragelope with one swipe, and even plunged his three feet of steel through the Stalkers! I've heard the stories a million times from other guild members and those that adore our father. I want to prove him wrong."
"Prove what wrong?" Dimitri asked quietly, only knowing that would incite me to give him a long diatribe about my frustrations.
I did my best to sum it up simply while gazing up at that huge tree that everyone in the world seemed to recognize as the symbol of Etria. "Well, you see... I want to start a guild."
He circled around me, catching my line of sight again. "A guild? Are you mad? Father would never allow that. If we were to even take into the labyrinth, he would force us into his guild so he could-"
"So he could babystep us through the monster ridden trails of the first floor! I know what he would do!" My voice rose an octave as I spoke, as if speaking louder would better convey my words of choice. I tried to keep my volume down, to avoid getting the attention of other admirers of the great tree. "He would run ahead and slash all down in his path, and we would sit there with other guild members as they congratulated him over and over. No, Dimitri. This may be something we can't work together on."
Dimitri just shook his head. "You're my sister. And you're a squishy wizard. I have to look out for you. As a medic, it's my duty to keep people alive." He tapped my shoulder, pointing up to the branches of the tree. "Do you hear that? Someone is playing a lute."
I heard it, too, once he mentioned it. The sound was calming even if very faint. The hum of the strings against the wooden accoustic instrument filled my ears, getting louder with each passing second. "That must be a troubadour," I said. "A manipulator of sound and song to soothe those around him."
Suddenly, a man fell from the branches of the tree, wearing gypsy clothing and holding the lute we heard before. This didn't just surprise us, this caught the entire park's attention. "Hello," he said kindly, continuing to strum a few chords on his lute, "You seem a bit troubled."
I was thrown off a bit by the man's whispy silver hair and open smile, but I disregarded it when I replied, "It's nothing."
"Come now," the minstrel said as he walked around a bit, seemingly stretching his legs. "I heard everything you two were talking about. If you need to start a guild but are unable, just look for someone not restricted." He was a friendly guy, and while I didn't want to involve any outsiders, it was a very good idea. It would be hard to get anyone to join with two random rookies, and here was a bard himself offering to help us with this? It seemed too good to be true.
"Why would you want to help us?" Dimitri asked before I had even thought of it. "Really. We've never been into the labyrinth once, we have no battle experience, and we're two people that couldn't offer protection to anyone at all."
"Which is why I should help you," the bard said instantly. "I have been into the labyrinth perhaps twice, but one who's power takes time to take effect shouldn't go in alone." He walked back over after doing a few more squats, then he extended a hand. "My name is Cires. I'm a troubadour of sorts."
I gave the man a handshake. "I'm Randalia. My friends call me Ran. I study the arts of alchemy. This here is my brother, Dimitri. He's a medic." When I looked into his unclouded eyes, I could tell without a doubt that Cires was being completely honest. About everything. He didn't hide a thing when he spoke to us.
"A guild is supposed to start with five," Cires said calmly. "But I will go to the Guildhouse to fill out the paperwork now. Please don't think me rude, but I believe we ought to find more participants to round out the adventuring crew."
He had a good point, and both Dimitri and I agreed with him before we parted ways. There were so many would-be questers through the entire expanse of Etria. My brother and I had the task of finding more members to entrust our lives to while in the depths of Yggdrasil.
"We should find someone built well," Dimitri said as we walked through the main plaza together. "Who is strong."
"It wouldn't do to have a team full of just magicians and bards," I added. "So we should probably go to the Golden Deer pub. The strong ones, they typically like the heavy stuff."
It took us a few minutes to walk through to the pub, past Shilleka's goods, and strangely next door to the apotheke. We had to push on the heavy door together just to see inside was full of adventurers that looked like they had seen every corner of the labyrinth. But I was hardly afraid. One day, I'd be just as rough and tough as the rest of them. I was sure of it, ha ha.
Dimitri and I found ourselves standing in front of a beautiful brunette woman with a bottle of whisky in her hands. "Oh," she said. "Look who it is."
"Hi, Miss Valerie," Dimitri said, stepping up to the bar. I wasn't sure what to say, so I just bowed my head a little to give her acknowledgment. "My sister and I are starting a guild and we're looking for new prospects."
Valerie cocked an eyebrow, giving the two of us a strange look. I really had no idea what to make of it. "You aren't continuing the old guild?" she pondered aloud.
"No," Dimitri replied before I could answer. "You see, we want to have a legacy of our own, not just continue our father's line of work." He explained it to the publican, and she finally understood our goal.
"There are many here that are looking for a guild because only guilds get the real jobs from Radha Hall." Valerie explained cautiously. "And you two do look serious about your intentions. Scouting new recruits is a process that every guild goes through." She pointed toward a notice board pinned on the wall full of papers. "That over there are the requests of the people. People want what monsters have to offer, but they aren't the monster chasing types. This is how many guilds make their money, and the members themselves are what keeps our towns alive. Though there are some that only do the official jobs by the Radha for the money. You'll just have to interview a few to gather a good feeling for what the people here are willing to do, you see?"
I gazed through the darkly lit pub, looking at all the armored and cloaked adventurers around me. This wasn't going to be an easy job, but there was no way that I could let myself fail at this rate. There was a labyrinth to conquer, but most importantly, there was a mission to tackle!