Hello, everybody, and welcome to this first chapter of The Guild of Beacon! This shall be a rather long story, one where world building and action, romance and conflicts will all have their place.

Speaking of romance, this story will feature a Jaune/Pyrrha relationship. The classic Arkos.

Beta Readers: DragonManMax and Jkdelta38

Without further ado, I'll leave you with the story!

The sky was clear on this summer morning, and knights glimmered under the rays of the rising sun. Grey steel breastplates and polished helms, spearheads and unsheathed swords, everything shone brightly and beautifully.

Well, not everything perhaps.

Jaune felt somewhat out of place in his padded gambeson and chainmail.

The boy sat upon his small horse, wondering which of them was the most nervous. The beast was a farm animal, not accustomed to being in contact with so many others, so Jaune had trouble keeping her calm. It was made harder by the fact that the boy himself was barely staying still.

Around him was the chivalry of Vale, at their front were a small plain and a dense forest, at their back were the vast fields that made the kingdom so fertile, and on their backs were the expectations and hopes of the people.

It had been two weeks since Lord Greenfield had received the news of a massive Grimm attack on the frontiers via carrier raven. He had quickly relayed the message to the king of Vale, and had immediately started to assemble a strike force to stop the threat.

Jaune had been selling his family's products at the market near the Lord's castle when the assembling started, so he volunteered at once. After hours of offering his services to every knight he could find, an old mercenary had finally accepted.

Sir Edmund was a veteran of a hundred wars and a thousand battles if all he said was to be believed, a knight selling his services to anybody that had the coin to pay. He had been knighted for his valor more than twenty years prior, after a particularly tough fight with bandits where he had assisted some knights serving under a local Lord.

The old knight was proud and vain, though not unkind, and that was more than enough for Jaune. Edmund had taken the youth as a squire despite his lack of training and promised to keep him under his care as long as he accomplished his duties well.

Cleaning mail and tending to horses was quite a small price to pay for Jaune since it meant he would have a chance at realizing his dreams.

The boy was quite a dreamer indeed; becoming a knight, vanquishing Grimm, saving his kingdom, bringing back honor to his family name, and becoming a hero were just a few of his ambitions.

Jaune took a long breath, trying to calm his nerves. Riding into battle with shaking hands might not be the best idea. Well, to be fair, simply riding into battle was already a bad idea for the untrained boy. The only experience of fighting he had under his belt was the few sparring sessions he had with Sir Edmund, and the only things this had gained him were bruises and a broken finger.

His gear wasn't anything worth bragging about either. He wore a plain helm of cheap iron lacking a nose guard over a coif of padded cotton, a shirt of chainmail of dubious quality over a gambeson, and the same boots with which he had left his home more than a week ago. The helm fit badly on his head and put quite a strain on his neck, the chainmail made his shoulders ache more with each passing second, and the sleeves of the mail reached past his wrists and made using a weapon an even harder task than it already was.

Speaking of weapons, Jaune held a short lance with a tip of steel in his right hand, his family shield in his left hand, and his family sword was in its scabbard on his left hip. The shield was made of heavy oak and had iron on its edges, his family crest was painted on its front, something that filled the boy with pride. His sword, Crocea Mors, was of the best quality steel, and its edges had been sharpened by hours of honing.

Jaune looked around himself, trying to occupy his thoughts with anything instead of the battle to come. He and Sir Edmund were on the army's right flank with other knights of low stature, men-at-arms, and various freeriders. At the center of the force and at its front were Lord Greenfield and his personal guard. His banner, a black horse on a green field, and the banner of the kingdom of Vale flew high over the heads of the horsemen. To their left were more knights and squires.

To the back of the army were the strangest characters that Jaune had ever seen, Huntsmans and Huntresses. They were seven, all quite young, and their position in the army showed that the Lord did not overly trust them. Based on their … unusual appearance, Jaune could understand why they would not be trusted. Admittedly, Jaune did not know much about Huntsmans and Huntresses other than that they were organized in various guilds, so perhaps he ought not to judge them too quickly, but it was hard to do otherwise when all other soldiers of the strike force were visibly keeping their distance.

This whole company made for about 200 'soldiers', only a small portion of the army that the Lord had assembled. The rest, soldiers on foot of various ranks, were a few days ride behind the cavalry. The Lord had decided to meet the Grimm incursion with this force alone, for a reason Jaune couldn't comprehend. If he had to guess, he would say that the Lord's pride and stupidity were the main reasons. That did not help his confidence.

