The Assassin’s Guild and their Dragon-Marked Master

The Assassin’s Guild and their Dragon-Marked Master

I realize, despite previous promises, I haven’t introduced many of my worlds yet. Let’s fix that, shall we? I’ve written excerpts from several worlds drifting around in my head in the writing prompts section, and it might be nice to have a little context for them. I have rather generic names that I use to refer to all my projects (sorry ^^;; ) and one that has cropped up a lot has been designated only “Assassins.” (How original of me.)

The Assassins setting largely focuses around another incarnation of Domerin (there are a lot of them, I know, but he assures me there’s a reason for that). The world was born when I started to ponder how I could create a colder, more calculating version of Domerin. One stripped of his warmer aspects, but not entirely devoid of sympathy. I tried to imagine the environment and circumstances that would have encased one of my warmest and most caring characters (even if he doesn’t always show it) in stone and ice. Thus the Assassin’s Guild was born.

This setting sits somewhere between our world and my modern high fantasy world; the primary guild location is in a city much like New York but featuring fantasy races and many other holdovers from fantasy settings that have managed to survive into the modern age. Unlike my modern fantasy setting, however, magic has largely disappeared from this world. Most of the old magics, the flashy magic with immediate effects, and the small easy magic like charms and hexes, have stopped working. There are no longer sorcerers and many of the old ways have faded into superstition. But there are remnants of old magic; shapeshifters still inhabit the world, for example. Oracles and psychics can still glimpse hints of the future. And every now and then, someone is born with the ability to manipulate the world’s energy fields – much like the old mages did – though they can only do so at great cost.

In this strange world of fading fantasy elements, the assassin’s guild have survived into modern times by becoming a legitimate business. Assassination has an officially distinct definition from murder. The former is legal while the other is very much not. The assassin’s guild keeps meticulous records of their official business so that authorities can always confirm when a victim has been assassinated and close the investigation.

The guild gained its current distinction in the distant past when a group of assassins came together to overthrow a series of tyrant kings and queens who held the world in thrall. Shortly thereafter, they established themselves as watchdogs of the new leadership, ready to end the reign of any who would terrorize the peasant population. Their high regard from the common folk has survived into modern times, allowing them to establish themselves as an imposing corporate power. They balance a strange knife edge as the world continues to advance. Should they ever lose the esteem of the common people who support them, or the rich classes who fund them, the government would easily be able to declare them outlaws. However, as the guild has grown larger and spread its shadowed hands throughout every city in the world, most political powers have come to fear the assassin’s guild could easily withstand any force of authority and overturn whatever government they might wish. And so the two co-exist with an uneasy alliance. This also makes the Guild Master one of the most powerful people in the modern world; since all of the various nation’s guilds are united under a single banner.

Domerin was not born into this life, as many assassins are, but he was sold into it as a child by parents who didn’t wish to keep him. It isn’t uncommon for orphans to end up in the assassin’s guild (they pay good money for them), but it is unusual for elves to part with their children, which likely means that Domerin fetched a high price. The guild masters of the time instantly recognized his magical affinity and kept a close watch on him during his years in training, hoping to groom him for a high position within the guild. Unlike most, who can only perform a single small feat (such as healing, or glimpsing the future), Domerin is able to tap into the deeper layers of energy and perform acts closer to the old magics, such as healing those close to death. Because of this, they say he is marked by the dragon, one of the assassin’s guild’s totem creatures (and they subsequently marked him with a giant dragon tattoo on his back so that everyone would know it). Wielding that power is dangerous, as it has a heap of negative effects on his body (the most notable that he burns with dangerously high fever after making use of his abilities), but it’s still considered a highly valuable commodity among the guild. Paired with his obvious skill as an assassin, Domerin’s magical affinity caught the attention of the current Guild Master who began grooming him as his eventual replacement.

Given the nature of their work, the assassin’s guild are not known for their kindness nor compassion. Their children are raised to a steady diet of discipline and philosophy to prepare them for a life of cold-hearted killing. But even this might not have ultimately been enough to strip Domerin of his warmth and caring, had he not been forced by the guild to slay the man with whom he had fallen in love. To deny the order would have meant his own death – as the guild is not forgiving of disobedience – but survival meant burying what remained of his humanity so deep inside himself it may never again see the light of day. And so Domerin ascended to the highest position within the Assassin’s guild, leading with cool, calm logic, forever hiding the storm that boils just beneath his composed exterior.

He is accompanied in this setting by Crescent, who was not born to the life of an assassin but joined willingly as an adult – a difficult and dangerous position to occupy within the gild. He was drawn to Domerin when his former master, the owner of a rich brothel in the capital city, wished to draw the favor of the guild’s new leader. He stayed because he hopes to heal the tear in Domerin’s soul, though Domerin consistently keeps him at arm’s length.

They are joined also by Elian, former leader of a rogue group of assassins (the Eagle Clan), who cultivated an illicit relationship with Domerin prior to his rise to power. It is almost certain that he was aware that Domerin was his enemy when he initiated the relationship, but he does not seem to have been daunted by the fact that they are on opposite sides of a century’s old war. He, too, is determined to heal Domerin’s deepest wounds, and he would prefer to do so before Crescent so that he, alone, wins the Guild Master’s favor.

Here’s a timeline of all the stories from this universe so far. I’ll try to keep it up to date:

Not Everything Has to Mean Something
Shallow Breath
Midnight Air
This is What I Dreaded
A Sharp Cut
The Seeds of Chaos; A Tale of Envy

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