When you awaken after a nice, long, deep sleep (facilitated by some herbs burning in the fireplace, perhaps) you have made your choice. When you exit your room, you’ll see a signpost in the middle of the corridor that you didn’t notice before. There are three signs, all pointing in different directions, with the words “Apprentices”,”Guards” and “Etc” on their own sign.
Potential Apprentices will head towards the very hall they entered just last night. The Mistress isn’t here this time. In her place there is a table and a long, open scroll of parchment with the words “APPRENTICE CONTRACT” written at the very top and a small, near indiscernible paragraph of what looks to be legal jargon under it. The only other obviously readable words say “SIGN HERE”. A quill and ink lies next to the parchment for this very purpose. Whether you linger to read the entire thing before you sign or simply sign, it doesn’t matter. If you get cold feet, you can leave. If you sign, a soldier will push yet another tome into your hands.
The tome contains a short, congratulatory spiel about the honor of being an Apprentice and proceeds to go into great detail about duties that sound an awful lot like castle maintenance. There’s talk of polishing knobs, sweeping corridors, wiping windows and mopping up after orgies but very little is said about magic.
It advises you to check the notice boards in the library at least once a month to accomplish tasks and earn coins. In the back of the book is a map that marks the important locations within the castle (including the location of your lovely, new room) and a sparse map of the kingdom. Think scribbles with “forest goes here” scrawled over the top.
Potential guards head into the courtyard, where a table is set up and surrounded by a small group of current guards. The table has a banner pinned to it that reads “GUARD SIGN-UPS” and upon approaching the table, you will be asked to beat one of the current guards in hand to hand combat. When that has been accomplished, they will ask about your previous experience with protective services, your experience with weapons and offer you the job. If you fail, you’ll be turned away (you also run the risk of being laughed out of the courtyard without a chance to prove yourself).
Upon signing up, a guard will take you on a tour of the castle, walking you through the barracks, the halls, the corridors and a few of the short cuts. You will be given a map, a weapon and taken to a nurse to unlock one of your powers (if you have one). Of course, you are warned of the consequences of misusing any of these privileges. Death, torture and a life spent in a prison cell are distinct possibilities.
They urge you to check the notice boards frequently for odd jobs to complete for extra spending money and shadow you while you try on your shiny, new uniform and tour the castle. You’ll be shadowed for about a week on duty before the guards get bored and let you do your own thing.
Finally, the et cetera. The last lot. You take your pride, your clothes and whatever you can fit in your pockets and you march with purpose (probably) toward your designated route. Maybe you’re angry, maybe you’re expecting a fight, maybe you’re getting fired up and ready to fight off anyone who tries to stop you.
You’ll be disappointed.
The corridor leads you to a very normal looking door that just...opens. Amazing. You step out of the castle and into the mud. It was raining, after all. There’s a guard there, waiting to escort you into the village. It’s about a ten minute trudge through the mud, and they lead you past beautiful towers, decent cottages and toward some worn down, empty shacks. One of these lovely hovels is yours to keep, and there’s even a little bit of food there for you.
You won’t get told anything about jobs or notice boards by the guard. Once they’ve dropped you off, that’s all the guard is obligated to do.
Snooping around the village will find you a notice board with jobs posted on it and information about some sort of tri-weekly market is readily available. If you want a job you’ll have to canvas, just like the good old days. The good news is that despite Mistress’ tyranny, the economy is pretty good. Many taverns, inns, apothecaries and brothels are hiring.
The Off-Worlders have arrived at an opportune time, this month. People in the village might notice a hustle and bustle around them. Poles are mounted, banners are raised, euphemisms are crafted and everyone seems to be getting ready for something.
You don’t need to ask what it is, at first, because the banners indicate that it it’s April Fools. A little late in the month for it, you might think, but the occasion is celebrated for almost an entire month in this little Kingdom. After all, the Mistress does dearly love an opportunity to unleash malicious humor.
Thankfully, the festivities here are far from malicious. There’s food, drink, music and dancing all around town. Everyone is dressed in bright, colourful clothing and costumes and the Off-Worlders are encouraged to dance and celebrate alongside them. Cream pies, enchanted hand buzzers, the ol’ switcharoo with various possessions and other fairly lame pranks are standard.
Apprentices, guards and even outlier scum are encouraged to participate freely in the festival. It will be a week long binge of FUN.
-Food stalls provide free drinks of all flavours (some of which providing new sensations or strange tingles), cakes and baked goods (some of which are provided by the Fuck Bakery: Cakes that Make you Want to Fuck). It’s hard to differentiate the enhanced food from the regular food, but Off-Worlders will soon figure out that many people have a penchant for aphrodisiacs, enhancers and drugs in their food.
-Hookah pipes with many flavours to partake in, within silk tents amongst silk pillows for getting reeealllll comfortable. The warm, fruity scents are alluring and can have aphrodisiac-like effects if inhaled for long enough. They also lower the inhibitions and calm the mind, making everyone in the tent more open to suggestion.
-Jelly wrestling for prizes (of which you are free to take liberties) and shoulder wrestling for prizes (of which you are also free to take liberties) along with other familiar carnival games with erotic twists. Bobbing for candy dicks, pin the bikini on the nude girl, cock rodeos and extremely violent games of whack-a-mole.
-The brothels are in full force. Girls in ridiculous, skimpy costumes (think octopus, jesters or plague doctors) are outside selling their wares, they’re just too tempting to resist.
-Most exciting of all is the Fun Worm, who makes his way through the whole festival. He looks like six or so villagers under a really shitty costume, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. On closer inspection, you will be lured in by the fun pheromones and powerless to resist them. Inhaling fun pheromones forces a big, cheesy grin on your face. Suddenly, fun is the objective and your inhibitions are severely lowered for an hour or so. He’s constantly cycling around the festival, so it’s hard to avoid him. What’s important to note is that the Fun Worm is a new addition, a gift from the travelling Fun Cult to enhance the festivities. The Fun Cult has brought fun and laughter to kingdoms far and wide, although those kingdoms became a lot less prosperous when their priorities shifted from trade and farming to jello shots and week long benders.
The festivities continue even through nightfall (lanterns will be lit, some of which float through the sky of their own accord, bonfires with incredible scents will be lit too) and will do so for the rest of the week.