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Fantasy Four Suits: Of Gods & Devils - Lore (Vol. 4)

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The Assassins Guild

Destructus Kloud

The Like King
The Assassins Guild

The Assassins Guild is a mysterious group of individuals that work in the shadows, subtly altering the course of history to suit their traditional and economical needs. Not many actually know about the guild itself, but if ever there are those that pay for assassination, their wealth goes through the Assassins Guild.

History
Established thousands of years ago, the early archaic Assassins Guild was an order of warriors that believed mortals had grown too arrogant. They believed too deeply in their own abilities and feared nothing, not even death. Confidence was empowering, but one should not deign to place oneself above the natural laws of Yune. And so their mantra instilled thus: Mors Vocet - “Death Beckons”. It was a warning and a sentence. The ideology claims that none can defy the inevitability of death. The practical use often resulted in a person’s death upon hearing it used.

Originally, the guild was simply a group of likeminded warriors. They would go out into Ornare and kill tribe leaders who were too successful or displayed too much hubris. As time went on, the guild refined both its ideals and its skills to give it a much sharper edge. They found that the most effective way to bring death to those much stronger was to attack while they were unaware and defenceless. Here, the early conception of Serpent Breath, the art of assassination, was birthed. Along with this, the Assassins Guild also began developing magicks that could shield them from detection. Not only did this make assassination much more effective against unaware targets, but it also protected the guild members from being targeted by vengeful warriors. A secret order only whispered about in shadows, the Assassins Guild continued to avoid detection and carried out its mandate with zeal for thousands of years to come.

Following the colonisation of James Stryker and the birth of his new Kingdom spanning all of Ornare, the Assassins Guild's ideals were forced to shift slightly. With civilisation advancing under the technologically more advanced colonisers, the guild needed to adapt not only its skills, but its criteria for assassination. Towns and cities grew large and were filled with many powerful individuals, so it was no longer possible to simply kill the strong anymore. But with this surge of progress came a new form of hubris for the guild to target: influence. After the death of James Stryker and the formation of the Four Suits Kingdoms with their feudal society, the conduct of nobles became an interesting focus for the guild. Lords, barons and ambassadors not only wielded powerful magicks, but believed themselves superior to all due to their ability to not only dominate, but also control those weaker than themselves. While the guild had little concern for concepts of justice, this gave them a clear goal for enforcing the natural laws of Yune in a new world where modernisation had made men arrogant anew.

However, simply attaining an ideology was not enough. Assassination was not an all-powerful art and guild members were not as effective as they once were. With failure threatening to expose the existence of the Assassins Guild, it was forced to once more adapt to compromise with this new era. The concept of trading skilled service for wealth became a common practice in the guild. With the introduction of contracts, guild members could receive payment from outside sources while still enforcing the will of the guild. This increase in wealth thus allowed the guild to begin manufacturing better equipment and magical items to further enhance the quality of assassination within the guild. The most prominent tradition born from this was the Guild Insignia. A ring with the assassin's unique title etched into it, possessing the covered ability to render the wearer invisible. This new equipment, followed by the new selection process, more effective magic and the continued practice of Serpent Breath culminated into the absolute expertise of modern-day guild assassins today. Untouchable by the average man, the guild is a highly functional society that still enforces the will of their ancestors with the humble mantra - Mors Vocet.

Guild Ranks
The guild has a set of ranks that determine an assassin’s skill and level of authority in the guild. One’s rank allows a member to take certain contracts with higher rank equalling higher pay. To ascend one's rank, traditionally known as "Rank Ascendancy", a guild member must successfully assassinate another guild member with the rank they desire. This tradition has been practiced for centuries and is sacred to the guild as a way of weeding out the weak and unworthy.

Forum Dominum / Guildmaster - The most prestigious rank in the guild, the Guildmaster is responsible for the direction and management of the guild as a whole. Their will is enforced through their Seconds and the Master Assassin. While a Guildmaster is likely the second-most effective assassin in the guild, they must also be very adept at guild administration to be allowed this rank.

Domini / Master Assassin - The most effective assassin in the guild. They act on behalf of the Guildmaster to uphold the beliefs and traditions of the guild. Generally heroes in their own rights, Dominis are given the highly revered responsibility of bearing the Wraps of the Reaper Artefact.

