Assassin Custod is a class within the Custod family order. It is the most elite and exclusive of the Custod classes and has caught the imagination of many Custods as well as those outside the family.
Becoming an Assassin Custod
It starts young for most Custods who become assassins. If a Custod has close family members who are assassins, they are more likely to become assassins because their training starts when they are quite young. The games and training used on younger Custods are more intense and stealth driven. Though this pre-training is not a requirement to become an assassin, without it many will not be able to qualify over other applicants that have more training.
The journey to becoming an assassin Custod officially begins with the Custod test. All Custods take this test between the ages of fourteen to sixteen years old. The test is not set by the Head Custod but by the compass they use to follow the path set. The Head Custod decides when a Custod is ready for the test and gives them the compass to begin. It is said the Creator is the one who guides the compass to lead any Custod on their test journey. If a Custod is to become an assassin Custod, it is common for their first kill to be on their test. Some assassins didn’t ever intend on becoming an assassin class until taking their test and their experiences lead them to realize their calling was to be an assassin.
After the test is passed, a Custod chooses what class they want to become. The only class that requires qualification is the assassin class. If a Custod wishes to become an assassin, they declare their intent at this point but choose another class to work in as they prepare to take the assassin qualifying tests. They can choose any of the other classes. There isn’t one class that is most common to choose though it is rare any aspiring assassins would choose to become a supporter. A mid-ranked assassin is commonly assigned to assist with their preparation for the assassin test, but sometimes a higher ranked will be given permission to do so for a family member or if they have other personal interests.
Training for the Assassin Tests
The aspiring assassin will spend about two to four years training for the test. Most Custods take their Custod Tests between the ages of fourteen-sixteen. The assassin test is taken on average around the age of eighteen. And it takes one to two years to pass in full.
The first set of tests is run by the Head Custod. The tests are not always the same. Often, the Head Custod will adjust them for the applicant taking the test. But one thing remains constant, the Head Custod tests for several basic things:
Stealth and Infiltration
The last one surprises most would-be assassin Custods the most. An assassin must, well, assassinate people. Why would compassion be needed? Though most question if this is true, the fact is that test is always the hardest to pass. The reason is making sure mercy drives the assassin as well as justice.
The one that most fail is the endurance test. It involves all kinds of endurance: heat, cold, staying in one position for a long time, swimming, climbing, and the list goes on. This endurance test is also the longest part of the test. Training to become an assassin is overseen by a current high assassin and in rare cases the Head Custod himself. (Who, more often than not, is an assassin class himself and worked in that class before his father passed away and gave him the title.)
These tests have this traditional order but are rearranged according to the needs of the Custod being tested. The test to become an assassin is highly personalized. To the point that the idea of a set order is highly debated. However, there are some things that are standardized.
Standard Test Sections
Language: The language test is the most straightforward. An assassin must be fluent in sign, Dwarvin, and lipreading. This is most often tested by having them only sign to people to communicate for a week or more as well as living with the Dwarfs to allow them to master the language perfectly. The lipreading test is more varied and sometimes even combined with other tests.
Treasure Hunt: Another common test is a treasure. The would-be-assassin is assigned to find an item with very little description and set to find and retrieve said item. This item could be anything from bringing back a hidden object to having to find and bring back a person!
Retention: Retention has everything to do with memory, being able to repeat back what they heard verbatim even days later. Those aspiring to be assassins who fear they may struggle with this often will go into acting to help them with line memorization and similar skills to help with retention.
Interrogation: The interrogation portion always has two parts, even if they are tested for it at the same time. They must prove their skills in being able to interrogate a subject in many situations, such as the subject doesn’t know they’re being interrogated, apprehended criminals, and even during a battle.
The second part is how they handle being interrogated. The position is flipped completely from the former tests. This is also a commonly failed test.
Failing a Test
Just because an aspiring assassin fails a test does not mean they cannot qualify to be an assassin. Tradition states they get three tries at each test, but the reality is they have as many tries as the Head Custod will give them. Most applicants who fail a test three times — more often than not — will give up and choose a different class, normally the one they have already been working. So, though the bar is set quite high to become an assassin, in theory, a person could spend their whole lives trying to qualify and still get in if the Head Custod permits.
Passing the Test
When an applicant passes all their tests the Head Custod presents them with the signature wrist blades that will be a key part of their weaponry. Though as of this point, there are no blades inside the vambraces. Those will be earned as they climb the ranks. The Assassin ninth class is then assigned to their senior assassin who they will apprentice under for on average another two to four years until they reach the rank of assassin third class.
