Stories are what make a world. They are our histories, our fantasies, and our religions. Stories can make us feel things that we would not feel otherwise. Pain at losing people we have never met, joy at the accomplishments of people long dead. Stories can take up many forms, from a simple poem, to an epic tale regaling the stories of people lost and forgotten. It is within these stories that we escape our mundane lives, in the hopes of feeling things that otherwise we could not. Many things take up these stories, and many things interest our lives in ways we could not imagine. For these stories, one and all, are doors to worlds beyond our imaginations. It is within one of these worlds that our story begins. A world of might, and of magic.
It is here, that we find ourselves today, observing but a single world. Inside this world, are many small nations, with many peoples within that go about their daily lives, unaware of what awaits them in the future. One, amongst them is the Albion Federation, a loose collection of smaller city-states that had banded together to combat against the neighboring region. One which also had a lose collection of roving bands of nomadic peoples. These people had been labeled as Demonic in origin, though it was unclear if they truly were demons. While this would be the subject of debate for several years, this is not in fact, why we are here this day.
On the outskirts of one such City state, resided the small forest village of Alfeon. It was a quaint little town, where not much happened year round save for the yearly harvest festival, where the villagers gathered together to drink and eat the night away in celebration of a bountiful harvest. Life was mostly peaceful here, despite being close enough to the border of the Demon Clans land that the occasional raid took place. The villagers were lucky enough, that the closest clans were more interested in fighting amongst themselves, than in taking over land near by. This, lead to an almost inevitable melting pot of the races, as people from all over gathered in this small village to trade, both in culture and in goods.
One such person in this village was what many called an 'Adventurer'. While the village was too small, and too peaceful to have an official branch office of the Adventurer's Guild at the time, this particular adventurer had taken up residence in one of the small abandoned houses on the outskirts of the village. This of course would mean that many of the wandering Adventurers found themselves at her home, if they ever traveled through the town. She didn't mind this most of the times, as due to being a youthful dark-elf, the lady in question did not mind the occasional company. Though she had moved to the town a few years prior, she was indeed a rather accomplished Adventurer, having reached the rank of Silver at a young age due to events that had taken place. At first, the villagers did not fully understand why someone of her caliber would abandon such renown, to live in a small village mostly out of the way, but over the years they had gotten used to the young elf woman living there along side them.
On one such morning, the young elf was resting on the porch area just outside her home, as the morning sun slowly crept over the horizon filled with trees, unaware of what the day would bring her. At the time, rumors had been going around the Adventurers that traveled near the village that one of the young princesses of the City-state she had found herself in had been wandering around, gathering a crew of sorts to head into one of the small dungeons that dotted the lands. According to the rumors, it had something to do with some old artifact that the royal family was looking for, though what it was, no one knew. The Elven girl smiled softly as she glanced out at the fields, some of the villagers already out and working on them early in the morning. That years harvest festival would be soon and the villagers wanted to celebrate even more this year, due to a rather bountiful harvest.
As the elf watched the sunrise, one of the adventurers staying in town as well at the time, slowly approached her from the forest. She smiled softly, waving a hello to him as she watched him, the young human lad at the time a wood ranked Adventurer, meaning at most he could help with the local goblin problem as the forest was filled with all manner of monsters. As a wood ranked Adventurer, he was rather new to the whole affair, and looked up to the Elf girl, who had reached the rank of Silver despite looking younger than he. While it was true, that she looked younger than he, having the appearance of a young teenage girl, he had to be careful with her, due to the nature of elves growing rather slowly, compared to humans. As such, he bowed and saluted her as he approached her, a soft smile upon his face as he did so.
The young adventurer smiled as he dropped off a leather bag filled with a few goblin ears just outside the door to the elf's home. The fifth bag this week, in fact. Goblins, while not exactly intelligent, were known to be pack hunters. And the fact that there was a growing number of them in such a small area, usually meant there was also Hobgoblins, and likely a Goblin King hiding out deeper in the forest. While this may have been the case, the Elf had been sitting at her porch, almost motionless, for several days now on the look out for any signs of such activity. So far, there had just been more and more Goblins. One of them were likely to evolve into a Goblin King soon, if they weren't constantly cleared out by wandering adventurers, after all.
While normally, such a thing would be a problem for this town, ever since the elf had moved in, a merchant associated with the Adventurer's Guild came around every two weeks or so, to gather any sort of goods that the wanderers had dropped off at her home, as well as divvy out any rewards. This, of course, was another reason why there was no official branch of the guild in the village, as there was only one resident adventurer, the elf. This, generally meant that if one wanted to upgrade their rank, or take on more dangerous tasks, they would have to take the trek to the nearest Town with an Adventurer's Guild, which was almost a days travel away by horse. Faster, of course, if you had other more efficient means of travel, such as teleportation magic.
