Rulers of Materian
Chapter 1: Making a Guild

It was a sunny day, over an open grass plain, a slight breeze bent the stalks of grass, sending waves of light across the open field. The trees rustled on the edges of the large clearing and a wolf family looked up at a strange sound before darting away into the trees. A lone figure emerged from the trees, it ran toward the center of the clearing, behind it a large monster appeared, it was shaded black with red eyes. The first figure stumbled and fell over in the center of the clearing, squeaking as it fell, the monster shook the earth as it stomped over to the fallen figure. The first figure was revealed in the sunlight as a teenage girl, she had red hair and was wearing a tiara on her head made of gold with an emerald in the center piece, a white robe with gold trimming that came down to her ankles, slippers of a sapphire blue color and a necklace with a sapphire in the setting, her eyes were a brown color and they showed fear as the monster loomed over her, next to her lay a simple cane of carved red wood.

The monster grinned as it lifted its clawed paw above its head. The sunlight shone above them now and revealed the beast to be a large red monster with white claws sprouting from its hands and talons from its feet, it had large fangs from its mouth and blood red eyes with small period sized pupils.

The girl put her hands above her head and squeaked as she readied herself for the end. The monster swung its paw down when a sudden blur of motion drove its paw off to the side sending it lurching away from the girl and knocking it off its feet. The sound of armor clanking reached her ears and she looked past her hands to see a figure in full plate armor reach down to offer her a hand.

"Zeus?" She asked quietly

"Yeah, I've got you Linda." He said to her

She nodded as she took his hand and he handed her the staff. She took it in both hands and looked toward the monster that was ripping out the arrow that had drilled itself into its paw.

"Charlie?" She asked

"Yes ma'am" A voice behind them said, they turned and a young man in a green cloth shirt with brown leggings and boots, vambraces were on his arms and a quiver of arrows was slung over his shoulder, in his hand was a longbow that showed years of use and wear.

"What did you do?" Linda asked

"Weighted Shot, new ability I got last night." Charlie replied "Figured it'd be useless, but not after today."

"He's back." Zeus said as he drew a long-sword from a scabbard on his waist and produced a round buckler from his back

Charlie put an arrow on the string and brought the arrow to full draw

"He doesn't look happy." He said "Granted I just put thirty pounds of force into his hand."

"That wasn't very nice." Linda said as she took a spot behind Zeus and Charlie

"Here he comes." Zeus said spinning his sword in small circles and putting his shield into a ready position.

The monster rushed toward them and Charlie released an arrow that drilled into the beast's eye. It roar in pain as it clutched at the wound. It recovered temporarily and glared down at them before charging again, Charlie released another arrow that drilled into the beast's other eye. It howled as it collapsed to the ground. The approached the body and Charlie noticed a bag on its waist, he ripped it open and three objects poured out; an intricately carved bow, a full plate helmet, and a book.

Charlie grabbed the bow, testing its draw weight and durability, finding it to his liking he slipped it into the quiver on his back, Zeus grabbed the helmet and fit it onto his head, and Linda grabbed the book.

"What do you suppose this is?" She asked

"Looks like a blank spell book, perfect for you." Zeus said

"No, a holy symbol would be a better choice for a cleric." Charlie stated "Let's get back to town."

They nodded and followed Charlie as he led them to the small settlement nearby, when they entered town they immediately made their way to the inn/bar, where they told the barkeep they'd completed his quest, he nodded agreement when Charlie let him examine the bow, the barkeep had told them it belonged to another adventurer who accepted the quest some time back. As the trio was preparing to leave the barkeep called after them, warning them of a new group that had just entered town. The dismissed it as they walked out the door.

The trio was walking through town in silence when Linda spoke

"What do we do now?" She asked

"We do more quests, if there are none to be done here then we move on." Charlie replied

She nodded, and then an explosion echoed throughout the town. The trio turned and saw a large cloud looming over the city center.

"Come on!" Charlie shouted as he led the way, slipping his bow out of the quiver.

They arrived at the town square to find three, similarly dressed players grinning as they looked over a scene of destruction. Stalls were wrecked and NPC's were lying on the ground. The players themselves were dressed in purple shirt and pants, with a blue undershirt, and a white turban on their heads.

"Wha- what happened?" Linda asked, wide eyed.

"They wouldn't sell us equipment at a fair price." One of the players told them

"What do you mean?" Charlie asked "The prices here are always fair."

"No, we're better than some novice, and I don't feel like spending a thousand gold for ten of these cheaply made swords." The leader of the group said

"Really?" Charlie asked

Zeus drew his sword, but Charlie motioned for him to stop, though the leader of the group noticed the action.

"Think you can take me old man?" the leader asked

"Old man?" Zeus replied in anger

"Yeah, you and your group of three first generation classes couldn't take on me and my buddies here." He said pointing his thumb at the two players standing behind him. They nodded agreement.

"Care to put your money where your mouth is?" Charlie asked

"Are you asking for a challenge?" The leader asked

"You could say that." Charlie said

"Fine. How much?"

