Doctrine of the Elven Assassin (essay)
Title: Doctrine of the Elven Assassin
Author: Lord Otath Tatheralin
First and foremost is it necessary to understand that Elven Assassins are not rogues, thieves, scoundrels and the like. They do not sit in dark alleys and wait for easy targets to pass by so that they may cut their purses and run away within the darkness. That is not to say that Elven Assassins are not extremely well trained in the art of subterfuge and secretly acquiring items and more importantly, information, that cannot be obtained through normal channels. It is to say that they do not use their highly honed skills for petty purposes. Elven Assassins have a higher a purpose, which we will delve into further later.
A true Elven Assassin is bonded to an Elven House, this House serving a purpose, this purpose serving the Elven people in one form or another. Those without a House are normally viewed upon as outcasts and wanderers. How can one have honor, without having a cause and a people in which to bring honor?
The following doctrine will discuss: The Bond of an Elven Assassin, which includes Individualism and Purpose, Magic and the Elven Assassin, the Art of Subterfuge and Gathering Information, Intelligence and Study, Proper Planning and Skills and Training.
The Bond of an Elven Assassin
Bond, as referred to by me, is a pledge, a commitment. It is something that cannot be broken either by the Elven Assassin that gives it, or the Patriarch/Matriarch of a House or the Military Commander that openly receives it. The Elven hierarchy understands this well. It is not to be given or received lightly, for it lasts as long as those bonded exist. On the very rare occasion, in our very long and glorious history, an Assassin has broken their bond, the punishment has been swift. Banishment is the least measure of punishment one could expect, with death being the most common. Once bonded, the Elven Assassin follows orders without hesitation. By freely giving their bond, they have already determined that those to whom they have given their bond, are worthy to command them. This is the discipline required of an Elven Assassin.
Whether born to a royal Elven line that serves in the capacity of Assassins or having shown in their dedication and discipline that they are worthy of the ranks of Elven Assassins, the choice with whom to give their bond has always been solely up to the individual Elf. No other being may force an Elven Assassin into their ranks. That is not to say that captured Assassins have not been placed amongst the ranks of their enemy and have not pursued such an endeavor after being captured. But only a fool would allow their enemy's Assassin within their ranks, for after proper planning and subterfuge, the Elven Assassin will strike out at that enemy in such a way that it will shake the very pillars of their entire organization. Such is the way of a bonded Elven Assassin.
An Elven Assassin serves a Patriarch/Matriarch, which leads a People, which serves the Land. Without the unification and leadership of the Elven people, the lesser races will fall to complete chaos. We see are witnessing this now. The Elven people are the land, they are the magic, they are one with the world and they are the balance. This is the overall understanding and purpose an Elven Assassin supports.
Magic and the Elven Assassin
Let me begin by once again stating that the Elven people are one with the world and they are the magic. Without the Elven people no magic would exist, no mana would flow. Why do you think members of the so called "Human Empire" have devised schemes to rid themselves of the Elves and ban magic within their borders? They have very little knowledge of the nature of the Elven people, but they "understand" nothing. They fear us and fear even more our unification, as well they should. While we have no quarrel with those that would live in peace in their understanding that the Elven people are rightfully superior and that we are the very reason they can even begin to touch and understand the flows of magic, those that would mean to destroy us will receive no mercy.
Elves do not ever truly "die" as understood by the lesser races. However, Elves can disappear when they have, as individuals, determined the time to be rightfully so. On such an occasion, the world is given over to a time of rebirth and nature flourishes in beauty and design. Elves especially, sense this time of rejuvenation in the land and within the flows of magic.
The life force of each Elf contributes to the well being of nature in which all lesser races exist. This understanding is inherent to Elves from the time of birth. It comes as easily to them as taking their first breath.
The Elven Assassin, on occasion, is required to take life. They do so with the knowledge that it is an ends to a means and supports the overall purpose (described earlier), which in turn supports all life. Elven Assassins do not take life needlessly, but they defend their people without question or hesitation.
The Art of Subterfuge and Gathering Information
One of the best ways an Elven Assassin can serve and protect their Patriarch/Matriarch, who in turn serves and protects their people, is by gathering information from both within and without. I will not delve into the specific strategies or tactics I consider most useful in subterfuge and gathering information, as I would be failing my Patriarch. I will however tell you some of the abilities necessary to hone in order to be adept in these areas: The ability to quickly adapt, to think on one's feet, to be ingeniously creative, to be a quick study of both spoken and unspoken language and gestures, the discipline and intelligence needed to study one's enemies up close and from afar. To not only be the eyes and ears of the walls and the shadows, but to be the wall and the shadow. These are just some of the ways of the Elven Assassin.
Intelligence and Study
Elven Assassins are known and respected for their intellect as well as their physical skill. The way of a bonded Assassin is not an easy road. Their renown skill in combat is only enhanced by their dedication and discipline in study. To be resistant to change and education is to be stagnant. Stagnation is prescience to death for an Elven Assassin.
Whether it is necessary to develop a plan of action immediately or for a long term campaign, an Elven Assassin must be adept in their ability to take as many factors into consideration as possible. Being Elven gives us the natural ability to see things from a broad perspective. Training as an Assassin develops our ability to see every movement, anticipate every action. It is our ability to integrate the broad perspective along with our attention to detail, that makes us respected advisors to military commanders.
There is a saying which I cannot take credit for, but I believe is fitting to pass on, in regard to proper planning:
For the want of a nail a shoe was lost
For the want of a shoe a horse was lostAll for the want of a nail!
For the want of a horse a battle was lost
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost
Skills and Training
There have always been different views on whether Elven Assassins should train solely in physical skills or mix their physical abilities with the ability to cast spells. There is no wrong way to train, if in the end, your abilities bring about the desired results. I will remind you however, that Elven Assassins are among the Guard, the core military group within the House in which they are bonded. The Guard traditionally supports the House, the Scholars and those adept in spell casting with their in depth and fierce ability in physical combat. A successful Assassin must possess the physical attributes that allow them to carry out their assignments. In turn, those proficient in magic support the Guard.
An Elven Assassin is committed to the support of the Elven people, always remember this first and foremost. Do not enter into this service lightly and without the proper commitment. It is an honor to be considered amongst the ranks of Elven Assassins. We help bring peace and continued advancement to our people and bring certain demise without mercy, to our enemies
Taken from the House Chesylcha library, c.1999.