The two adventurers stood there watching the morning sun slowly rise. The female elf smiled softly as they stood there, her thoughts on a couple of years prior, when she first had joined the Adventurer's Guild. Sitting there in the capital of the region she found herself in, as some Guild Master explained to her, the ins and outs of being an Adventurer, and what it meant to be one. She remembered how the Guild Master had explained how Adventurer's were split up based on rank, and what could be done with depending on your rank. "Wood Rank were the beginners, just fresh out of the academies with nothing to their names." The Guild Master had started with his spiel, "Then, after they've spent a good year with the Guild, and done some honest good work, they can become Iron Ranked. Officially licensed Adventurers." He had continued, the burly man puffing his chest out proudly. "And from there, the whole world opens up. Yah can join some expeditions into Demon Controlled territory, maybe get some rare loot. Or even venture forth into adequately ranked Dungeons!"
After Iron, of course would be Copper and Brass ranks, with Copper being the normal route, and Brass being a special Rank given to scouts, who'[s sole duty was setting forth into new dungeons, and into Demon territory, to make sure they are in fact safe for exploration. After Copper, would be Bronze rank, and from there it went Steel, and then Silver. And lastly, was Gold. Gold, by laws set by the Central Branch of the Adventurer's Guild, was the highest attainable Rank by normal means. There are, of course, higher ranks available. With Crystal being the one rank the Guild officially acknowledges, due to that Rank being reserved for Guild Masters in and around the recognized Central region for the Adventurer's Guild.
However, in recent years there are rumors of even 'higher' ranks that are kept secret for various reasons. These rumors stemmed from an incident that took place, roughly around when the young Elven girl became an adventurer. This incident, was the sudden appearance of several new dungeons scattered across the entire continent. An investigation took place, of course, one that lasted months. Publicly, the investigation had ended after only half a year, with the results being that 'no cause can be found.' This of course, was only publicly. Behind closed doors, the reason for the sudden increase in dungeons, was proved to be the existence of a strange ore found withing the dungeons. Near the bottom of these dungeons, an ore could be found that could only be described as 'Dungeon Core Ore.' as it seemed to simply be a life-blood of these strange new dungeons.
It was quickly found out, from the mining of these ores, that if one were to exit a dungeon with some, and channel a bit of mana into them. One could form a new dungeon, and control it under some 'Dungeon Master System.' For this very reason, the Adventurer's Guild, and several of the surrounding City-States, including the one our two young adventurers found themselves in at the time, agreed to keep the Ore a secret from the general populace. This, of course had proven to be a good idea, as over the years since the incident, the rate in which new dungeons popped up had slowly decreased until it again stabilized at a decent rate. While this rate was slightly higher than before the incident, it was still at a manageable rate.
This, of course would mean that there had been an influx of new adventurers who did not know of the truth behind the incident, since post the investigation, much of the information was kept under lock and key in the Central Branch. That is to say, no one really remembered that the incident exactly happened, as it quickly faded out of the general populace's minds, due to more pressing concerns. These of course, were roving bandits as well as Demonic raids that came from Demon controlled territory for those close to it, and from Dungeons, for those close to those, though both were fairly rare. Despite this, they were still a concern for most people, especially those in the unprotected villages who were lucky to have a resident Adventurer or two.
This, of course being the main reason why the village of Alfeon had set up a reoccurring quest to exterminate nearby goblins, as a Goblin Horde was rather difficult to deal with, even for most Silver adventurers, who tended to solo quests and Dungeon Raids. While even rarer, there had been a couple of Goblin Hordes in the past century alone, usually spurred on by the appearance of a Goblin King, hence why dealing with Goblins was a serious job for Adventurers. The last Horde in fact, was only a few years ago, and took place mostly due to a large amount of Adventurers, some of which were Goblin Hunters, taking part in the investigation. While the Horde did get taken care of rather quickly, many adventurers of the time had quickly risen up the ranks because of this and because of the incident. The young elf girl was in-fact one such Adventurer, who had come to be known in the Adventurer's Guild as 'The Scarlet Maiden' due to how effortlessly she dealt with Goblins, her presence practically charming all who saw her on the battlefield, to be unable to look away.
While this was technically still true, as the young elf's dark tanned skin and petite form wasn't exactly seen much due to how reclusive the Dark Elves were, the allure of one slowly began to fade away. Despite this, she still received the same awestruck look from young Adventurer's each time they saw her. While she had openly grown used to the looks she received, she had grown a disdain for meeting new adventurers over the years, and this was rumored to be one of the reasons why she had chosen to station herself in such a remote village. Even one close to Demon Clan territory.