"Five-hundred a side."

"Agreed, location?"

"Here will do. The whole square."

"Alright." The trio drew similar swords and lowered them into a ready stance

"Introductions?" Charlie asked

"I'm Mark, Mystic Knight, Holy Templar's Guild." The leader said

Player Name: Mark

Class: Mystic Knight- Known for enchanting their blades with magical spells to amplify their attack power

Guild: Holy Templar- +1 to any magically enhanced physical attack

"I'm Dylan." The second replied "Mystic Knight belonging to the Holy Templar Guild."

Player Name: Dylan

Class: Mystic Knight- Known for enchanting their blades with magical spells to amplify their attack power

Guild: Holy Templar- +1 to any magically enhanced physical attack

"Tyler, Mystic Knight of Holy Templar"

Player Name: Tyler

Class: Mystic Knight- Known for enchanting their blades with magical spells to amplify their attack power

Guild: Holy Templar- +1 to any magically enhance physical attack

"Name's Charlie, Ranger class, no guild."

Player Name: Charlie

Class: Ranger- Known for their skills with the bow and their tracking skills in the wilderness

Guild: N/A

"I am Zeus, Knight class, no guild"

Player Name: Zeus

Class: Knight- Known for heavy armor and powerful weapons, usually mounted if affordable.

Guild: N/A

"I-I'm Linda, Cleric class, no guild"

Player Name: Linda

Class: Cleric- Known for healing and support magics, uses staves and maces for weapons

Guild: N/A

"Now that that's out of the way, let's being, shall we?" Charlie asked

"Agreed" Mark said lowering into a fighting stance

"Fight!" The six combatants called, all the alleys that led away from the town square were walled off with energy, to prevent any interference.

Zeus rushed forward while Linda chanted a spell "Strength!"

Zeus' arms were covered in a red aura as he rushed the two other Mystic Knights. They moved to engage him, one head on, one on the right. He bashed the frontal one over with his shield before hacking at the one on his right. He turned and stabbed the first in the gut while he was on the ground, the character model froze and turned gray, bashed the second and slashed him across the gut before turning on Mark while the second player's model froze in mid-stance and turned gray.

"Defense!" Linda called as Zeus' armor was covered in a blue aura.

Mark turned to face Zeus "Fire Blade." He said running his hand up the length of the blade, the steel igniting at his touch, he rushed forward, sparks streaming behind him. A sudden jarring force stopped him cold as he looked down at his empty hands. He looked over his right shoulder to see his spinning blade fly into the nearest wall and get stuck. Charlie grinned at his shot before he put another arrow on the string.

Mark looked the approaching Zeus and his frozen sword. He judged for a moment and turned to rush to get his weapon, he froze in mid-lunge and turned gray, an arrow protruding from his back. The three gathered up the Mystic Knights and piled them up.

"Battle over." They said as one, color returned to the bodies and the boys finished their respective actions. The walls went down and Charlie looked down at them.

"I believe we had a deal?" he asked

"Yeah yeah." Mark said as he watched coins flow from his coin-purse into Charlie's

The ranger thanked him before turning and leaving, Linda and Zeus following him. They arrived back at the bar ten minutes later and relaxed at their usual corner table. Charlie was relaxing over a glass of water when a mail notification appeared. He opened it and it was from a sergeant in the Holy Templar Guild, it read:

Dear Unnamed Group

It has come to our attention that you defeated three of our newest members, and in accordance to our laws we have banished them for their failure, we'd like to offer you their positions, as you have proven yourselves valuable warriors.

Sincerely,
Frank, Fifteenth Sergeant of the Holy Templar Guild

"Well that's interesting." Charlie said as he expanded the message and laid it on the table for the other two to look at.

When they finished reading Zeus shook his head as he looked up from the paper.

"I think we should join." Linda said

"Why?" Charlie asked

"Well, they seem to know what they're doing."

"Exactly, they seem to know what they're doing, that doesn't mean they do."

"But, those members may have just been weaker than most of them." Linda said

"Even so, their ability doesn't suit our style."

"What do you mean?"

Now it was Zeus' turn to explain "You see, their guild ability is that any magically enhanced physical attack gets a +1 damage, that would mean you'd have to enchant me and Charlie for the Guild's effect to kick in, and that's a waste of your mana and our time."

Linda shook her head, seeing the reason now. "Maybe it won't be such a good idea." She said

"Exactly, and they probably have uniforms they make their recruits wear, I'll keep my clothes green and shady thank you." Charlie said as he typed 'No' as a reply to the message.

They went back to relaxing when a minute later two messages arrived in Charlie's inbox, one from Frank, the other from an unknown address.

"Interesting." Charlie said seeing the second message, he opened the first one and it read:

Dear Unnamed Group

We respect your right to play the game your way, but don't dismiss us so hastily, we can be a very dangerous ally to have if you plan on ignoring us.