Secundus / Second - The right hands and lieutenants of the Guildmaster, Seconds directly enact the will of their master and possess a degree of authority in commanding the other guild members. Seconds spend more time managing areas of the guild or ensuring other guild members are correctly enforcing the will of the guild than actually taking contracts themselves.

Idolona / Wraith - The elite of the guild, Wraiths are highly skilled and powerful assassins often tasked with carrying out guild operations by Seconds or the Guildmaster. Some of the best in the guild, they often take very high-paying contracts for targets such as nobles or even royalty.

Laruam / Specter - Veterans of the guild, these assassins are extremely experienced and know all the tricks in the book when it comes to their art. Specters are not only highly skilled, but also notoriously hard to assassinate in of themselves. It is common for a Specter to be a mentor for an Initiate.

Umbra / Shadow - The mid-tier rank for assassins, these guild members rarely make mistakes and can carry out their contracts with a high percentage of success. While Shadows are not the most skilled, they are still capable of taking out low-rank nobles and soldiers.

Ferrum / Blade - Guild members that have graduated training from their mentors. Not particularly skilled, they usually take low-pay contracts and work the various guild facilities in hideouts. Blades are largely responsible for the production and enchantment of guild equipment such as the Guild Insignia that all assassins must wear.

Initium / Initiate - The first rank upon being initiated into the guild under a mentor. Initiates are usually poorly skilled and are thus not allowed to accept contracts until their training is complete. Initiates will usually undergo their mentor's gruelling training and observe other assassins on missions. Initiates may also aid Blades in the forging and repairing of guild equipment and facilities.

Guild Laws
There are several rules in place that ensure guild members abide by the ideals and goals of the guild. Failure to abide by these laws is punishable ultimately and absolutely by death.

  1. Always uphold the traditions of the guild.
  2. Do not reveal the existence of the guild to outsiders.
  3. Outsiders are not to be brought into guild territory.
  4. Do not allow guild equipment or knowledge to fall into the hands of outsiders.
  5. Do not accept contracts independent from the guild.
  6. Contract requests from outsiders are to be brought to the guild for evaluation.
  7. Rank Ascendancy cannot be conducted on missions or during a contract.
  8. Infighting on guild territory is otherwise forbidden.
  9. Guild members must always carry their Guild Insignia on their person.
  10. The Guildmaster holds the exclusive right to temporarily nullify any of these laws.
 

TPBx

You're Gonna Have A Bad Time
The Grand Blademaster
=====================


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Marillys stood idly as an old man walked out of a dilapidated shed out in the woods of the Western Mountains outside of the Argossian Capitol. The homunculus found it odd that the Empire's greatest soldier lived in isolation rather than revel in the glory in the city. A forest, cold and distant, but yet it seemed to fit the elderly man well given his demeanor as he approached Marillys. The man looked down upon the Homunculus and spat on him in disgust. "What do you want," he asked.

Marillys slightly annoyed, wiped the spit off his face and replied, "the Emperor sent me to learn the ways of the sword from you."

"Go away, I don't take on students anymore, especially not at the behest of that goddess damned Emperor."

"I won't leave until you do."

"Well then you're welcome to stay here a few more days until I die.

"What's your deal old man, scared of someone taking your title so you'd rather die in the woods without a successor."

"No, there's no one in this world worth a damn," the man sighed, "so yeah, I would rather this title die with me, than hand it off to some pawn of the Emperor."

Marillys drew his sword in response, and replied, "I'll show you, and I fight for myself. " He stood at the ready, waiting to display his current skill to the Grand Blademaster.

"So you are not that fools toy. Then, do you want to die boy?"

"I do not fear death for I cannot die."

"What is your name, boy?"

"Marillys of Argossia."

"Well, Marillys, I, Khyros son of Shayron, shall put the fear of death in you. That will be your first lesson." The old man pulled himself up from his slouched stance, showing that he was a mountain of a man. He was easily the size of two men and emanated an aura that showed the strength of an entire army. Even in age, the Grand Blademaster was someone to be feared, but Marillys was competent in his enhanced abilities as a Homunculus. The man however tossed aside his blade and pulled out a pocket knife from his belt. Marillys was puzzled, but soon realized that this man was going to challenge him with the knife as he raised it above his head as if he was going to strike with it like a normal sword.

