Shafador is filled with a number of different Guilds that run commerce in the world. Typically each city has their own branches of these guilds that they manage internally, though as the saying goes all roads lead to Abel. The following guilds are considered the dominant merchant guilds in the world for handling singular business affairs. Note that while many of these guilds have large offices in Archangel, they are actually based out of the Merchant City of Karh.
The Tail of the SnakeEdit
The snake biting its own tail is a symbol for infinity, the eternal cycle. The Tail of the Snake sees themselves as the end of one cycle and signaling the beginning of another: death. All life will end with death at some point, and the death of one will usually lead to life for another in some way.
The Tail of the Snake cherishes death no matter what form it comes in. Murder, old age, it doesn't matter. As long as the deceased pass on to the next life smoothly, then they rejoice the course that life takes to bring them to that point. This isn't to be misunderstood; they don't seek to kill everyone they find. The Tail of the Snake is a passive guild that only acts when they feel they need to.
They'll often show themselves at funerals or any similar ceremonies without any consent from the others there, observing the ritual as if it were the most sacred of ceremonies. They'll also offer their services to lead such ceremonies, if allowed.
The guild does carry some assassins, though these individuals only seek to hunt down those that would either deny death, or those that prohibit others from leaving to the next world upon death. They do not hate undead, unless said undead are animated without the consent of the appropriate spirit. However, if such animation is done with consent, then the guild harbors no dislike for such necromancy, as it's just a different path on the road that is the eternal cycle.
Prerequisites: In order to join the guild, one of two things must be accomplished. First, one such "criminal" to the guild must be personally dealt with. This can either be an assassination of a necromancer who forcefully animates, or otherwise stopping a force that keeps the dead from properly passing.
Second, one can show proficiency in leading funerals and similar ceremonies. The guild makes appearances at each and every one possible, so they'll be able to observe one's skill. If they're confident that you can proficiently guide the dead to the afterlife on a consistent basis, then that'll be grounds for recruitment.
Benefits: The benefits for joining this guild are ambiguous and debated. They tend to not be direct about them, and any indirect response they give is a cryptic riddle at best. However, what's obvious is that those who join are astronomically likely to stay with the guild for an extended period of time, perfectly satisfied at the membership.
Guildmaster: The master is a human named Thoenas Lier, one who has seen and felt much of death. This thin, pale man is rumored to be many things: a vampire, an intelligent zombie, or just very malnourished. Still others say that he has merely been scarred by the touch of undeath in all of his fights against "forced" undead; energy draining touches of incorporeal undead and the like. He isn't as active now as he was in his younger days, but he strives to help guide the rest of the guild in the greatest capacity he can.
To get a bird's eye view of the world means to be able to examine and expose your mind to a mass amount of information at once. The Zephyr Mind carries this philosophy with them constantly, desiring all of the knowledge they can get as they believe this asset to be among the most valuable in existence. To know life is to know how to live it, and to know death is to best be prepared for it. Because of this, they are often at odds with the Black Sun (who make their information secretive instead of open).
The organization itself is little more than an academy and university, mostly consisting of would-be sages, and other individuals who would invest much of their life to learning and education overall. Many students later find themselves to be teachers in the organization later in life, and tenure is well rewarded. The Zephyr Mind also takes pride in helping Awakened learn more about themselves and helping them better control and improve their state.
Prerequisites: Unlike many other organizations, this one has few prerequisites that can truly be measured. For the most part, as long as you are not a member of the Black Sun, and you show a genuine desire and capacity to learn, then entry will be given.
Benefits: Other than being able to better learn about yourself as an Awakened, this organization is really no different than a prestigious academy. Education is the greatest benefit you receive, with power within the organization being secondary and, even then, it's usually limited to being a researcher or professor.
Guildmaster: Altrea Yujan, half-sister of Bertram, the guildmaster of Stokers' Hall, and top professor of the the Zephyr Mind, first joined the organization to rebel against the Order of Yehudah and their efforts to close off knowledge from the world. Altrea is a Shotith Awakened. Her constant working and dedication has resulted in her having an entirely tired look with somewhat sunken cheeks, resulting in many members labeling her "The Ghost Mind", in jest at her "deathly" look.
While beauty may only be skin-deep, those of Stokers' Hall believe that the fire that fuels such beauty comes from the heart, the mind, and the soul; all from within. While they admire the Breaking Dawn's attempt to preserve life, they shake their heads with amusement at the stubborn seriousness with how the healers' organization views life. To Stokers' Hall, life is to be enjoyed more so than just preserved.
Stokers' Hall contains craftsmen, artisans, bards, and inventors of all sorts. Anyone with any capacity and interest in creativity and ingenuity can find a home within the Hall. The Hall is a haven for those who like to compare and contrast their creations with others, whether it be a bard performing a concert for his adoring fans, or craftsmen opening up exhibits to show off their latest works.
The guild is also home to many combatants who enjoy putting flourish and art into their combat styles, and it isn't too hard to find bards around the organization who also have good combat training. Members of Stokers' Hall can be found all over, whether on street corners as performing bards, or as merchants selling their own personally-made wares. Members also enjoy critiquing others; such a process called "stoking the heartfire". Members are required to perform this process regularly, as it's just seen as both respectful and a sign of genuine interest in improving.
Prerequisites: A prospective member must make some sort of creation, whether it be presenting a personal battle style or showing off a new invention, and bring it forward for critiquing in front of a group of at least seven "ranked" members (usually those who have been in the guild for several years at least). In order to join, at least five of the seven must deem the heartfire "burning bright" (a positive critique) over "simmering embers" (a negative critique). The latter is not so much a message of "No" as it is a comment saying that the heartfire is burning deep inside, but it could use some work. An applicant with at least three positive critiques in this ceremony is brought into the guild as a limited member, one who gains no benefits and partial access into the hall.
These limited members are granted access to what resources are deemed appropriate for them to improve, and it is expected that they actively work to improve. A two-week grace time is given before one can apply again, but unlimited attempts are offered. At any point, if less than three of the seven members give negative critiques, limited membership is stripped until improvement is shown.
Benefits: It is common for members to auction off their creations in some way. Other members of the guild can outright buy creations of others at a discount before they are released to the public at full price, though it is expected that one offers such deals to others as a means of fair and balanced trade. Also, the Hall offers many resources and workspaces that one just can't find feasibly elsewhere.
Guildmaster: The guildmaster is a man named simply Bertram, one who sees little need for formality of any sort, and hence he has abandoned handing out his surname to anyone outside the family. His half-sister is Altrea, the guildmaster of the Zephyr Mind, although the two of them currently enjoy a frosty and distant relationship at best. The reasons for this are wisely kept hidden, as there is little need for so many to know of family issues, but Bertram often mumbles about his "stubborn Altrea" at random times.
Bertram himself is a bard of fair renown, one who enjoys crafting epics and songs rather than crafting reputation. He isn't in a business of selling his works, he merely enjoys creating them and performing them whenever boredom threatens to set in. His projecting baritone often carries throughout the halls, acting as enjoyable background music.