I am proud to count myself among the honorable Guild of Witnesses, the final entry on this written tour of Imperial history. Witnesses are the official record-keepers of the Empire, having chronicled the entirety of the Empire’s history since our inception. We also observe momentous events, record battles, produce educational reading materials for the general public, and notarize official documents.
As Sadesthenes once said, “The Witnesses are the grease that allow the wheels of Empire to turn.”
Generally speaking, Witnesses travel in pairs:
As a Chronicler, I am a Reader with the ability to store my memories inside a special alchemically created candle. I burn the candle while I write, and as the memories flow out, I can record my thoughts without any margin of error even years after the events I have witnessed.
Always, I am accompanied by my Silent One, a trained warrior and my bodyguard. Silent Ones bind their mouths to symbolize their inability to betray secret or sensitive events, but contrary to popular belief, we do not remove their tongues. We’re not barbarians. They are capable of speech, they are simply discouraged from doing so in the presence of outsiders.
Guild Head: The Heads of my own Guild are the twin sisters Azea and Calazan Farstrider, natives of exotic Izyria. Though they are young, having risen to prominence after the Emperor’s untimely demise, I have never met anyone so dedicated to accuracy and neutrality. Azea works as a Chronicler, and Calazan as her attendant Silent One, though I can personally confirm that either sister can perform either role. Azea is a remarkable fighter in her own right, and Calazan a skilled Reader and clerk.
Symbol: the Quill and Candle
When I call the Navigators a Guild, I use the term loosely.
Navigators are the only sailors who can cross the deadly, shifting ocean at the heart of our Empire: the Aion Sea. We therefore rely on them for communication, trade, exploration, and transport between the eastern continent of Aurelia and the western continent, Izyria.
It’s too bad that they’re the most shifty and unreliable collection of pirates, confidence artists, mercenaries, and outright criminals the Empire has ever seen.
No one knows how they cross the Aion, with its hundreds of deadly Kameira, its disappearing islands, its unpredictable weather, and its host of lurking Elders, but anyone else who sails far enough out into the ocean either vanishes or returns insane.
The best way to recognize a real Navigator from a faker is to ask to see their Guild license, which is unmistakable and cannot be reproduced. Unfortunately, that only tells you which sailor is truly able to cross the Aion: not whether he can be trusted.
Guild Head: Captain Cheska Bennett is one of the few reliable Navigators left in this world. She owns and commands The Eternal, a most striking ship with billowing red sails and a wake that trails flame. She commands truly shocking prices for her services, but if you hire her, you can be certain that every splinter of your cargo will remain secure between one continent and the other.
Symbol: the Navigator’s Wheel (a ship’s wheel with a single eye at the center)
Of the Cradle series
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