Assassins have more classes than any other Custod class. There are twelve in total and from highest to lowest rank are as follows:
· Shadow Assassin
· Master Assassin
· Chief Assassin
· Assassin First Class
· Assassin Second Class
· Assassin Third Class
· Assassin Fourth Class
· Assassin Fifth Class
· Assassin Sixth Class
· Assassin Seventh Class
· Assassin Eighth Class
· Assassin Ninth Class
These ranks are reached in a much easier way to track than others. And these ranks do not fully match their Custod Rank at first. — For example, most assassin’s ninth class are at least a 7/9. (For more on Custod Ranks see The Custod Family Order.) These ranks correspond to their skill with certain weapons or skills the assassin masters.
The way an assassin proves they are able to use the isn’t just a test proving they can handle the weapon. This test is a simulation run by higher-class assassins.
Skill to Rank
Eighth-class assassins have masted the smoke bombs and how to use them in various situations. This does not take long for most to master and being a ninth class doesn’t last long for most assassins.
Seventh-class assassins have mastered Tiger Claw weapons which are also climbing tools as well as a weapon.
Sixth-class assassins have proven proficient with throwing stars. A unique weapon to assassins that they would not have trained with until they passed their test to become an assassin.
Fifth-class assassins have proven proficient in all kinds of poisoning techniques. This is the longest part of the training normally as poisons at close range are simple enough, but at close range, can be dangerous and tricky. This is the final hurdle before they more seriously take on the signature weapon — the wrist blade — and the mark of being a full assassin and no longer an apprentice.
Fourth-class assassins have mastered the tricky weapon of the rope dart or chain dart. There are many sizes and variants to master though this is not nearly as tricky as poison training.
Third-class assassins have finally graduated from apprenticeship. They have mastered all the basics of being an assassin and have proven their skill in using their wrist blades. There is a special ceremony in which a master or shadow assassin presents the new assassin third class with their armed wrist blades.
Moving through the higher (often nicknamed ace) assassin ranks is not as simple as the earlier ranks. An assassin must prove to be at least a 4/7 to be able to even think about qualifying for any of the higher-class ranks.
Mastering a certain weapon does not promise a promotion through the ranks. Though they do not need to prove their skill with the gifted weapon beforehand, they do have to prove their skill to move up the ranks. The latter ranks are most commonly attained when the Custod Council sees an assassin’s skill increase and their class rank is increased along with the Custod Rank.
When an assassin is given their new rank, they are given a new weapon they are now qualified to use on assignments. Traditionally, they are as follows:
· Second Class: stealth whip
· First Class: Bomb Kit
· Chief Assassin: Phoenix Fire
· Master Assassin: top wrist blade
· Shadow Assassin: Light Blade.
The weapons given as an award could vary between second and chief classes, but the gifts presented for a master and shadow assassin is always the top wrist blade and light blade respectively.
Phoenix fire is a unique weapon that is like a small blow dart attached most commonly to the wrist blades. It is able to expel a fire that is only made stronger by water. It’s a difficult feat of magic to create so gifted only to those worthy of owning one.
The top wrist blade is a blade that come out from over the hand rather than under. It is longer and can be used to fight rather like long claws. When used properly, are a great defense against a surprise attack, but tricky to master so only the highest assassins are given this second blade.
The Light Blade is a small blade infused with light magic. Its most common power is the ability to dispel dark magic. The darkmen are particularly vulnerable to its magic. These are very difficult to make and lose their light magic once used. So, the wielder must be careful with how they use it as getting it recharged is quite difficult as a rare few enchanters are able to perform such magic. Those who have mastered shadow magic are the only ones seen as worth of having this weapon as a part of his or her personal arsenal.
Master and Shadow Assassins
A master assassin and shadow assassin are the highest ranks and almost on level with one another because an assassin who is not born with as much magical ability would not be able to attain the class of shadow assassin. Shadow assassins are unique for their ability to use some of the hardest skills in magic, that of shadow magic.
Damian Custod was the most accomplished at shadow magic. He was able to use shadows to even teleport within a range. No other assassin has been able to replicate this particular ability. However, the ability to blend into shadows, move through them, and in some rare cases command shadows at will, has been done by a rare few talented assassins. They are given the rank of shadow Custod for this accomplishment.
It is even possible to go from a fourth class to a shadow assassin if you master the magic, but it is rare an assassin can make that incredible jump in such a short space of time, and the work to move up the ranks step by step gave them better chances to master such magic.
Reputation of the Assassin Custod
Assassin Custods are respected both within and without the Custod Family. That respect is often mixed with fear as the assassin Custods are the deadliest and most well-armed Custod. There no Custods who cannot spot an assassin’s wrist blades and know their class and rank. Many common folks know fear anyone wearing such weapons.
Though assassin Custods are feared by many, they also are looked up to and highly sought after. Many Custods dream of reaching this station but only the most determined and driven will succeed.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the most formal and admired Custod Class.
If you want to learn about the others read The Custod Family Order, and don’t forget