Saboteur Lore

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Any good warrior knows there are two ways to win a fight: brute force or guile. What's true for two fighters is just as true for two armies. Brute force can batter down walls and raze entire cities, but sometimes a clever turn of strategy can end a war almost before it begins. If a Commander wants to use force, he's got his Brute Squads and his trebuchets, his battle Magi and his blade swarms. But if it's guile he wants, that's where I come in. I'm a Saboteur, and I can turn the tide of an entire war without ever drawing a blade.

"Things fall apart," the poet said, "the Center does not hold." Aye, that's the truth of it. The center, the spokes, and the rim all break. There's not a device that's ever been made, from a stone knife to a siege engine, that won't fall apart if it's treated just so. Things break all the time, but they're never missed quite so much as when they break on a battlefield. A simple twig can turn a trebuchet or mangonel into a useless heap of wood, if you know which cogs to foul it with. That's what we Saboteurs are for. Armed with an engineer's knowledge and an assassin's cunning, we break things. One well-placed Saboteur can throw a City's defenders into disarray or blunt the offensive might of an attacker's bulwarks.

Even the greatest artifacts of war are not immune: I know a trick that can silence a siege spire. The way it was told to me, the Elves who wrought them wove flaws into the magic, so that any Archmage could deactivate a siege spire at his will. Once every city worth its salt had a spire, the Elves could take them all through trickery! A fine plan ... if it had stayed a secret. The Archmagi in Diveryand never counted on spies. Once they realized their secret was out, the Elves undid their trickery, and fixed the problem. Well, mostly. A little quicksilver and a whispered chant can still dampen the power of a spire for an instant or two. Not a very long time, but it leaves an opening. An army that knows its arse from its elbows can use an opening like that to change the world. What? You want to learn the chant? Trade secret, friend. Pass your apprenticeship, and we'll talk more of it.

Of course, knowing how the guts of a ballista work and knowing that siege spires can be made to blink is of little use if you're a mile away with the reserves. We Saboteurs may have a sage's knowledge of devices, but we're rogues first and foremost. If you're going to get close enough to a bulwark or spire to work your craft upon it, you'll need the soft tread of a cat burglar and the quick wits of a spy. A good Saboteur can baffle even the canniest Scout, creeping through the enemy's lines like the wind. Give me the help of a decent Sapper, and I can get inside a city smooth as silk. Getting away once the dirty work's done, well, that's another matter. There's always the dark road back to the Tree. Dying can be worth it if the job is done well. The needs of the many, eh?

We live in wonderful times, my friend. For a hundred years now, the Gods themselves have been away, and all we puny mortals have been unable to even die. You'd think that would've robbed war of all its purpose ... Ha! There's more blood shed now than ever before. War is everywhere, and every army needs a Saboteur. These new Realms that are forming, they've brought us more work than we can handle! Sure, every would-be Baron and Warlord is quick to renounce sabotage, claiming that they're above such knavery and lashing their enemies for their deceitful tricks. But, sure as sunrise, these same monarchs pay a pretty penny to keep a Saboteur in their pocket. Clever, aren't they?

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