"You're delusional, old man, pick up your blade and fight me seriously."

"I am fighting you seriously, now come, boy. Show me that you're worth teaching."

Marillys repositioned himself holding his blade out in front of him at a ready position. He gripped the sword tightly as he tried to gauge the Grand Blademaster. However, this proved to be a fatal mistake. Marillys could not see any weaknesses. Instead all he visualized was a wall of certain death awaiting his first move. The man radiated killing intent, and his presence was so great that it shook the Homunculus down to his very soul. Marillys could not move a muscle as much as he wanted. Fear began to seize his mind. Somehow there was no winning this battle, even if Marillys had the upper hand in every conceivable way. "Come on, move." Marillys kept telling himself.

Marillys gripped his sword even tighter, the handle now crumpling beneath the pressure. His hands trembled as he tried to gather the resolve to strike the Grand Blademaster, but with every step he took. The mountain he needed to climb seemed to grow exponentially taller. Marillys then felt something snap within him and he launched his attack, a wild swing aimed towards the old man's neck. But the Grand Blademaster simply swung the blade of his knife down to meet and parry the attack, deflecting it in an awkward way which caused Marillys to fall backwards and land with a hard thump onto the hard ground of the mountainside. Marillys then saw the Blademaster hovering above him, sword in hand. Marillys for the first time in his life cowered in fear, but he pushed aside those fears and as the man sunk his blade onto him, the Homunculus grabbed it. "I won't lose," he told himself, gritting his teeth and desperately worked to stop the blade from piercing his throat, barely able to shove the blade off into the ground a hair's width away from his neck.

"Boy, maybe you will be worth my remaining years on Terra," Khyros smiled. He held out his hand to help the Homunculus onto his feet.

==============================================================================================================

Marillys now in Khyros's place, dragged Twig off the ground, and shoved him back onto his feet. "Again," Marillys stated right as Twig stood right back on his feet and launched another flurry of attacks. The young mage flew around the battlefield, his movement speed boosted by the use of wind magic as he practiced the Kite Form of YL Fenca Di Argossia. He used a rehearsed sequence of strikes at different areas of the body that Marillys blocked in quick succession forcing his apprentice to fight faster and more precisely in order to break the Homunculus's unwavering defense. Marillys carried a smug face, knowing that he was now carrying on the old man's legacy.
 
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Timeline of Yune New

Destructus Kloud

The Like King
Timeline of Yune

The following is a complete timeline of all major events that have occurred up to the present. This solely includes events to the knowledge of the Four Suits Kingdoms. Further historical research and present day events will appear on the timeline as they occur.​

BSF refers to Before-Suits-Founding.
ASF refers to After-Suits-Founding.


Events By Date

10000 BSF - Tribal Era begins. Not much is known about civilisation then aside from various legends recovered from ancient scriptures.

9000 BSF - The Legend of Jerin the Lifemaker is said to have occurred around this time.

3300 BSF - The Legend of Denri the Rangeless is said to have occurred around this time.

2500 BSF - The Legend of Kinshar the Sandstriker is said to have occurred around this time.

0 ASF - The Colonisation of Ornare by James Stryker and his followers. Consequently known as the Founding of the Four Suits Kingdom and the start of the Mago Era in Ornare.

2 ASF - The existence of magical creatures and races is officially recognised. Establishing peaceful relations with them, Stryker works to integrate the native races into the Suits Kingdom.

10 ASF - The Suits Kingdom finishes the spread of its colonisation and makes significant progress into establishing villages and towns with thriving populations. With the help of the native-race locals, acclimating to the new lands progresses smoothly.

13 ASF - The discovery of Darigaas the Destroyer. Many locations in Ornare are destroyed by the Dragon God, as well as much of the Argossian Empire’s countryside. James Stryker attempts to defeat Darigaas and is forced to retreat.

15 ASF - The Dragon Pantheon awakens and begins wreaking havoc across Ornare.

44 ASF - The death of James Stryker. Many Suits citizens mourn the loss of their great, inspirational leader. Stryker’s Four Aces assume rulership and a Ranking System is put into effect.