Sincerely
Frank, Fifteenth Sergeant of the Holy Templar Guild

"Guilds." Charlie said distastefully as he deleted the message, but not before hitting the ignore player button. "Now, about this second message." He clicked the button and it opened, revealing a note that read:

Meet me at the Abbion town square at 3 pm

"Well, this one's a bit blunt." Charlie said showing the others.

"Who do you think it is?" Zeus asked

"Don' know, but let's go find out, come on, it's 2:50." Charlie said scooping up his quiver and leading the trio out.

They arrived at the square, exactly at 3 pm, they looked around a bit before spotting a figure in a cloak leaning on the side of the fountain. The figure noticed them and took a step forward.

"Freeze!" Charlie called pulling his bow up and bringing it to full draw "State your intention."

"Friendly!" The stranger called, the voice sounded higher than they'd expected.

"Show yourself." Charlie said, making a gesture with the bow for the stranger to remove their hood.

The stranger complied, pulling the hood down to reveal a young woman, she had long brown hair and deep chestnut brown eyes. She unfixed the clasp that was holding the cloak together to reveal a tight body suit that was red on the sides of her legs and black everywhere else, she reached behind her head and pulled up a mask that covered all of her face except her eyes, the mask was black with red on the cheeks. She looked at them and they noticed the pair of daggers on her belt and the knifes on the ring beside them.

"Who are you?" Charlie asked

"Jenessa's my name, I'm an assassin with no guild." She replied

Player Name: Jenessa

Class: Assassin- Known for their underhanded tricks in direct confrontations, preferring to silently take out their enemy than get caught up in a head on skirmish

Guild: N/A

"Why are you here?" Charlie asked

"I saw how you defeated the three Mystic Knights from earlier, I was about to step in but you came forward first. I'd like to thank you, and offer you my services." She said with a bow

"One minute please." Charlie said as he turned to discuss with Zeus and Linda.

"What do you think?" he asked

"She seems alright." Linda said

"Linda, she's an assassin, they are never 'alright', Zeus?" Charlie stated

"She sought us out on her own volition, she just as easily could've walked away and not done anything."

"True, but that doesn't mean all that much." Charlie said

"Ask her then." Linda said

He sighed "Fine."

Turning back to Jenessa he called to her "What can you offer us?"

She thought for a moment "I'm not too bad in a fight, and with a steady income thanks to quests and contracts, I could bring you more money."

Charlie thought this through for a moment, but eventually Zeus sighed. "You're in!" He called to her. "Come on over"

She nodded again and approached them, they looked each other over, noticing smaller details they hadn't noticed before, eventually Linda broke the silence. "We have a room back at the bar if you'd be willing to come with us." She said

"Of course." Jenessa said bowing to them before letting Charlie lead the way back.

The group arrived at the bar and headed upstairs to their room for the day. Zeus spent the time sharpening his sword, Linda examined her spell book, writing down any spells that she would need. Jenessa examined her daggers, sharpening them when needed. Charlie spent the time fletching arrows. Eventually they lost track of time and they went to sleep before logging out for the day.

The next day when they logged on they seated themselves around the table.

"So, what's the plan?" Jenessa asked

"I heard tell of a quest in another town not too far away, about an hour's travel from here." Zeus said

"Where'd you hear about it?" Charlie asked

"The forums, some of the older players were talking about a new event that came up." Zeus said

"Alright, we can check it out." Jenessa said

Charlie nodded, a pondering look on his face. The group paid for the room, thanked the innkeeper for his time and left the town, departing on the path for the next town.

As the group made their way through the slightly wooded path, Charlie felt something was amiss.

"Jenessa, climb up the next tree, quietly, and disappear into the foliage." Charlie told her calmly

She nodded and disappeared a moment later. The trio continued on foot, the foliage of the interlocking leaves above their heads, streaming beams of sunlight and a constant green hue down to them. They heard the bushes move above and stopped. Charlie leapt back and where he'd been standing a figure appeared, a sai was buried an inch and a half deep into the dirt.

"Who are you? And why are you following us?" Charlie asked putting an arrow on the bow and aiming it at the person.

"My name is Jun, I am a Ninja and I'm part of the Assassin's guild Totorate"

Player Name: Jun

Class: Ninja- Similar to the Assassin, known for their diverse weaponry and their 'honorable' tactics, refusing to use poison, underhanded trickery, and other such devices.

Guild: Totorate (As an assassin's Guild all members gain bonus gold when completing an assassin's contract and quests, Guild Buff: All small one handed weapons gain a +2 damage added when being used for sneak attacks)

"That doesn't answer my question, why are you following us?" Charlie asked again

"I noticed that you carry someone in your group, a particular girl named 'Jenessa"

"And what of it?" Charlie asked

"She and I are close friends, I offer you my services, as long as you give me your word you'll keep her items and her character save."

"Agreed." Charlie said before Jun nodded and stood, ripping the sai out of the ground.

He approached and handed Charlie a type of card "Here, this is my calling card, use it if you ever need my assistance and I'll come."

