Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Organizations - The Navigator's Guild

The Navigator's Guild

There are many forces both natural and supernatural that divide the Three Worlds from one another, and divide different regions of the individual worlds of Ilkeas, Cærulus, and Midrun from other parts of those same worlds, often making travel over long distances difficult or impossible. This is the case only for "unskilled" travelers and not for the secretive and enigmatic cadre of arcane casters that make up the Navigator's Guild. Made up of a variety of factions that appear to have divvied up the Three Worlds into areas of jurisdiction, the Guild is comprised of experts in both mundane travel and transportation magic. The Guild is treated warily by nearly all of the peoples of the Three Worlds, but they are regarded as a necessary element if there is to be regular and reasonably safe travel across and between worlds.

There are several ways to contact the Guild, should one have the cash and the inclination to travel. Great monuments in the form of purple amethyst crystals, generally four feet square and standing twenty feet tall are scattered across the Three Worlds. Many are in large cities or towns - and in some cases are the reason for the city or town being located where it is - but others have been found deep in the wilderness. They are unmarked, and seem to be virtually indestructible. One needs only place a hand on one and say, in just about any language, something to the effect of "I require the services of a Navigator" and one will magically appear in relatively short order. He or she will then discuss terms and payment - almost invariably cash up front. Conventional transportation, such as riding animals or sea vessels, is never supplied by the Guild, and in fact such for the Navigator must be supplied by the client. The Navigator will advise an ignorant client on what mode of transportation would be most appropriate. It is sometimes possible to make much of a journey by arcane means, but long jumps, especially those involving many individuals, are tricky and correspondingly more prohibitively expensive. Regular clients may be rented personal beacons by the Guild, allowing them to call upon the services of a Navigator without the need to find a standing crystal beacon, but these devices are exceedingly rare.

All Navigators are masters of arcane magic, for not only can they guide ships and caravans along the safest route, but they are able to use teleportation and even plane shifting magic to move groups and sometimes even ships across vast distances. All Navigators use some sort of device they refer to as a compass in their trade, though its nature and appearance can vary tremendously from guild faction to guild faction. These items often look much like an intricate sextant, and are almost invariably decorated with purple gemstones such as amethyst, tourmaline, iolite, and so on. A single Navigator is invariably the guide for an entire journey. If a Navigator has ever failed to deliver his charges safely due to his own failure, the Guild has hushed it up.

As part of their code, the Navigators favor no one, instead charging all a high prices for their services. They steadfastly refuse to transport military personnel or items, whether the journey is for attack, espionage, or sabotage, and they maintain the right to immediately terminate any assignment should it become clear that their services are being used for such a purpose, even if it leaves their former clients in jeopardy. If any Navigator has been successfully bribed to betray their code in the past, the organization has managed to keep it quiet. On the other hand, there have been a few recorded instances in which some power hungry individual has attempted to coerce a Navigator, or worse yet, killed one and tried to use his compass, and the failure of such attempts ate well-known, and the vengeance meted out by the Guild has been swift and sure.

Navigators are businessmen and they are notoriously unsympathetic to people with no money in difficult situations, through they have been known to accept payment in kind - after criminally undervaluing the offered goods. In the event that an expedition accompanied by a Navigator is attacked, the Navigator will not fight unless he or she is personally threatened. This rarely becomes an issue, partly because of the famous vengeance inflicted upon those who attack Navigators, and partly due to the fact that Navigators wield very real power over the flows of arcane power in the Three Worlds. The symbol of the Guild is the color purple, and Navigators always wear at least some purple in their clothing, and many dress inclusively in that color. Informally, the Navigators are referred to by many as the "Purple Wizards".

Although little is known about the Guild, one thing that is clear to all is that they zealously guard their secrets, both mundane and arcane. The obvious reason for their secrecy is the desire to protect their monopoly, but some have speculated that the member of the Guild have a more malign reason for their secrecy. others have posited that the Guild maintains a tight hold on information concerning arcane methods of traveling about the Three Worlds out of a sense of altruism. The truth is, as all other things concerning the Guild, shrouded in mystery. No one outside the Guild even knows where they reside, although the most common theory is that they dwell in an extradimensional fortress.

Although they are renowned for their transportation magic, their extensive knowledge of the geography of the Three Worlds is at least as important to their profession. Navigators always seem to know of the existence of gates and hidden pathways along any route their client wishes to take, and have been known to even lead their charges through the Færie Realm, the Elemental Planes, or, more rarely, the Realm of Shadow if they deem that to be the best way to get to their destination. They will lead their charges on routes that wind through one of the Three worlds, into another, and back to the first if that is what they deem to be the best means of traveling. Though they have never been known to carry actual maps, they have a preternatural talent for understanding geography and a virtually all-encompassing knowledge of trails, pathways, and shortcuts.

In addition to their mundane skills as guides, the Navigators are also masters of transportation magic. Among the spells attributed to the Guild are Anticipate Teleportation, Astral Projection, Ethereal Jaunt, Etherealness, Plane Shift, Teleport, Teleport Object, Greater Teleport, and Teleportation Circle. The Navigators hoard this magic like miserly dragons, refusing to teach thse spells to those who are not members, and making efforts to dissuade others from trying to unlock these secrets for themselves. Universities that try to stock books on the subject find that the books go mysteriously missing. Scholars studying teleportation often arrive in their laboratories in the morning to find their notes destroyed and their work spaces ransacked. There are persistent rumors that the Guild has even killed mages who ignored their warnings not to pursue particular lines of arcane research further, although these are unconfirmed.

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