Stories : Beginnings: The Great Guilds of Qeynos
"Tell us the story Bela!" a young Fae pleaded. " Tell us the story of Qeynos, please Bela." Bela smiled at the little Fae and motioned to the other children to join them around the central fire pit in Ardee, a small village a few days ride from Qeynos proper. With delighted smiles they came. Young Elves, Faes, Humans, Halflings and even a few Dwarves all gathered around Bela to hear the story.
"Alright children listen closely" she said. Bela sat upon a blanket while the children clambered atop the logs surrounding the fire. As the last child found a place she smiled once more and began her tale.
"It all started when I was just a young girl………"
Somewhere off to the side a bard strung up his lute and began to play a tune from days passed. Bela looked at him nodded and began the tale.
" Long ago, when I was young, Qeynos was not free as it is today. Before my mother was born or her mother before her the Orcs and Gnolls came to our lands and brought with them war and tyranny. They enslaved our people and populated our lands taking what they pleased. To argue with an invader meant imprisonment, to resist was certain death." The children, all hushed and quiet, listened intently to Bela.
"Qeynos in ages past was a land of peace not war. Qeynosians were scholars and teachers studying in the arcane arts of magic. We were at one with nature, in perfect balance with our once beautiful and pristine land. Even the creatures in our land were peaceful, neither molesting each other nor us, such was the perfect harmony of Qeynos."
"All that changed when the Orcs came. Late one night during the festival of the moon in the realm of Greater Faydark our Elders and Leaders gathered to perform the ceremony of the moon. Once a year they gathered at a tower upon a hill and completed the ritual that would replenish the magic of Qeynos and keep the balance of peace and harmony of our land. On this fateful night however, the ceremony was never completed."
"Just as the moon reached it’s apex and our great elders began the final rite, fire reigned down from the skies. Our elders tried to fight but our magic was one peace in those days and they were no match for the destructive power of both Orc magic and Steel. In just a few short moments our elders fell. Bloodthirsty and filled with battle rage the Orcs swarmed into our lands, they burned our towns and killed all who resisted."
"Those that did not fight were enslaved to work the mines for steel and to chop down our forests for lumber. With these materials the invaders built forts and patrolled our lands keeping Qeynos pinned beneath their boot. There was another reason for those forts however. The lands were no longer safe and peaceful. The Ceremony of the Moon had not been completed and the magic that kept our lands in harmony unraveled. The creatures we shared our homeland with in peace grew aggressive and hostile" Bela chuckled to herself. "A group of Orcs found that out the hard way when they tried to force their attentions on one of the Mischievous Maidens in the Enchanted Lands"
"What happened next Bela?" One of the children asked. "Tell us how we were freed" Bela smiled at the enthusiasm of the children, and then for a brief moment she sighed. She longed to see the day where children no longer yearned for tales of war. She looked over at the bard who sat silently strumming his lute and he nodded in acknowledgment of her unspoken desire. He to yearned for the day when his songs would be filled with tales of peace and magic and not those of war. Shaking her head, Bela continued.
"for many years to come Qeynos was enslaved. The only resistance the Orcs had to deal with was that from small guilds, but their numbers were few as well and their power was not matched to that of the Orcs."
"Were they trying to help us Bela?" one of the children asked "The guilds I mean."
"Yes little one, they fought for freedom and peace, perfrerring to die as free men and women then live a life of servitude and slavery, bout our freedom and our salvation came finally from one guild that stood in the light of virtue and honor."
"Where did it come from then Bela? Tell us !" a young Human cried.
"It came, child, from within the very hearts of our people. After many years of oppression and decades of slavery and torture, our people had had enough. Qeynos new little of war in ages past, but we are scholars and we learn quickly. Orcs brought war to Qeynos and over the years our people learned. A movement began, in secret. The Orcs who were now occupied with defending against the guilds relaxed their grip on us slightly, they posted fewer and fewer guards in our towns, needing every available warrior in the frontier. So was it that we were able to begin our resistance. In dark alleys and back rooms people began to meet, forming as plan. Those that were sent to work making weapons would make extras and hide them, same for the armor crafters. Those hauling lumber for siege equipment for the Orcs would rest near their engineers and watch how they were built. Regular house slaves of the Orc magic users watched as their masters preformed their arts and they learned the art of offensive magic. Thus was it that Qeynos learned the art of war from the very people that conquered us."
"Is that when the leaders came? Is that when the great guilds were formed?" another young one asked. Bela nodded at him.
"Yes little one. That is where they started. A few patriots here and there, working together, spreading the resistance. Each day they grew in numbers and in power. The Orcs, now fully engaged with the Avalonians saw nothing of this; they were so preoccupied with the threat from outside that they never saw the threat growing from within. Thinking we were beaten and broken, our sprits destroyed they relaxed their grip on us more and more each day. We played on that belief, we acted submissive and meek, weak and frightened, when all the long we were in fact stronger and more powerful than ever."