And with that he disappeared into the trees. A minute later Jenessa appeared before them, her hand bunched into a fist and planted firmly in the ground, her head lowered

"I'm sorry, if that had been an assassin-"

"It doesn't matter." Charlie said "Stand up."

She stood and looked at him expectantly, almost like she was waiting to be punished.

"Well, come on then." He said turning and walking down the path.

Zeus and Linda followed him while Jenessa stood there awestruck. "So that's it?" She asked "What if that had been an assassin? You could've been killed, and then lost all the items and money you put all that work into."

Charlie stopped "Somethings are worse than dying in this game." He said half-turning his head to look at Jenessa out of one eye.

They stood there a minute, frozen, the tension could be felt in the air, but suddenly Charlie turned and broke the eye-contact.

"Come on, if we keep up like this then we'll never get to the next town."

Zeus and Linda nodded before resuming their pace, Jenessa followed shortly after. The group arrived at the next town two hours later, putting it about 3pm.

"So, what do we do now?" Zeus asked as they walked into town.

The town wasn't much, border-lying village, it had a weaponsmith, and a inn/bar.

"Are you sure this is the place to stay?" Zeus asked looking around.

There was a group of women chatting around a small well as they retrieved the water, but unbeknownst to them a small figure slipped past and cut their coin purses, letting the money tinkle into its hands before running off.

"It doesn't look all that safe." Linda agreed

"It'll be fine. Just keep an eye out for that guy, and an eye on your coin purse, I have a feeling that he's not the only thief in this town." Charlie warned

The group made their way to the inn and began to discuss with the barkeep if there were any quests nearby. He explained about how a group of imps had been terrorizing them, stealing from the town, there was also the case of the thief who was cutting people's purses and taking off, the barkeep revealed it was an actual player who was doing it.

The group sat down at a nearby table to discuss this information.

"We should probably take care of that thief first, if he quits stealing then the town can actually evolve past this stage and maybe conditions would improve a bit, and if we plan on staying here a while I'd rather not have to sleep with my coin purse every night." Charlie stated.

"Agreed." The group replied.

"So then we'll take care of the imps after we take care of this player thief?" Linda asked.

"Yes." Charlie replied as he stood, putting his fingertips on the table and scooting his chair back. He leaned forward over the rough wood and produced a map from his pack that was hidden under the table. He placed it down and rolled it out, using four arrows to keep it still.

"We're here." He said indicating a small town in the lower right hand corner of the world map, at his touch the image zoomed in and it showed the layout of the town and surrounding areas.

"Here's the bar." He said tapping a building cause the image to enhance again. "We need to come up with a plan to get this thief."

Linda swiped her finger across the map zooming it back out a phase to the town overview.

"Well, he seems to spend some of this time here, with the NPC women. Maybe we could catch him there tomorrow?" She asked

"No, that's not likely, he probably has a system so he's not caught in the same place twice." Jenessa explained "He probably hit here today, and for all we know he might go up to the northern end of the town, just as easily as he might go south, to us it's a random game of guess and check, but to him it's a system."

Charlie nodded as he absorbed this new information. He examined the map closely and an idea struck him.

"This is what we'll do." He said "We'll have each of us be posted somewhere at the edges of town. Then, when the thief strikes next that person will follow him until they reach his lair or whatever it is he uses. Once that happens they'll mark the location on the map and we'll converge on it when we've prepared."

Jenessa nodded "Sounds good."

"Alright, let's get to work." Charlie said as he rolled up the map.

The group left the bar and split up, each heading to a different direction of town. When they arrived they made themselves inconspicuous and waited.

Jenessa was examining a knife from a vendor's stall when she caught movement on the edge of her vision. She turned to her left slightly and saw the thief dart into a crowd of shoppers and come out with a handful of coins.

"You're mine." She said before taking off after him.

She followed him into the back alleys between the buildings and eventually he disappeared through a back door. She sent out a group message detailing her location and they returned to the bar. Charlie looked at the map and tapped the place that Jenessa specified. It zoomed in to show the back door she was talking about.

"This is it?" Charlie asked

She nodded "That's where I saw him disappear."

"Alright, gear up." Charlie rolled up the map and placed it back in his bag.

The group readied their weapons and soon left to go to the thief's hideaway. When they arrived Charlie had Jenessa perch herself beside the doorway, Zeus was standing in front of the doorway, Charlie himself as behind Zeus by about five feet and Linda was halfway between Zeus and Charlie to their right.

"Everyone ready?" Charlie asked

They nodded.

"Zeus, hit it." Charlie nocked an arrow on his bowstring, aiming it down the center of the doorway at head level.

Zeus reached forward and ripped the door open, his shield up and at the ready. Jenessa looked to her left and Linda held her staff up in a defensive stance.

The doorway in front of them was empty.

"Can I help you?" A voice asked from behind them

They all turned and saw the thief was in front of them.

"Who are you?" Charlie asked

"Name's Denice." He said "Rogue class, no guild."