"Jaune, get your head out of the clouds." The boy heard Edmund to his side, the sound somewhat muffled by his head gear.

"I'm sorry Sir." Jaune nodded apologetically.

The knight smiled softly, the visor of his helm not yet closed. "Stay by my side, and this first fight of yours should go well."

"Yes Sir, I'll try to stay close." Jaune promised. "Do you think we still have long to wait?" He could not keep the nervousness from his voice.

"Look ahead, you'll have your answer." The knight closed his visor and turned his head forward.

Jaune's eyes widened as he understood what was happening. He looked ahead, and saw death moving through the forest. Shadows crashed through trees and bushes, and then they broke into the clearing.

Jaune almost pissed himself on the spot.

Grimm… the primordial enemy of humanity, destroyers of civilizations and an anchor to human development. Jaune's father had told him stories of these creatures of nightmare, of how terrifying and horrific they were. The stories were understating it.

The beasts charged across the field, their howls and screeches sending shivers through the young squire's body. They advanced as a tide of darkness, dozens of them, hundreds perhaps. Then the trumpets sounded, and Jaune charged.

Getting his horse into a canter, the boy kept pace with the knight to his side. He was terrified, but that didn't matter anymore. Now he was accomplishing his duty, now he was charging under the banner of Vale. Now his world shrunk to what he could see in front of him.

Sir Edmund started to outdistance him, so Jaune sped his horse to a gallop. Even then, the old knight on his war horse was faster than Jaune on his farm beast. At his front, the wave of Grimm was now only a few seconds away. Remembering what Sir Edmund had told him during his training, Jaune couched his lance under his arm and tried to focus on a target. A wolf-like monster was charging directly at him, and so Jaune aimed his lance in its general direction. Jaune started screaming during the last seconds of the charge, and he made contact.

The steel point of Jaune's weapon slipped past the monster's armor, piercing through skin and muscle and punching into its chest with the momentum of the charging horse.

The beast had quite a lot of momentum of its own, however, so it crashed into Jaune's horse, and the boy fell to the ground.

Jaune landed on his back with a groan. It took his mind a few seconds to compute what had happened, then he rolled on his side and lifted himself on one knee. His back was in pain and his heart was pulsing in his head, but he didn't think he was actually injured. That was good, but it would be even better to keep it that way. With that in mind, Jaune got back to his feet.

Looking to his sides, Jaune saw nothing but chaos. His whole flank of the troop was now engaged with the Grimm, but things were moving too fast to gather much more information rapidly. He didn't really have the time for it.

The boy unsheathed Crocea Mors in one fluid motion, this being the only movement he had somewhat mastered. He tried to find something to rally to; Sir Edmund perhaps, or Lord Greenfield, but they were out of view. Instead, his gaze fixated itself forward, onto the Grimm which had caused him to fall … and onto his now dead horse.

The poor animal had its throat torn open to the bone, and its blood was strewn everywhere; the now red grass, and a frenzied Grimm. The beast had Jaune's lance embedded deep into its chest, half the weapon was now coming out from its back, black with blood. It was supporting itself on its forearms, the lower part of its body twitching heavily, and its jaws were red with gore. Uglier than any nightmare, this beast was terror made flesh. Red eyes shone bright in the middle of a face covered in white armor, a jaw filled with too many teeth to count hung open at an angle impossible to imitate by a human, and a tongue of horrendous proportions flailed wildly out of this infernal maw.

Jaune was halfway between terrified and enraged. His rage seemed to win control of his body, and he charged forward at the - hopefully - weakened monster.

Lifting his shield at his front and his sword overhead as he ran, Jaune would later have to thank his combative instincts. As he came into the reach of the creature, the squire was met with a surprisingly strong strike from its right paw. The blow crashed against Jaune's shield and sent pain resonating into his arm. He jumped back, surprised and scared by the resilience of his adversary, and thus avoided a second swing from the beast.

Quickly making use of what he had just learned, Jaune advanced again, this time bracing himself for the attack to come. Claws clashed against his shield, but he kept his feet planted into the ground, groaning at the pain but withstanding it. He swung his sword in a horizontal arc, aiming for the wolf's head before it could react. The steel blade struck the beast's temple, merely bouncing on the thick armor present on its head. The blow sent Jaune's arm and the monster's head flying in opposite directions, and the boy had to double his efforts to send a second attack.

This time, the Grimm tried to dodge the sword … It didn't work. The last inch of Crocea Mors cut through the exposed flesh of the monster's neck as it moved its head away. Black blood started spurting from the wound in seconds, and with a last few twitches the beast finally died.

