Chapter 2

Remalia’s eyes dart over the report from her peers. It has been an entire twenty-seven hours since she took her Captain's Exam, and she's been anxiously awaiting the results. Of course she's interested in the potential increase in coin, but it's the prestige and influence that she truly seeks.

The Guild respects its hierarchy of rank. There are the basic level grunts, the newest and greenest of members who might as well be Goblins. Anyone who doesn't elevate themselves to a Scout rank within six months is usually destined to dust the shelves of the Grand Library for the rest of their lives. After attaining the rank of Scout, one can rise to Specialist, followed by Captain. The highest ranks are Ambassador, General, and, finally, Commander. These positions are few and far between, and increasingly difficult to attain. A Commander, the leader of their factions, is one to be feared by their enemies and respected by their troops. It is the most sought after and prestigious rank.

"...Shows great potential in hand-to-hand combat, capable of channeling magic, high levels of agility..."

Uh, yeah, of course! Blah blah blah. She skips further down the page.

"...shows a lack of leadership capabilities due to reckless actions against stronger foes. At this point in time, we cannot recommend Remalia for the elevated position of Captain in the Rogue's Faction..."

That can't be right. She turns the page over, expecting that the higher ranked members are just playing a cruel prank on her. It's blank.

She sighs, crumples up the paper, and tosses it in the trash. Her lineage alone should be enough to snag this promotion. She'll speak with the Council tomorrow morning. Feeling disheartened, Remalia heads to The Tavern. It's extra lively today, due to the fact that it's the Yearly Harvest Feast. The season turns tomorrow, so everyone celebrates by enjoying the last of the autumn crops before the first snowfall. Remalia's not overly excited to share her failure with any of her friends, so she grabs a plate of food from the Barkeep (he refuses to tell anyone his real name, so everyone in The Guild just calls him BK) and goes to find an empty table. Everything's full, except for one table near the back that seats a singular girl, looking incredibly lonely. Remalia recognizes the girl as a new member of the Archer's Faction, but she looks so sad and destitute that Remalia forgets about her own worries and pulls up a chair.

The Archer looks up at Remalia, her expression a blank page. Remalia prides herself on being able to read faces, but this is the first time she's stumped. She notices the girl hasn’t taken a bite of the perfectly-turned drumstick on her plate. It’s one of BK’s finest dishes, but could it possibly be too bland for her? Remalia offers up her satchel of secret spices. The Archer softly utters words of gratitude, but replies that she doesn't care for meat.

The two look at each other.

She tells Lyra to call her Remi.

The break in formality seems to make all the difference, relief washing over Lyra’s face as she cuts her vegetables into perfect bite-size portions. Lyra tells Remi about how she reminds her of a spunky wood-elf named Pepp that Lyra met when she was younger. Pepp’s name was short for Pepponythnyiir, a name that she hated due to it’s “tragic formality." It hardly suited her at all, she had said.

Lyra laughs at the similarities in their hairstyles and demeanor and feels especially warmed at the way Remi makes her laugh so hard she swears her sides will burst. The two leave the Tavern and watch the Harvest Fireworks, staying outside long after they’re over to look at constellations in the sky. Though Lyra is a newer member to The Guild than Remi, she currently outranks her due to her strengths and talents. Remi sheepishly shares with her new friend her exam failure, cheeks red as she looks to the ground.

Lyra places a hand on her shoulder, assuring Remi that anything worth having is worth working hard for.

Remi silently nods.

The memory ends.