"Everywhere, even more, there are
crimes being committed. As I waste my time talking to you, a woman in the Hive
is being assaulted. A merchant in the Grand Bazaar is being extorted out of his
last penny. An innocent is about to meet their end at the hands of the
Doomguard, the Xaositects, the Anarchists, or another one of those bleeding
groups. A million wrongs go unrighted, and a thousand rights are lost in the
darkness of the multiverse. I am here to even that score. Let the lawbreakers
and the guilty tremble when they see me, for I am here to punish them for their
wrongs and redeem the multiverse."
"Guilty. We're all sodding
guilty, every one of us. Have you never done something wrong in your life? Well
then, you must be mistaken, because I saw the way you looked at that pretty
tiefling that just walked by. That's 'wrong' there. Does she appreciate it? Does
she want it? Does she know where your filthy little mind is going, where it's
reaching? We're all guilty, sod. I'm just here to dispense the proper
punishments, for punishment is perfect. It is free of the quibbling about wrong
and right, and only cares to punish the wrong. I am the arm of justice."
"I am Avangiel, servant of the
very Heavens! I have come to these filthy streets of Sigil to ferret out the
wrongdoers and finally bring peace and goodness to this down! Let all who do
wrong know my name, and know that I am coming for them!"
"Everyone is guilty, but
punishment need not be excessive. Remember, the act of mercy is far more noble
than the act of anger. If you can truly look an enemy in the eye and see that
his is completely sorry for his wrong actions... then he is to be let go.
Punishment for the unrepentant and those who only fear you is necessary, but it
should not be done needlessly. The crowds in Petitioner's Square clamor for
blood, not mercy. We shall prove them wrong."
From their very name, the
"Mercykillers" evoke conflicted images: imagines of the dove of peace and mercy,
and images of the swinging noose in Petitioner's Square, usually juxtaposed
together into images that make no sense, for the concepts of mercy and the
concepts of murder are diametrically opposed. These are the Mercykillers, a
group of conflicted voices, torn between their twin beliefs in justice and their
desire for mercy. These forces are polarized in the faces of Justicar Arwyl
Swan's Son and the factol Alisohn Nilesia. Their respective troops are as
different as night and day. Arwyl Swan's Son commands the paladins of the
Mercykillers, virtuous knights dedicated to making sure that no innocent man
goes to his justice. Nilesia's soldiers are cruel, boorish, and obsessed with
methods of torture. This conflict within the faction makes for hard feelings
everywhere, and the sod that one Mercykiller is trying to persecute and send to
the leafless tree might be the same sod that another is trying desperately to
prove innocent. Working at both ends rarely works, and the prisoner usually gets
the axe rather than anything else, if only because the sheer number of those
howling for blood.
It's said that once you've been
sentenced, there are two ways out: death or recruitment. It's no secret that a
large number of Mercykillers were previously criminals: the Mercykillers run the
Prison in the Lady's Ward, a sodding depressing place where people go in... but
don't come out. Hangings of prisoners are increasing with the rise of Factol
Nilesia to the leadership of the faction. She was preceded by the level-headed
and fair Factol Mallin, who in the end grew tired of the pursuit of justice and
longed for the peace and tranquility of a pastoral retirement. He was stabbed
through the back by Nilesia and his body was disposed on a bitter and destroyed
desert-world in the Prime Material. Nilesia claimed that Mallen was weak and
lost his will to succeed and his drive to pursue the guilty with all his
heart... and so he was to be replaced. Only nineteen years old now, Nilesia was
but a mere seventeen when she rose to the head of the faction, the youngest
factol of the Mercykillers ever. She grew up within the cold walls of the prison
as a child and was given the sparks that currently ignite the fire in the
blue-skinned factol's goal towards justice. Nilhesia is a tiefling, one of the
strange beings borne of fiendish descent, and is certainly a cruel one at that.
Obsessed completely with bringing the guilty to justice, it's whispered that
she's begun to cast her sights towards The Lady... surely she's guilty of
something. But of what?
What throws the real twist into
the equation is the Fated and their factol, "Duke" Rowan Darkwood. Nilesia has
somehow fallen for the leader of the Fated, and hard. Why? Nobody knows. Perhaps
she yearns for a simple life, or perhaps she's still a child at heart, looking
to create the perfect lifestyle of a family that she never was a part of. But
why doesn't particularly matter now... instead, people should be careful: this
alliance between the Mercykillers and Fated in Sigil has thrown the lawful
factions into disarray. The Harmonium and the Guvners know that they have to
stand as a group with the Mercykillers or else it doesn't paint a very good
picture to the rest of Sigil, so the Fated more often than not are able to bully
the law factions into agreeing with their tax increases.
The Mercykillers themselves are
no better, as spoken about previously. The reasons for these differences run
deep: back when The Lady decided that there were too many factions running
around her city (this way back when there were perhaps fifty or more in Sigil),
and made her famous declaration that there would be only Fifteen factions in
Sigil. Two struggling groups, the Sons of Mercy and the Sodkillers, met up. The
Sons of Mercy were a group that attempted to make sure that no innocent sod went
to the noose, and the Sodkillers were, well, they were mercenaries and
assassins. Somehow, the two groups sat down and formed a new faction, one strong
enough to survive the Lady's Purge. The Mercykillers. Just today, the cracks in
their agreement made five centuries ago are starting to show.
Like the Harmonium, the
Mercykillers don't get out much, but when they do, it's known to all. Their huge
massive frames and leers seem to stick out at everyone as they move down the
street, and it's a sure bet that they know who you are and what you've done: and
they're coming for you. Their vigilantes comb Sigil, without any official
authorization from the Harmonium or the Hall of Speakers, but they both don't
care: as long as order remains within the town. But the vigilantes don't care
about order: they care about finding the guilty and cutting them down to size.
And since the factol protects them from any crimes committed in the pursuit of
the guilty, they're immune to their own standard of justice.
There are also those Mercykillers
that spend their existences looking into the bars, leering at those who thought
they could break the Laws of Sigil and get away with it. They Guard the prisons
from intrusion. There are even Wardens over particular sections of the Prison.
Some lease the prisoners out for short periods of time to other factions: it's
known that the better-behaved prisoners occasionally do jobs for the Bleak
Cabal, polishing the iron bars of the Gatehouse and whatnot.
The Harmonium and the Fraternity
of Order, both as members of the Lawful Triad of Sigil, respect the Mercykillers
and work closely with them. However, the Mercykillers are undeniably the most
violent of the three, and the most inclined to evil, so the Harmonium doesn't
always see them as completely Harmonious. However, the Harmonium and the
Fraternity of Order will almost never make a public lack of support of the
Mercykillers... the triad stands together in all things.
Because of the developing
relationship between Factol Rowan Darkwood of the Fated and Factol Nilesia of
the Mercykillers, the two factions find themselves working together more often
than not. The groups may not like it, but they force themselves to get along.
The Sensates, with their desire
for experiencing all things, often find themselves on the wrong side of the
law... and therefore, the Mercykillers. This is complicated by the current
alliance between the Mercykillers and the Fated... and the Fated's complete and
political hatred for the Sensates.
The Anarchists, Xaosmen, and
Doomguard find no love from the Mercykillers. Chaos lends itself to disorder,
which leads to breaking laws, which leads to punishment. Those groups are almost
never tolerated by the Mercykillers, and when they are tolerated, they're bound
to be in chains.