Jaune thought he should have been overjoyed at this accomplishment, the first Grimm to die at the end of his family's blade in generations, but he could not bring himself to even smile.

His horse was dead, this first kill had almost cost his own life, and even the smallest of looks to his surroundings was enough to assure him that the battle was not going according to expectations.

To his direct right was another dead stallion, and under it was the man who had most likely been riding it. At his front were a handful of knights and squires still on horseback and a few more on foot, they were fighting off a mass of Grimm. Even as Jaune was watching, a knight was picked up from his saddle by a bear-like creature larger than any he had seen before, the man's torso was crushed in a single great motion of the monster. To his left, he saw a few knights forming a shieldwall, only for a group of Grimm to wash over them.

Jaune cursed himself into action. He turned to his left, where most of the army had been situated, and charged blindly. A rider-less horse trotted to his side for a few seconds before turning a hard left and forcing him to stop in order to not be trampled.

The boy continued his charge, quickly finding a target. A soldier with a blue shield was keeping another wolf-like creature at bay with a lance from the top of his horse, he was unlikely to manage it for long. As he redirected his sprint, Jaune saw something coming at him from the edge of his vision on the right. In a panicked and instinctive movement, the boy put his shield between himself and the object and quickstepped to the left.

He was hit by the brunt force of a charging horse. His shield and the arm holding it took most of the damage, and his last-second dodge meant that he took a glancing blow and not a direct one, but he was nonetheless thrown to the ground. He cried out in pain as his shield or his arm or both cracked under the force of the hit, but his yell ended as he met the grass face first. All air went out of him at once, and it took him a few moments to gain back his senses.

He climbed to his feet slowly and with a whimper. His sword and shield were both still in his grasp, and he was somehow still alive. Shaking his head clear, his gaze landed on a blue shield in front of him, and on the man still attached to it. The man's legs were now pinned under his horse, the Wolf-Grimm from earlier standing upon it. The man was still alive, that was evident by the flailing of his arms, and Jaune had to do something about it.

For what might have been the fourth or fifth time in a few minutes, Jaune charged forward, his shield at his front and his sword overhead. He shouted as powerfully as his strained lungs would let him, hoping to both get the attention of the Grimm and tell the trapped man that he was going to get saved.

Honor and chivalry did not matter when fighting beasts of pure hate, Jaune decided, so he swung at the back of his enemy without hesitation. His sword came down in a powerful strike upon the unsuspecting Grimm's back. It glanced off without damage.

The Grimm barely seemed to notice, even when Jaune struck a second and then a third time. Instead, it lifted itself on its hind legs, and came back down on the trapped man underneath. The man screamed, even more so than he had before, and then it ended in a sickening crunch.

Jaune was wide-eyed with terror and guilt. The man had been a victim of the squire's helplessness as much as of the Grimm's anger.

The boy did not get to mull over his grief for long, as the Grimm in front of him turned around as soon as his trapped prey was dead. The creature stood up once again, its height made even more impressive since it was standing on the corpse of the horse, and Jaune almost puked on the spot.

The beast's front legs were red and pink and white, dripping with what had once been contained in a man's head. If the earlier Grimm had been terror made flesh, then Jaune had no idea how to convey the horrific display now in front of him. He lifted his shield meekly, knowing full well that he had no chance at surviving the assaults of an unhindered Grimm but unwilling to let himself die without a fight.

"Come on, you fucker, let's end this quickly." Jaune somehow managed to croak out as the beast lifted a paw to strike.

He never got his answer. The Grimm fell forwards with a shriek and a terrible crack. Jaune quickstepped back just out of the way of the dead monster. Dead indeed, and the cause was evident; the Morningstar still stuck at the back of his head.

"Are you alright, kid?" The knight wielding the blunt weapon asked Jaune, his voice echoing in his closed helm.

Jaune stammered, still in shock, but managed to talk as the knight retrieved his weapon from the monster's corpse. "Y-yes, Sir, thanks to y…"

The squire never finished his sentence, him and his interlocutor being knocked away by something neither had seen.

Jaune tasted dirt and grass once again, this time knocking his head roughly on the ground and landing on his left leg at a dangerous angle. He heard a crack, and a sharp pain followed. He moaned in pain, but had enough sense left in him to look up at what had struck him.

A gigantic boar.

The monster had tusks longer than Jaune's arms, four red eyes filled with hatred, and a body in the rough shape of a pig like he'd seen each and every day at his family's farm.

