On December 10th I brought The Slayers to my office for what I thought would be a simple mission. In the orc attack a month and a half prior, the group of Slayers from Coldrock had not returned. Naturally, the conclusion the Citadel drew was that the Slayers and the town had been killed. It was agreed that I would send a group of Slayers to Coldrock to recover The Slayers (or their bodies) and discover what, exactly, had befallen the town.
Of course, it is rarely so simple.
The first opposition was the weather. In a series of fierce snowstorms, twenty feet of snow had piled up on the ground. Rivers were frozen over and covered. The taiga forest surrounding The Citadel had turned into an elevated plane of ice. The snow had been shoveled out of the way of the gate, thankfully. However, the Slayers had to endure trudging across the ice. Thankfully, the snow was packed enough by this point that it was passable. However, it turned what would normally be a day trip into an almost two-day one. Overnight, it snowed heavily, and the group was attacked by Ghasts. In the scuffle, their tents were destroyed, and several of them were almost killed.
Thankfully, they reached Coldrock with no other problems, though once they did, late the next day, they saw a man dressed in armor too well-made to be a Slabí. When the group entered the town, they were shocked to find that the group of Slayers they were searching for was still alive and well. Not only that, but they had chosen to stay here. Jacobin, the leader, had ruled that it was more important for the group to stay at Coldrock and defend the villagers from any further threats, against the Citadel’s orders. The motivation seemed to be a desire to protect the Slabí, rather than kill the monsters.
I am often demeaned for being an idealist, and even I will admit that this is foolish. The group’s heart may have been in the right place, but their tactical methodology was foolish at best. How are we ever supposed to control groups of Slayers who are spread out across dozens of villages with no real home base? How are we even supposed to know whether they succeed or fail? Our control over Slayers is already loose, but we cannot have it that loose.
This is where argument broke out. Through force of persuasion, my group of Slayers tried to negotiate with the other group. They were shrewd and aggressive, and forced Jacobin to agree that he would come back with them. Though there was always something evasive in him. Edreck, another member of the group, seemed to understand that they needed to return, while the wizard Minata greatly opposed it, perhaps due to her Slabí heritage, greatly opposed it. In negotiations, It was mentioned that the group did not know how Dragan, the Cleric (who was not present) would take it. He was supposedly their most extreme member when it came to protecting the Slabí.
However, when it was brought up that they should leave now, the other group of Slayers pointed out that there was a Cave Troll nearby that they could not fight off.
This is another example of their flawed method. A regular-sized group of novice Slayers cannot handle a Cave Troll. If my group had not shown up, there would have been nothing they could have done.
It was agreed that they would attempt to kill the Troll in the morning, with double the number of Slayers, it would be possible.
Supposedly, in the night, Zherro, the warlock, conveyed that he was not on the side of Jacobin’s treacherous group, and that he had feigned loyalty to them so as not to put himself in danger.
The next morning, the group entered the Cave Troll’s lair. They faced off against the monster, and defeated it with only one casualty. It was, of course, extremely powerful. However, through sheer numbers, they managed to defeat it while only suffering one casualty, the half-orc barbarian Grob.
After the cave Troll was slain, its cave was searched and treasure was found. This treasure, however, was not shared between the two groups of Slayers. My group hogged it all to themselves. Of course I am not proud of this, but I hold no allusions about the nobility of Slayers.
From here, the group chose to return. Dragan, apparently, disappeared in the night. His group spent a solid amount of time searching for him, but from there they gave up and decided to come back to The Citadel.
As I am writing this now, the trial for the actions of the Slayers has passed. Jacobin has had his Slayer status removed, Zherro and Edreck have been suspended from duty for six months, and Minata has been sentenced to death for seducing her leader in order to compromise his judgement.
Sometimes, I am not sure if The Citadel is right or wrong. However, in issues like this I tend to side with it more than one would think. It is unfortunate that it had to end this way. Executing Slayers is never an event to be cherished, and always tempts one to ask the question of whether we are wasting especially precious human resources. However, it is to make an example, and to promote better behavior on all fronts.
Minata and Jacobin’s relationship also brings forth another question: What should be done with the Slayer in love? Short term, love and sexuality are things that The Citadel scoffs at. They are distractions that break discipline, and are dangerous to our structure. However, sexuality, at least, is necessary for reproduction. Relationships in The Citadel usually result in quick marriages, and almost immediate pregnancy. However, Slayers are taught to stay away from anything that would distract them too much from their duties. Long-term, reproduction is, of course, necessary. So I cannot help but wonder concerning this: how are we to treat it?
Perhaps that is a question to be answered later. For now, I applaud the flexibility of my group, and while there will be some adjustments to it due to Parolles returning to the scouts, and Priscus to the crafters, I hope that it continues to remain as solid and formidable as it was.