Contrary to popular belief, the Ruby and Onyx factions have not always been at war. In fact, sometime in the distant past, the two factions were considered one, assassins and thieves working together for a common goal. However, as history has shown us time and time again, good things rarely last forever. This case was no different.
It was about five hundred and fifty years after the Guild had originally been founded when Zaren first rose to the rank of master assassin. Until this time, there had been little rivalry between the thieves and assassins. While occasionally there were arguments, members usually got along well and went their separate ways when they didn't. Zaren changed that irrevocably. He had always been a skilled assassin and remarkably popular with the other younger members however had one insufferable flaw; the man was arrogant beyond belief.
After being raised, he began to preach that he and the others of his profession were far superior to the 'artless thieves'. "We, my brothers and sisters, take the most precious thing of all," he would yell during his speeches, "people's lives! How can those who steal only possessions be considered our equals?" Perhaps unsurprisingly, this line of thought caught on rather quickly with the assassins and soon others joined him in celebrating their apparent superiority.
At first the thieves predominantly ignored Zaren and his followers. However, as their numbers began to swell, those with a shorter temper fought back, claiming - among other things - that many people protected their precious possessions far better than themselves. The weeks crawled by and tensions increased, both sides becoming more and more enraged. While the Council tried its best to ease the tension, it seemed almost inevitable that a blow would be struck. By three weeks after Zaren's promotion, there were two distinct groups within the Guild and no one dared mingle for fear of being targeted.
It was a young thief named Jenna who finally tipped balance, challenging the assassin's unofficial leader to one-on-one combat. A huge crowd hundreds strong gathered to watch, distinct groups watching from either side of the arena. The match had started out well for Zaren, but the girl's posture was deceiving. After three minutes, she'd had the assassin on the defensive; after five, he was fighting for his life. As Jenna caught an opening and kicked Zaren solidly in the groin, one of his most loyal admirers broke ranks and rushed forward to stab the young girl in the chest.
Chaos reigned as five thieves retaliated at once, soon joined by a hundred more. Screams and snarls of rage rent the air as the two factions - for they could be considered nothing else, now - fought for vengeance and then for their lives. In the end, thirty of those who participated in that original battle survived: eighteen assassins and twelve thieves. The Guild fell apart as word spread and the entire institute fell into turmoil, fights breaking out as old friends turned against one another.
During the following weeks the factions consolidated into those we know now and although that first battle is long concluded, the war continues to this day.