Longetalos writes "A haven for the warriors of the Flanaess, the Citadel of Steel accepts all who live and die by the sword. The Guild of Crex Tulkus governs the mammoth fortification, making it a center for training in the militant arts. Something is amiss, however...something happening within the hidden halls of the leadership of the Guild.
Citadel of Steel
by Richard Di Ioia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
A training yard in the castle complex known as the Citadel of Steel. A dozen men train with various weapons and different techniques. This training complex is the most intricate of any on Oerth and caters to the tastes of the greatest fighters in the world.
The Citadel is owned and ruled by the Guild of Crex Tulkus (Old Oeridian for Glorious Battle). The Grandmaster of Melee stands on a balcony overlooking the yard below. Silent thoughts of the history and purpose of the Citadel fill his mind.
The Citadel was created hundreds of years ago as a sanctuary for warriors from the capricious nature of mages. The guild was created as a gathering of powerful warriors to exchange stories and to teach new skills. Over the years the guild recruited many members from the different war torn regions of Flannae. Retired warriors came here for shelter from the world gone mad. Each century the reasons were different; fiends released, mages becoming power hungry, gods starting holy jyhads. It was all the same to these warriors, they lost many friends along their travels to the whims of the leaders who had no concept of what it meant to be in the front lines of battle. So they came here, to the Citadel. To heal, to rest and to renew their faith in themselves and others.
A little under two hundred years ago the Guild began to attract priests of warrior deities. At first they were refused, but a vote was held amongst the greatest warriors of the guild and a decision was made. If the priests could prove that they too had fought and bled in battle and that they had dedicated their life to fighting and stood by their brother warriors, they would be admitted. A trial period lasting 50 years was offered and many priests accepted the test. During that time, the priests showed there mettle. They lived and died alongside the warriors and gained the respect of their guild brothers. When the final vote came, none stood against priests being accepted into the order.
For centuries it has been so, and now the Citadel attracts the brightest and most skilled warriors in the Flannae. It is considered a great honor to be approached with an offer of guildmanship. As the guild grew, so too did the size of the Citadel, so that now it is one of the largest military keeps in the Flannae. It can be argued that only Irongate rivals it for defensive power. With this increase in size and population, the guild divided itself into cells. Each cell representing a certain fighting style. Currently there are 5 Grandmasters who serve the Guildmaster. The Grandmasters are that of Melee, Ranged, Mounted, War, and Priesthoods. Although not all styles are represented by the Grandmasters, those that are not are given under the purvey of a Master who represents that style. The Grandmasters and Masters of each order is chosen as the undisputed best warrior in that combat style. The Grandmaster of Priesthoods is changed every five years in deference to the different priesthoods. It is the only order that is not solely based on combat skill. Note that the Grandmaster of the Priesthoods must be the undisputed best warrior in his priesthood though. It has occurred on several occasions where the Grandmaster was not the best warrior in a style, but he was "undisputed". This is a loop hole in the guild rules that is used often to promote a brilliant Grandmaster who may not be the best warrior. It also allows warriors who do not want to be Guildmasters to pass and still be unofficially the best in their style.
But now, there is tension in the wind. The seasoned warriors training below have an edge to them. Something is in the air, and the Guildmaster of Melee really wanted to know what could make such experienced warriors nervous. Whatever it was, it was happening within the higher levels of the Guild, and he was not aware!