Shadows

Necromantic Assassins

Voxx surveyed her current surroundings before clumsily collapsing to a seat in the corner of her cell, maintaining her cover as a sickly beggar. The buffoon of a guard, the large man an epitome of wasted training resources, looked up briefly from his perch to verify her presence before quickly settling back into his nap.   So far, so good.   She carefully placed her hands against the rough stone walls of the corner, selecting a section scarred by scratches where someone had clearly attempted to dig through. She channeled her Necromancy, light, delicate, just enough to phase her fingertips into the wall. The skill of plane phasing remained key to the Shadows' particular brand of assassination, and Voxx was one of the best. She pushed harder, sinking up to her first finger joints before she felt any resistance. Sliding her hands slowly across the wall she tested the strength of the barrier, before calmly extracting herself from within the stone.   Tyrellium. By the feel of it, a pretty solid weave had been stretched through the walls, blocking any magic from penetrating through. Any efforts to travel through the walls this way would require too much energy, as the conductive properties of the Tyrellium would ensure her spellwork was spread evenly across each wall, if not the entire cell block.   If she still had her Phased Blade she could have carefully phased it to cut through a portion of the weave, but it had been confiscated upon her arrest. Its loss was but a minor inconvenience, of course. If the King had indeed sent his pet Necromancer, the Traitor, to see to the security preparations she would soon discover the blade, despite its unassuming appearance as a children's toy. She would also recognize the blade itself as the one she herself had wielded during her tenure with the Shadows, and recognize the implicit message.   It was bad form to assassinate a member of the family, even a traitorous former member, without any advanced notice.   Voxx adjusted her positioning, the sudden sound of movement drawing her attention, but it was merely the guard posted outside settling into a more comfortable position. Fool. But not for much longer. She carefully scraped her fingers along the crumbling portion of wall, selecting a few healthy sized pebbles, before rising and making her way to the barred front portion of the cell, protected only by the guard's fearsome snores.
  The Shadows are an elite guild of assassins, utilizing the full skills of Necromancy to stalk and kill their targets. In an effort to avoid the effects of Vitriol Magic they require a reason for the hit, in addition to the payment, so they can focus on the help they are providing to their clients rather than the personal benefits they will receive from the job.

Culture

A gardener prunes that which will choke the good from his garden. So must I. Some day you will understand.
— a Shadow
  Most Shadows are trained and indoctrinated into the organization from an early age, although some discovered the group due to a tragedy in their own lives and used the opportunity as a second beginning. They truly believe their efforts make the world a better place. They must believe, for if they focus instead on their personal benefits they risk the consequences of Vitriol Magic.   Each member has their own beliefs and opinions as to which assignments and assassinations are justified, typically colored by their own personal histories. Some believe the death itself is punisent enough and aim for a quick, clean kill. Others prefer to play with their quarry, devising methods of emotional, psychological, or physical torture prior to the end. Clients typically specify their reasonings and preferences and assassins are assigned to match.   Assassins may work separately or in teams, depending upon the scale of the job and the training of the individuals. Apprenticeships between the most experienced assassins and the newest Shadows are fairly common, as are fluid training partnerships based upon each assassin's proficiencies and desired skills. Necromancy is the only required expertise as the ability to alter the spiritual resonance of objects and creatures, and subsequently to phase through objects, has become an important skillset for their methods.   Once an individual has been accepted into the Shadows they are a member for life. The organization views their fellow members as family, and they do not take betrayal lightly.

Public Agenda

The Shadows come for naughty children who don't eat their vegetables.
— exasperated parent
  The Shadows reside in the fearful whispers of the populace of Fillimet, and the stories told by exhausted parents to naughty children. Said to embody the darkness of the Veil itself, they navigate the higher planes with ease, using their Necromancy to mete out their own version of justice.   That's what they say, anyway.   In truth the Shadows are their own brand of vigilante for hire. Due to their skills in Necromancy and in secrecy they are most often contacted by the recently deceased, seeking some form of revenge against those who troubled them in life or sped them to their death. If their client can provide a compelling reason for the hit, and a hidden treasure or friend willing to pay their fee, the Shadows may agree to accept the case.
"But I can't be dead!"   Voxx pinched the bridge of her nose before sliding her fingers outwards to rub her temples. Why were the recently deceased so exhausting with their incessant questions and demands? She briefly debated threatening to strangle him into an even higher spiritual resonance, but experience had taught her to never antagonize the newly dead. Not if she wanted to sleep sometime this month.   Instead she took a deep breath, donning her most soothing smile as she exhaled and turned to her former guard. "My condolences."   The guard gave a start, turning his attention away from his own corpse as if noticing her for the first time. "You can see me? Do you... Did you see what happened?"   "You had a stroke, died in your sleep." No need to mention she was the one who had phased the pebbles into his blood stream.   "Oh no... My family..." A tear meandered its way down the rough skin of his cheek. "My wife... The baby's been colicky, up all night... Who's going to help her now?" His brown eyes pleaded with Voxx for answers. "Who's going to make sure my little girl knows I love her?"   Voxx let out a sharp exhale. She hated when they told her their life's story. So much easier to avoid the guilt and the risk of sliding into Vitriol Magic when she could count each life as a sacrifice for the greater good. Now she'd have to do something nice for his family.   "I can help with that. I'll enchant this... " She tugged the identification badge off the guard's former uniform, running her hand across the name Hemingway before sliding it into her pocket. "...and then you can talk to each other whenever you want. But first, I'll need your help."   Hurried footsteps from down the hall.   "Quickly! Quietly!" She motioned for him to follow her, darting down the hall to the next row of cells. She slid into the one directly opposite her former cell, where the Tyrellium walls would block her from detection while still allowing her to hear the conversation.   Voxx smiled in satisfaction at the familiar voice. So you received my message, Traitor? You, too, will join your precious King in the spirit world.   Voxx listened as the Traitor detailed her plans to find her. "Find all the Grief Walkers you can. Have them scour the city. Assign them in pairs, threes if you can. They'll need guards, with an Antimagic mage on each team."   Voxx's grin grew wider. Oh my sweet Traitor. You really should know better. She waited until she heard all three pairs of boots rush off to their tasks before turning to the guard. "I need to change into something a little more presentable." She motioned to the beggar's garb. "Why don't you go home and I'll meet you there? I just need the address." She'd need an updated disguise, something to pass even the Traitor's notice.   "Now? Yes!" His face lit up. "I sure am lucky I ran into you! I heard Grief Walkers usually have a waiting list."   "I cleared my schedule for today. Just for you."
Type
Guild, Assassins
Training Level
Elite
Manufactured Items
Related Items


