The Sundar family name was one spoken with honor and reverence. None were ever spoke ill of, and should a question arise of their honor and integrity it was quickly set right by those who knew them. Now they are a fallen noble family of disgraced knights who are fearless, emotionless, and uncaring for anything other than own survival and vengence.
Name of Guild: The Sundered
The Sundar family name was one spoken with honor and reverence. None were ever spoke ill of, and should a question arise of their honor and integrity it was quickly set right by those who knew them. The family never stepped in on incidents such as this, never fearing for their family name or honor as it was a pure as fresh snow. The family Sundar was well known throughout the kingdoms of old, having the finest Lord Knights who were respected by even their commoners as they took their account into their duties. When the call to arms was raised, the Knights of Sundar raised their banners and rode with all haste to the defense of their lands and king long before others. All in all, there were five hundred knights anointed by the Sundar family, and each one wore their family crest with honor. They were skilled in horsemanship and war craft, but only in the defense of their peoples. Lords from around the kingdoms sent their squires and young knights to attend them in their homes and in their lands for tutelage in the ways of lordship, knight ship, and etiquette. It was a great honor indeed when the king sent his own sons to the lands of Sundar to train with the best of his honor knights.
Many enemies were made by the knights of Sundar, which they apologized greatly for this. They knew that certain outlying countries did not like them or their family, both for their skill on the battlefield and for their name as it was thrust into their faces when possible about how the Sundar family were non-corruptible. This changed eventually, and it was not a subtle event but one that crashed down on the heads of those who held them in such high regard.
When the kings’ sons came to the lands of Sundar they were instructed to listen and obey the lords and masters there, regardless of the fact that they were princes to the kingdom, they must still show respect for their teachers. But they had other plans, as did the enemies of the Sundar family. It is not really clear as to the entire events of what transpired when the princes arrived as history has laid blame on the once honored family for responsibility of what transpired.
The clear thing known is that the princes were murdered while under the care of the Knights of Sundar. The little bit that has been uncovered is that the princes had an affair with Duke Sundar’s wife and that they were both summarily executed for their actions. Pleas from their father the king fell on deaf ears as his two sons were slaughtered in the way of adulterers in the land of the King. Slit from foot to face and hip to hip and forced to watch each other as their insides fell out from their own brother while theirs did the same. Because of their actions, all of the Sundar family was summarily hunted down for their rash acts against the flesh of the king. Murdering his sons and not consulting their king for options was beyond him. He sought retribution and demanded the price be the entire Sundar family line. They were hunted down by friends and foes alike; everyone took up the king’s call to arms against the fallen family.
No one was spared that was found. No age was safe and no lineage was protected. Babe or grandmother, squire or duke; all were hunted down to near extinction. According to the historical records they were hunted down till their name was just a whisper on the wind of time. The Sundar family lands were seized by the king and given to those who sought the vengeance of the king personally. Many new families were raised when the smoke cleared and the Sundar family was no more.
The truth is only known to those accused, and of course no one is listening to them. The boys were not murdered by the Sundar family; they were not murdered at all. The eldest, wishing to break free from his fathers’ heavy fisted rule over the family sought alternatives. He contacted outside help and had his brother taken, with the intent of holding them for a fortune in ransom and taking the money and having their own life. But when those they contacted knew who and what they had, plans changed. The youngest brother was killed and dropped off on the steps of the kings very own palace; while a note led him to believe that the Sundar had murdered both his sons and that his eldest was sent as a sign of respect.
The king did just what they expected him to do, he sought vengeance. He sent every knight he had under his command and called to all his vassals to hunt down the Sundar family. When no more profit was in for the other son, he was also murdered and dropped at the feet of the king by one of his closest vassals with tales of horror at what they had found at the hands of the Sundar family. What history failed to dictate is that the Sundar family was not destroyed to the last but survived by at least half. They fled to the outlying mountains and took stock of their new world.
The women and children were sent throughout the kingdoms to live new lives, and help their men in times of need. Their sons were sent to them at their training age so that they might join the ranks of their fathers. The women were later married to rich merchants and nobles alike to infiltrate the lost Sundar family into the bloodlines of those who brought about steel and ash into their lives. The sons of these marriages were sent to their mothers families for half the year to be close to their family, but they were sent to train with their fallen kin to wait in the shadows and rise up when the time deserved to unseat their unjust rulers. And indeed they did.
Multiple generations passed and the heads of the forgotten family of Sundar began working their trade. They began hiring out their skills in the dark of night to those who wished certain individuals were taken care of. When their skill and talents at removing nobles in line of succession to the crown was no longer a secret they began hunting in earnest, but for a cost. While they took the coin of those that hired them to kill the nobles and the rich, they did so out of pleasure than profit. The coins supplied their vast family with continued funds.
Over three kingdoms they waged this silent war against the rich and powerful, anyone who hired them to remove a successor was given the satisfaction that they would be one step closer with the death of a rival. But this came at a price as well. While these deaths were common place they were widespread and not isolated so a pattern was never found. But anyone who was responsible for the family of Sundar to come under the sword was a mark. One could hire their services today to kill a cousin, only to be killed themselves a month or two later by an uncle or brother. No one was safe from their wrath, and they were paid for doing it by the very people they killed and loathed.
