Terry Goodkind. Blood of the Fold
There are a lot of legends of ancient rings that give great power to their masters. This is the legend of one of them, the great ring of flame. Many adventurers who wanted unlimited power gone to Ark to retrieve the ring. It was said that that ring gave power to the city. It did. Only few adventurers returned. Those who did never again participated in any quests. As it was said, they “got burned” by the ring. Few believed and again and again Ark was the end of adventures and adventurers. The Ring of Flame cannot be acquired. The reason is simple: the ring isn’t a magical item. The Ring is the organization.
Ring of Flame: History
Ring of Flame is an ancient organization of those who gave their heart to their city and the element of fire. The organization is called so because of the way of fighting and defending the city. Ark is situated on top of the large hill and is open to attack in any direction. Before the battle the combatants of the Ring encircle Ark. Sometimes even the view of a burning circle around the city frightens the attacking enemy. If not, there is no better food for the flame than the living flesh of the enemies of the city.
Ring of Flame: Combatants
There are two types of combatants in the Ring: Sorcerers devoted to fire, and Blazes. Organization sometimes uses wizards, if the danger is great. Wizards are too devoted to knowledge and too much thinking on the battlefield is fatal.
Blaze: Born to burn
There is no better thing for the parents of a newborn child, if child’s hair is snow white. This is the symbol of the Blaze, the defender. Extremely feeble while young, Blaze must be cared of much, but at the age of 10 everything changes. The period between 10 and 12 years is the time when Blaze gets his power, the power of inner fire. From that time Blaze couldn’t be damaged by flame anymore (Some young Blazes tested that ability by trying to warm their hands in the flame, instead of warming them near it. They succeeded). At the age of 12 Blaze is taken from his parents to train and master his abilities. Blaze could be only taught by another Blaze. The first thing Blaze learns is the power called “ignite blade”. Any blade wielded by Blaze instantly heats and becomes able to deal additional fire damage. Most blazes are equal in the speed of learning; so further schooling takes 6 years. These six years are combat training and lore learning. At the age of 18 Blaze is given the choice to join the Ring of Flame or to continue their training but not in the academy of the ring, but in the outer world. While Blaze develops (age 0-12) and trains (12-18) the family of the Blaze is supported by the Ring. Blazes are the main circle of defense of the city, and the city values its defenders. The birth of Blaze cannot be foretold but is greatly desired. What power Blaze develops depends only on him. There are two ways for him, and he can chose to master parts of both. They are symbolically called “the path of the sword” and “the path of inner fire”. The usual weapon of the Blaze is a double sword.