Here’s a first version of an organization which your characters might be members of.
The Bard’s College
The Bard’s College in Lund is the most prestigious institution of musical learning of the age. It’s also one of the oldest. However, the Bards don’t want people who know how to play an instrument, they want adventurers, sellswords and tale-tellers.
The Eastsea Skaldic tradition still lives on and there’s a certain streak of elitism to it. The Skalds don’t want people who can just tell stories, they want people who will be told of in stories. The leader of the Bard’s College is the perfection of this idea. Iain Cydelaministre hails from the Old Territories of the Danes, that are now known as Gruffydd. He’s in his sixties and brags of being able to beat anyone with either his fists or his shortsword. He dresses in leather and tough fabrics, eschewing the finery more appropriate to his station, drinks every day and plays louder than anyone else. A while back someone from Reval claimed to his face that the life of Bard doesn’t suit women and he settled that with his fists.
The Bards tend to keep students around for two to four years: anything beyond that and you’re considered a lost cause and no bard. The curriculum is quite diverse since the only hard requirement to graduate is the ability to read. Writing isn’t obligatory, mind you. Most students learn the traditional skaldic weapon, the shortsword, a whole bunch of lore and get better at playing. Magical lore and hedge magic is also taught. In general there are no classes, you turn up whenever someone promises to give a lecture and you can take a short exam to graduate whenever you feel up to it. The College itself is an Old Empire-era theater, featuring both indoors stages and a large outdoors amphitheater.
Beyond giving you a diverse education, the Bard’s College serves as a retreat for graduated Bards. If you’ve been crippled or otherwise made incapable to keep making your living as a Bard and you have a good reputation, you can get room and board at the College. Lecturing or working in various positions deemed necessary gets you some coin at the pleasure of the Leader. There’s a library any Bard is allowed to peruse. Visiting the College occasionally is deemed proper., so you can tell tales of your exploits to your colleagues and former teachers. Overstaying is frowned on.
The official symbol of the bards is a badge that has the image of a lute and a shortsword. Possession of this badge without being a Bard is reason enough to have your instrument and fingers smashed. Unlike many other organizations, the Bards don’t have official powers to police their members except inside Lund’s city walls but the Bards generally ignore that if someone messes with them. Bards out in the world don’t have an actual obligation to help one another but it’s generally seen as a good thing to do. Occasionally Cydelaministre hands out assignments to members who happen to be hanging about at the College, mostly to get them to leave the College. Some assignments are straightforward information-gathering because the College always has an interest in gathering old songs and tales but at times, Cydelaministre sends bards out to perform for patrons of the College. Pretty much every nation and noble donates some coin to the College from time to time because in return they get the best entertainment there is.