A young woman stood outside a large timberframe building completely in awe of both its construction and purpose. There was nothing like it in her homeland or in any of the lands she had travelled through to arrive at this specific place at this specific time. Even the rain could not draw her attention away.
The ground floor of the building was made from thick finished blocks of the region's dark grey stone. Here and there a lighter hue had been used to pick out windows and doors in perfect and precise masonry. Three floors rose above it, each one overhanging the last by about two feet supported on thick dark beams of oak. The upper floors were all constructed of timberframe and a faded orange brickwork, pierced frequently by leaded windows with honeycomb pattern. The roof also had an overhang with deep and generous eaves. It was not visible anymore from where she stood, but as she approached she had seen that its tiles were an inviting burnt umber with a curved pitch, dotted with little dormer windows implying a further two floors hidden below the tiles.
The building was also set back from the street with its own enclosure of high stone walls and a gatehouse built in the same style. Low buildings hugged the inside walls, and much of the area they guarded was paved. Even in the rain there were people patrolling the walls and standing guard at the gates.
Today they were letting everyone through. The Guild of Dragons was finally recruiting.
There were an eclectic mix of people gathered in the courtyard but even so the young woman stood out. She was wearing bright silk clothing in warm hues of peacock blue and green, which flowed down her torso and billowed at the waist. Her hair was covered by a dark blue cloak decorated with gold, and her shoes were curved at the toe. Women in particular were giving her looks of disdain, as not only was her midriff entirely exposed, but the rain was making her finery cling to everything.
She didn't really care though. She was smiling in anticipation, eyes now firmly fixed on the stone dragons carved either side of the closed entrance to the main building. The dragon motif was repeated there too in guilded relief.
Finally there was a crack of wood and the creak of old and heavy hinges. The doors opened and she was the first to confidently enter the Dragon's den seeking her fortune.
The main doors of the guild opened straight onto it's main hall. Around the edges of the room was a low colonade with a balconies above on the first and second floors. The walls were panelled in a rich, dark wood, and the floor was chequered with faded stone tiles in what once must have been a dazzling contrast of jet black and pristine white. At either end of the room, and up each of the columns supporting the balconies were carvings of entwining dragons. They were long and snakelike with no wings and trailing whiskers.
Along one side of the room were a row of desks, potential applicants milled around in the centre waiting to be seated for some kind of interview. The young woman who entered first was sat on the very end, opposite a blonde man with a high ponytail.
The blonde sat stiff backed and with a quill poised over some sort of form. The young woman sat opposite him, apparently not bothered by the wet silk highlighting pretty much everything, but keenly puzzled by the alien concept of 'paperwork'. "Name?" he had a thick Elizan accent which didn't match his face at all. It took the young woman a few moments to respond.
"Morris" Her voice held a certain smoky fullness, the effect of which was not lost on the blonde who shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
He cleared his throat and averted his gaze "Full name." his voice was a little strained. Morris smiled and waited for him to ink his quill, until he was holding it poised over the form.
"Alamaeui Adamorissanka Aori Kann Dajin"
He looked up at her with a somewhat blank expression, unsure which letters to even begin with "... Morris it is" he smiled nervously taking care to guess at the spelling "Occupation?"
Morris let her gaze wander around the room a little before she answered "Sky Dancer" The blond grew tense.
"Sorry?" His voice carried a slight edge that had not been present before. Morris returned her attention to him immediately. She was not offended by the strange look on his face, when she left her homeland she had expected a certain amount of ignorance.
"I use swords, cut things up"
His eyes narrowed "So... warrior?"
"No. Sky Dancer."
"So you're a Gypsy." He almost spat the words. The blunt statement carried a definite tone of accusation. Morris had expected this also, although perhaps not here.
"I am Aori Kann"
"Right, and you want to join our guild because?" The blonde had put aside the quill and his manner was growing rapidly cold. Both the interviewer and the applicant at the adjacent table had also stopped their interview to spectate. The interviewer clearly nervous.
Morris did not acknowledge their attention, and answered coolly. "Because it is the best." There was a thick silence. She crossed her arms, and he balled his hands to fists. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, he blanched and his gaze remained fixed above Morris' head. Their spectators also quickly resumed their interview.
A tall redhead appeared softly from the right, trailing a very nervous looking youth. "Problem, Arald?" The blonde grew pale as Morris turned her head to look at the newcomer. His skin was as dark as hers and she recognised his features instantly. She smiled and relaxed her defences. Esa Essarious and his kin were well known in her homeland.
'Arald' stammered "Esa- ah no. Just-" and fell silent.
Esa's eyes scanned the partially completed form, and lingered on the blonde. "Welcome to the Guild of Dragons, Morris the Sky Dancer."
He nodded politely to Morris, and then turned to address the youth "Aluredus." The youth nodded mutely and followed Esa out of the room through an archway behind the row of tables. He turned back a few times to look in her direction, but kept pace after his master.
The blonde was still obviously a little shaken, he gathered up the rest of the forms on the table and held them for Morris to take "I'll just give this to you, you can write in haran?"
"Yes. We use it in Aqis." she accepted the papers, somewhat perplexed.
"There's ink and quills through there. Where the scary redhead went." He turned in his seat and pointed through the archway where Esa was still stood talking to someone out of sight.
Morris smiled and as she rose to leave she purred softly in the blonde's ear "Thankyou, Arald."
He cleared his throat again, but his voice broke slightly as he called "Next please." and tried desperately to hide the flush burning across his face.
The walk to the adjoining room was not a long one. The archway led into a smaller single floor space with leaded windows along the back wall, there were high tables scattered around. Esa was stood with his teenager and another attendant busy filling in paperwork by one of them. Morris paused for a moment in the archway and frowned at the paper. What was it with westerners and forms?
A young woman with blonde hair approached as she entered. she was wearing what was probably the latest Elizan fashion, although Morris wasn't really sure what that was."Sorry."
The blonde woman averted her gaze "Whatever he said." She gestured back through the arch at Arald, who was now interviewing a veritable meat pile.
"Arald?" Morris continued to gaze back through the archway.
"Yeah he's not too good with the Aori. Like most people around here actually."
"He was not rude."
The blonde girl shifted uncomfortably "He was about to be. Welcome to the guild uh-"
"Right. Nice to meet you, my name is Valia. Do you need help with anything?" Valia motioned to one of the nearby tables. It was tall enough that you could use it standing, which explained the total lack of chairs.
Morris smiled and tried not to look as lost as she felt "This paper? We don't really have these kinds of things. So I do not know."
Valia smiled and looked somewhat relieved. "Of course!"
Morris wasn't sure what the blonde had been expecting her to request, but she accepted the reaction. As Valia took up a quill and began scribing neat lines of Haran whilst chatting happily, Morris looked around the room again. She was finally here and although it had been somewhat easier than she expected, she was finally joining the fabled Guild of Dragons.
(URGH Not happy with this post but eh. I am so out of practice haha! Comments are much appreciated and all are read <3 - SR)