S. B. Sebrick was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by four little sisters, countless cousins and open forests on the edge of Vancouver. From a young age he was always creating some kind of story. His legos were divided into ‘evil’ and ‘good’ forces constantly locked in epic struggles. Very real struggles often took place between his cousins though. Lets face it, when five boys are pretending to be power rangers, none of them want to be the pink one.
His series, ‘Assassin’s Rising’ is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. For more on Sebrick’s Happenings, check out his website (http://sbsebrick.wordpress.com/), facebook, goodreads, or twitter accounts.
Hey everyone, my name is S. B. Sebrick. I hope you’ve all had a great summer! Our gracious host has given me the chance to compare some key types of assassins used in fantasy, so you all can have the chance to decide which of them all is best. If you haven’t any of these books I’m drawing from, I recommend them all.
First: The Suicidal Assassin:
These are by far, the most dangerous. It’s one thing to face someone who’s hired to kill you. As long as he’s governed by his own sense of self preservation it’s a fairly even fight. These ones are so devoted to ending your life, they’ll throw there’s into the mix in a heartbeat. Your best chance at surviving this kind is to have a wide-reaching network of intel, you have to know these boys are coming and make sure you always stay out of the bloody fallout.
One of my favorite versions of the ‘Suicidal Assassin’ is used by Robert Jordan in his Series ‘The Wheel of Time’, specifically the thirteenth book, ‘Towers of Midnight’. They are called Blood Knives. They are trained to hunt and kill Aes Sedai (His series’ main magic users).
I ranked them among the Suicidal because they use a special device that makes them one with the shadows, but slowly leaches their life away in return. None live over a month after they’re deployed, but in that month they can infiltrate at entire city, killing as many Aes Sedai as possible before they have a chance to react to sudden flicker from the shadows.
Second, The Professional:
This one is the simplest and most remembered of assassins. He’s ruled by the highest bidder and always has a knack or two for eliminating both the target and perhaps even the competition. Depending on their sense of honor (which varies), they can be bought off or simply distracted by a higher paying contract.
A great example of this assassin is used in Margaret Weis’ novel, Dragon Wing. Hugh the Hand was raised my monks responsible for interning the dead for burial, and as far as he’s concerned, the men he’s hired to kill are going to join the monks eventually. Why shouldn’t he gather some gold for shoving them into the express lane?
While he’s skilled with both sword and dagger, his most defining professional feature is the promise to tell his victim exactly who sent him before he kills them. He’s hired for those to take revenge to be a very personal business.
I also use a variation of the ‘Professional’ in my series, ‘Assassin’s Rising’. They are called Battleborn and are driven by loyalty to King and Country (instead of gold). Their preferred method of execution is a blade to the head or heart. They are known for their prowess on the open battlefield, as well as their ability to slip past any number of guards to reach the deep breaths of a sleeping target.
Third, The Zealot:
This is one of the most difficult of assassins to avoid, let alone defeat. He cannot be simply bought off or given a different kind of vocation. Even at the expense of his own life, his entire upbringing and training is centered around killing his target. If that happens to be you, it’s going to get bloody really fast and someone is leaving the building in a body bag.
While technically, this post is about fantasy, when I read about this piece of work I couldn’t resist throwing him in as well. In Louis La’Mour’s historical fiction novel, ‘The Walking Drum’ he introduces Rashid-Ad-din Sinan, ruler of the Valley of the Assassins.
Two things impressed me the most about his zealots. First, Recruitment: He would drug his men and let them wake in a hidden valley surrounded by the finest in food and women. After a day he’d drug them again and return them to his fortress, telling them he’d transported them into heaven with his power and will do so again if they do his bidding.
Second, Presentation. An enemy general awoke in his guarded tent one morning and found a note wrapped around the handle of a knife, lying next to his pillow. It said, ‘This could easily have been placed in your heart.” The general retreated the very next day.
Fourth: The Seductress:
While the quick plunge of a dagger from the shadows is all well and good, let’s not overlook an entirely different approach all together. A good seductress can use venom that leaves no trace or even manipulate others into doing her dirty work, all the while keeping herself as far from the bloody remains (and suspicion) as possible.
The example I’ve chosen for this type of assassin comes from my own series ‘Assassin’s Rising’. They are called Battle Scorned and they are the King’s most beautiful and most devious of women, all well schooled in manipulating their peers and using various ways to end another’s life in as seemingly innocent and untraceable ways as possible. A Battle Scorned will specialize in joining a three-way fight and making sure both her opponents die killing each other, leaving her as the clear victor.
Assassins are some of the most mysterious and deadly characters in fantasy, but not just for their deadly skills in single combat. Their true worth lies in the identity of those they kill, capable of causing civil wars or rebellions with only a couple well placed blades. Which of these four do you think is the worst of the worst? Feel free to leave your votes below!