Chapter 44
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The three finished going over the paperwork involved over the next half hour or so and then Ethan was presented with his adventurers tag. He carefully studied the long rectangle with rounded corners, slowly tracing the edges with his finger tips while turning it over and over. He noted the color was that of bronze and wondered silently to himself whether or not it was actually bronze or just painted some how. After studying the color and craftsmanship he took a closer look at what had been etched into the surface on both sides.

"F - 4395"

He read the letter and numbers out loud without meaning to but didn't seem too embarrassed when Owen replied while nodding.

"Yes, 4395 is your unique adventurer identification number. The F is self explanatory, as is the bronze plate. While your letter or metal type will change over time your number remains the same. As you rank up you'll turn in your current plate prior to receiving your new one."

Owen stopped his explanation to ensure he had Ethan's complete attention before continuing. Once the boy had lifted his head from the plate and look into Owen's eyes did he just that.

"An adventurer's identification number is just that, a number that identifies who they are. A lot of times the presence of an adventurer's plate is the only way a body can be identified. While the rank letter and metal type are important in themselves for various reasons, such as toll free entry into cities and towns, access to restricted regions, and certain discounts, your number is the guild's key into your existence. In the event, which should be a very, very rare occurrence, that you lose your plate you must make every effort to have it replaced."

Ethan could feel the severity of Owen's words as he spoke them and as such listened with rapt attention, his mind trying to remember every word. Even when he wanted to look down at the numbers in awe he was able to fight the urge due to Owen's seriousness and though he didn't avert his gaze he could also feel Lorelle's intent stare directed at him as well.

"Am I clear Ethan? Having an identification number is almost as important as having a weapon or armor. Do you understand?"

"Yes sir, very clear and yes sir, I understand."

He didn't have a weapon or armor of his own so the importance and devotion that most of the older adventurers placed on their gear was lost on him, however, he could imagine it so he understood the comparison. Ethan seemed to be telling the truth in understanding how important his plate was so Owen finally took a breath to relax himself and once again leaned back in his chair.

"Well, I think that about covers everything for me. Welcome to the Adventures Untold Adventuring Company Mr. Kipley! May your fortunes be blessed by the Keepers."

As Owen stood to depart Lorelle clapped her hands gently with a grand smile on her lovely face. She and Owen exchanged a knowing nod before the guild master took his leave.

"I look forward to seeing your adventurers Ethan, until then be well."

"Thank you very much sir!"

The door clicked as Owen finished closing it, his robed form remaining still for several seconds as he considered the possible ramifications of his decision and recent actions. He finally shook his head, trying to expel his uncertainties, before making his way down the hall toward his office.

"What could come would come and what may be would be," he said softly to himself.

Back inside the room Lorelle had begun speaking to Ethan about some of the finer details of his immediate future.

"Well Mr. Kipley, you'll be able to start taking jobs as soon as this afternoon, though if you want to wait until tomorrow that is fine as well."

"Great! I'll definitely start today."

"Very well, I'll show you the board when we are finished here."

"Great!"

After suppressing a giggle with her finger tips against her soft lips Lorelle continued.

"As for your housing, the guild has agreements with several of the area inns to offer discounts. I believe I mentioned that before?"

"Yes, I believe you did. I also think that you said The Lazy Badger was one of them?"

"Yes, that is correct. Now, to help new adventurers get on their feet the guild has a one time offer. We extend a loan that covers four weeks of housing at one of our affiliated inns, which also includes food, at the discounted rate, a total of 12 passes to the Spring of Sighs Bathhouse, and a small weekly alliance for four weeks. You'll also receive access to basic armor and weapons for the same amount of time but afterward you can still rent them if you want."

Ethan was listening and trying to follow along, though it did seem he got lost about halfway through Lorelle's explanation. Thankfully the young female noticed this and offered a gentle smile before rephrasing the offer.

"If you agree to pay the guild back by promising 20% of your earnings until you've paid off your debt we'll provide what you need to live for a month. Generally, by the time a month is up an adventurer can afford to pay for their own expenses while also paying back the loan. It was decided to do this when, in the beginning, many of the younger adventurers ended up in debt or leaving the guild because they couldn't afford to provide for themselves in the beginning."

Ethan was a little hesitant when he heard the word "loan" mainly because the headmistress had warned him and the others, on a regular basis, to avoid getting into debt or agreeing to anything involving wealth they didn't have. He trusted Lorelle, and of course Owen and the guild, but it wasn't until she explained why the guild provided the offer that Ethan felt well enough about the situation to nod agreement. He even smiled excitedly when he realized he could continue to stay at The Lazy Badger going forward, though his smile faltered just a bit when he remembered the girl from the Spa of Sighs, Katarina he thought he remembered her name being. In truth he wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't her name, he already had a hard time with names in general and now in the last two days he had been bombarded by nearly a dozen of them. Finally getting his thoughts back on track he smiled with a nod and gripped his adventurer's plate tightly in his hand.

"I would very much appreciate that offer Ms. Lorelle!"

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