Player Name: Denice (Pronounced: Den-iss)

Class: Rogue- known for picking pockets and cutting purses, rogues are similar to assassins and ninjas, but are the smaller more streetwise branch of the outfit.

Guild: N/A

"Now, can I help you?" He asked

"We were put up on a quest to stop you from stealing from the NPC's." Charlie said

"Oh, woops, guess I've been around here longer than I'd planned. Sorry about that." Denice said rubbing the back of his head with a hand.

"What do you mean?" Charlie asked

"Well, normally I don't stay in one area for too long, to prevent quests to stop me from popping up, usually I'm in one area for a week or so before moving on, looking back on it, I've been here for about two and a half weeks." Denise explained

"So, you don't mean to put these people in debt?" Charlie asked

"Nope, in fact, I give the money back when I'm done, I keep what I earned while staying here and give the stolen goods back to the town. I'm just doing it to increase my pickpocketing skill, and I don't need any new equipment until I level up, but us Rogues aren't exactly good at soloing."

Zeus stepped forward and put a hand on Charlie's shoulder.

"What is it Zeus?" Charlie asked half turning to him.

"I think we should take him with us."

"Why?"

"He seems trustworthy, and he even said he's not all that strong, so if he gets out of hand we could stop him."

Charlie thought about it for a minute. "Would you like to come with us?" he asked

"What do you mean?" Denice asked

"Come with us, you know, join our group." Linda said, warming up to the idea.

Denice was silent for a moment "Sure." He said turning to look up at them and grinned "I can do that."

"Good, first things first, give the people their money back." Charlie said as he returned the arrow to his quiver.

"Agreed." Denice said nodding before turning and walking out of the alley.

The group followed him and he secretly left all the money he'd stolen on a bag out in front of the town head's office. He knocked on the door before slipping off into the alley. The group met up with him at the local bar.

"Your quest should be taken care of." He said as they walked up behind him.

They opened their quest journals and clicked the 'finish' button. They were each paid their share and given their experience.

"What next?" Denice asked as he turned to Charlie.

"We've got a quest to get rid of a band of imps in the surrounding forest areas." Charlie stated

Denice nodded and turned to the barkeep before accepting the quest himself.

"Alright, let's go." He swiveled on his chair and leapt off toward the door, the group followed him out and they turned toward the West Section of the town, walking through the street and into the wooded areas.

"Halt!" A voice called from above "Drop all your items and equipment then walk away slowly."

Charlie looked up and immediately spotted a player in the treetops. He was wearing a green cloak and it was hard for the others to see him.

"Who is it?" Denice asked looking around

"Rangers, I can take care of them." Jenessa offered.

Charlie nodded "I think I rather like the sound of that."

Jenessa disappeared into the trees. The sounds of fighting echoed off the large trunks and eventually three bodies fell to the ground. All of them dressed in the green cloaks of Rangers. Jenessa dropped to the ground a minute later.

"That's all of them." She reported

"Good." Charlie said as he approached the nearest one.

He lifted his head "So then, where would you be from hm?"

The Ranger groaned in pain before replying "I'm from the Ranger's League."

Ranger's League: +2 to any attack used with a bow

"And I suppose your guild knows that you're robbing people on the road eh?" Charlie asked him

"No, they don't."

"Should I tell them?" He asked

"No sir, please don't, we'd be kicked out." The man said

"Good, then I don't expect to hear about anything like this happening again." Charlie said dropping the man's head into the dust. "Come on then." He said leading the group passed the beaten Rangers

They arrived at the section of the woods the barkeep had told them about, it was easy to miss, but with Charlie's nature skills they spotted it. He told them to wait where they were while he went to scout ahead. Ducking into the bushes he disappeared from sight. Making his way silently toward the imp camp, he came upon a clearing and stopped on the edge of the bushes, just enough to see, without being seen.

In the clearing there were six imps clustered around a campfire, a wild boar roasting over the open flame on a spit. One of the imps was slowly turning the beast so it would cook evenly. Behind them were three tents.

They were speaking in an unknown tongue, probably impish Charlie thought.

"Q hitm tpia" one said

"Leil wqtp ib" another replied

Charlie shrugged, figuring he wouldn't glean anything from listening to them he slowly crept back to his group.

The rest of the group was pacing around waiting. When the bushes rustled Zeus immediately produced his sword assuming it was one of the imps. Slowly creeping toward the rustling noises he readied himself to strike. Suddenly Charlie appeared and froze, looking up at Zeus' sword.

"And what exactly were you going to do with that?" he asked

"Sorry, thought it was an imp."

Charlie saw the train of thought and nodded "Good thinking. Just be a little more careful next time so you don't run me through."

Zeus nodded as he sheathed the sword "So, what did you find out?" he asked

"Turns out our little friends are camped about thirty feet into the woods in a small clearing, didn't get a word of what they said, can't speak impish." He shrugged "Doesn't matter though, we take 'em out, get our reward and move on."

