House of Knives
Worship: Followers of the Unseen One worship in underground temples. The House of Knives meets irregularly, although their meetings always take place during the dark of any moon. The “dark of the moon” is important symbolism among the faith, representing both the surreptitiousness of their activities and the public ignorance of an assassin’s presence. This simple dualism is a cornerstone of the faith.
According to local rumor, the House of Knives is making great strides in the nation of Zazahni, with its constantly shifting political scene and years of animosity among the Great Houses. The ever-widening circle of retribution makes the church rich in coin and influence. It is even possible the ranking Veiled Priest may attempt to seize control of this Kingless Land should the situation deteriorate much further.
Unholy Symbol: The unholy symbol of The Veiled Priesthood is a skull-headed scorpion with blood dripping from its stinger.
Unholy Days: The Veiled Priesthood’s unholy days occur when either or both moons (Veshemo and Diadolai) are in their new moon phase. Unholy nights include the Night of Discarded Sheaths, when blades are left in the victim’s body, and the Night of Deadly Milk, when only poisons are used in their murders. The dates are subject to the whim of the leading clerics, but the Unsheathing (as the Night of Discarded Sheaths is informally called) must take place in the early spring, and the Night of Deadly Milk always occurs in the month of Arid.
Unholy Colors: Red and black.
Unholy Animal: The Veiled Priesthood favor the dangerous scorpion as their unholy animal.
Raiment: Membership among the spiritual leadership of the House of Knives is generally very secretive. Therefore, they appear in priestly robes only in their secret, underground temples. The Veiled Priesthood dress in red robes (preferably velvet), often with decorative black breastplates. If additional secrecy is required, clerics, particularly high-ranking ones, sometimes wear black hoods with veils.
A Veiled Priest who takes one or more levels of assassin is informally called either a Veiled Blade or Veiled Venom, depending on the typical method of murder (blade or poison) the assassin uses.
Advancement: Advancement within the House of Knives is based on meritorious acts and is granted by superiors. Superiors measure merit, at least partially, by clandestine missions successfully completed in the name of the Vindicator.
Unlike most other faiths, the Veiled Priesthood has no title distinctions among priests. Instead, clerics wear knotted cords at their belt they increase in length with the number of assassinations they performed. The distinction is difficult to make at higher ranks because a recent trend among senior clerics has been to add a knot for each assassination ordered or commanded as well as those undertaken personally. Thus, a single murder might allow a dozen involved clerics to claim a knot.
Sacrifices: Members of The Veiled Priesthood commit acts of revenge (major or minor) once per month.
Temples of the House of Knives usually rest underneath a common artisan’s home, or in the back of a rough-and-tumble tavern. In any case, the location is a secret not shared outside of the faith. Worshippers brought here must pass through several rooms separated by black curtains—symbolic of the House’s layers of deceit and secrecy. The temples themselves are small, underground if within a city, and feature no identifying marks or designs. If the authorities or an enemy cleric were to find them, no permanent marks would identify the temple.
The House of Knives has no use for cathedrals. Meetings between clerics and their seniors take place in private elsewhere—a boat at sea, a clandestine meeting in the woods while serving a militia duty, or a few secret phrases passed along on the street. Local clerics have a great deal of authority, and assassinations that run contrary to each other do not pose a dogmatic problem for the faith, so The Veiled Priesthood feels no need to communicate its plans to other clerics in advance.
Similarly, the faith has no holy seat, although Anmish in Zazahni is known to host a cell of The Veiled Priesthood whose members might be considered the faith’s leaders. Their constant use during that country’s extended civil wars has given them ample practice and they have refined their techniques of murder and escape to a very high degree. These clerics are certainly among the most senior and most fearsome of the faith’s killers.
|Friends and Allies:|
|The Congregation of the Dead: “They supply our god with souls, hoping to keep their own. Fortunately, they never stop with their harvest.”|
|The Temple of Sleepless Nights: “They understand how frightening death can be, and how useful we can be in creating that fear…”|
|The Parish of the Prolific Coin: “They understand the worth of a man is measured in quantity, not quality.”|
|The Church of Endless Night: “Darkness and blindness only assist us in our task.”|
|Foes and Enemies:|
|The Halls of the Valiant: “They seek to prevent our collection of souls, mistakenly believing that the original owners have more need of them…”|
|The Church of Everlasting Hope: “Hope is wasted on a doomed one.”|
|The Founder’s Creation: “They build greater and greater walls, in a vain attempt to protect their souls for as long as possible."|
|The House of Solace: “They fight to keep their souls through any means necessary, believing that even a pain-filled life is better than death. How foolish…"|
|The Hall of Oaths: “They know nothing of falsehoods and vengeance – they waste their lives on pretenses of honesty and justice.|