Now that he finally has a guild to be Captain of, Nolan is busier than he has been in a long time. He needs to have notarised copies of all of his recruits’ registration forms. Check. He needs each of their signatures on a copy of the guild constitution. Check. He needs to post a Notice of Intent to Reinstate Operations on the Guild Authority’s notice board. Check.
Since he’s spending so much time at his desk lately, Nolan is glad that his office is a real office and not a broom closet anymore.
The good news is that it’s finally all done. Everything has been submitted to the Guild Authority. Now, all he has to do is wait for his approval from the Guild Authority. That means that Nolan can finally enjoy a rare moment of quiet laziness in his office.
“Is this where I sign up to join your guild?” a voice suddenly asks, breaking the silence.
Nolan looks around in puzzlement. The room is empty except for himself and his desk.
“T-the desk can talk?”
“No,” the voice says. “Down here. Behind the desk.”
Nolan rises from his chair to peer over the edge of his desk, finding a familiar short green girl looking back up at him. “Hi,” she says. “It’s me again. Pela. We’ve met already. You, uh, stepped on me.”
Nolan blushes at the memory. “Yeah. Sorry about that. And about not realising that was you talking just now. I’ve never talked to many Goblins.”
“Half-Goblin, actually,” she explains. “Well, you know how it is. Dad’s a Dwarf, Mom’s a Goblin, and there was that whole thing with the Ten Thousand Year War, so holiday suppers are always a little awkward.”
Nolan does not, in fact, know how it is. His mother has never been a Goblin before.
“So,” Pela continues. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and I’ve made up my mind. I want to join your Lyte Brigade. Am I too late to sign up? Are you still recruiting?”
“Right,” Nolan says, reaching into his desk for a copy of the membership forms. He slides it across the desk towards Pela. “I’ve already submitted all my paperwork to the Guild Authority. But it shouldn’t be too much trouble to add one more member,” Nolan explains. “So, I need you to —”
He leafs through his stack of papers and starts pulling out all the forms he needs from her. “— sign this, and this, and this.”
“Sure,” Pela says, undaunted by facing yet another stack of papers almost as big as she is.
In the face of so many forms, Pela quickly becomes decidedly more daunted, but she continues to power her way through the mountain of paperwork. Paper by paper and form by form, Pela eventually conquers the pile and sets down her pen.
“Wow,” she groans, slumping in her chair. “That was a lot of paper.” She looks hopefully up at Nolan. “Do I have to do anything else?”
“No,” Nolan says. “That’s everything. I’ll need to make some copies of your forms, then submit everything to the Guild Authority, but I’ve got everything I need from you.”
“Yay,” Pela says weakly.
“Hey, how about some fish-on-a-stick? My treat,” Nolan offers. “I can introduce you to some of the other guild members.”
Nolan leads Pela into the dining hall. Even with the Lyte Brigade just mere days from being reinstated, Falcata has still been keeping herself busy helping out around the inn. She is carrying a stack of firewood into the kitchen when Nolan calls out to her.
“This is Falcata,” Nolan tells Pela.
The Amazon nods politely down at Pela.
“Wow. You’re tall,” Pela notes.
“And that’s Matilda,” Nolan says, pointing to a table in the corner.
Matilda glances up from the magic textbook she’s been committing to memory, gives a half-hearted wave, then goes back to her book.
“So,” Pela asks eagerly. “You said there was food?”
Once again, Falcata sits on her barrel to write a letter to her father. Her words have been coming more easily lately. It helps that she finally has news worth sharing with her family.
We’ve done it!
The Lyte Brigade now has six members and we have received our approval from the Guild Authority. We are ready to begin adventuring in earnest.
I have yet to meet several of the others, but our first true guild meeting will be held in the next few days. I have a few more preparations to make before then.
I will continue writing to keep you informed of our dealings.
As always, give Mother and the twins my love.