Zeus nodded his agreement and readied himself, the rest of the group drew their weapons and followed Charlie through the brush. They arrived at the camp a few minutes later and Charlie went first, looking at the clearing, he saw there weren't the six imps from before, only three; the cook and two sentries.

"Interesting." He said to himself before crawling back.

He reached the group and passed on the information.

"I bet they disappeared into the tents." Zeus suggested

"Or they may have gone out on a raid." Jenessa added

"Whatever it is they're doing, imps can speak the common tongue when threatened, we can get the information out of the others." Charlie stated.

He re-arranged the group so Zeus took the lead, followed by Denice and Jenessa who would flank through on the left and right, He would stay behind and provide support fire and Linda would stay in the bushes and heal them if necessary.

"Ready?" Charlie asked the group

They nodded

"Charge." He said calmly

Zeus rushed forward, the hiss of steel on steel echoed through the clearing as he produced his sword and shrugged his shield off his back. He rushed forward and cut one of the sentries down. Jenessa appeared next and reached around the imp's head and slashed its throat. Denice appeared from the right and stabbed his dagger in the middle of the imp's back, a maiming shot though.

Charlie nodded with satisfaction at the teamwork shown by the fighting trio, he stepped into the clearing and knelt down next to the wounded imp.

"Tell us where your companions are." He said firmly

The imp shook its head.

"Tell us!" he demanded grapping the beast's neck and forcing it to the ground

"Never." It croaked

"Zeus, lop off one of his ears then send him on his way." Charlie told the warrior

The imp squeaked in fear covering its ears with its hands. An imp's ears were its most treasured possession, being born with one ear was bad enough, losing it to something like this was a far worse fate.

"They've gone back to the town!" he shouted immediately

Charlie nodded as he let go of the imp before taking one of his arrows and driving it into the imp's head. He waited a minute before pulling the arrow out and inspecting it; no damage.

"Come on, we better get to town, those NPC's won't stand a chance against those imps."

The group followed him back to the small town, on the way back they saw smoke rising on the horizon.

"Come on, those little monsters are looting the place." Charlie said before taking off at a run.

The rest followed him and they entered town to find multiple fires had been started and the people were trying desperately to put them out, meanwhile the imps ran amuck through the town.

Charlie knelt down on a knee and drew his bow to full draw, arrow on the string, before leasing a shot into the nearest imp's head. It dropped to the ground and the other two, seeing the death of their companion, looked up to see the group of adventurers standing ahead of them. They turned and tried to run, but were stopped as Jenessa appeared in front of them. It was a simple skill; sneak attack

Sneak Attack: An assassin skill that is only allowed once per fight; it allows the caster to appear behind their enemy when the spell is cast, loses effectiveness if the enemy turns to flee or has eyes in the back of their head.

She cut one down and blocked a slash from the other imp's axe before an arrow appeared inbetween its eyes.

"That takes care of that." Charlie said as Jenessa removed her knife from the imp she'd attacked and walked over to the group.

"We get our payment and move on." He said as he opened his quest menu and clicked the reward button.

The group repeated the action and they were all paid their share of experience and gold.

After that they went on their way to the next town. When they arrived they found it was more of a city, with an inn/bar, blacksmith, and a Guild Hall

Guild Hall: A Guild Hall is the sort of 'public face' of a Guild as well as its base of operations, usually a place where mercenary Guilds accept contracts.

The group passed the Hall and Denice noticed the building immediately.

"Hey Charlie," he said

"What's up?"

"Why don't we go investigate that Guild Hall?"

"Why should we?"

"I don't know, I just noticed that none of us are in a Guild, and there's one right there." He explained

"Well, I'm actually looking to start my own Guild, but for that to happen I need 1 more person in my group- also need a name." he muttered the last part to himself

"Oh, interesting…" Denice said as they moved past the subject

Linda was now staring intently at the sign next to the Guild Hall's door, usually this is where the name of the Guild is posted.

"I don't think we'll be welcome here Charlie." She said

"And why's that?" he asked

"Look." She pointed at the sign next to the door

Charlie walked over and examined it before nodding. "She's right, let's get a move on out of here." He said

"Wait wait, hold up, what's the sudden rush?" Denice asked

"This town is owned by the Holy Templar Guild, we had a run in with some of their members a while back and they tried to recruit us, we told them more or less to kick off and they haven't talked to us since." Charlie explained

"I assume then, that means you're enemies with these guys?" Denice asked

"That's a good assumption." Charlie stated

"Well, let's get out of here then." Jenessa said with a shrug

"First, we need to make sure there isn't a quest that would be worth doing." Charlie said

The group made their way to the bar, and after asking the barkeep about any local jobs they found out there wasn't much, but there was an unofficial quest about a player up in the mountains who went missing some time ago.

Charlie led them over to one of the round tables in the corner of the bar and they sat down to discuss their next plan of action.

