The Oath – History
There are evils and darkness in this land that is not opposed. Why? Politics, pride, self-posturing or, sometimes, simply because we do not how to stop it. The Oath is more than a name; it is a promise, one that we keep to daemons and angels alike and that promise is this: There are rules in this world if you stick to them we will allow you to dwell here and pursue your plans; if you break those rules or harm the people whose rightful place is here in this world then we will stop you. Our history is built on this Oath and will forever more be.
In 748 PPW the land was ravaged by war, the Gods had sent their avatars and their angels to the lands of Daer Akmir to purge the impure and to put down those minor powers that would attempt to ascend and disrupt the heavens. Powerful beings such as the Kaytaar and the Zoranethi did battle for control of unimaginable magical resources. New and ancient creatures heard the sounds of the rising of chaos and stirred in their pits waiting, yearning for the sweet victory of release. All the great guilds closed their doors as the Age of Fear began and the common and the low born folk of that noble Royal Basin cowered in their homes knowing that there would be none coming to save them from the terrors of the night and that their dreams and futures were lost that darkness.
In 748 PPW the land saw the sorrow of the people of the Royal Basin and heard the prayers of the small folk who suffered with it. Fate, fortune, luck, destiny; call it what you will but the need of the common was answered when several groups of individuals happened upon one another as they attempted to thwart the rise to power of a Daemonic Lich known as the Sire Raven in the township of Delve in the Western Marches. It was a dark day and the enemy had gathered a powerful army of the Undead and the Daemonfoe to itself. Its plan was to march South and West to the capital of Maryat and there to build an Empire. The rains were falling from the storm lashed sky and the lightning slashed the night; great and glittering wounds across her majesty. All hope seemed lost and the edifices of civilisation doomed to a footnote in a chaotic history.
Four small groups came together, stumbling into each other’s camps or finding one another in time to prevent the deaths of its people at the hands of a Daemonic ambush. These four were the last brave few who had ventured from their havens of safety and come alone, or so they thought, to prevent the rise of the Raven. First the Pariahs came in great number; Priests, Sourcerers and even a handful of Melkarr and Psionicists. Some had been deemed unworthy to make their way behind the doors of safety of the guildhalls, already overwhelmed with numbers whilst others had chosen to turn their backs on their faiths and organisations rather than leave the people that supported them and they in turn protected. Through faith and power and with the Tao and the Will to guide them over fifty of these Pariahs marched towards Delve gathering those small folk brave enough to carry a weapon to their banner until they numbered the hundreds.
Next the Old Soldiers made camp along the Northern border of the fields and farmsteads that surrounded Delve and began to swap their stories and talk of the heroics of old dead friends. They were women and men of many wars, veterans who had buried their companions and left behind more than just blood on the battlefield. All old, most retired and none ready to let the land that they had spent their lives fighting for given to an enemy that would bring down the families of those that they remembered. Most of the fighting folk could walk into a village and find family and friends there and it was their voices that they heard when the call came, not the orders of Dukes and Kings to hide away. Under the command of General George Stowell (retired) they grouped together, voluntarily, 40 miles North of Haven, discarding their personal banners or those of their guilds and Marched West to take part in their last battle. Along the way they were provisioned by the townships that they touched and many took up their call, carrying what weapons or baggage that they could for the cause.
Whilst these two groups were marching so two more were gathering but in much smaller number; The Iron Blades were the premiere sell swords of the time; seven of the most skilled individuals that the guilds could produce, they were a flagship group designed to give other individuals inspiration, poster boys for their generation. When they were given orders to retreat behind the walls of Maryat they balked but when it became clear that they were to be protected from attack and only cleared for duty again when the danger had passed they openly rebelled. Stealing their own equipment and items from the armoury they broke into the Massporters guild and there ported their way to a CoCP outpost where they overcame the guard and made their way South towards Delve. Daring the night they called upon their most powerful protections and spirits and prepared in ceremony of dedication and comradeship celebrating their friendship and the deeds done and yet to come.