"And that is when SHE came isn’t it?" a young Human asked in a quiet and awed voice. "That is when she lead us against the Orcs"
"Yes little on that is when she came." Bela smiled. "Late one night, when the moon was again in its apex, She gathered all of the resistance together. They collected their weapons and armor, their spells and siege weapons and hhe lead her forces into our frontier and attacked the Orcs. That is the day our leader Jazmania led us to freedom." The children all scampered in closer, wanting to hear every word spoken about this great Fae that freed their people. Bela smiled at them again and continued.
"Outnumbered and new to war, Jazmania and her followers attacked the fort using all the power and knowledge they had gained over the years. What they lacked in experience they made up for in heart and courage and soon the overwhelmed the forces at Crushbone, killing the evil lord that ruled the keep. As a final act of triumph they chopped down the banner Orcs had raised and erected one from Qeynos, a banner I am proud to say that my mother herself lovingly sewed. Before the Orcs new what hit them Jazmania and her clan had won the day."
"And then they attacked the other keeps right Bela?" the little Fae that had now wormed his way into her lap piped up.
"No little one, not quite, first they turned back in on our home realm and eradicated all the guards in our homes and towns. With few soldiers left and their supply lines cut off they were no match for our forces. Once that was completed, Jazmania directed our engineers and crafters to build two great Towers outside Qeynos, defending our realm from any others that would dare attack Qeynos again. After two short years and several skirmishes the towers were built and Qeynosians once again felt safe in their homes. During the building of the great forts several other factions began in Qeynos, and they have since joined the list of great guilds of our lands. Tears of the Phoenix was now joined by other guilds in common purpose and slowly, methodically eradicated the Orc presence in our realm, taking all of the Towns and Keeps the Orcs had built from them and stationing guards and lords of our own to see to the protection of our home.
"Our home is safe now, although the war is not over by any means, Qeynos has at last been freed and our people once again stand tall and proud, we were not meant to be warriors and truly were still crave peace in our hearts, but we are apart of this world and this world has brought war to us. Qeynos may still be young in the arts of warfare but we grow in power each and every day, and the time will come in the future when we are victorious, when we stand once more to perform the Ceremony of the moon and restore the harmony of our lands. Until that day arrives however we must fight, we must war upon those that would take our homes and our freedom, not with hate and anger but with Honor and Love. These are the greatest forces of all and together, united, Qeynos will conquer all."
Bela smiled at the children, their faces all light up in awe and pride, as it always did when she told this story. The bard strummed his lute once more and then bowed his head, giving thanks to the spirits of the dead for his freedom, Bela joined him in his silent prayer. Then, she smiled once more, stood and spoke .
"ok children, the hour is late and your parents will be calling for you, time for you to go to bed so that you too can grow strong and fight with the great guilds" One little Fae tugged gently on Bela’s pant leg, she looked down at him and smiled" What is it little one? "
"Bela" he said" when I grow older, I want to be a Champion Warrior and fight with the great guilds" She smiled down at him, one of the other children, a Human, looked over at him and said.
"You cant be a Warrior! You’re a Fae and they are to small to be warriors !" The little Fae looked up at Bela his eyes pleading.
"Bela I CAN Be a Warrior can't I? I am not too little am I Bela?" She smiled down at the little one.
"Yes Nut, you can be a Warrior for sure, and I am sure you will be the best warrior of all." Nut looked over at the Human and stuck out his tongue and then scampered off to his hut.
Bela stood by the fire for a moment longer and sighed, lost in memories of days gone by. A warrior is what she was in her youth, and though she craved peace like all other Qeynosians, she missed being able to help her people on the field of battle. Squaring her shoulders she turned and headed for her hut when a voice stopped her mid stride.
"You tell the story as well as ever Commander Bela" The voice said. She turned and found Jazmania herself standing off to the side. She looked at her saddened face. "What troubles you my friend?"
"I just wish I could be at the battles my old friend, the years have caught up to me and I am no longer Commander Bela, I am now just simply Bela, the old story teller of Ardee."
Jazmania shook her head. "Not so my friend. You are still Commander Bela, and your task now is even greater than when you commanded the armies at Crushbone. For it now falls to you to prepare the next generation for battle. The war is not over, it will be waged long after you and I have passed, it is the ones we teach now that will be the finally liberators of our home. We must teach them to be strong, to be powerful and most of all to be honorable for in Love and Honor will be our salvation."
Bela smiled at her old friend and nodded. She was right of course, and she knew it. Squaring her shoulders once again she invited Jazmania into her home for a drink an invitation she promptly accepted and the two old friends disappeared into her hut to talk the night away of days gone by, battles of honor, old friends long gone and peace in Qeynos.