“To protect the innocent, to kill the enemy, to fulfill the contract.”
RE: Contract 11-733-1
As you know, fellow guild members, we have recently stopped taking any contracts that require our killing or dismembering any person, man or woman, over the age of seventy. This was brought up at last years Synod of the Guild and followed the ill-fated ambush at Guagnay in which a group of ASG members, hired by the Frith Lord of Guagnay to eradicate a group of bandits who were raping and pillaging at will in the small villages surrounding the Guagnay Castle, was slaughtered to the man by a small group of heavily-armed octogenarians.
Needless to say, this was a bad day for the Guild. Not only did this aging group of ex-mercenary heroes defeat an overwhelming force of the ASG but in revenge sought and murdered the Frith Lord himself and almost all of his family. Reparations were made with the surviving family members, of course, and it helped that the Lord was never very well liked anyway, but the damage to the reputation of the Guild was immediate and lingers, somewhat, to this day. We can’t afford to have our established contractors killed at random now can we?
It was decided at the Synod that two steps should be taken to rectify this. One, the survivors of the defeated ASG force would be lowered one position in rank and receive no pay for the expedition and two that we would ensure that this type of embarrassment would never happen again. Hence the adoption of by-law 150G, hence ‘no contract will be accepted in which the targeted party is over an average age of seventy.’
Now, it has come to light that several bright and, shall we say, over-enthusiastic members, in an attempt to circumvent this rule and make some easy cash, have taken contracts in which attacks have been made against parties that contain a couple of particularly older targets as well as several targets of lesser age. For instance, last month when Convon Deathslayer and his group attacked and wiped out a small group of the Rill judiciary containing six members; three that were aged forty-five, one aged fifty and two aged ninety-four. This brought the average age in at sixty-two, well below the seventy threshold. Gentlemen, and ladies, may I point out that this is not in the spirit of the rule. When a party of six, including two who could barely stand up to defend themselves, is descended upon by fifteen young, fully-armed and highly-trained ASG assassins who only barely manage to escape with their lives, we can’t reasonably say that we have ‘won’ the day. Certainly, the contract was fulfilled, and all the targets were eliminated, but when news got out about the event, we were held up to great mockery by the locals. I, myself, had a halibut thrown at my head while dining at the Bush and Weevil Tavern. I had to chase the perpetrator for four blocks before I could cut his leg off. Then I beat him to death with it, as is our way.
But this ongoing, playing down to the lowest common denominator is only going to make matters worse than they already are. Now, I know that times have been very difficult in the last few years. Why, it is almost easier and cheaper to let an adversary die from some of the current bizarre diseases than it is to hire the Guild to kill them. We must, at all costs, maintain at least some small sense of decorum during these hard times and not fight against each other for whatever crumbs become available. Do we not still hold ourselves to the same high standards as those set down by our founder, Boolard Tongue-ripper? Can we not foresee a day when our Guild will once again be a necessary part of the fabric of the world? I can see this day and I say that we must remain strong for now and wait for our time.
Well, I have spoken enough on this. It brings me to the reason for this general Guild announcement, the recent acquisition of contract 11-733-1, the guarding and escort of the four delegations recently announced by the Grand Council of Rill that will be traveling to the Lake Belvue pavilion in the coming weeks. Our guild council has decided that this contract will be open to all members and that bidding will commence on Tuesday of next week. Bear in mind that the successful bid will not necessarily be the lowest bid as the Grand Council of Rill apparently has money to burn. Or melt, I suppose would be a better term.
No, the winning bids will be those that create a powerful, fast-moving party that can move quickly but without attracting much notice. For instance, yes you can bring a Delphin Bone-Crusher but that will only slow you down and they're terribly hard to feed on the move. On the other hand, we don’t really know what resistance will be faced on this contract so you will want to be prepared to fight. Against what, we're not quite sure at this point. As a preliminary guide we, the Council, have prepared a list for you to consider. You don’t have to stick to this list, of course, but you may want to use it as a template for your party. Thus…
- 3 men-at-arms of Mid-rank level with medium plate and short-swords.
