Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hounds of Aros

Here is the charter for the Hounds of Aros, recently re-written by Oloz Satyr-born:

Even so near the very heart of splendor, blackness festers. We have discovered foes on Meri's isle that we had scarcely dreamed of - imagined could be so near, so imminent, or perhaps even real. A pair of cyclopses, not less and likely more than two score ogres, and their darkly cunning master. We hired the help of a mercenary cog out of Blackport - destroyed now, though I do not mourn it much, callous though that sounds - and with use of its weapons slew one cyclops, though the other yet lives to be a terror elsewhere, and nearly halved the ogaritic force, but lost much of our own as well. Several times were we almost bested by ogaritic strength, and in the end shamed by their tactics, and near the outset the poor fool Galzoth and little Katerine were slain.

Did they know the risk? In my heart I know that I did, but I have seen death before and I know that as long as my fight is just my end is not to be feared overmuch. What about Galzoth, whose heart still bore the stain of his beginnings? What place will his soul find in the afterlife? Or Katerine, so much like a child? I spoke with Keir the dwarf several times on the island, and the things he had to say, his questions surprised me, and I fear sometimes that I am losing touch with these men and women with whom I shed blood. He could have lost his life and never known beyond a vague thirst for gold why he was fighting.

Death and violence come to those who aren't prepared for it, cannot stand against it, and this is an inescapable part of our middle world, I am sure, if even here in the rambling elvish city like a dream there lurk blackhearted foes and ill will, but I will not surrender myself to apathy or despair.  These Hounds of Aros, my brothers and sisters in arms, at least, will know from now on in the best words I can write what it is we face, and why.

Here are the mores and the aims of the Hounds of Aros, under the Wind-lord and all other powers whose means are just and ends conducive to the dignity and well-being of the living. This contract, if so it shall be called, shall be witnessed and understood by all who call themselves Hounds and fight under this banner, and they must make their marks at its end under their own free will and under no duress to signify that it is so.

They who call themselves Hounds of Aros must know that this company is not exclusively for the furtherance of its own power, wealth, or influence or that of its constituents, though no activities or attitudes are forbidden so long as they conflict with no other part of this charter. The ultimate goals of the Hounds of Aros as a whole are to benefit and increase the liberty, safety and sanctity of every thinking thing that will not itself actively destroy that of others.

The Hounds of Aros will respect the laws of any and all lands and figures of authority as long as they do not conflict with the tenets or the will of Aros; those that do shall be resisted to whatever extent possible with whatever resources that may be at hand. In all instances, the Hounds themselves shall conduct themselves in alignment with the word of the Wind-Lord and any other goodly power, though never to the detriment of one or another.

Never shall the Hounds hold captive any thinking creature for more than one day and one night, and this long only at great need, and even if captive must be kept, no chains will be clapped upon them and no cruelty nor destruction of dignity may be performed in this period. Even so, they will not shy from slaying a downed or helpless foe if he is too dangerous or wicked to be left alone, but his end must never be intentionally torturous.

Each man and woman who comprises the Hounds of Aros is expected to contribute equally of his skills and his knowledge, and so each man and woman who signs here as a wholehearted member shall be paid equal shares of the proceeds, in coin or mundane goods of any mint or provenance, of whatever work in which they participate, directly or indirectly.

Artifacts, objects and substances of mystical, enchanted or otherwise significant nature the Hounds shall deal with amongst themselves on a case-by-case basis, though they must first be examined in whatever capacity is possible by whoever is deemed most capapble to do so before any decision may be made.

In full knowledge of this, every Hound must follow this code of conduct with regards to his fellows:
Each Hound of Aros must know that he almost certainly will be required to lay down his life for his brothers and for the ideals of this company.

No Hounds of Aros shall ever be abandoned by their brothers, and if they should fall their bodies shall be recovered if this is possible.

No Hounds of Aros will take up arms, nor spells against his brothers nor against any others who hear and agree to act in accord with this contract, and if fighting must come (between Hounds) it will be done without lethal weapons and in a safe environment. No other punishment shall pass between Hounds other than disbandment thereof.

For hirelings, henchmen, wards and hangers-on of any lengthy duration who do not desire full membership but wish to benefit from the company, protection or employ of the Hounds of Aros:
You shall hear and understand this contract, but you need not sign it.

You shall never raise a weapon, cast a spell or by any other means do harm to a Hound of Aros, nor any creature they would not while in their care or employ, nor shall you act in conflict with the tenets set forth here unless you wish to risk forfeiting all benefits your attachment to the Hounds of Aros might be granting you.

You shall not yourself be abandoned, but you are not required to lay down your life if you are not made of such sturdy stuff.

If you are a participant in any work or venture, you shall be compensated by at least one quarter of what one Hound of Aros would receive, subject to negotiation.

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