The guard gave the woman a quizzical look over before he spoke.
"Too late, the quest is closed," the guard announced.
A blonde haired woman with angular facial features approached behind Ruby. She wore a full suit of chain mail armor made of mithril. The front of her helm was open, it protected the rest of her head. Her blonde hair was visible from the front, its length was unknown. She appeared to be a youthful beauty, but something about her face defied youth and suggested vast wisdom instead. Perhaps it was her light green eyes, or it was her stance. Whatever the reason the guard suddenly straighten into a stiff rod and saluted the woman.
"The quest is reopened, has its terms and conditions have changed." The guard was about to say something, but changed his mind, after all this was Elsdreth Rianel'ai, the Guild Master of the warriors guild and practically the most influential of the four guild masters. Only the Wizard's Guild Master was said to be her match, and they were both Elven Females. The guard instead chose to make a better choice and opened the gates. Elsdreth turned toward the Ranger.
"Skills of a Ranger will be well suited for the change, come." Elsdreth, only spent a moment to speak to Ruby, but then took a quick stride into the palace. If she was moving any faster, it would be running. However, time was precious for her so she moved at a quick pace to where the adventures would be gathered.
At the castle meeting hall, the entrance was closed and guards were standing in front of the entrance. They were too challenging anyone coming to the room since it was being used for official business. However, upon seeing the woman approaching, they knew they'd forgiven this time for not doing so and besides she was a Guild Master and had the right to interrupt any such official meeting. So they simply open the door and one of them at least had the sense to announce her.
"Lady Warrior Guild Master Elsdreth Rianel'ai has arrived." Lucile looked over as the door open, she hadn't expected Elsdreth, but if she was here, something new must have been discovered that was crucial to the quest. Lucile greeted her senior Guild Master, but in a not so official way that few could get away with, Lucile happened to be one of those few.
"Welcome Elsie, what news do you bring?" Elsdreth preferred Guild Master or Lady Elsdreth, but she considered Lucile a friend, which was rare, because she only considered two humans as friends, not that she looked down on them, she just didn't make friends with many. To Elsdreth being friends wasn't that important. Elsdreth chose to face the Knight Commander since that was appropriate this was Lucile's meeting hall.
"Lucile, one of my Captains has already embarked to investigate the incident with the goblin, he left early this morning with his squad. I discovered the letter not long ago and found out that he had indeed left. I'll discipline him upon his return, he knew his orders were not to go, he pleaded with me to allow it. For him it's personal, and he couldn't let it go. I was hoping he'd choose duty over his personal emotions, but he did not and his 3 squad members followed him."
Lucile nodded at Elsie's report. That changed things quite a bit, this quest was now urgent. Initially, they planned on allowing the adventures to take a few days to prepare for the quest, but the circumstances have changed entirely. Lucile turned toward the adventures.
"The King's quest is hereby canceled and you are now selected to go on an urgent quest on behalf of the Guilds with Lady Eldreth's approval. Your quest will be tracked down her squad and assist them in the investigation and of course, a writ of the guild will be given to you, which is practically as good as one from the King. The writ will be valued, however, but you'll be given priority to receive the value of those goods or services over others." With the announcement, she turns towards Elsie. Elsdreth nodded.
"I second it, therefore the quest is now official, you are to depart immediately. But first I'll give you a brief description and names of those in my warrior squard.
"Oh my... Someone broke orders?" Hymn said looking at the newcomer and Elsdreth. "Boy this just got harder." She pondered a bit. "I agree though, this is a problem. I don't like knowing that someone is out there of their own accord." She looked to Poly and gave her a sincere look. "Please tell us everything you know."
Poly looked at the others and this newcomer. Giving Ruby a warm, soft smile. "I agree with my sister. This is of utmost importance. I care not for a reward, but for the safety of this lost lamb and his crew. Even if he acted of his own accord, he is a child of the Gods." She holds her stave in front of her and mumbles a prayer to herself. "As you say we should head out immediately. Please do give us the description of this group."
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Kurt absorbed the news keeping a straight face. In truth it made him more nervous, you didn't live as long as he did, doing what he did without a healthy dose of nerves. The rogue warrior was likely in league or soon to be in the cooking pot of the Goblin he was chasing. Correcting himself a squad in a Goblin tribes cook pot Kurt thought.
He considered his words carefully "If the Goblin is as dangerous as the Knight Commander wants us to believe the Captain and his squad are dead if they encounter him.....the Guilds obviously know my history I say that as a expert".
He mused briefly "If we are going to stop him from killing himself and his squad I agree with the sisters we need to depart speedily".
