Mepia Zanimel (MEH-pee-ah ZAH-ni-mel)
If you are going to remove the head of the snake, you'll need to get past his nest of vipers first
The Mepia Zanimel (Circle of Ghosts), consists of ten highly-skilled and vicious assassins who have pledged to protect the current head of the Calaun Crime Syndicate. The members of this close-knit team are careful who they pledge to. The only ways the head of the syncicate can be removed are by natural death, resignation, or murder. If they are murdered, you can be sure that the next leader will have the entire Circle of Ghosts removed. Permanently.
Each assassin carries his own selection of weaponry, with a focus on being agile, quick, and quiet. Thus, the weapons can range from a small, deadly daggers to quarterstaves and small crowwbows. In addition, they each carry a medallion on a leather thong, tied around their neck and worn under their clothes. This identifies them to other assassins or members of the syndicate. These medallions are only carried by the Mepia Zanimel. Losing one is unthinkable, and will result in execution.
As mentioned above, the weapons range from daggers to ranged weapons. The goal for weaponry is that it needs to be innocuous, raising no real suspicion, yet be deadly when in the right hands. Most weapons are designed to fit under a layer of clothing and special scabbards, sheaths, and slings are worn to keep them secure under the clothing. Many of the weapons are specifically designed for the wielder, crafted by weaponsmiths aligned to the syndicate. Everything from the weight of the weapon to the means of carrying it are designed to make them deadly, accurate, and perfectly suited to the assassin for which it was designed.
The members of the Mepia Zanimel all report to the syndicate leader - and no one else. Within the group, they have equal responsibilities and authority. They have just one mandate: Protect the syndicate leader at all costs.
The groups strongest asset is the skill of obscurity. They can deceive, hide, disappear into any situation, making them virtually "invisible" to others. They move stealthily, yet in plain sight. They truly earn their name, the "Circle of Ghosts". While they mainly work alone, they all have the same goal - protecting the leader. They communicate with a set of hand signals and gestures that allow them to silently coordinate actions without detection. A simple nod, or a lifter finger can indicate a course of action, or a halt to an attack. The signals periodically change, to maintain a level of secrecy. This has led to more than one individual misreading a signal and paying for it with their life.
Each individual trains as any other underworld assassin might. Some come from military training, others grew up on the streets. While there is no formal training, one thing can be certain - they did not get to become members of the Mepia Zanimel by accident, or by showing remorse. Most likely, they earned their position with the point of a knife, with many a body left behind as evidence of their skill.
The Mepia Zanimel, or Circle of Ghosts, were created after the fall of Bafon Jelric. While Jelric, also known as Bafon the Vile, had a close guard, they were more sycophants than assassins, and failed him when it came time to fight against the Royal Guard. The next leader decided that he needed protection from a group of more skilled - and less fallible. The recruits were required to pledge ultimate fealty to the leader; if he should die, so would they. They would be the last line of defense, and would give their lives in protection. In return, they were given carte blanche. While other members of the syndicate were required to give a portion of any spoils to the organization, the Mepia Zanimel members were not. They would become wealthy and had full access to any and all assets of the organization. they would want for nothing. Being the leader of a crime syndicate has its perils. Very few live to an old age, and many are attacked from within in ateempts to show dominance. On many occasions, the Mepia Zanimel has kept a leader alive through their actions, often in defense, but equally as often, by being proactive, and removing threats before plans can be brought to fruition. The promise of full access to everything the syndicate controls did have a negative consequence, however. Such power corrpted these individuals further, and they are known for abusing their power. As long as it does not betray or endanger the leader, it is alllowed, and in some cases, encouraged.
All Images created BY Kahuna the Elder, with source materials from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Artbreeder and public domain sources.