Falcata of the Lyte Brigade
With her latest letter home concluded and destined for the post office, Falcata decides to get in one final training session before the Lyte Brigade’s first meeting. Nolan’s parents have allowed the Lyte Brigade to use the alley behind the inn as a makeshift training ground. The space is much smaller than what is used to back home in the Decapolis, but she is still glad to have the opportunity to be able to get in some sort of practice. Working at the inn has at least kept her busy, but she has started to worry that she has been letting her fighting skills lapse.
Falcata takes a minute to contemplate the collection of weapons she has hanging from the wall of her room. She decides to practice with the spear today. With her spear on her shoulder, she makes her way to the alley behind the inn, making certain to go by the back stairs and keep well out of sight of the inn’s patrons. She has learned from experience that the sight of a fully-armed Amazon stepping into the dining hall is likely to send both the patrons and the members of the Lyte family fleeing in terror.
When Falcata steps into the alley, Nolan and Matilda are already in the middle of their own practice session.
The three youngest Lyte children are watching their older siblings as they practice, tasked with observing and evaluating their siblings’ techniques.
“Ready?” Nolan asks, reaching into the basket of rubber balls at his feet.
“Ready,” Matilda says.
Nolan throws a cascade of balls up into the air. Matilda takes just enough time to start tracking their arcs through the air before she raises her hands. She smiles to herself at the sensation of magical energy swirling around her fingers. It has been way too long since she has done anything more with that feeling than light the stove for her parents.
Bolts of magic flash from Matilda’s fingers. Each of the rubber balls flying through the air bursts into a cloud of sparks. This is the first time since they’ve started practicing that she’s managed to get all of the balls Nolan has thrown.
She leaps in triumph. before turning to her audience of siblings. “Well? Pretty cool, right?”
“What do you mean no?” Matilda exclaims. “Go to your room, Sally!”
“Mom! Matilda’s being mean!” Sally wails, running into the inn.
Despite her little sister’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge her ability, it feels good to be doing magic again. Even better is the knowledge that she will never have to touch dishwater ever again.
Matilda Lyte is an adventurer now.
She is brought painfully back to reality by a rubber ball bouncing off her face.
“Ow! Nolan! What the heck?”
Nolan is smiling smugly at her, no doubt avenging himself for any of several episodes from their childhood. “You shouldn’t have let your guard down, Mat— Ah!”
His gloating is interrupted by Matilda’s own revenge. She aims a bolt of energy at his feet, which explodes against the cobblestones of the alley and makes him leap backwards in surprise.
“Your shoe is on fire, Nolan,” Falcata notes as she steps into the alley.
“Thanks a lot, Matilda!” Nolan yells, frantically stamping out the flames smouldering on his toes.
“May I join you?” the Amazon asks.
“Of course,” Nolan says, turning towards Falcata after glowering at Matilda.
“You two should probably spar, or something,” Matilda suggests. “You know, to really get some good practice in.” Mostly, she just wants to watch Falcata fold Nolan into all sorts of novel shapes. Especially after his recent stunt with the ball.
Falcata nods. “I think that would be wise.”
“Sure, I guess,” Nolan says, cautiously eyeing the Amazon.
“Very well,” Falcata says, levelling her spear at Nolan. “Whenever you’re ready.”
Nolan chuckles nervously and attempts to hide as much of himself behind his shield as is humanly possible and tentatively advances towards Falcata.
Unfortunately for Matilda, the match goes less badly for Nolan than she anticipated. Falcata still absolutely dominates the session. Once she starts on the offensive, she doesn’t let up. But Nolan proves to have a gift for hiding behind his shield and manages to block Falcata’s many, many attacks. By the end, Matilda’s ears hurt from the constant clamour of Falcata’s spear ringing off Nolan’s shield.
“I think,” Nolan pants, sweat plastering his hair to his face. “I think that’s good.”
Falcata nods, lowers her spear and steps back.
“Ow,” he says, unstrapping his shield, leaning it against the wall and gently rubbing his battered arm.
Matilda cannot help but notice that her brother is now smirking at her. “Hey, Falcata,” he says. “What about Matilda? She hasn’t had a chance to spar with anyone yet.”