The Courtesan Guild

In Valindir, there are several courtesan houses set up all over the world and each house specializes in a certain type of client’s needs and desires. While some have called them little more than harlots and prostitutes, it is a gross misunderstanding of the guild and its purposes. While none will deny that they do partake in sexual exploits, to say that it the heart and soul of the courtesans is lie.

A courtesan is a cultured man or woman who has dedicated their lives to pleasing others. Whether that is through song, dance, sex or simple company and conversation, they excel at what they do. All are said to be fiercely intelligent and sophisticated, for to be ignorant is abhorrent and impractical. They pride themselves on knowledge and on the confidentiality they give their clients. While some enjoy a courtesan on their arm when attending a play or party (or even hire them as entertainers at their own gala events) there are some that are still nervous of the stigma that could be attached. That is why that if a courtesan ever breeches the creed of secrecy, he or she is expelled from the house, never welcome to return, no matter what a prize they may be.

The current types of houses are as follows:

Amber House
Amethyst House
Diamond House
Emerald House
Jade House
Ruby House
Sapphire House

Ranks of Courtesans

There are several types of a courtesans that reside and work in the houses, but not all the work is the same, nor is the status of each courtesan. The highest status in the house is to be the Head Master (for a man) or Head Mistress (for a woman). This is the courtesan that runs the entire house and oversees all contracts between clients, and is the only one with access to the full list, both past and present. Most leaders of the houses were courtesans for years themselves, but now rarely take clients, if ever, as it is a large task running each house. While there may be multiple houses all over the world (such as more than one Sapphire house), each building will have a Head Master or Mistress.

Directly below the Head Master or Mistress is what as referred to as simply the Master or Mistress. There is only one of these at a time in the guild, and they are the replacement in training for the current leader. When a new Head Mistress or Head Master steps up they select the most promising member of the guild house to be the new Master or Mistress. While they may hold a higher title, they have the same duties and responsibilities as any other courtesan, including taking clients, and are given no special treatment, just special training on how the guild should be handled to run smoothly.

The rest of the courtesans are either free or debited men and women. Free courtesans have already paid their debt to the house and owe nothing, while debited courtesans still owe for their training and other such things. There are several factors that are included with how high the debt is for each courtesan, as some find their way into the guild family by different means. Some are free men and women who willingly join, and need only pay for their training, and any services provided by the guild house for them. The guild pays for each new member to have a suitable wardrobe, checkups with healers and doctors, as well as other various services. For debited courtesans, they have not yet paid this off, and are still working to do so. Depending on how and when they joined the guild will dictate how much they owe to the courtesans. Children who are sold into the houses will often have to pay back what their parents or guardians were given as payment as part of their debt to the guild.

The practice of accepting children into the guild has led to the unwarranted implication that these are practicing companions. This could not be any farther from the truth. When a child is young, they are housed in a separate area or different building, normally with a nanny that works for the guild and are raised and groomed to be mannered, educated individuals. These nannies are normally retired courtesans themselves that choose to be paid by the guild for a different type of service. Some wonder how any parent could sell their child into what many consider slavery, but it is a blessing for many of the children, as they would have never been able to receive a formal education or the opportunity that is given to many of the companions.

When the courtesan-in-training reach the age of maturity, which can vary for each individual, but never younger than the age of sixteen, they go and live at the guild house, starting out with simple tasks such as being the maid or groundskeeper. From there they will observe how the guild functions, but only when they are ready will they begin taking clients of their own. If a bought courtesan turns out to be not what the Head Master or Mistress had wanted, they can sometimes be sold to other houses where they may be better suited, or work as permanent maids at the guildhall, never taking clients of their own. This does not mean they do not owe the guild their debt, and work it off by taking on outside work, such as craft of some kind. A few of these have done on to be great designers for the guild, and make sure that no courtesan ever steps out the door without looking radiant.

Guild Rules

While the guilds may not all be connected, they do adhere to the ancient rules and rites set up by the first group that established the practice long ago. It was these men and women that set the standards that are adhered to today. The full set of rules for all the houses is as follows:

Creed 1: No courtesan is to ever enter into a situation he or she does not feel comfortable in, nor will they ever be forced to partake in any sexual acts that they do not wish.

Creed 2: No courtesan is ever to divulge any client without their express consent, and even then with a high amount of discretion. If someone ever pressures a courtesan for a client list, the courtesan should immediately go to the Head Master or Mistress of the house with the name of curious party so it can be dealt with accordingly.

Creed 3: No courtesan is ever to work as a companion outside the guild client list. A person must be registered with the guild before any courtesan may contract with them and any outside projects can get them excused permanently from the courtesans.

Creed 4: No courtesan is ever to associate with anyone that has been placed on the blacklist and banned from the guild. This can be detrimental and even unsafe for the courtesan, and is done for the protection of both the person and the guild.

Creed 5: No courtesan is permitted to be married and a practicing companion. If they do wish to marry and are a free courtesan, they may leave the guild with their blessing, or continue on as one of the nannies and train the young new-comers. It is customary for the guild to give a dowry or sending off present in either instance.

Creed 6: Pregnancy among the women is allowed in the guild, and they will often give the new mother leave to bond with her new child. They can continue to work when they are ready and place their child in the care of the nannies for a price if they choose, or can find an outside sitter. They are not permitted to bring their children to the guild house while they are working. If the child wishes to be a courtesan, they may start as a free courtesan, or are able to choose a different path of their desire.

Creed 7: If a male courtesan impregnates a client, the client has two options. They can turn the child over the guild and will not be responsible for the care of the child, or she may keep it, but the guild will have no hand in its raising, including financially. If the guild does take care of the child, there is no debt, but they will be placed with one of the nannies until they are old enough to choose what they wish to do. If they join the guild, they are welcomed without any debt and start as a free courtesan. If they are unsuited or simply do not want to be with the guild, they are free to pursue other training of their choice.

Creed 8: A courtesan is part of a family, and all are connected. If a courtesan is in distress and in need of aid, any houses must offer assistance, no matter if they are that person’s patron house or not. If a house turns away a courtesan in need, they are no longer part of the guild and are seen as no more than any average prostitute.

Creed 9: Should a situation call for it, where a courtesan house has fallen into ill repute and become nothing more than a seedy brothel, a meeting of all Head Masters and Head Mistresses must be called in the city of the house in question. They must decide then if the house is to be stripped of the name courtesan and be severed from the guild, as was done in the days long past.

Posted October 26, 2011 by belimedra

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