"But we need to consider another possibility he and his squad are working with our mysterious Goblin...."
Lady Warrior Guild Master Elsdreth shot him a look that suggested he'd insulted someone close to her.
Elsdreth gave her soldiers descriptions.
"Lance is their Captain, he's been part of the warriors guild for 10 years and first joined as a soldier and earned his way up to Captain. He's the Captain of my 6th Division, which also means he's captain of my 6th best squad. Lance is young for a Captain but he styles a set of full armor and a great sword. He's fierce and reliable in battle and his squad admires him.
Jordan is his 2nd in command and prefers fighting with two weapons and utilizing light chain mail armor for mobile fighting.
Gabriel is particularly unmatched with a sword and shield at least with his peers. He's young and noble and probably too honest and he's quite popular with women.
Sandra is the girl in the group and seemingly completely uninterested in Gabriel. She is hard to pinpoint on a preferred skill or on one she excels at. Truth be told she seems to be good enough with any fighting style. That makes Sandra the squad's catch-all soldier.
With the exception of the Squads Captain, all of them are basically teenagers or barely adults, but that doesn't change the fact they are skilled. It does make them quite loyal to their Captain though.
All that said, it is highly doubtful they are in league with the enemy. Lance's sister is here as one of the refuges and his brother is dead. Based on that its a need for vengeance driving the man."
"Not meaning to be rude, but for us hired for the job, does it matter why they left? Our job is the bring them back." the gnome said. He hoped that the scholars wouldn't take his comments as insulting, but it was unlikely. The people in higher courts had a tendency to look for insults everywhere. It wasn't just scholars or mages, any high ranking guild official tended to do this.
"Do we have a written order or a crest of some sort to show this rouge squad that you are ordering them back? Are we to subdue them or fight them if they choose not to return? If some resist are we to execute them? What are the parameters of this mission? Depending on those depends on the supplies I need to bring. " he said.
“Excellent question,” Lucile replied.
“Allow me to clear it up. They are to be treated as your guild backup on the mission and will be officially stated as such. After the quest by the King is completed you are to bring them back to the guild. The guild will determine what disciplinary actions will be taken. If needed you are authorized to use force. You are not to kill any of them though. If it comes to that simply return and report you could not apprehend them without killing them. “
“Hopefully they’ll come willingly after the King’s Quest is completed. As for a crest, “Lucile tosses the gnome a signet ring. “Use this, it’s my crest.”
“Do any of you have further questions?”
Despite the Knight Captain’s response others in the court seemed upset with the gnome’s question.
The sisters listened to what was said about their query. Poly making mental notes and Hymnia jotting it down on parchment. They hadn't said a word as the Gnome said his part. It was rude in some people's eyes, but to them, well he could have worded it worse. Poly and Hymn both looked at each other and giggled, "Well... Shall we be off then." Both sisters said this together, eager to start this adventure. Time was of the essence and each second that went by was a second that this rogue Captain and his group we're in danger. Each of them wore a soft smile that served to warm the hearts of those that worried.
"We will wait by the main gates. I do hope that you, my companions, will not dawdle here for much longer," with that the sisters left the building.
On there way to the main gate they waved and smiled at those who gave them a look. "Being royalty is such a pain..." Hymn says noticeably annoyed, "Why couldn't we be like.... From a lesser known family?"
Poly looks at her sister, "Hymn, be proud to be part of our family. Our father is a great man, having been the one that allied most the elven tribes together without the need for blood," she pauses and moves her bangs from her face, "Our Mother, she was a great woman as well. Aiding father in his time of need. A beauty envied by most, she held on until her last breath. The Goddess has her now, she watches both of us with that beautiful smile she always wore." Hymn looks at Poly and smiles, giving her thanks. Her eyes were watery. "Don't cry Hymn... She wouldn't want you to." Poly places her right arm across Hymn, holding her closer and touching heads. "Look, were here!"
Kurt had certainly had enough dawdling, so he pulled his hood over his head. He walked for the door "I'll try not to hurt your Captain to much before I bring him back".
He carried on walking ignoring the foul looks he got from some of those present. He pushed the door open and left the room wandering down the halls and alleys to the main gate, picking up his equipment along the way.
The guilds lived in opulence, while everyone else suffered. Suddenly a pair warriors tried to surprise him by swiftly walking beside him from a side alley.
One of them spoke quietly so only Kurt could hear him "You hurt the Captain in any way I'll see to it I run you through with my sword murderer".
Kurt chuckled "If your going to threaten me you better bring more men next time". He swept the legs out from the talkative one with a simple leg sweep, before drawing a throwing knife ready to put down his friend.
