Hearth, Bitter Matriarch
Hearth, eh? Never been a name less suited to the owner. A hearth is warm, welcoming, and comforting, a place a man can rest by after a hard day out on the fields and enjoy a quiet drink. Don’t expect anything like that from the crook-backed old crone. She’s a real bitch, and always has been. Vindictive, spiteful, and cantankerous? All that and more. But there’s far more to her than harsh words. The old crone is not one you should cross, in this lifetime or next. She has a mind sharp enough to rival that of the old Ferryman.
Hearth is at least like her namesake in one sense of the word - she’s the heart of her Guild, another old hand like Anvil. They’re as different as night and day though. Anvil, strong, proud, and patient, respected by all. Hearth? Oh, I’m sure she has the good of her Guild in mind, but her position has been achieved through scheming, manipulation, and guile. Her rivals fear her, for the word of the Bitter Matriarch can be the end of your advancement at best, or death from the shadows at worst. Even a master learns to treat her with caution, and treads carefully enough not to earn her ire.
A familiar figure to the denizens of the undercity and the scum hanging around the black markets, I hear she can’t work the iron anymore, down to how frail she’s become in her advanced age. I can believe that to see her hobble about, but if you ask me, there’s more than a hint of pantomime in how she uses her weapon like a stick. Never let it stop you from putting the boot in if you get the chance, gods know she deserves it.
She might be old, but there’s plenty of life in her yet, more’s the pity. The day can’t come quick enough when she slips from her perch. I doubt the world will miss her, either.
- Tapper, Brewer’s Guild Team Captain
It is a unique kind of warrior who does not seek glory or renown in their duty, preferring instead to strike silent and unseen from the shadows. Those men and women will never know adulation or recognition of their feats, nor shall the tomes of the Scholar’s Guild recall their names for future generations. It is in darkness they live, and in the same darkness they remain when they die.
Alloy is of such a brotherhood, belonging to a family which has pledged fealty to the Blacksmith’s Guild since time immemorial. His servitude will only end with death, his calling unable to earn him prestige enough to be granted a house of his own, nor pay the debt of honour that he has inherited. I am sure those from outside of our lands might call his bondage cruel, but Alloy surely does not understand his servitude as anything other than duty. Few amongst our number truly comprehend the necessity of such individuals alongside the more traditional disciplines, but the knowledgeable few at least have always accorded them respect and coin enough.
Aye, I have heard the stories that he is my watchman and no bodyguard at all. Know that I spit at those amongst you who call him gaoler, and name me his prisoner. Alloy might be taciturn, yet do not mistake that same spirit for indifference. Of the man himself, I could ask for no greater companion, one as far from an enforcer as can be. He is a guardian and a protector to me, and only that. Where I go so too shall Alloy, no matter his misgivings or opinions, my loyal shadow at all times.
- Hearth, Master of the Blacksmith’s Guild