- "Howling Voice, shadow upon the ground!
Howling Voice, flash of thunder from the gods!
Cursed Voice that separates Life from Death!
Right here, right now, these guns want to shed blood.
They want to feast on souls!
Listen you cursed Guns!
We are it!
The final blast to signal war!"
- —Howling Voice Guild duel rites, Suikoden II
The Howling Voice Guild is a powerful espionage and assassination guild in the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. Guild members often have one of three important tasks entrusted to them: to gather information on targets, protect them, or assassinate them. The guild is often used by Harmonian priests in order to manipulate the People's Faction and/or the Temple Faction. Though known for the powerful, unique weapons their members carry – guns, and the gun powder that powers them - the Howling Voice Guild also specialises in other fields, such as toxicology. Members are raised from childhood onwards in the guild, never leaving save when on a mission, each apprentice training to become part of the elite gunner classes. A select few may receive an ‘internship’ in the guild, usually those who belong to powerful families within Harmonia. The training of the Howling Voice Guild is known to be extremely rigorous, and fatality rates run high; not all apprentices survive to adulthood. For Harmonians not of First Class Rank, the Howling Voice Guild is often one of the only ways for them to gain power, as the Guild chooses to rank its members on skill rather than social class.
The current Guild Master is Clive.
Also known as the “the garden” to members of the guild, the Tower itself is a single, small fortress with one central tower. Within it’s confines live the entire guild, who are not permitted to leave unless on a mission. No agriculture takes place in the tower; the Howling Voice Guild is dependent on rations delivered to the tower by the temple.
Ranks of the Howling Voice GuildEdit
All Howling Voice Guild members start out as part of the apprentice class. Here, they begin to learn the powerful espionage and killing techniques that will make them into effective agents of the guild. Apprentices are sent out on assignments; however, they are not allowed to handle the firearms more elite classes may. Stella, a young apprentice who ambushed Nash Latkje on his journey, was of the apprentice class.
Squire Class Gunner
Squire Class members are those who have proved themselves as apprentices. They are allowed to wield firearms, and are regularly sent out by the guild on missions. To be promoted to a Knight Class Gunner, they must take a test – a test so grueling it is rare that many students survive it! Zaj Quilous, an ambitious gunner who attempted to murder most of the Latkje family, was a member of this rank.
Knight Class Gunner
If they can pass the test, however, they will become Knight Class Gunners. It is very rare for there to be more than one Knight Class Gunner in a generation; they are usually chosen to become Guild Master by the Elders. Elza was of this rank; as was Clive, during the Toran Liberation War and Dunan Unification War.
The title of Guild Master is somewhat misleading; they are not the true masters of the guild, rather, they are a figurehead for the Elders, who often pull the strings of the Guild Master behind the scene. In order to become Guild Master, a Knight Class Gunner must be able to wield Sturm, one of the guns of the Howling Voice Guild – or defeat another gunner who can. Kelley was once a member of this rank; the current Guild Master is Clive.
A shadowy group who controls the guild behind the scenes, the Elders are retired Guild Masters or other members of the Guild who have proven themselves through merit to rise to this ultimate rank. Elders often form factions within both the guild itself and are able to exert their influence in Harmonian politics. A few even are friends of powerful Harmonian aristocrats. Master Sauro was a member of this rank.
Guns of the Howling Voice GuildEdit
Sturm (sometimes called Storm) is the most sacred gun within the Howling Voice Guild. Only the Guild Master is allowed to wield Sturm. In fact, a Knight Class Gunner must be able to wield Sturm in order to become Guild master. It is said that Sturm is sentient, and possessed by an elemental spirit. Not even the Elders, the rulers of the Guild, may oppose Sturm. This gun was used by Clive, during his hunt for Elza.
Stern and Mond
Stern and Mond (sometimes called Star and Moon) are two small, specialized guns that were made specifically for dueling. Stern symbolizes justice, and Mond, betrayal; these two symbols were chosen because they represent the two functions of the Howling Voice Guild. These guns were used in a duel between Elza and Kelley, as well as a duel between Clive and Elza.
An old and rather odd gun once owned by Zaj Quilous, the Talgrund is firmly attached to the hilt of a sword with a black blade, the barrel of the gun pointing towards the edge. The Talgrund’s wheel locked, muzzle loaded gun holds an extremely small capacity; only one bullet can be fired.
Rotkappchen is a large rifle carried by Cathari, the "Invisible Howl", during her excursion into Falena. Despite the size of the weapon, it makes very little noise, perhaps adding to Cathari's already mysterious reputation. It is a weapon that is likely used for long distance assassinations. By the time it would be discovered where Cathari was hiding, she would be long gone. It is important to note that Cathari is the only HVG member to never refer to her gun by name. Her listed weapon names could only be nicknames.