Unlike most assassin creeds, the Order of the Red Knife is no major shadowy organization with tendrils of corruption snaking through it. As an extension and cell within the greater Freelancers Guild (more coming on that) it is composed of largely the same type of people who become mercenaries and adventurers-upon-return. Those who join the Red Knife are generally intelligent, well mannered, and good at gathering information and not being noticed.
A Typical Red Knife Assassin
Best known for their curved blades made of Dracorex Steel, most Red Knife assassins look very normal. They affect the same clothes as the general peerage of the lower to middle social class. Their training is considered decent by most standards, but on a skill versus skill level, a Red Knife is going to fall short of the typical cloak and dagger, clad in black assassin. Most of these assassins tend to be female, and are able to eaily find employ as scullery maids, serving wenches and the like.
A Brief History
The Red Knives began during the early years of the Freelancers Guild when it was discovered that sending mages to deal with mages was a very costly and ineffecient way to deal with enemy magic users. The arcane arts required large amounts of time for study, spellbooks were expensive, and many spell reagents were dangerous as well as costly. While defeating an enemy magus usually gained the guild possession of his tower and other magical goods, all too often this weregild was lost in the magical battle. Worse still was when the Freelancer Magi were defeated. The Freelancers not only lost out on the often badly needed loot, but also lost magic users of their own to boot.
An alternative was found, the use of the mage-hunting assassin. Armed with only a dracorex steel dagger, the assassin carried no detectable magic, and attempts to find the weapon with magic also invariably failed. After a certain amount of time, the assassin already unnoticed and likely in the Magic user's employ would strike. Many a wizardly foe of the Freelancer Guild perished in their beds when the serving girl planted a curved dagger between the ribs while their master drank his nightcap before bed.
Since the balancing of the equation, the Freelancers have moved away from employing dedicated Magi. This has lessened the competition between the magic users and their guilds and the Freelancer's Guild in general. The Red Knives remain, and while their numbers are few, rumor of a red knife is enough to have a mage turn over his entire tower, strip search all of his servants, and generally cause lots of paranoid behavior.
The Red Knife
A single handed knife, curved inward with a sharpened inner edge and sharp point, is designed to penetrate light armor or cloth and slip unimpeded between the ribs to penetrate a vital organ and cause a relatively quick death. Crafted of Dracorex Steel, a skilled assassin can use the knife to deflect magics hurled against them (though this is likely only the most elite of the Red Knives, who now train and no longer hunt magi) or to disrupt protective wards and magical barriers.
Sometimes, there is a need for an assassin who isnt a dyed in the wool cold-blooded killer who is also secretly in the employ of the diabolist necromancer and his demonic girlfriend. The Red Knives are a creed born from a grass-roots guild, the Freelancers, and are utilitarian and pragmatic more than being evil or tied to a specific dogma. The closest thing the Red Knives have to a motto would be: The Good of the People outweigh the Good of the Magi. While there is not a fued between the two sides, for a long time, the common people have born the brunt of sorcerous mistakes and experiments gone wrong. In areas where the Freelancers exist, mages sleep much more lightly, and think twice before working their experiments.
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? Responses (7)
This is the kind of assassin's "guild" that is far more likely. For that, kudos.
An assassin's guild with a good reason for existing for once.
Amen to that. I like it. This could be something to add into a character's background if they want an assassin type character, but the cloak-n-dagger just doesn't work (and it never does). I like it.
The Freelancers will be certainly interesting to see, meanwhile is this a good organization of assassins, supplying a needed down-to-earth quality. If you add that material to your world, you can add this effective means to take out wizards as well.
Still working on the mechanics of the Freelancer's Guild, but it is sort of a supra-guild, not quite mercenaries, not quite a workers or craft guild but something of a large odd-jobs guild that happens to have a good stockpile of basic equipment, a political face for interests with the crown and other guilds, etc.
I would expect that this organization would gain a very powerful enemy very quickly. Mages are not stupid, and they would seek to destroy this organization at every opportunity. Woe to any group that could be linked to it and providing a known target. Demons would be bound, souls sacrificed to root this group out.