- 2 archers High-rank with a mixture of piercing, shrieking and flaming arrows.
- 2 apprentices to carry extra equipment and food and liquor
- 1 light-armored fighter of any rank equipped with trap dismantling apparatus and sensing potions
- 1 medic or curate that can heal well in close-quarter fighting. (Healer Guild Master Heinrich has offered to suggest members of his guild for this job. He offers thirty percent off the going rate if you contact him by Friday.)
- 1 hero with a great sword or axe at least Mid-rank Four (note: please don't ask Brian, his arm is still healing from the attack on the Hugan Hoarde this past Saturday and he needs to rest.)
It is our feeling that a group of ten similar in scope to this will stand the best chance of success. Of utmost importance, of course, is that each of these delegations reach their destination. It might interest you to know that these delegations will be charged with the duty of bringing an end to the current blight that seems to infest any and all aspects of the world at large. If we are truly successful, not only will we be helping ourselves, but we can rest assured that any residual hesitation in the hiring of Guild members will be quickly forgotten.
Now to a few other house-cleaning details.
One. If I find out who has been bringing a horse into the dining hall, I will literally have their balls. It’s bad enough that we have to eat the swill that comes out of the Guild kitchens (Sorry Cookie, but lately things have been looking pretty dire on the plates) we shouldn’t also have to worry about stepping in huge piles of stinking dung. I mean, really, we have a stable you know. I realize that theft of horses has been rampant lately but that’s why we installed the new locks. And they weren’t cheap.
Two. Helen Trepaisy at Helen’s House of Delights has been complaining that there has been too much fighting between Guild members in the brothel and that it is scaring the regular clientele away. Surely we are going to these ladies of the night as a respite from the harrowing events of the day, not to bring further bloodshed and mayhem to the world. At any rate, I know you aren't all trying to upset anybody, but when you feel the need to stab each other in the face, how about doing it outside in the street, all right?
Three. There has been a general recall of Harmody’s Bloody Clubs. I don’t know how many times now that I, and others, have been in the middle of a skirmish and reach for a club to do some bashing only to have it snap off at the hilt when we smash somebody on the head with it. The maker, Harmody, has promised to repay anybody the full amount of the item, even if previously used in battle, if you return it to the smith at which it was purchased by next weekend. Or you can have another weapon of your choice and of a similar value. Harmody claims that the fault is in the poor quality of the wood he has been receiving lately from out of town. Remember, that’s next weekend or you may be stuck with it.
Four. The following members have hereby been promoted. Gildress Gut-Stomper moves from Mid-rank 9 to High-rank 1 based on her performance at last month’s giant-lizard kill. Gildress speared one hundred and seven lizards, a new record for a four-hour kill. Magdelana the Tooth-Remover moves from Mid-rank Four to Mid-rank Five for bringing seven new members into the Guild. Of the two that survived the initiation, it is felt that one of them might actually become a good recruit. And lastly, Jimmy One-Eye is promoted from Apprentice to Lower-rank One. Congratulations to you Jimmy for your swift promotion and of course, condolences about the eye thing but that’s why the entrance rituals are there right? To see what stuff you’re made out of. Inside and out, huh? Ha! Besides the patch shaped like a skull looks terrific. Real warrior stuff.
Finally, members, let us all try our best to bring in some new contracts, all right? You know you are obliged, by rule, to bring in at least ten contracts a year and most of you are far behind that. If things keep up the way they are going, we might have to actually strike up some kind of deal with the Thieves Guild and you all know what kind of creeps those guys are. But they make good coin. So get out there, bang on some doors and find out who needs a killing or some protection and let them know why they should be using the Armed Services Guild.
Good hunting, ladies and gentlemen.
Yours, for glory,