Most of the histories of the Guilds speak of battle and bloodshed, blood and thunder, death and glory. The Outriders are different, our skills were not honed on a battlefield, our ethos was not born in the crucible of war, the Outriders were chartered and trained by other forces and powers.
Cities and villages have the militia, the general populace of this great Kingdom has the army to protect it, the seas have the Royal Navy and all these brave souls give their duty, their dedication and their lives to earn the coin of the Royal Treasury. But the land is not safe, the woods still teem with bandits, with creatures of the ancestral lands, Ancient tombs, uncovered, spill untold terrors into the darkness beyond the lights of the great towns. So come the outriders, we protect those that travel those dangerous routes. For a price of course. We train in the arts of sign and hunting, in seeing the unseen, of setting ambush and trap along the roads and in keeping our clients safe from harm. None know our trade better than we and few are as well paid for it, long ago created by the Battered Shield to stand by the merchants and the landowners we not only protect trade routes and caravans but we also trouble shoot for other merchant and civilian interests.
We are a relatively new guild that has only been in operation since 1322 when the Kingdom had suffered from a sequence of damaging wars and plagues that had left the people beleaguered and in an isolationalist situation. We were formed in response to the constant need of the Mercantile houses for assistance in these dark times: The world was a dark and dangerous place, the clergy was in the midst of a civil war, the Colleges were dealing with efforts by Daemonic and twisted Elemental houses to press into our world. The Brotherhood and its allies were spread thin on the borders of the Duchies and even the Altars and their Vormearn had retreated to Dreff to battle the coming of the Hunting Horrors and their ilk. The folk of the Battered Shield were all that the men of wealth and letters could turn to in these times. The Shield however was already deployed across the land deflecting the damage to the small folk and maintaining the peace where they could. The Shield were used to dark times and realised that it could be hundreds of years before order was re-established and all were safe. With the merchants hammering on their door seeking protection they formed a plan that was to be the birth of our guild and hold to a long association with the Battered Shield.
Chieftain Alyisia McBane, who led the Shield in the thirteen hundreds, turned to an enigmatic but elderly member of the guild who was responsible primarily for training in the Northern quarters of the Royal Basin. Inimik Pil, a Tzi Tzain, was short on recruits but, regardless was given a simple proposition: Receive funding from the Merchant houses for a new Guild dedicated to amalgamating the skills of various magical Sources, the Hunter, the Warrior and the esoteric knowledge of the monster hunter. The Costa’s and the Magnates real problems stemmed from the fact that they were forced to cross what was becoming land saturated in beasts and threats from nightmare. As the Rising of Chaos spread, unchecked, across the land rogue necromancers and Daemonologists coupled with creatures long sealed away by the Oath were becoming rife. The Outriders were needed and so trained to provide protection and in the long term a deterrent to further appearances of such threats.
When the new influx of individuals began Pil was in control of some seventy older members of the guild, many of whom were infirm, wounded or nearing retirement. A smattering of green warrior rankings made up the remainder of the taskforce but this did not dissuade the Tzi Tzain from his task. The prospect of creating the Outriders was a perfect foil for old age as far as the Hetman was concerned, a prospect that Pil was willing to meet head on. His resources regarding manpower may have been slim but his resources as far as favours went were not; his contacts spread across most of the guilds and he had soon filled the burgeoning guild buildings with instructors, experts and lecturers from Sourcerous, Priestly and various other magical corners of the land. His plan was to create a new statute of skills, a spectrum of abilities that would supplement the Battered Shield Training and give his new Guild a strong purchase against the foes that they had chosen to battle against. So the Outriders grew from this period filling in various gaps in the adventuring communities repertoire and serving the guilds and merchant houses. Like the Oath before us we dared the curfews and the wild lands between city states and without the guidance of the Dukes and the armies.
The years passed and we have become a mainstay of the Royal Basins Guildic community although never fully accepted by the majority of the mystical houses. During the time of our creation the Churches and the Colleges were not able to police their borders as well as they may have liked. The trainers and instructors that came to the Outriders effectively bought secrets of their orders to our doorstep and gave us that knowledge. The reasons at the time were open enough and no malice was intended, the masters of their power were far away from the people that needed them, the Clergy looked close to collapse and the Colleges seemed to be involved in a war that they could not win. To pass those secrets to us was in the best interests of the peoples that we now represent. However that is not the view of the edifices that did not crumble and still stand tall, they fear that what gives us the powers that we now possess could fall into enemy hands or be used against them. This is not a feeling that we share but certainly we do not intend to return their power at any point, without it we would not be Outriders. Regardless we will serve all those who can fund the power that we possess for the maintenance of such strength does not come with ease.
The length of our deeds are many and impressive and serve as a resume of excellence that few can match with any honesty. We understand, of course, that any credit for the experiences that we began life with fall to the Battered Shield; they had already taken into account failings and success when they devised our teachings so we entered this world forewarned and forearmed. We owe our brethren in the Shield a great debt for everything that we have become and so an alliance exists between the two guilds. Their training has been essential but we remain very much our own entity, we do not follow the same doctrine as they, money is the directive force that keeps us fed and the economy ticking, not the good will feeling that comes with aiding the folk of the land gratis. Our skills are legend, our actions are flawless; with the Outriders you pay for a service and the price of that service is so high that the quality of such is the highest that can be offered.
The spectrum of individuals that join the guild is wide and varied, the outriders accept everyone from any walk of life and any background. The training however is deep and detailed ergo any guild member must have been indoctrinated into the Outriders by the time they are seven (human years) old. The training is so vigorous that even if they do make the first grade they must also take the year of three test, unsurprisingly in your third year of your time with us. In the main we accept orphans or the young of small folk who know that their children will get a better life and education with us even if they fail in their tenth year. Those of nobility that join us are often of the lower ranked houses or are low down the chain of inheritance although our numbers have always boasted, traditionally, a member of the Lionsgold, Silverlight and Darkspur family Higher ups since the rescue of the three screaming maidens of Salian Keep in 1735. Equally the majority of the mercantile houses send children of their families to us on a regular basis in order to protect their own interests.