Council of Heroes
Council of Heroes
The Council of Heroes has been around since before the kingdom of Vrudora was united under the first king. Originally little more than a band of mercenaries, profiting during the civil wars that plagued the area, the guild grew and grew as those displaced by war sought out a means of making income, and the warring parties sought out more warriors to sway battles in their favor.
Originally, the founders of the mercenary band were happy with this. As the civil war stretched on, however, and the band began to become quite wealthy and gained renown, the founders decided that they would try and secure a place for themselves among the rich and powerful, for whenever the civil war ended. As such, they transformed the guild into a small army, beholden to none of the battling kings. Striking strategically, they would move in when two warring parties were at their weakest, defeat them, and take the victory in their own name. All with the hopes of being a powerful deciding factor in who would run the country once things settled, and making sure their position as an elite army was secure for many years to come.
However, the band never made it as a true political power – the members were too diverse in background and opinion to truly band together. There were those who never wanted to become a political force, and those who were more loyal to existing factions than to the mercenary band. Infighting began almost immediately, and defectors were common. Soon, the band collapsed in on itself, and when the first true king of Vrudora took the throne, there was little left.
The first king, King Julian Desiderio, however, had been impressed with the guild before its falling. He sought out the scattered remaining founders and offered them a deal – become the Council of Heroes, and act as a small, mobile army for the king, and the king alone.
And so, for the first thirty years of Vrudora's history, the Council acted as the king's personal mercenaries. They did what he told them, no questions, and anyone who didn't like it was forcibly removed. The lesser kings and nobles who had fought against Desiderio during the civil wars were hounded and kept in line by the Council, and most of the population feared them as bandits in fancy armor.
Julian Desiderio was old before he took the throne, however, even for an elf. He never truly earned the respect and loyalty of the people who had once fought battles against him, as he was aggressive and stubborn by nature. As tensions boiled beneath the surface, and Julian continued to prod at his former enemies, his children decided that it was time for a new Desiderio to take the throne. How they convinced him is unclear – perhaps it was abdicate or die – but after thirty years of rule, the second Desiderio king took over; Keehan.
Keehan Desiderio was a much more charismatic ruler than his father had been. He quickly went to work giving out restitution to those who had lost everything in the civil wars. Rather than trying to take the former enemies down, he built them back up, offering them more economic ties and renewed political positions. Working carefully, with much guidance from the newly formed King's Council, he began to make new ties and loyalty for the Desiderios began to grow.
One of Keehan's first acts was to cut ties with the Council of Heroes, at least partially. He gave the founders (those who remained) the freedom to make their own decisions again, rather than being at his beck and call, with the promise of continued support if they worked to build up the country rather than tear it apart. While at first the Council floundered under their new independence, a new circle of leadership quickly rose to the top, and under their hands the Council became what it is today – a group of willing adventurers working to right wrongs and protect the common people… for a price.
There are many heroes in this nation – brave warriors and mages who use their skills to help those in need. Slaying beasts, capturing criminals, enforcing justice, and investigating mysteries, all these things fall under the Council's care. Anyone can be a member… if they prove their worth, and have the bravery and commitment to stick with it. A meager entry fee of 200 gold is needed, as well as a yearly payment of 100 gold pieces for dues. After the payment is received, applicants will be tested by a mentor; a higher-ranking member of the Council, with skills invested in the same area that the applicant claims to have. If the applicant proves themselves to be capable of protecting themselves and doling out justice, they will be accepted as novices of the guild.
Guild members can feel free to live wherever they wish to, although they will always have a bed in the guildhall dormitories in Heartslock, and a hot meal provided for them in the Hero's Holding tavern. Any time a hero wishes to pick up a job, they simply need to accept one of the postings at the guildhall. Needy citizens will contact the guild with tasks they need completed, and monetary rewards await those who fulfill those tasks. Guild members can reach the guild using the teleportation circle (copies of which can be found in the Locks, as well as in Felforge and Ibesa), by sending written messages, or by telepathic or other magical means. There is no need for any hero to visit the guildhall in Heartslock, if they would rather not.
As heroes prove their worth, by successfully and satisfactorily completing assignments, they will gain promotions within the guild. Novices become junior apprentices, become apprentices, become junior squires, become squires, become masters, become knights, become senior knights, and finally, become true heroes.
Above even the true heroes, however, are the leaders of the Council of Heroes. The upper circle, the vertices. There are ten vertices at the moment – some are the offspring of the original Council members, some are simply heroes who became… more. They run the guild with a measured, decisive, unified hand, choosing who to promote, which jobs to take, and when, if ever, to call the heroes to the guildhall en masse.