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In these civilized times, it is difficult for us to imagine the kind of society that had assassins as open, thriving members of the community. In our country's turbulent eight century, being an assassin, or Ba'al Verzi, was comparable with being a politician, or a popular artist. One could name one's price and did, often receiving huge sums of money from individuals for protection.

The Ba'al Verzi wore colorful, decorative clothing, with their symbol--the bleeding skull--prominently displayed. Their weapon was a blade of great beauty and frightening significance. The hilt was made of the skin from the Ba'al Verzi's first victim and was crafted by the assassin himself. The first kill had to be someone the Ba'al Verzi knew. This was demanded by tradition to discourage all but the most hardened to know the secrets and earn the protection of the Ba'al Verzi....