Another Guild story, but set 20 years later, with different characters. First chapter acts as a prologue.
Different spin from TLOTD, as the Guild are a lot more enforced. A story of rebellion and war this time, plot-based rather than character-based (though there will still be a mixed bag of characters for you to love and hate).
“The Guild was originally a sort of official government army. In every other continent, similar armies are repeatedly undermined by bounty hunters and sellswords. Everyone knows a mercenary will sell his life and services to the highest bidder - so the Guild bought up every last one of them. Bounty hunters, sweepers, freelancers, fortune soldiers, thieves, spies...The Guild bought up everyone with skills for sale. That’s why the Aumenean army is the largest and strongest in the world.”
“You say that like you’ve memorised it from a textbook.”
Leru scratched his head. “Probably have. I don’t really remember, come to think of it. But that’s beside the point. It’s information you need to know.”
I nodded. “That’s not how the Guild operates now, is it?” I cocked my head to the side in my usual curious fashion. “Because I don’t think I was a mercenary or anything like that.”
“Nah, you weren’t,” Leru said, smiling. “But you would have been, eventually. With skills like yours, you couldn’t not have sold them. The Guild just took you in a little early, to make the most of your potential.”
I fiddled with my thumbs. “Isn’t that a little like, um, child sla-slavery?” My voice trembled under its own weight.
Leru leaned forward. “Look, kid. You want to survive, you’re gonna have to wise up a little. Saying something like that’ll get you a quick pass to the garbage.” I swallowed. I was too young to die...wasn’t I? Leru must have seen my expression, as he ruffled my hair. “Don’t worry. Once I’m done with you, Er, the Guild won’t be the same without you.”
“D’you have to call me that? It sounds like you’re stuttering.” I scowled.
He shrugged. “What, you want me to call me by your full name, Eresten?” He dragged out the syllables in a mocking way. “You’re the first guy I’ve heard called that, y’know. You’d best hope you grow outta looking like such a girl, or you’ll have a lot of mistakes to correct when you’re older.”
I smiled despite my scowl.