The Kasumarii have several separate fighting styles, dependent on sect, weapon, and rank. Each of these is different, but they all revolve around the basic principle of maximum effect for minimum effort. We can differentiate between Korenjaan, Echilianii, Tscoiaran and Darkpriest Styles.

A Korenjaan Assassin

View picture in full size Picture description. A Korenjaan Assassin at work, favouring a throwing dagger over a moonblade. Image from the game Mystical Empire, used with friendly permission, drawn by Faugar.

Korenjaan. The True Kar-ii's battle methods are nearly legendary. Their weapons include the moonblade, nightclaw, and nightooth. Ranks include the recruit sunfodder, seasoned duskblades, elite nightdeaths, and the general moonslayers. As a whole, this sect's fighting style is embodied in a text written by Kasumar's son, Tularam: "Watch the owl. Glowing in the moonlight, it soars, beyond any of its prey's comprehension. And then, when it finally chooses its victim... it strikes with all the speed of a thunderbolt and all the sound of Korenjah watching. There is a lesson greater than any other." (Tularam Moonslayer, The Way of the Owl)

Korenjaans try to avoid open conflict, as they suffer from overfocusing; in combat, any given one might be working out the perfect way to defeat one foe and be completely oblivious to the arrow barrage that was suddenly heading towards them. As a result, they do their best work one-on-one. Or, if stealth is their ally, one-on-any-given-number. With their mastery of invisibility, all but the target become irrelevant.

Male Korenjaans generally choose between the moonblade and nightclaw as weapons, while slighter females typically opt for the nightooth over the bulky claw. The nightooth wielders are typically dependable for tossing off about ten of the poisoned blades with amazing accuracy per minute. In a battle situation, twenty in a minute isn't unheard of, though a bit of accuracy is sacrificed. Still, you don't care much if your accuracy is decreased to a radius of six nailsbreaths when you're throwing a knife the size of a dragon's tooth into the face of an orc who's charging you.
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Echilianii Styles. The Echillianii are a departure from the Kasumarii norm. Their choice in weapons leans towards the painful and terrifying, most of which have been made illegal outside Guldor. Their ranks are more fluid than others, but the basic levels among them consist of acolyte Bloodletters, average Painbearers, the veteran Justicebringers, and the elite Twinblades, so named by their badges of office. A Kasumarii twinblade is a weapon almost never seen outside Kasumarii hands for a very simple reason. Not many people enjoy having swords with bladed hilts,

Echilianii are well known for their vicious and terrible wrath on the battlefield. It is considered an honorable death among the members of this sect to charge into battle and die with your foes' corpses piled around you. As a matter of fact, that is viewed as the only honorable death before Echiilan. As a result, it is a common tactic among the Kasumarii to unleash a small knot of Echilianii into their foes in any major engagement. One of the first twinblades once summed up the reason for this quite simply: "There is nothing more terrifying to a foe than locking blades with a warrior who knows no fear..."

Echilianii own no standard weapons. All their weapons are ritualistically forged during their initiations in honor of the Dark Lady they serve, and so most are oddly balanced, covered in barbs, and incapable of drawing blood without tearing an organ or three out. While this does make these weapons more difficult to wield, they do inspire fear in all those who see them... in the half-second before their exquisitely painful deaths.
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Tscoiarans Styles. The naval Kasumarii, while slightly less adept at hand-to-hand combat than their landwalking brethren, are the unchallenged masters of small-scale naval combat. It is almost impossible to find a Tscoiaran without at least three seastars, and most carry nightclaws as well, with only the frailest among them carrying moonblades. Their sect's unique weapon is the deepgrasp, a palm-sized dagger sharpened to the point where if held sideways, it is difficult to see the blade at all. It is not used on enemies due to the flimsiness of the blade, which will not stand up under a stabbing motion. What it is used on are ships; the blade is drawn along any weak points in an enemy ship's hull to let water in, and occasionally to take entire boards out. Their ranks, from lowest to highest, are Ripplemakers, Waveriders, Deepmasters, and the four masters of the sect, the Seawielders.

Tscoiarans prefer keeping their battles at sea, but on land they are still very deadly. Their naval training helps them to defeat the weakness of their Korenjaan brothers, as a good sailor must be aware of everything around him to survive in the choppy waters of Cyhalloi. Their problem is their relative lack of stealth training on land, as their land combat training basically amounts to "get in, do your job, and get back to your boat".

At sea, however, the Tscoiarans are in their element. All of their ships are practically invisible until they are right under their foes' nose, but are rarely armed with anything more than a blanket of seacloth that the Tscoiarans can use to cover themselves and reduce their profiles. There is a famous instance in Sarvonian War III when a Tscoiaran Deepmaster and a small cadre of his fellows were hired by one of the human kings to assist his fleet. As the time of battle drew closer, the king's admiral was astonished to see that all the Black Wavers had brought with them were three of these ships with seachests aboard. When the admiral asked to see what was in the chests, and all he saw was food and Deepgrasps, he asked "And you expect to cripple the enemy with this?" The Deepmaster's response was legendary. "Cripple? You wanted us to leave some afloat?"

The Deepmaster, incidentally, was as good as his word, with his men sinking half of the enemy ships before an engagement was even made. Unfortunately, when it was discovered that the king did not have enough money to pay him in full for his services, the better part of the king's fleet met with a series of tragic accidents just offshore, in one of the most dramatic demonstrations of just why you should always pay the children of Guldor in full.
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Darkpriest Styles. The Kasumarii wizard-clerics fight differently than any of their brethren. Each member of the sect will always in a battle situation have their sorceries as their first weapon, and only resort to a mere physical weapon if no other option presents itself. Their physical weapons are a matter of individual choice, but nighteeth, seastars, and the style of unarmed fighting unique to the sect, shaitarai, named after the first master of Shadowmancy, Shaitar Onyxhand. Shaitarai is a discipline wherein the Darkpriest learns to use their enemy's natural places of motion and places of immobility against them: a master Shaitarist can take a charging foe, toss him against the two nearest trees, then have them on the ground with one or more limbs in terrible pain while already binding them in shadow for future questioning.

Darkpriests are ranked according to their skill in Shadowmancy and knowledge of Kasumarii lore. The initiates into the sect are known as the Blackfingers, the foot-soldier-equivalents as the Darkhands, the captainesque ones as the Shadowarms, the elite Nightwatchers, and the seven ruling Shadowmancers, the Onyxseers.

Darkpriests follow standard wizarding doctrine, mixed with a touch of stealth training. Few can properly understand the demonic sense of humor a Darkpriest must have to do his or her job, but Turya Firebane, the first Kasumarii Archmage of Ecu, described it as follows:

"Imagine that your most solemn duty is to make your enemies' worst nightmares come true. You all know them... the fear of the things that lurk in the darkness. The fear of the shapeless, nameless figures, prowling where you cannot see... Now imagine that suddenly, all those fears came true in one roaring, crushing, smothering tidal wave of solid darkness.

Now imagine being the grinning cause of every last shriek of mortal terror such a technique yields."

-- Sorceries of the Isles of Shadow and Flame, Regional Magic Library, Guarded Library of Ximax. Return to the top

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