50 ASF - The foundation of the Four Suits Kingdoms. After 6 years of joint-leadership, the collaboration between Stryker's Aces breaks down and each establishes their own Kingdom by dividing up the Kingdom of Four Suits’ territories.

65 ASF - Hostilities between the Four Suits Kingdoms flare into conflict and the first inter-kingdom war of Ornare is seen. This marks the start of the Supremacy Ethos and further cements the aggressive traditions of Suits culture for years to come.

81 ASF - The Rise of Khaoul incident. The Hellmaw Realmgate is constructed by Bekarr the Blazesmith of the Dragon Pantheon. It is activated and connects the Demon Realm to the Mortal Realm. Demon armies led by Devil-God Khaoul, Of Scourge invade Ornare from the Spades/Hearts border and an apocalypse ensues. Villages, towns, castles and cities across the continent are destroyed.

127 ASF - The Demon Armies are betrayed by Devil-Goddess Hespar, turning demon against demon and causing mass casualties for Khaoul, Of Scourge's forces.

133 ASF - The Rise of Khaoul apocalypse ends as the Demon Armies are beaten back by the Four Suits Kingdoms. The Hellmaw is deactivated and documentation of its location is erased from all records.

142 ASF - Following The Rise of Khaoul, reports of minor demon outbreaks spring up all over the continent. The existence of demon-worshipping cults are revealed and Four Suits Kingdoms' Royalty order their Lords to destroy them.

197 ASF - Djer the Artificer constructs the first ever Suits Artefact: The Sword of Eternal Fire.

200 ASF - The Great Magic War begins. Following decades of smaller skirmishes, all four kingdoms go to war simultaneously and many lives are lost.

232 ASF - The Hero Delegarre is given The Deep Piercer by Djer the Artificer.

234 ASF - The Great Magic War ends. No clear victor is declared as each Kingdom is too devastated by attrition and magical destruction. Skirmishes continue for many years to come and no official ceasefire is agreed.

238 ASF - Djer the Artificer constructs The Soulstealer. It is stolen soon after completion and goes missing.

241 ASF - The Common Revolt. Citizens of the Four Suits Kingdoms revolt against their leaders across the continent. The Aces are deposed from power and a new Royalty System is put into effect.

253 ASF - Darigaas the Destroyer kidnaps Djer the Artificer and constructs the Helm of the Dragon God artefact. Djer goes missing.

259 ASF - God-Giant Ghorn, The Devourer is loosed upon the Clubs/Spade Kingdoms. Many villages, towns and even cities are destroyed.

262 ASF - The Hero Delegarre defeats the God-Giant Ghorn, The Devourer. The artefact The Devourer's Buckle goes missing.

290 ASF - Darigaas the Destroyer is defeated by the Four Suits Kingdoms with the help of the Argossian Empire. Both nations sustain heavy losses. The Dragon-Sealing Ceremony tradition is created to seal the Dragon God in a newborn every generation to ensure his continued capture.

304 ASF - The Argossian Crusades begin. Following the weakened state of the Four Suits Kingdoms, The Argossian Empire declares a war of reclamation on Ornare to fulfil the Emperor’s mandate of Imperial Unity. A large-scale naval invasion occurs in East Ornare.

322 ASF - The Diamond Kingdom capitulates. All of their territories fall under imperial control as the Empire claims a quarter of the continent.

349 ASF - The Argossian Empire claims control of half the continent. The Hearts and Clubs Kingdoms begin working together by sharing supplies in the Treaty of Ishveil, mediated by the Spades Kingdom.

367 ASF - The First Coalition of Ornare is founded in Ishveil by the remaining three Suits Kingdoms. Their terms agree to liberate the Diamond Kingdom and drive off the Argossian invasion together.

412 ASF - The Diamond Kingdom’s capital and surrounding territories are finally liberated from imperial control. Counterattacks are executed to continue driving back the Argossian forces.

444 ASF - The last remnants of Argossian military encampments are removed from Hearts and Clubs territories. The fight is taken to the isolated imperial bases in the North and South of the Diamond Kingdom.

454 ASF - The Argossian Empire calls for a ceasefire and agrees to withdraw their forces from and around Ornare. The ceasefire is to be honoured for 537 years.