Cover image: Nature Forest Trees by jplenio

Comments

Author's Notes

Many thanks to Dani for her brilliant editorial help with the story snippet. The other perspective on this story can be found under Phased Blade.


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Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
2 Dec, 2020 07:53

I adore the mixture of story snippets and quotes in this! Especially the one about vegetables. This is an absolutely fascinating order and I've loved reading about them!

Cait x
2 Dec, 2020 08:37

I'm so glad you enjoyed them! I had a lot of fun writing about them.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
2 Dec, 2020 11:56

Oh I like! However, I've questions. This is quite the powerful order, has there been an order in the past or current that opposes their philosophy? What would happen if one didn't betray the order, but sought to use the order for their own goals... such as become the 'power behind the throne' of a region?

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
2 Dec, 2020 13:19

Hmm. Good question.   So, using magic solely for personal gain, such as to seek power like that, taps into Vitriol Magic which makes the spells more powerful. Most people try to avoid doing this, however, because magic always changes those exposed to it and repeat exposure to Vitriol Magic takes a deep price.  

Vitriol Magic
Technology / Science | Jul 14, 2020

Vitriol Magic includes any magical spell cast with the intention to harm another for self personal gain.

  So to use the group to gain power like that, they wouldn't be the one casting if they wished to retain that power for any length of time. Which means they'd be a client, not a member.   Members only accept contracts if they believe in the cause that client claims will be furthered if their targeted individual or individuals die, for the same reasons. They need to be able to focus on "the good they are doing" rather than anything personal to them like the money they are making from the job or the power they feel from doing it. But they also don't do things for free.   So in short, if you had enough money to hire them as often as you needed, and you could provide a compelling reason for why each person had to die and/or why you needed the power you are seeking, they'd let you hire them to enact your plan.   At least as long as your funds and your excuses held. They're only truly loyal to their own, so if either of those resources proved insufficient for them to take a job, you'd need to find an alternative solution.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
2 Dec, 2020 16:45

I love the way you wrote this article! It was really fun to read, I wish I could find out what happens next to Voxx and the whole assassination plot

sending good vibes <3 - Author of Interarcanum and Shakiraverse
2 Dec, 2020 17:26

I had a lot of fun writing that story snippet. The other half of the perspective is under the "Phased Blade" article if you want to meet the Traitor.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
2 Dec, 2020 17:35

Oh I've seen that one already! The dual perspectives make for really fun to read articles :)

sending good vibes <3 - Author of Interarcanum and Shakiraverse
2 Dec, 2020 18:03

I really enjoyed writing it, too! Definitely intend to keep my eye out for other opportunities.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
Grandmaster Soulwing
Paul Wiesenthal
2 Dec, 2020 22:58

The duality of the small story of Hokka and Voxx is superb. I really enjoyed the different Ring to the same situation when told out of the others perspective :D

2 Dec, 2020 23:47

Thank you! <3

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
3 Dec, 2020 00:25

Well done! "The Shadows come for naughty children who don't eat their vegetables. — exasperated parent" -Lol - TRUTH!

Author of the upcoming book Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
3 Dec, 2020 02:01

I may have channeled current events with that one haha.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
3 Dec, 2020 15:19

Ooo I love the story - it's like the one from the phased blade article but from the other point of view.   The Shadows sounds like a really interesting organisation.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
3 Dec, 2020 16:00

Thank you!   I am going to have some fun with them at some point in the future, I am sure. Too much story potential to ignore.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
5 Dec, 2020 17:58

I loved the way you mixed the story in with this article! It was a really great read :)

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
5 Dec, 2020 18:13

Thank you!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
22 Dec, 2020 13:37

I think the comparison in the quote with an assassin and a gardener is top-notch, it really gives the sense of the mindset of the Shadows. It was a good read! x3


Can I have a cookie? | Come and snoop around Melyria
22 Dec, 2020 17:17

Thank you! I am proud of that quote.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
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