The Jewel of the Desert is a place of sublime beauty, but beauty often conceals a heart of terrible violence. For over three centuries, the Children of the Mountain have served as a constant reminder of this truth. Few residents of Medinaat al-Salaam rivaled the Immortal Caliph in notoriety, but one man came close: Hassan al-Alamut, The Old Man of the Mountain, the Swift Dagger of Night, the Sinister Hand of Death Himself. He was a figure both feared and admired, a killer cursed with long life, and he waged a war of revenge for centuries. While the trademark daggers of his order are immediately recognizable, the primary tools of the Old Man were far more dangerous than steel: beauty and terror. Now, his children fight a silent war across the streets of the city, a feud that has been carried out since one of their own took the very position of power they once sought to overthrow.
When ordered to kill an important target, an Assassin is expected to do so in the most spectacular manner possible. They strike in the places where people feel the most comfortable: in their homes, in their beds, while they eat or smoke with their friends, in holy temples and in crowded bazaars. Often, the more audacious the kill, the more skillfully it is executed. Members of the sect favor daggers because they are easily concealed and because they are signs of skill and power. “Why use a long blade when a short blade is enough to pierce the heart?” is a maxim commonly passed on to new members, as is, “The knife is preferable because it allows you to closely see the fear in a fool’s eyes.”
This approach has proved extremely effective, as the stories of the murderous sect are often enough to slow a target with fear until the killing blow lands.
The Order of the Mountain is populated almost exclusively by the descendants of the pre-prophetic tribes that make up the majority of the population of the City of Peace. The Order was extremely centralized; members were all descended directly from the Old Man of the Mountain himself, married into the order, or were adopted into the sect at a young age. While his daughters would never say so out loud, the Old Man was an incorrigible meddler and perfectionist, and no new members were inducted or major business decisions were made without his say. Under the Old Man’s ever-seeing eye, the Assassins were structured with all the unpredictability and messiness of any great family.