Jaune saw all this from an angle, however, since the Grimm was fixated on his other victim. The knight had been hit even more roughly, it seemed. He had been propelled almost ten meters from where the carcass of the horse still lay. He was still alive, it seemed, but that would not last long. The monster was already moving.

Jaune cursed loudly and tried to stand up. His left leg failed him as soon as he tried to put some weight onto it, and he fell back down in a groan. This groan transformed into a fit of painful coughing, and when he was over Jaune saw that the ground where he had coughed was now sprinkled with blood.

That thing got me good, Jaune thought.

Unyielding, Jaune grabbed Crocea Mors by his side and used it as a crutch of sorts to lift himself to his feet. Most of his weight was now on his right leg, but the mere fact that he was able to stand told him that nothing was broken. This might be a simple sprain of the ankle. His chainmail was pierced on his right side, but the small amount of blood told him that his wound was quite shallow.

Now standing, Jaune saw that the knight was not doing the same. He was clutching his own leg and unable to get up. He let out a groan that seemed halfway between pain and frustration.

Jaune had to do something, and quick. The pig-monster was still advancing on the knight, and it was evident that he could not defend himself any longer.


This had the desired effect… unfortunately. The Grimm turned slowly toward the squire, its eyes burning with a deadly passion. And then it charged, without so much as a warning.

Jaune was going to die, that was now evident. His death might gain some time for the knight to get saved, however, so it would be worth it. The knight was actually a good fighter, so if he survived he might accomplish a lot in the future.

Jaune got his shield in the way at the last possible instant, but still felt all the force of the charging creature. He landed with a series of cracks and moans. He laid there, on his side, for a few seconds that felt like centuries. Each breath was harder than the last, sending waves of agony in his chest. His head was pounding like a drum. His left arm was pinned under his body, broken and twisted. His vision was blurred, but not enough that he could not see the approaching pig.

It was moving at a slow trot, in no hurry whatsoever. Jaune was terrified, but did not take his eyes off of his impending doom. The beast was now only a few paces away. Some soldiers were still fighting in the background of the boy's vision… and some seemed to be approaching. They were going fast, too. Were those… the Huntresses?

As the monster closed in on Jaune, now near enough for the boy to almost choke on its putrid stench, it was suddenly thrown to the side, a spear plunged between armor plates.

A woman quickly came into view, bringing the spear back to her hands from a distance by an unknown method. A cascade of burgundy hair was hiding most of her features from view, but her shining bronze armor was still visible. Before Jaune could put his fuzzy mind to understanding what had happened, more strangely clothed girls came into view.

A girl wearing a red-and-black hood jumped over the corpse of the Boar-Grimm, firing arrows from the odd-looking longbow in her hands. Another girl seemingly glided on shining platforms in and out of his field of vision, her white hair flowing behind her.

More strangers were moving behind them, but just as Jaune tried to focus his vision on them, the first girl with the spear blocked his view. Now she had a sword in hand. She knelt to his side, a worried expression on her face. She had the most beautiful eyes Jaune had ever seen; green orbs burning brighter than any fire.

"Can you hear me?" The girl asked Jaune, him barely understanding her because of the ringing in his ears and the fact that his helm was still on his head. She had a thick accent, one he could not remember ever hearing.

"Yes… yes I can." Jaune answered between coughs. He felt blood splatter on his lips.

"You are not well." The girl said, stating the obvious. "You will need medical attention."

"Sounds great." Jaune knew he would not survive long enough for a medic to treat him, especially not since actual knights would most likely be injured as well. They would certainly be higher on the list of priorities of any surgeon around.

"Hey, hey! Stay awake!" The girl shook Jaune softly as he was closing his eyes, barely conscious. He answered her with another cough. "Seems like I don't have another choice."

The girl put one of her hands on Jaune's shoulder, the other on his chest. Even this soft touch sent tendrils of pain through his torso. The girl then started talking, her voice reverberating in Jaune's mind and making him shudder from the strange sensation.

"For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee."

Jaune shuddered once again. He saw a strange white glow at the edges of his vision.

And then, darkness.

And voilà! I do hope you enjoyed this simple yet necessary battle sequence! If you have questions, please feel free to ask them! I love to respond to reviews!

So, as you may have guessed from the grim imagery in this chapter, I intend on making this story realistic in all aspects. That includes the horror and cruelty of war. Do note that realistic does not mean angsty. The characters in the story will respond accordingly to the challenges they face; they won't be depressed and traumatized messes all of the time.

In any case, I'll leave it to this until the next chapter!