Barriers, Understanding, and Oneness: the Path of the Guilds
For Guild members, the purest form of progress is that of becoming one with one or more Energies. This is achieved through hard work, determination, and overcoming the various obstacles — known as barriers — encountered on their journey.
A barrier is a point in the path to Energetic oneness that is consistent for every Channel who treads the path. Barriers represent the culminating effort of understanding and unity with an Energy on one level before proceeding to the next.
Think of the path of Energetic oneness as a skyscraper. Overcoming the first barrier gets you into the first floor. While there, you can learn about that floor and what it has to offer. After exploring sufficiently, you can piece together the key code that will take you to floor two on the elevator. Once at floor two, you must explore and increase your understanding with a more complex layout, until you can finally move on to floor three. And so on, with each floor off the ground bringing the Channel into closer and closer communion with their chosen Energy.
Each barrier overcome brings a Channel closer to this oneness, and with each step the Channel becomes less “mundane” and more a creature of pure Energy. This is not to say that they cease to become who they are (it is theorized that this would eventually happen, but to date, no one has achieved such perfection), but rather that the nature of their being changes, giving them supernatural powers and abilities related to the Energy in which they have just overcome this barrier.
Overcoming barriers is an achievement honored by the Guilds, and they distinguish specific stages of achievement for those who have overcome certain barriers.
- Novices: Those having overcome the first, second, or third barriers are considered Novices. They are early in the stages of learning the Energetic arts, and are generally the object of gentle encouragement by more nurturing Guild members. About 45% of trained Guild members are Novices.*
- Initiates: Those having overcome the fourth, fifth, or sixth barriers are considered Initiates. At this stage, the Channel has proven their worth as a full “adult” in the Energetic arts. Initiates are afforded the basic amount of respect you would show to a fellow Guild member. About 40% of trained Guild members are Initiates.*
- Adepts: Those having overcome the seventh, eighth, or ninth barriers are considered Adepts. Overcoming these barriers is a definite achievement, and not something most Guild members reach. They are generally afforded a great deal of respect by fellow Guild members, and some take on the responsibility of helping other, less accomplished Channels in their own journeys. About 10% of trained Guild members are Adepts.*
- Masters: Those having overcome the 10th, 11th, or 12th barriers are considered Masters. Only a few people ever accomplish this task of surmounting the most difficult of barriers to their Energetic oneness. Masters are given not just respect, but outright deference by their fellow Guild Members. They are consulted on matters of great import, and sometimes bestow great honor on a Channel by taking them as their pupil.
About 4% of trained Guild members are Masters.*
- Prodigies: Of course, there are those who have overcome even more difficult barriers, and these are known as Prodigies. While they are few and far between, they are not unheard of. Many Enforcers, the Guilds’ elite police and strike force, have overcome the 13th barrier — and higher — in their primary Energy. Channels of this status are regarded as celebrities amongst most Channels, and even some non-Guild folks, depending on how they use their powers and whether their fame has spread. Such celebrities include Pirixchi, the de facto leader of the GERC; Gill, a continent-class Umbrist and thief; and Ordon of the Whirling Blades, current Commander of the Enforcers. And, of course, the amazing Mayor of Tarnath, Sympriono Ka’nesi. About 2% of trained Guild members are Prodigies.*
*Not all Channels are registered with the Guilds, so these numbers are approximate.