"It depends on at which stage of your life you are at when entering the Order, but everyone starts with a test to get an idea of where they stand in question of power, ether and knowledge. After that you go to a convent to study if you are still a child, or to one of the lower battalions if you are old enough to fight. Some also go direct to one of our temples as priest apprentices but then you need a lot of previous experience. The lower battalions, mainly the Fourth and Fifth, is responsible for most of the guarding duties in the Order and doesn't do much actual fighting, which leaves much time for practice. The convents, as you might have seen, offer a great variety of studying for the novices. They learn of both the spiritual and militarily sides of the Order, plus of course to read and count."
"That's right. Our novices gets a very broad education and can choose from many different careers when it's time for them to leave our convent. Some go on to the battalions, some as clerics, some as paladins, some continue studying the deeper aspects of Ennoc and the Light to become priests and of course, there are options outside the Order as well as scribes, administrators and bureaucrats for governments and wealthy families. Unfortunately it costs quite a lot to educate a child during all those years and few families can afford to send their child to a convent. We only have four novices at the moment here at the House of Ennoc's Children."
Mandrea points at the novices table in the dining hall:
"Hail, Jorke. I am terribly sorry that we got off on the wrong foot earlier, I don't know what on earth came over me then. I'd hate to have offended you, sir, you do good work for the people here and in the surrounding area. Me? I'm just a bitter man growing old and not being able to do anything about it. My apologies again for my apalling behaviour in your study, Jorke."
With that off his chest, Haldor continued the conversation.
"So, how did you come to join the order, and wind up a cleric in this lovely old place? You must have seen many great sights and been on a number of adventures in your time with the Paladins,"
"Apology accepted, Haldor. I'm happy that we can leave that intermezzo in the study behind us.
I was recruited by the Order while I was serving in the Bonaparte navy. I never did much fighting myself, but I developed my medical skills thanks to all those pirate attacks we suffered. One day a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of Light and Justice visited me and offered me a job as a cleric in the Order. Much better pay and I didn't had to be stuck on a worm-eaten piece of wood in the middle of the Crystalline sea. I spent some years in the 2nd Battalion but then settled here about 9 years ago, I grew tired of healing wounds and dodging arrows."
Cronk is glad that Mr. Ansar is at peace.
"Oh no, I'm eternally grateful to that witch! I never wanted those magical abilities and I was so happy when I finally found someone who could help me get rid of them."
The chef, Fat Mats, comes out from the kitchen to clear the table.
"I'll just get these plates, don't mind me. I know the food was probably awful, it always is. If it isn't burnt it's tasteless, or too spicy, or too dry, or not salty enough. You need a lot of beer to wash it down. Who wants a refill?"