Nine in Water, Many Beyond

In the tongue of the Karicarya, their world means 'Adoring Sunrise'. In the Saenoch's speech, it is 'Open Palm'. The name of this world is unknown as of this writing, but most other subjects...well, that's a different story.


4. Who Does Care - The Guilds

Whether they owe their lives purely to the lands, or to the Saenochs, the mortals of the nine lands learned that to waste the gift of life is an insult to both groups. Yet when plotting a course for themselves, there is strength in numbers. Guilds of like-minded individuals centered around bettering the lives of the mortals within are spread across all nine lands, devoted to sharing a specific skill set or goal.

Attacking the unarmed, robbing the poor, betraying a fellow member, and causing unnecessary bloodshed are all dishonourable acts worthy of expulsion from the Rogues' Guild. Yes, though rough by nature and not exactly willing to stay on the legal side of the fence, members of the Rogues' Guild are still professionals. Professional highwaymen, pickpockets, locksmiths, shills, cat burglars, forgers, fences, troublemakers, brawlers, hackers, pit fighters, dealers, bandits, smugglers, brutes, and traitors. A rogue that follows the simple rules can find themselves striking it rich, if they complete enough contracts. And there are always contracts. Trade secrets need leaking, signatures need forging, snitches need silencing, citizens need intimidating, marks need scamming, computers need hacking, and targets need framing. The people of the Nine Lands are far from honest, and a rogue's work is far from done.
Dependant on the Land the guild branch is situated on, work can be almost anything, or almost everything. On Aquentor, one hacker single-handedly disabled every security system, distracted every guard, and opened every security exit from just their netbook, single-handedly stealing one of Aquentor's most famous paintings from right under the museum's nose and still getting in a few rounds of popular MMOxRPG League of Worlds before the theft was noticed. The hacker primadonna either wound up becoming one of the most powerful players in Aquentor's world of trade and commerce, or disappeared into the shadows with pockets full of jewels. Like many good stories on the Nine, accounts diverged and rumours took over, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. Thanks to rumours of at least three branches having direct ties to Geobach, Guardian of the Outcasts, the people of the Nine all lock their doors at night.

Whether the distant menace is a man-eating beast, a pack of raiders, or a Saenoch's bloodthirsty servants, if a citizen of the Nine wants it dead from afar, they call upon the Gunners. This guild of elite sharpshooters favour the disciplines of accuracy, stealth, precision, and speed. To earn the three highest ranks within the Gunners, aspiring marksmen must take down several threats to the innocent citizens of the Nine within a limited time frame, and without getting detected by the enemy. Though specialising in traditional firearms, most Guild branches allow users of magical weapons firing bullets of concentrated fire, ice, shock, poison, and even raw magical energy into their ranks. Some even allow crossbow users and archers into their ranks, as both use the same disciplines as sharpshooting, but all agree that a silent takedown from a safe distance is the best way to handle issues.
Many often mistake the Gunners' Guild with their melee-orientated rivals, the Warriors' Guild. Both are guilds of mercenaries willing to defend the citizens of the Nine if paid, and both are accepted in every land. Yet this is where the similarities end, for both Gunners and Warriors view each other as stealing contracts from one another, leaving both guilds in need of contracts - a position no guild ever wants to be in. The bitter rivalry between the two guilds extended far enough for them to be in all-out war on the land of Kazidzo, until the true cause of the lack of contracts was discovered by a hero that managed to join both the Warriors and the Gunners and track down an illegal mercenary guild, Ebonshapers. The elusive and dishonest guild had been pitting its lawful rivals against each other and forcing the citizens of the Nine to turn to them in their hour of need, allowing them to extort the good citizens out of their last penny. The lone hero managed to reveal the true cause behind the lack of contracts, but whether the Gunners and the Warriors are still rivals after this revelation remains to be seen.

Cause of many fatalities, disasters, and tool of the wicked, magic is distrusted across most of the Nine, and even outright banned on Shamni. Yet magic can also be healing, calming, and a turning point in battle that directs victory to the wielder. Most of those who call mages evil would leap at the chance to recruit battlemages into their ranks and healers into their hospitals and temples. Magic at its source is not evil, but what is done with it can be, so it is not magic but the mages that must be regulated. At least that's what the Karicarya and Amaena Wizards Ridwan and Marsious believed when they founded the Mages Guild and laid out the disciplines of magic.
Blessing is the school devoted to healing the living, fortifying talents, strengthening the flesh against physical and magical blows, dispelling curses, curing diseases, and exorcising the possessed. Blessing is one of the most widely accepted schools of magic, as the Nine lands will always require an abundance of healers.
Transmutation is the school of manipulating both the magical and physical worlds, transforming a barren pasture into a field of golden wheat, turning lead into gold, and gold into gemstones. Harmful spells become healing hands when they meet a transmutation barrier, and distant objects are pulled close by invisible hands of telekinesis. A master of Transmutation in the Mages Guild on Herlenne used telekinesis on his paralysed legs to allow him to walk again - or at least appear to.
Thaumaturgy is the school of brewing and blending the raw magical power in the natural world into effects that can be harnessed at a moment's notice. All mortals living on the Nine practice simple thaumaturgy every day in their kitchens and reap the effects. One Evemeni lad in Remand's capital city claims no potion can cure heartbreak better than his chilli-cheese beans on toast. In its more complex form though, Thaumaturgy can distill powerful potions with effects ranging from healing to invisibility, and deadly poisons capeable of killing in just one taste.
Elimination is the school of warfare, of destroying, and of danger. Students of Elimination handle spells capeable of melting flesh, freezing bones, and spitting acid. Those who perform well enough with spells of flame, frost, shock, venom, leeching, and erosion are offered an unconditional place into the armies of the Nine lands. A bullet or blade that can pierce flesh is good, but one that can melt an opponent's flesh clean off their bones is better.
Necromancy is the school of bringing life to death, raising the departed from their graves. Though openly hated on Shamni, necromancy is regarded as one of the most benevolent schools of magic in the modern age of the Nine lands. Many hospitals have entire teams of necromancers working in their ranks, ready to recieve fresh organs from deceased donors and revive them for those requiring a transplant. Modern fertility surgeries would not be possible without necromancers reviving donated glands and organs, allowing for transgender citizens to recieve complete, working reproductive systems, and the sterile to become fertile. Many lawyers also call in necromancers in trials of murder, allowing the dead to testify for themselves, and for doubts to be erased.
Domination is one of the most distrusted and potentially dangerous schools of magic, as it involves the manipulation of minds both mortal and otherworldly. Those who practice Domination to a high enough level can bring entire armies to their knees, rally harmless farmers' daughters into bloodthirsty warmaidens, tame and summon the minions of the Saenochs, and one Master once manipulated Saenoch Thixur into cutting out his own heart and giving it to her. You can see why the school of Domination is greatly mistrusted if it can bring the Saenoch of Immorality and Ravage to his knees.

The heart-stealer of Domination was thrown out for her crimes many years ago, for trafficking with the most evil of Saenochs warrants an automatic ban from the Mages Guild. Yet with the heart of a god in her possession, the Master of magic could form her own guild. A guild dedicated to more nefarious practices in honour of their queen.

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