Cults of the Past:
The Ring of Blood

Hargin of Selna

  The Ring of Blood was a band of chaotic assassins pledged to promote terror.  Each member assassin performed at least one assassination per week, with at least one each month being notorious (usually a well-known individual or an especially gory slaying).  Fortunately, the clan was limited

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to thirteen members; each member wore a ring with the image of Orcus' Wand carved in precious ruby.  Possession of such a ring entitled a chaotic assassin to take the oath, but it is not easy to get.  The ring itself contains a quick acting contact poison unknown outside the cult, which is released by pressure.  (This according to a monograph by Rikard Montee, who claimed to have studied a ring taken from a fallen assassin at the Battle of the Brim.  Fortunately, a copy of this monograph, "The Assassin's Ring", reached the library at the King's College only a few days before the good sage met with an untimely accident.  No such ring was found among his possessions.)

  Founded by the chaotic Grandfather of Assassins Mikther Don, the Ring was allegedly created to help keep evil chaotics in power among the assassins.  The success of this plan has been debated, for while indeed chaotic assassins strive to attain to the organization whose principle entrance requirement is the elimination of a current member.  So many who aspire to the group are very good at their trade, the best are short-lived, and fail to survive long enough to replace the ruling Grandfather of Assassins.  The theory has been proposed, originally by Sala Nath "Reason for the Ring" and most eloquently by Rodden and Hearth in "Mikther Don's Plan", that this was actually Mikther Don's intent:  to preserve his own position by creating extra tension between his most promising rivals.  In this connection it is worth noting that he himself was never a member even though he apparently developed and used the poison, and that he was ultimately replaced by a lawful assassin.  Still there is strong evidence that the accepted reason was the one he purported was true, and very little evidence to support this intriguing alternative.  Barring a discovery of some unknown personal documents of the old leader, the truth of the matter is probably undiscoverable.

  The continued existence of the Ring of Blood is difficult to document, because while there are always notorious murders, the Ring leaves no calling card.  It may be rumored that they are individually responsible for certain crimes, but not one has ever been proved to connect to any individual proven to be part of the organization.  Consequently, it could have died out unnoticed, or it could be continued in full force or with modification.  As a secret society, it is more secret than most--for obvious reasons.

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