Animists are unique characters in that they, of all guilds, shun violence utterly. They regard it as neither a means to an end, nor as a necessary evil in counteracting the forces of chaos. Animists are pacifists who will heal the needy (whether the needy be good, or bad). They will attempt to diffuse wars and act as diplomats between quarrelling parties.
The Animists are a single guild encompassing the entire profession. Their exact whereabouts is uncertain, but the centre of their power is said to emanate from the northern greenwood forest, deep in the domain of the god of life. Traditionally the animists have attracted those fearful of battle, those against violence and those wishing to heal rather than harm. Animists are skilled in the arts of the spirits, in healing and herbalism, and in the naturalism of the woodland. They are one of the oldest and most respected guilds in Avalon.
Words from Mnestheus, the first guildmaster
Seek out the Animists Guild only if you remain utterly kindhearted, altruistic and opposed to violence in whatever form. The Animists are healers, helpers, carers and guides for those in need. It is not a guild for the ambitious or the aggressively competitive.
Words from Mailen (3yr), the current guildmaster
Thoroughly lost, you find yourself standing at the edge of a clearing in the ancient woodlands. Looking at your surroundings closely, you can almost make out a face in the mosaic of vegetation, but soon blink and the illusion disappears. Suddenly the trees near you begin to rustle and a being emerges from the undergrowth next to you, shedding its forest form. A beautiful golden-haired woman, garbed in clothes matching the rich hues of the forest around her, smiles humanely at you.
"Welcome," she says, an underlying tone of joy in her voice, "to the home of the Animists. I am Aloides, druidess and tutor."
You step back, startled at her sudden appearance, your confusion and nervousness obvious. Noting this, Aloides smiles compassionately then briefly closes her eyes and you feel a sense of peace and safety surround you. Belatedly, you remember your manners and greet her.
"I have heard something of Animists," you say, "but what exactly IS an Animist?"
Aloides smiles again and taking your arm companionably, leads you farther into the grassy clearing, away from the wild bushes with their strange flowers that line the perimeter.
"Let us be comfortable while we talk." she says and settles down to sit on the soft grass, indicating that you should sit next to her.
"Now. What is an Animist?" Aloides tilts her head to one side, then looks deeply into your eyes before speaking again. "An Animist is, and can be, many things. Scholar, Herbalist, Healer, Caretaker of the Forest and the Land, Guide and Teacher for the young, among other things-- but these things alone are not ALL that we are, only what we are perceived to be by others. For the most part, we are content to have it so."
She glances at you again and continues, "The Path of Animistry is not an easy one. Animstry equals Balance: Life against Death, Healing against Harm, Neutrality against Conflict. It is a life of altruism and pacifism that most find difficult to understand, much less live. An Animist gives freely of themselves and of the gifts of the Forest without seeking personal gain. There is joy in caring for the Forest and its inhabitants, in the simple pleasures of nurturing the growth of herbs and trees, in givi ng to others simply because you have the ability to do so, and in knowing that in return for your care the Forest will look after most if not all of your own needs."
Aloides becomes silent and seems to choose her next words carefully. "You may have heard that Animists are frivolous and take things less than seriously, or that we are cowards. I tell you now that this is untrue, or at best, only partly true."
You nod, looking slightly uncomfortable as you have heard tell of these things.
She gestures with one slender hand, drawing your attention to the surrounding Grove. "This place is one of peace, safety, and neutrality and many come here to share in that when the cares of the outside world press down upon their souls. Yes, we laugh and delight in frivolity- because above all others an Animist truly knows and understands pain. Each death strikes our souls with despair, just as each birth gives us cause for rejoicing. We laugh, not because we don't care, but because we care too much."
Aloides looks back at you and continues. "As for cowardice, it's true we do not fight and that we avoid conflict. For an Animist to take the life of another, the circumstances must be exceptional and dire. It is never done lightly or without consequence, and we prefer to use the exceptional defenses we are blessed with instead. Even a young Animist has the skill to blend into the Forest when threatened. We are healers, not killers, and would prefer to give our own lives than take another's."
She looks thoughtfully and deeply into your eyes, seeming to see your very soul. "And so," she says softly, "will you stay and learn? Walk the Path of the Animist with its joys and pains? Or shall I lead you back to the more traveled roads of Avalon? Think carefully and choose wisely."
Aloides awaits your decision.
Guild Specialist Skills
Journey a while under the boughs of the northern Greenwood forest and trace the pathways therein. The Animists Guild will soon be found by the true of heart or the genuinely curious.
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