| Sign-ups | Interest Check | The Guilds of El'yssi Prologue One by one, men and women began to spill into the room where they seated themselves along the perimeter of a conference table which inhabited a majority of the potential space. The room, itself, was nothing less than drab given the washed out grey which defined every object including the surface of every windowless wall. To make matters worse, every individual remained in absolute silence apart from the occasional sound of rustling papers as they gradually flipped through a stack retrieved from their briefcases. Here and there, grunts and snorts began to sound--at least until the room's door flew open for the sixth time. The latest arrival was a striking figure with brown, medium length hair pulled into a well formed bun, deep blue eyes veiled by a pair of slim glasses, and a business suit perfectly fitted against her confident posture which invoked a sense of authority from her ever dominant aura. At only seconds past her arrival, the woman wasted no time in jumping to business as she quickly engaged the floor with her announcements for the morning. "Greetings, fellow Numbers. It is good of you to join me on this momentous day as we initialize yet another Trials. Gazing from your expressions, it seems many of you have read through the debriefing and have seen the ....minor...changes set in place for this year. There is no point in me attempting to explain the reasoning behind such changes; thus, without further ado, allow me to introduce the source himself, this years Trial Head, Vin." Gently, the door creaked open just wide enough for a slender, masked man to squeeze his way through. Immediately, he reached to remove his veil just as gasps erupted among the crowd. A sliver of a smile formed on his face as he gazed upon the disturbed expressions of each seated individual in the room. Nonetheless, both he and his predecessor seemed entirely calm in light of the complaints which began to roar. Him?! What right does he have to sit on the board? The complaints went on, at least until the woman cleared her throat and overpowered their voices with a bold declaration of her own. "Numbers! Is this how we act in front of our guest? There is no doubt that we have had our differences in the past; however, that does not change the pertinence of the present. Or...is our council implying that we wish to go against the will of the Chairman?" The woman's final statement had noticeable impact on the room as each individual quickly fell to silence despite their progressive objections to the unexpected guest. Nonetheless, it was with full attention that they proceeded to bide the subsequent speech spoken by the flamboyant man. "The times change ever so rapidly so why does it seem fitting that our organization remains as it was many decades past. Every day, countless explorers lose their lives to the illusion of success--a grandiose fantasy formulated in their head. What does the council do, however? One...Two...Three...Four...Five...Six...Six I count! Six of you manage the will of our Chairman, yet 5% progress at the cost of 48%? A ludicrous performance if you ask me. Not at all elegant like leaders should be. Believe me, change is coming--with or without your cooperation Go ahead! Deny me...scorn me...defy my methods. My results shall speak for themselves. It is going to be a grand year, my enemies...A grand year indeed." As expected, the expressions of the council grew increasingly more furious over the insults in his words, yet the vivid tone of the man failed to waver. Till completion, he remained true to his motives; after which, a quick bow preceded his departure from the room with the woman close behind. It was after they had reached a sizable distance from the room that she began to speak in a hushed whisper that only he could hear. "A bit much, no? Your ratings are already the lowest in the history of the Trials, and they haven't even begun." Low chuckles emitted from the man as he stopped to pet the top of the woman's head who in response, angrily slapped his hand away. His laughter only grew in volume as he shook his lightly stinging wound with a pouting expression upon his face. "To bring about chaos, requires a little push--a catalyst if you will. Rest easy, Number 1. I wouldn't miss the Trials for anything. Black blood, I believe is the term they call it, and two of them at that. A delectable treat and the perfect piece they shall be. A masterpiece is coming, my dear; glorious, chaotic, and simply artistic." --------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1: Let the Trials Begin The morning sun glistened bright upon the streets of Pokos which were filled with the diversity of race that El'yssi had to offer. Once again, it was that time of the year when adventurers, young and old, made their way to the capital for the largest event since the initiation of the Guild. As per tradition, hundreds of hopeful applicants were present for the Trials which were due to begin when the sun reached its highest point in the sky. For now, everyone was left to their own means of preparation, whether that meant shopping for supplies, early drinking at the taverns, or simply enjoying the bizarre sights of Synthi technology. For many, it was a cultural shock seeing foreign peculiarities such as four-wheeled machines zipping down roads or the bulky inventions displayed in most shops. That being said, it was largely a welcoming experience given the warm, enthusiasm that most, if not all, residents directed towards the crowd of potential new clients for their trade. Not everything was festivities, however. While many took the time to enjoy themselves before the main event, many others were solely concerned with the varying levels of preparation they deemed satisfactory for their success. Historically, past regulations had been heavily concerned with the well being of participants, yet in this year, everything had changed. This time, anything was allowed so long as it wasn't a direct act of murder upon another contestant. With this in mind, the entire event had to be approached from an entirely new angle; especially when none of the round details had been disclosed to the public, unlike before. That being said, there was little to no time for any major preparations apart from journeying to the flooded markets in hopes for anything that might give a quick survival edge. There were only a few hours left till the event was due to begin, and participants were required an early attendance. Thankfully, finding their destination was no more than a quick gaze towards the sky, as the Guild Headquarters was without a doubt unmatched in terms of unique size and architecture. Yet for those who still remained at a loss, an announcement began to broadcast across the city though a recent innovation based upon an accidental discovery of radio waves. "Good morning, citizens of El'yssi. This is your host and Trial head, here to welcome each and everyone one of you to the greatest event of the century...and it hasn't even begun. For anyone who has lost their way in the scary alleys of our fine city, simply look to the sky and realign your journey...After all, if your fail to arrive, then you were a hopeless candidate to begin with. But for those who do arrive in a timely manner, I hope you have come prepared. As many of you might have realized, things are not like the past. Many of you are going to fail...many of your are going to...die. But so is the life of exploration. The best shall survive, and the weak shall perish--just as it is in the wilds which surrounds us. I wish you all the best of luck, and hope to see you soon, my dears."