"Doesn't seem like there's anything to do here." Jenessa said

"Agreed, I suggest we move on now, before we're found out." Zeus stated

"I'm with Zeus." Linda added

Charlie remained silent.

"Here's an idea, that player who went missing a few months ago, why don't we try and recruit him? If he joins our group then we can make a Guild, and then we can fight these Holy Templar guys." Denice offered

Everyone took the thought into consideration, Jenessa tilted her head to the side, Linda put her hand under his chin, Charlie remained as he was, and with Zeus' helmet on it was hard to tell what he was thinking.

"I'm with Denice on this, if we can get this new player in, we can start our own Guild, and then we won't have to worry about traveling and questing, it'll all be brought to us." Jenessa said

Each member of the group came to the same decision after Jenessa and they all looked at Charlie expectantly.

"Fine." He sighed

They all grinned at him before collecting their things and heading out of the bar. As the last member stepped onto the street a large grid appeared around them, walling off a large section of the town.

"What is this?" Denice asked rushing forward and trying to break through, it didn't budge.

"Battle Block, seems some Holy Templar members have found out about us." Charlie said as he drew an arrow and nocked it on the string.

Zeus drew his sword and Linda held up her book. Jenessa slid her knives and Denice unsheathed his dagger.

They were scanning around expectantly, waiting for something to appear.

"You can put the weapons down, we mean you no harm." A voice called to them

The group traced the voice to its source and saw a man standing on the roof of a building across the street, he leapt down, landing in the halfway point of the road.

"Who are you?" Charlie asked

"Frank, fifteenth sergeant of the Holy Templar Guild." He replied immediately

"Uh oh…" Zeus whispered

"Uh oh? Uh oh what?" Denice asked

"This is the sergeant who tried to recruit us." Zeus explained

"That is an uh oh…" Denice said turning back to Frank

"What do you want with us?" Charlie called

"Just an answer, you didn't accept our invite, why?" Frank asked

"Your Guild's ability doesn't suit us." Charlie replied

"Is that all?" Frank asked expectantly

"There's more, from what we saw of your members we don't think your Guild is one we wish to be a part of."

"Come now, those three were amateurs, noobs if you will. We had nothing to do with the way they destroyed that town."

"Still, if a Guild can't flex enough restraint on its members to allow them to destroy a town, I don't want to be part of it."

"So be it." Frank said with a shrug before turning away and lowering the Battle Block. "Oh, one more thing. If you are ever caught in a town owned by the Holy Templar guild again, you will be challenged on sight." He called over his shoulder before walking away.

The group quickly made their way out of town towards the mountains to the East, where the player was said to have gone missing, on the way they were discussing what to do about the Holy Templar Guild.

"I say the minute we start our own Guild we declare war." Denice said punching a fist into his hand

"That's exactly what they want, and exactly the opposite for us." Charlie answered him "They outnumber, and outshine us, with more weapons and players than we have."

"Still, we have two sneak style classes, I think we could take 'em." Denice said with a mischievous grin

"What about if we were to fight all of them at once?"

Denice stopped in the trail, thinking about the battle. His eyes widened as he realized what would happen. Rushing back up to the others he said;

"Ok, so war's not a good idea, then what do we do?"

"Nothing for now."

"Nothing?! After what just happened back in town? He made us look like fools."

"Let your opponent think he's become the better of you, and he may be just the opposite." Jenessa put in

Denice looked at her in confusion. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"If we let the Holy Templar Guild think they're better than us they'll get cocky and overconfident, most likely in the form of leaving us alone, allowing us to gain numbers and strength." Charlie resumed the conversation

Denice nodded, a grin forming on his face as he added the numbers up in his head.

"Excellent, but first we need to find this missing player." He said

"Exactly." Charlie said as the group stopped at a forest that surrounded the mountains. "Here we are, the Barkeep said that the player was last seen headed into this forest."

Charlie knelt down on a knee and examined the ground.

"What are you doing? Any traces left by this guy are long gone." Denice said

"Yes, but I'm making sure he didn't come back this way recently, or if someone else has gone after him." Charlie explained as he followed the path into the trees.

"Do you see something?" Zeus asked

"Yes… though I don't know what, it's too faint to make out, it looks like player prints, though of what kind I'm not sure."

The group followed Charlie silently through the trees until they found themselves on the other side of the woods.

"Well, whoever this is made it out in one piece." Charlie said as he stood up, brushing the dirt from his knees.

"Anything else?" Zeus asked

"Not that I can tell from here." Charlie said as he followed the trail

They made their way up the winding mountain path until they found a structure built into the side of the mountain; it was old, the stones were cracked with age and snow had filled them in. It was a red building, with four large pillars supporting the front wall, and a large set of double doors to mark the entrance.

"What is this place?" Zeus asked

"A temple, to what god or belief I can't tell." Charlie answered as he ascended the steps on the front of the building.

Charlie approached the large doors in the center of the temple and lifted his fist to knock on a door, before he could they swung open revealing a muscular figure standing in the doorway.

