Alliances connecting those who work in the same craft, share knowledge and aid are well known as “guilds” all over the realm of Nonei. Each area has it’s sayings about certain local guild‘s skills and passion for their craft all around, but only a few would make them-self a name to remember all over their kingdoms streets. Until a few years ago there was one rather small guild belonging to those guilds shrouded in legends everyone seems to know.
While originally found as a temporary solution the L’une guild has obtained quite a reputation throughout its 300-year history, even if that had never been part of Emile Møre’s [ˈmøːʁn] plans when he started his journey so many years ago. Emile was a young man with many ambitions, charisma and high hopes - especially after accidentally discovering a new kind of spirit that could be the solution for many problems the polar night like winter causes. The day he had to acknowledge that it won’t work that easily hit like a rock. Tampering with natural forces and energy has a price after all and everyone has limits. If one's mental strength and stamina are pushed too far, the spell might take matter instead - an eye, an arm or in the worst case whole life. It’s a lesson every mage needs to learn one day - better sooner than later. The contract between the first Raunen and Emile would end up as a task for generations to come. Still, researching spirits remained a hobby among a small number of members for a long time, even if the number of members which were accompanied by one of the lantern spirits slowly increased and more and more of them started to volunteer to help out during delivering goods during winter.
The guild as it’s known today on the other hand wasn’t found until 30 years after Emils passed. The name chosen for the new guild was an allusion to the spirit of the moon, who seems to try to support the travelling merchants with their dim light when travelling the winters dark paths - written in a foreign language. One of Emile’s grandchildren seized the opportunity to offer a deal to the royal family. Offering the guild’s guaranteed support in return for access to restricted places and documents to proceed with their research on spirits even more. Of course, each side maintained silence about the exact terms, but it’s very likely that it also included some clauses about being “overseen” more easily when it comes to some laws. This contract lasted for over 300years until the passing of the old guild leader 19 years ago. With no successor to be found the guild broke apart until they’ve not been able to fulfil their part of the deal anymore.
These days the guild who travelled during winter, with lanterns dancing around their caravans are just a fairytale, an old woman's tale in most regions. But in some places, you can still find the merchants who are accompanied by strange spirits. Their customers usually report about their excellent quality of herbs and knowledge. This applies to both, usage to create a decent tea, but also the medical treatment and first aid – thanks to years of research passed down through generations. While always attempting to make it look like a stroke of luck if they get the right ingredients on the spot. On the other hand, most members of the guild seem to have quite a talent for being there, but never been noticed, or even seen. Which turns out to be very handy to granter information. Those who know how to ask might receive a fragment of these, at the right price of cause.
A guild’s structure and hierarchy can vary a bit depending on the number of members. More often than not guilds are lead by the guild leader, also known as chief, and a council of elder members, which prove advice and assistance. While been passed on from one chief to their chosen successor usually the L’une guilds chiefs are chosen by the Raun Fallen, due to some restrictions of the magical contract being passed on with this title.
All members of the L’une guild are skilled herbalists, an occupation that requires careful training and studying effects and mixtures of plants and herbs from all over Nehre and it’s neighbourhood kingdoms. After completing their studies most former trainees aim to join the ranks of merchants selling herbs, tea, sometimes even lucky charms, while travelling the kingdom of Nehre. While others join scouts, always looking for new paths to travel and information which could come in handy one day. It's not unusual that both groups form teams during their journeys. Both of these tasks require a light spirit to be part of one's team. In the meantime members often continue their work as an assistant at the headquarter or local shops.
Compared to other guilds the L’une’s regulations regarding appearance and clothing aren’t too strict. Nevertheless, members are asked to choose clean, respectable clothing and wear the guild cloak in public. It’s not known whether the cloak was inspired by the first summoned Raunen Fallen, or if the aloof little spirit took inspiration from the cloak. Either way, it’s often rumoured to be a sign of appreciation towards the Raun spirits these days.
While the basic design is always similar, the colours, pattern and applications used for the cloak vary depending on the member's position within the guild. All versions of the cloak come with colourful knobs, but assistants, for example, are limited to easy to dye natural and earth-coloured fabric tones. Merchants and scouts, on the other hand, have access to a larger variety of colours - usually decent saturated tones and pastel colours. Only members of the council and the chief are free to choose whichever colour they desire. Sometimes they even add unique stitches and patterns to their cloaks.
Joining a guild
Most of the time there are two ways to get into a guild. Either to be born into a family which is already part of the guild or profession or to lucky enough to be accepted as an apprentice. Of course, these options are helpful in the case of the L’une guild as well, but only to the point of becoming an assistant. To join the ranks of merchants or scouts one needs to earn the trust of a light spirit, like a Raun, and form a team first. For sure this requirement was set in place to minimize the risks of travelling at least a bit at first, but it turned out that the rather lightweight magical contract spun around and connecting traveller and spirit can be quite helpful while expeditions and opens the path to places most Nehresian folks wouldn't be able to see - like a grand spirits domain. And after all these cheeky little spirits are the guilds trademark.
Through it’s worth a try summoning a Raun for a specific person, may it be a gift, a sign of gratitude, or to help one to establish a position within the guild, it still isn’t guaranteed to be successful. It’s difficult to tell what makes a Raun choose to accompany someone, or not. Sometimes the pieces just come together. A great example of this is the case for the Guild's resident dye specialist Homura Langley and her companion Soren - an older creation, a Raunen that hung around the guild and specifically didn't seem to bond with anyone outside of the other Raunen. Before Homura arrived seeking employment with the guild as a method to be able to travel. It was surprising when she approached the guild leader and they found that before her 'interview' was over a Raunen was sitting on top of her head, as though they had been friends for their entire lives. It was in fact what made them decide to give her the present position she holds in the Guild. It's not exceedingly rare for it to happen, but once a Raunen seems to settle on being a loner there's little chance of anyone in the guild getting it to decide otherwise.