The friend backed off hands in the air.
Kurt pulled back his hood fully exposing the deep scar on his face fully for the first time to the men at close range.
"Don't threaten me again......Boy".
Kurt stood up and continued towards the gate.
Ruby was extremely grateful for still being to help despite her lateness to the meeting.With her being grateful she didn't express her concerns or worries in the new mission that was assigned to them.Instead she just listened to everyone and made mental notes about all the details rather it was considered small or not by the others present.She has learned over the years that all details are important in some shape or form.Along with her mental notes she studied each of her new companions and made mental notes are their appearance,opinions and how they carried themselves.Knowing her allies and seeing their predictability or lack of will prove useful later on in the mission.
As the meeting ended and details of the mission were discussed Ruby sighed a little.She couldn't shake her thoughts or feelings about this whole ideal.She also couldn't shake the possibility of the party that they were sent to retrieve were possibly dead or about to be by the enemy.Their current enemy proves to be quiet cruel from what she has heard and gathered through rumors in her travel to this very spot.
She thanked Elsdreth and Lucile for allowing her a place in the mission as respectful and kindly as possible before she followed her new companions to the gate so they can begin the quest.On her way to the outside gate she passed by the guard that had at first denied her entry.She give him no mind as she passed him by but she did give a little smile that was more like a smirk as she passed by.
Once arriving to the gate she saw the others and gave a smile."So what is the plan to execute this mission smoothly?" She asked.She then paused afterwards before adding,"My name is Ruby by the way.Raised as a ranger and still am so."
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"I have a few things I must prepare a few things. " the gnome advised. He reached a pouch at his belt and he pulled forth from a glass bead that had a seed sealed within it. He looked towards mage sisters pausing briefly. It seemed he was waiting for permision to approach them. He paused ounly briefly before he hobbled over to them. Some he he manged to place the bead into one of their hands in a the sam manner a theif might remove an item from someone's hand. He then closed their hand around the bead, allowing them to feel the large magic that was sealed within it.
"Two days after you have started your journey activate this stone by filling it with mana. After that you will have thirty seconds to cast it upon the a ground of loose earth. This could be gravel or dirt, either way its fine. Do not throw it into a body of water and only use it if the area is safe. This will allow me to reach you no matter where you are at." the little one said. His instructs were firm but not condescending. Symbolist magic could to amazing things if given the time to weave those spells. This was one such instant. The seed within the bead was engraved with many different symbols and runes. Not only that but the glass it self seemed to be filled with different runes of varying sizes. It was clearly a long and extrusions process to create this item as there were possibly thousands of runes carved into each item at multiple layers.
Not too long after they had made it to the gate, the others began to appear. First it was the thief. Poly noticed him arrive before her sister. The second was the newer amongst them, Ruby she said her name was. She introduced herself as a ranger, both sisters bowed and smiled. Lastly was the Gnome, though he wasn't completely ready, he gave Hymnia a bead, which was overflowing with magic... "My this must be important," which indeed he said it was. After two days travel she was to use it. Fill it with Mana and cast it on soft, but solid ground. Poly and Hymnia both nodded.
After his departure, Hymn spoke up. "We have such a small group, it should not take us long. Firstly, my sister and I have taken the liberty of purchasing food and water for travel, please each of you take a bag." Poly holds out two bags, much smaller than one would suspect, "These are minor bags of holding, each can hold up to about a hundred pounds." After both move up to claim their bag. Looking upwards towards the sky the sisters nod. "We should begin moving now, get as far as possible before dusk approaches. Oh and don't forget, at night, things tend to get a bit more ferocious," Poly says as she leads the way out.
Kurt was pleasetly surprised the quest was finally about to commence as he stood at the city gates with the rest of the group. Crowds went back and forth, life carried on.
He noticed several guild members discreetly watching them prepare to leave from various vantage points. He even gave one of them a wave, they were about as stealthy as a cow in a porcelain market. Others more attuned to hiding watched, criminals, thieves and possibly spies.
With all his equipment secure Kurt cracked his neck in anticipation, as the group finished talking and he muttered with casual bluntness.
"Let's get on with it then".
One of the sisters had mentioned things tend to get more ferocious at night, Kurt couldn't help but smirk. He had done some of his best work at night. Briefly he thought of his deceased family, unsure what brought the memory to the surface.
Then he realised his wife had the same smile Poly often wore, now when he thought of her, he only saw blood.
Speaking loudly this time Kurt suggested "We should make camp by night fall our departure didn't go unnoticed".
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