460 ASF - A national emergency is declared in each Kingdom over the following 9 years, starting with the Diamond Kingdom. With attrition proving debilitating on the Kingdoms' economy and manpower, rebellions and raider attacks become increasingly difficult to crush by local or even government forces. Without the money, equipment or soldiers to adequately fend off the enemy, nobles begin acting independently so as to ensure their own survival before their Kingdom's.

469 ASF - The Burnt Flame depression occurs. The Four Suits Kingdoms, all bordering on national bankruptcy, turn over complete financial autonomy to the Nobles. They are ordered to improve industry infrastructure and income independently. With many Nobles impoverished following the war with the Empire, severe rebellions and insurgencies occur. Entire villages starve, soldiers are refused pay and many Lords are thrown out of their castles or killed by their peasantry.

475 ASF - The introduction of counterfeit coins through illegal minters. Nobles and Barons looking to boost their wealth begin pressing metal coins to kickstart infrastructure and taxation improvement. The governments of Ornare fail to intervene. Minor wars between Nobles are fought for control over mines rich in precious metals.

498 ASF - A coup is staged in the Hearts Kingdom and an entirely new set of Royalty is crowned. Counterfeit coins are banned and illegal mints are seized by the Royal Hearts Military. With these mints and mines under government control, new coins are pressed with magical authenticity in each. The Royalty in other Kingdoms catch on to this and quickly act in a similar manner.

500 ASF - The Feral Purge begins. Due to financial and political instability, the Four Suits Kingdoms agree to support each other in the eradication of all non-humanoid magical creatures. Mercenaries and Nobles are tasked with this duty, to be paid for their service by the Royal Treasury.

502 ASF - Hostilities and prejudice towards the native-races, now known as Subhumans, rise due to the national agenda against non-human races. The governments of Ornare fail to address this situation.

506 ASF - The Mercenary Guild is established, first originating in the Diamond Kingdom. Independent from any one Kingdom, mercenary groups band together to begin registering an official organisation to better administrate contracts and generate income. Despite claiming autonomy from government management, the Four Suits Kingdoms allow its business to bolster their economy.

513 ASF - The Feral Purge ends. The economy in Ornare stabilises and the reward for hunting beasts is officially withdrawn by the Royal Treasury in each Kingdom. The Mercenary Guild continues to accept Beast Hunter contracts.

541 ASF - The Merchants Guild is established. First originating in the Spades Kingdom, various merchants and Barons organise a series of import agreements, trade routes and guildhouses in wealthy cities.

554 ASF - The Merchants Guild begin working with The Mercenary Guild for protection from raiders. The overall economy in Ornare improves and the Clubs Kingdom sees a golden age of entertainment industry and tourism.

836 ASF - The Hellmaw is activated by means unknown and several demon armies are loosed into the Hearts/Spades countryside. The Realmgate is quickly closed by a Hero before another apocalypse can occur. The Hearts and Spades Royal Military are dispatched to destroy the escaped demon armies over the next five years. Demon cults rise in strength and numbers during this time.

991 ASF - News of the potential return of the Argossian Crusades spurs the meeting of the Royalty from the Four Suits Kingdoms. In Ishveil, they agree to reform the Coalition of Ornare to fight off the impending invasion. Atria is attacked by The Royal Flushe and the Soul of Darigaas is stolen.

992 ASF - The Argossian Empire launches a surprise naval invasion on the Diamond Kingdom starting on the island of Jann. Ace of Spades Quillon Downs wipes out the city of Parma in an attempt to defeat the Argossian forces.

993 ASF - Ace of Spades Quillon Downs is charged for war crimes against the people of the Diamond Kingdom. He is stripped of his rank as Ace and is forced into exile, to be carried out by Ace of Diamonds William Rundell Haus Code.

995 ASF - The Diamond Kingdom loses all of its territories to imperial control. The final battle of the war occurs in the Hearts city of Valencia to determine the fate of Ornare, to which the Coalition proves victorious. The Hofund’s Blade Artefact is discovered.

1000 ASF - Since the defeat of the Argossian Empire five years ago, the Four Suits Kingdoms have spent time rebuilding and recuperating after agreeing to temporary non-aggression. They receive a warning from a mysterious person.
 

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