Finally from the darkness of the night, weary from their journey and wounded from many trials and battles came Haelor’s Pride; ten men and women and all that was left of Haelors Company.
Haelor had set out to bring the Raven low and taken forty eight of his best alongside him to deal with the menace. However his forces had run across a large band of roving mercenaries who were taking the opportunity to raid and destroy many of the smaller communities. Taking and leading the majority of his people in a suicidal but successful action this meant that only ten of his company arrived at the edge of Delve. The night before action was met they spent their time in almost a Fugue state reflective of the loss of their great leader but there was hope in their prayers. Haelors Company were the last vestiges of a once great army that had fought in many wars across the continent of Daer Akmir, they had been upon a last journey home when they had heard word of the Raven. Many knew this would be their last journey, to keep the world safe one final time.
The coming together of the four forces, included smallfolk, nobles, great heroes, old soldiers and casters of all creeds. Their numbers were just shy of two and half thousand in total, just ninety nine short and together they gathered under the great stone of Wells Bridge some miles North of Delve in a great moot. There was much disharmony, many of the peoples of the camp could be called enemies and the spectre of class and caste overshadowed any initial talk of brotherhood. Together the leaders of the four distinct groups came together and the commonalities of their mission was discussed. Within two hours these worthies had made an agreement to relinquish control to one overall leader from one of the groups with the support of two further advisors from each of the others. These seven swore a sacred oath of community in blood and word, in prayer and ritual and finally, come the morn in deed and derring-do together and as one.
Iron Rayn of the Iron Blades was chosen to lead, she had been trained to lead and selected for her inspirational personality, a Skald, all heard her words at council and where beholdent. She chose Haven Jeffries, a Priest of Bethylak and Kulthrik Maywit, a Melkarr of the Gorgon, to represent the Pariahs. From the Old Soldiers General Stowell and his niece Alana Fell were selected and finally from the Pride a Sourcerer called Qwyell and a Scout called Tremathi Lek were called to stand with her. Together they addressed the assembled and made clear their unity, if only for one night, how the people of the Royal Basin could rely only upon this precious few to prevent their blood being spilt. This was not something that any of them had asked for but when the time had come they had all answered the call, together, to stand as one and to be answerable to no man, no God, just the call of their own conscious and they had not been found wanting. Their words were met with a thunderous roar and a call for a name, to be given a title that befit their role. The Oath was the reply.
The epic battle of Delve was never really recorded in Basanic Chronicles; few credit those men and women with the heroic actions that defined their lives and the history that we have continued to be a part of because of them. The Raven was defeated, that much is sure because he did not march forth, although his actual end may never truly be known. Of the Oath only fifteen survived and of them only one of the seven was among them; Alana Fell. The bodies of Iron Rayn and Haven Jeffries were carried with much honour from the battlefield and returned to Greenlakes where the first guild or at least teachings of the Oath was established. These seven vowed that the Oath would not be forgotten, that which was sworn should not be forgotten and that the situation that the common folk had found themselves in was never repeated. Here our guild was founded, here the bodies of the great Rayn and Jeffries were placed in stasis and remain in our guild to this day. Here the ethos of our guild was established and here were our dead buried, even now it is one of our most sacred sites, none who have taken the Oath visit this site without more than a little pathotic empathy.
The guild houses, merchant families and seemingly private armies that inhabit our glorious land have huge agendas; power, monies, reputation and excellence all drive their ambitions and give them an elitist and potentially dangerous outlook. Where then are the folk of the basin that do what they do because they can? Wherever there is danger, a lost cause, a forgotten treasure; there have been those folk that would seek it out and act upon their instincts and desires whatever the reward or punishment. Two centuries ago the Guild of Renowned Adventurers was a band of brothers and sisters that travelled the Basin, lending aid to those who could not help themselves, recovering ancient artefacts and battling great evils. Why? Because it was within their power to do so and they did not feel that they needed some higher purpose to command or guide them in their actions.