The Gathering Shadow
The Sasserian Crows
The Sasserian Crows is an underworld organization headquartered within the city of Sasserine. Although the guild primarily deals with assassination, its members also run a gamut of questionably legal activities from prostitution to the drug trade.
The Crows are ruled by a group called the Nine, who’s identities are carefully kept secrets. While a guild member might have an inkling, or know who runs their district, even if caught they could never compromise the whole guild. Although the Nine normally convene via magical means they occasionally meet in person, such as during the ritual to raise new assassin’s. When they do they wear large shrouding cloaks and masks to help conceal their identities.
Guild Master: The head of the Crows, referred to as Master, or Father.
The Seven: The leaders of criminal activities in each of Sasserine’s seven districts. Titled by their district they are Azure, Champion, Cudgel, Merchant, Noble, Shadow, and Sun.
The Blade: Master of assassin’s, responsible for organizing them and providing their services to those who need them. The current blade is Drasek Riven, a ruthless perfectionist who trains the assassin’s under him with military precision.
Although most of the guilds agents live on their own in assumed cover identities the guild does maintain a series of safe houses around the city in addition to a main guild house. At any time there the guild strives to have at least one safe house in each district.
The guild also maintains a secret facility, called the Rookery, in the underthrough. It is here the guild trains its assassin’s and the Nine convene in person if needed. The Rookery is only accessible via magic or diving a series of sumps (completely submerged passages or caverns).
The Crows make good use of those they train to be assassin’s but given the difficulty of the training, not all survive. Training generally begins when a child is between 8 and 12 years of age. These children are normally brought to the Rookery after being purchased on the slave market. Here they undergo years of ruthless training, honing what skills they have to razor sharpness. Though most students become assassin’s, the guild is always on the lookout for unusual talents which can lend themselves to providing breadth during missions.
When a recruit reaches the age of 17 they are forced from the rookery to begin honing a false identity and to learn about Sasserine. Leaving the Rookery requires the successful diving of the sumps out of the chamber, for which the student is only given a small air bladder and some rope. Not all who attempt the trip succeed, but those who do know the route well enough they can dive it in the future with almost no thought. After leaving the Rookery, students ascend to the status of Fringer’s, a derogatory term that stays with them until they succeed on their first missions.
At the age of 19-20 most Fringers are deemed worthy to attempt their first mission. Returning to the Rookery, the students submit themselves before the Blade, who assigns them a first kill, to be performed in three days. Once a Fringer completes his or her mission and returns successfully to the guild they are brought before the Nine who initiate them as assassin’s of the Crows. Those who survive their first mission, but fail to kill the target within the allotted three days are mercilessly hunted down and killed by the Blade or his assassin’s.