"Who are you?" he asked

Charlie lowered his fist "My name is Charlie, I'm a Ranger, no Guild. There's a quest down in the town below that a player disappeared up here some months ago, we were sent to track him down."

The figure started at Charlie for a moment, Charlie stared at him; He was large, broad-shouldered, and muscular. He wore a light blue gi and ripped training pants with a black belt around his waist and a black headband to cover his forehead, he had short, spiky brown hair.

"If you're looking for the 'missing' player, you found him." The man replied

"Excellent, in that case, I have a question for you uh…" Charlie stopped for a moment

"Freddie, but my friends call me Fred." The man replied

"Alright Freddie, my friends and I." Charlie stopped to indicate the group below "Have taken up an interest in starting our own Guild, and we need a sixth member to make the core leadership element, when we'd heard about your disappearance, we figured we'd ask you to join."

Fred stared at him for a moment. "Come in." he said stepping aside and waving his arm to show the others. They entered the snowy temple and were in awe of what they found inside. It was a large single room structure, with a table next to a burning fire, and chair propped around it. On the far wall were rows upon rows of chair stacked up together forming a secondary wall. Directly opposite where they'd come in was another set of double doors, these were much smaller than their main counterparts. There were also torches set halfway up the walls casting the room in a strange half-light.

Freddie led the group over to the table and when enough chairs had been brought out he sat down and released a small grunt.

"So…" Charlie began

Freddie held up a hand. "Let me get this straight; you, a complete stranger, have walked up to me, in my house, to ask me to help you lead a Guild that isn't even made yet."

"Well, yes, but putting it that way-"

"Is putting it in the light of truth yes?" Freddie interjected

Charlie was quiet for a second "I suppose you could look at it that way, but what I was going to say was that it seems so, unorganized when you say it that way."

"That's because it is." Freddie replied "Look, Charlie was it? This Guild idea of yours, it's a good idea, that town down there is in dire need of a change in leadership, that's why I came up here, but you've got no idea what it takes to run a Guild."

"Oh, and what makes you get that idea?" Charlie asked him

"Well, for one, you don't even have a name do you?"

Charlie opened his mouth to reject the idea, but then closed it again in thought.

"Exactly, you also are asking complete strangers to help you run it. Usually Guild Leaders ask their campaign-hardened allies or their friends in real life. Not some outcast Monk who doesn't belong anywhere." Freddie added

Name: Fred

Class: Monk- Useful as main attackers, these unorthodox warriors use their bare fists in combat for lightning fast combos to deal massive amounts of damage

Guild: N/A

Charlie looked at him for a moment. "If I may ask, have you been in charge of a Guild before?"

Freddie looked at him before sighing. "Yes, I was in charge of a Guild for a short while. It's a long story and I'd rather not go into it, short version; we let a bad guy into the upper ranks and it's now the Guild you know as the Holy Templar."

The group gasped, except for Charlie who simply nodded. "I figured as much, you seem like one of the leaders I knew from a few years back."

Freddie looked surprised at this "How long have you been playing Materian?"

"I started in the middle of The Fall." He told him

"A bad time to start, that's for sure. Would you mind coming into the back room so we can talk in private?" Freddie asked him

Charlie shrugged "Alright."

The two stood up from the table and made their way through a side door.

The group waited quietly, suddenly a huge fit of laughing broke the silence. They all looked toward the door that blocked Charlie and Freddie from them. It suddenly burst open on its hinges, Freddie and Charlie came strolling out laughing hysterically.

"Ah, my old friend. How long it has been, come, let us rejoice at the reunion of this great duo." Freddie said as he made his way to a corner of the large room. He got out plates and cups and loaded them with foods and drinks of all kinds.

The group ate and drank, not understanding why. When the festivities died down Zeus asked the question.

"Charlie, who is this man?"

The Ranger looked at his group of friends, a grin on his face.

"Friends, let me introduce to you. My best friend on Materian." Charlie said as he reached over and grappled Freddie around the shoulders.

"What?" Linda asked, completely confused.

Charlie laughed "I understand the confusion. Let me explain; you see, Freddie was the leader of a Guild known as The Brotherhood Sanctum when I first started playing Materian. I joined the Guild and we had a good time, until a guy by the name of Burt took over as Vice-Leader. He eventually succeeded in taking over altogether, he proceeded to kick out any member of the Guild who didn't support his takeover. This included yours truly, and since he knew the face of my last character, I restarted under the guise of this Ranger."

The group stared at Charlie with something near awe.

And so, the night continued; Charlie and the others drank and ate their fill while Freddie and Charlie traded stories of their time apart, and retelling old ones they already knew. The next day the group of six set off for town, where they met with the Town Head and officially started their own Guild; The Brotherhood Sanctum.

Brotherhood Sanctum- +1 to all types of damage for each group member (Not including yourself)

Alright, this took me a long while to get typed up, sorry if it seems sloppy at the end, I had just gotten my wisdom teeth removed and things seemed a little nauseating while I was typing it.