Welcome back, dear readers. In my previous entries, I've told stories of my beginnings as a rogue traveler in the world of Legends of Aria, making my start in Pyros Landing and slowly developing in strength and character, through both triumph and loss. Though today, it is with a burdened heart and aching eyes that I recount a personal tale of great loss, with hopes that it may serve as a lesson for younger adventurers.
You see, joining forces in Celador, and likely any place with friends and foes, poses great risk and offers tremendous reward. Together with even one strong ally, mythical beasts I might have cowered away from alone become targets from which to reap bountiful spoils. However, as any well-seasoned traveler is keenly aware, guilds exist also to protect from one another. Just as virtuous guilds see purpose in bringing aid to the weak and honoring civility, wicked tribes exist to destroy all that is good and bring thriving kingdoms to ruins.
The evergoing battle between chivalry and depravity is what makes joining a guild such a perilous venture, for it is no longer your gold and possessions to lose, but the livelihood of your great allies and close friends. Regardless, at heart I am a community man and a friend to anyone in need of companionship, and so I agreed to the request by a fellow ranger to join him in his guild. The lad had proven himself virtuous, supplying my quiver with a thousand arrows when I ran low in battle, asking for naught in return.
The bowman was young, like me, and inexperienced compared to the rest of the guild members, but his undying confidence added to his status among the ranks. The others seemed to trust his advice, and so I came to honor his word and accept his guidance in matters of security. Once, I decided to venture out of town alone to farm a nearby bandit camp, before my new acquaintance alerted me of a crew of Outcasts camping around the area. As I turned around toward the safety of a guarded town, I saw my blood-red pursuers abandon their plan to kill and loot me. I would henceforth trust him as an associate and part-time adviser, joining him on many successful expeditions.
One late evening, when the air was dense and warm, I was invited by the now Journeyman Archer to farm for gold in lands occupied by trolls, for he would harvest the beasts' leather hides for crafting and trade. Plus, the hardier foes would serve as useful subjects through which to hone my skills in archery, piercing, light armor, healing, and vigor. We had been told by the other members of our guild that the wilderness seemed to be clear of criminals, as none had been spotted all that day.
The romp went just as planned for most of the night, earning me and my companion close to a gold piece, each, not to mention invaluable advances in skill. The camp littered with corpses of trolls, we divided the day's spoils evenly, summoned our horses, and began the long trek back into Eldeir. The dim blaze of the trail markers did little to quell our fears of the outlaws that live at night, so we figured better to stray from the path and avoid being noticed. However, now that we were hurrying through the pitch black wilderness with only the sound of pounding horseshoes to fill the silence, the tension became nearly unbearable.
As we crossed the border into town, we broke for the bank to deposit our newfound riches. And just like that, I felt the life being pulled from my throat as lightning struck around me. My partner lay dead in the middle of a gravel road. I hurriedly applied a bandage, pivoted away from my attackers, and rushed further into town, but they continued along my path. Where in the Seven bloody Hells are the guards?
But the guards never came, and I fell from my horse and died not a hundred yards from the bank. I watched as my body was looted in seconds, and then the bastards unceremoniously mounted their horses and disappeared from sight. Upon resurrecting, I wondered aloud whether the guards had been paid off, or simply were missing from their posts for some other, inexplicable reason. As it turns out, I had unwittingly joined a faction and thereby made myself vulnerable to attack, even in the middle of town.
For my ignorance, I lost most of my worth, a full set of Beast leathers, and a Blightwood war bow. My comrade, aware of the dangers of factions, lost my trust. Although we have hunted since and will continue doing so, I've realized that it's time to act a man grown and make informed decisions rather than blindly follow those who came before me. Take note, fellow travelers, research the rules of the land and only put your trust in those who have done the same. It could mean your life.