Chapter 1.4

Aldren peered at Master Aien and saw him watching the proceedings with a smile while sipping from his cup of tea. The High Elf saw him and winked at him.

“I am so glad when people who will work together can work things out themselves. It gives good fortune to the endeavour. Is there something you would like to know?”

Aldren decided that perhaps a change in the topic would help with the tense mood which had still not completely evaporated. “Yes, I actually have some questions.”

Aien smiled. “Yes, what’s your question?”

“So we will mainly be working with you then? But what happens if, further along, I decided I’d much rather be a crafter. Would I have to re-apply?” Aldren asked.

Aien shook his head. “You will work with me, yes. I will oversee your testing, give you commands when necessary, and if you want to learn new alchemy skills, you can learn them from me. Once you master alchemy, you will able to teach others your skills. However, other Masters may also give you commands to follow from time to time. If you rise in the ranks of Fearless, you do not lose your ranks when choosing a different craft. You have already shown your usefulness to us then and won’t have to do so again. Anyone is free to learn whatever they wish. Though not every master will be as free to grant you the teaching necessary. During the testing, we will focus mainly on what you can do, and if you can work together and if you have the right mindset for Fearless. Fearless is all about working together, so we must be careful that people who join us, will actually be able to do that.” He said.

“So, as long as we qualify with one master, we’re completely free to learn whatever we want?” Calarel asked.

“That is correct. If you want to learn something from the masters, then most will usually be happy to teach. If they cannot teach you what you wish to learn, they will find someone else to teach you. But those teachers may not be as open to sharing their skills with you as we are and may require payment.” Master Aien said.

“I am an adept alchemist. My teacher could teach me the basic potions to brew and how to handle herbs and such. But what more could I learn when continuing as an alchemist?” Sharmune asked, sitting back and gesturing with his hands.

Master Aien smiled broadly. “Excellent question! As we are all peers of one another, I see no problem in sharing this knowledge with you all. As an adept, you know how to brew what I call the ‘little’ potions. Though they all require specific knowledge of herbs, these are potions that most people will know and are basically the bread and butter of any alchemist. People who have studied more advanced alchemy know how to brew potions that not everyone knows about. And rightfully so, for these are the potions which require a strong moral compass and can easily be used for less than proper situations. As an adept alchemist, you have learned to brew mostly healing potions or potions that do no harm to the drinker. As an expert alchemist, you will know how to brew potions that harm. You can make someone forget something happened, you can drain their health and power. It is even possible to make someone appear dead.” He explained.

“And you can teach us that?” Sharmune asked excitedly.

Master Aien nodded. “Yes, if I feel that you have the moral compass needed to use these potions wisely. Which is to say, that if and when you manage to join Fearless then I will be giving classes to all the alchemists who wish to further their knowledge. If I feel that the knowledge will not be used to help others, then I will not agree to teach people. Most masters have a similar ideology.” He said.

Not seeming to care about the serious conversation going on, Ottkatla suddenly asked a question. “How are the herbs around here? Where can we find herbs, and how can we come by herbs that cannot be found?”

Master Aien had been staring at Sharmune intently and turned his head to look at her. “Ah. Yes. We currently have a small store of herbs which will be used tomorrow during testing. There is a garden within the fortress where some herbs grow. I have also been scouting the surrounding area, and most, if not all, herbs can be found there. I will take everyone who wishes to gather herbs to that place later. Merchants also regularly come by who carry herbs, especially the more rare ones like Dragon Cardamom, Moon Borage and Ideosa. The prices aren’t too bad either because the merchants know that we will help them as needed and would stop buying from them if they gave us ridiculous prices.”

Ottkatla slowly nodded and then silently continued to sip her drink and eat nuts.

“Any other questions?” Master Aien asked.

Durzol nodded. “Yes. Tomorrow the testing starts. What can we expect?”

“You will see tomorrow soon enough. But I do understand that people might be a little anxious about it. Tomorrow we will start by testing your knowledge of alchemy and your skill in alchemy. I am not going to say exactly how, as we do want to keep it secret a little. We will also be testing your resolve and your moral compass. We want to see how you work together with others. Most importantly, however, we want to know if you fit within Fearless Company’s mission.” Master Aien explained, and then he looked up as the sound of music drifted to them. “Ah! Excellent! The dancing will be starting.”

Aldren turned around on the bench to look at the musicians and listen to the music. Behind him, there seemed to be some sort of conversation going on, but he didn’t pick up on most of it. Within a minute or two, his sister was by his side again.

“Did you get the questions answered you wanted? The dancing is starting. I thought maybe more of you would want to come.” She said.

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