They continue this practice to this day, nearly two centuries later. They have not made it into a mass spree of genocide and murder off entire families as theirs was done but they take each family apart a member at a time, for a hearty price. They will never take a job that will murder a member of their own blood; instead they will kidnap them and bring them into their service. If they will not join the darkened light as they call it, they are claimed to not be of enough of a bloodline of the Sundar and are put to death with no remorse. They will also never accept a mark that is too young; children are never taken as a mark regardless of cost. However, they will sometimes accept a charge only to wait three or four years to have them removed when they are of acceptable age.
The once honorable Sundar family has gone into hiding after their denouncement of title and honor. They have gone into the shadows and have infiltrated many noble families in the past two centuries of their supposed annihilation. They have put down the bright sword of honor and taken up the dark blade of revenge and vengeance. Their skill in warfare has led them to great success in murdering all the families involved in their downfall. While they were once paid homage for their honor, integrity, and skill; they are now paid coins and a feared respect for their brutal services.
They were founded by the surviving members of the Sundar family, sent into hiding or fall to the relentless blades of their enemies. Ever vassal of the king took up his call to lay waste to the family of Sundar and their once ethical and code of honor was shattered in this murderous venture of the same king they once protected with their lives without question. This is what turned them more so than their enemies attacking them, that they could respect on a military front, however, their beloved king raising his war banner and marching on their lands with the intent of murdering every last one. That was the eclipse that darkened their sky.
They had bid their time and had their men hide in the mountains and endless plains while their women set up shelter and homes for them with their funds that they could steal away. They had no friends they could trust so they totally stepped away from the world. They darkened and changed; murderous rage was born in them and grew until they could take it any longer. They began taking an interest in paying justice as it was due and sought ways to undermine those who murdered them. The Sundered was then born from the ashes of blade and fire.
They have changed their family name to that of a guild of silent slayers of the night, the Sundered, and they use their new found respect as a fear tactic to hold against their contacts and potential marks and enemies. A few have gone the wiser and tried to find their base of operations but were summarily killed and sent back home with silvered coins embedded in their eye sockets as well as the flesh of their hands, to pay the toll to the Sundered is all any notes ever say. Few try to find them after seeing such a message.
They have hidden well throughout the decades of their existence, and only have really begun as the Sundered in the last six to seven decades. Instead they have used the century before to infiltrate the bloodlines they needed to begin their twisting vengeance. They have vowed not to stop until their entire bloodline has filled the ranks of all the nobles of the kingdoms and the Sundar family can be reborn and their honor is restored. Until then, they must cleanse the dark stain on their honor with bloodletting and sorrow.
They are contacted in various ways; no two towns or cities are alike. They pay messengers to bring messages to other messengers, and so on to try and hide the path back to them. It could be a day to a month before a message actually gets to someone who can act on it and a reply can be sent. They take great pains to hide their actual existence and do not even tell their marks whom they really are in fear of someone getting to them before their last breath is taken.
While their physical numbers of their bloodline is now back in the thousands, they only count those who are actively involved in the bloodletting and murderous ways. Most who can handle the knowledge know of their true purpose and while they help in furthering this ultimate agenda, they only have a minor hand involved and most do not count to the total number of members of the Sundered.
They are fearless, emotionless, and uncaring anymore other than survival and revenge.
They see the end that justifies the means. They are the way they are until they can enact their revenge and then return their family name back to its original honor. Not allowing the truth to come out of who they were transformed into in the process. A skeleton in the closet for the future so to speak. Of course how do you define an honorable family who was tortured, murdered, hunted down for pleasure, and had the very man whom they protected with life and loyalty turn his back on them unconditionally?
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? Responses (5)
A bit like a cross between the Clan MacGregor and the Assassins.
Wow. Very nicely written and it shows how far the mighty can fall and the law of unintended circumstances. I like the way the family has degenerated into a elite cadre of assassins who have been able to blind themselves to their own actions and holding a grudge for more than two centuries. My hat's off to them, plus I'm glad to not be of noble blood.
They seem to be quite extreme, these guys - first the ultimate servants, then the ultimate subversives of their 'mother country'. The transition seems to be a bit rushed, but not impossible. I would like to think they have some dark sense of patriotism left, of being faithful to their country _without_ any of those that have betrayed them. They seem to have few principles otherwise.
Edited with a few missed thoughts brought up by manfred.
I did a preliminary read through once and wanted to get back to it. It has been edited in the interveneing time. That is good, as many of my comments wre similar to what Manfred mentioned.
I do wonder how they picked up the skills of espionage and infiltration, as their spycraft seemed to begin well developed.
My explanation: Perhaps some of the King's Intelligencers and Agents joined them or worked with the family or perhaps many of the King's Trusted Agents came from this honorable and trusted family.
There targetting should be a bit more broad. Perhaps they are only good for targetting key members of the betraying clans, undermining those clan's political and economic and military powers.
Other than that, a nice alternate assassin group.