Interlude: Assassins Guilds
There are several assassins guilds in the Torin Islands. Three are based in Lomwar, two in the Free Islands, and only one in Destria.
Each of these guilds employs all types of assassins, yet each has its own specialty.
The six guilds are: The Blackened Dagger, Midnighters, and Tumblers from Lomwar, the Cold House and the Silent from the Free Islands, and the Sigil Bearers from Destria. The Beshadowed, elite soldiers and killers created by the royal house of Lomwar, are sometimes considered to be the seventh guild, yet since they do no contract work, scholars agree that they do not rightly count.
The Blackened Dagger are straightforward. There name says what they specialize in. While the members are not all poisoners, rumour has it that each of them carries at least four lethal poisons on them at all times.
However, the Blackened Dagger has earned its name for having some of the most deadly poisons known to humanity. Drivalen Lotus oil, Macabre Meeting, Death Dance, Scorpion’s Tongue…the list goes on. If one wants access to these deadliest of poisons they either need to be a member, pay exorbitant fees to get a dose on the black market, or kill a Blackened Dagger carrying these poisons.
The Midnighters specialize in blades in the night. They are sneakers, stealthy men and women who will hide in their targets homes unseen for days, weeks, until the target is alone, at night. The Midnighters claim to fame is that their best assassins can get to anyone, anywhere. They will kill that person in the dead of night, when they are alone. They will enter and exit without leaving a trace, and the only evidence of their presence will be a dead target.
The Tumblers are less subtle. More a mercenary guild than an assassins guild, each assassin is a superb fighter, one of the best in their field. A single Tumbler can turn the tide of a battle, or wipe out a small garrison by themself, if conditions are not set completely against them.
The Cold House is built in the center of a frost geyser field, thus earning its name. The monks who train there can do things that no mortal should be able to, achieve feats that would even stump most Sketchers. They do not come cheap, and they take only specific jobs, but when they take on a job it can almost be guaranteed to be completed.
The Silent are an order of priests. They worship their goddess of death, and pray for the deaths of their victims. Nobody knows how they do it; the common thought is that they use natural herbs to create poisons that kill, or set up circumstances such that the target dies, but no mortal hand is ever seen killing their targets. Yet, within a week, a month, never longer than a year, the target will die an unfortunate, and unavoidable, death, whether by disease, heart failure, sudden accident, or something less normal.
The Sigil Bearers are the most terrifying of the assassins. Rogue Sigiled Knights, they use their Sigils to destroy their targets in their own unique ways. While most assassins strive for anonymity, Sigil Bearers are known, at least because of their unique abilities and roots as Sigiled Knights.
The three most famous Sigil Bearers are Zexcen Stormbrow, a descendant of Alanna Stormbrow the great hero, Aramos Deephollow, bearer of the Sigil of Momentum, and Exas the Betrayer, fatally wounded eons ago, yet still “living”, and killing, courtesy of his Sigil of Bodily Desires.
There are three rules that all assassin guilds follow: Kill all assassins who are not members of one guild or another; kill anyone who fails to pay you, and aid your fellow guild members in doing so if necessary; never, ever, take out a contract on royalty.
The third rule dates back to the reign of Eo the Vengeant, a king of Lomwar. His father was killed by assassins in a failed bid at the throne by a noble.
Eo mustered his soldiers, his Sketchers and Beshadowed, and declared war on the guild that carried out the hit, the Accusers. The Accusers at first fought back, killing time and again, but Eo pursued them, destroying their safe houses, killing their members one by one, until they were forced to flee Lomwar.
In his rage, Eo appealed to the other monarchs of the Torin Islands. Appealed not only to their sense of justice and greed (for he offered a reward for each dead Accuser), but to their fear; what would happen if it was known that assassins could kill monarchs with no penalty?
The Torin Islands united under one cause for the second time in as many millenia. The Accusers were hunted to the last, the final member finally being caught thirty years after the death of Eo’s father.
Since then no assassin has attempted to murder a royal, and anyone who brings such a contract is delivered to the royal they wanted dead, to face justice.Only two men are exempt from the first rule of assassin guilds: the brothers who now serve Natasi.