Blade Maidens: Strays – 17

“If you’ve read up to this point, then you are either a curious soul who simply wishes to know more about the creatures and horrors that inhabit our world or you are experiencing the havoc and disruption they can cause firsthand. While my observances on the beasts and supernatural of Telos include information on how to best subdue them, there is only so much you can do with little-to-no training. So: you hire a bounty hunter.

With the guild’s ubiquity greater than ever, you’ve likely encountered one of its members before. But don’t make the mistake of assuming every bounty hunter is equipped to tackle any given bounty. Beyond raw experience and know-how, there are different specialties to look for. Given the purview of this work, I won’t be going into detail on hunters who focus on more mundane tasks such as capturing fugitives or the scores of would-be assassins. Instead, I’ll focus on those most relevant to the discussion at hand: Beastslayers, Demonologists, and Sepestrites.

Beastslayers, as the name would suggest, make their living fulfilling contracts for the lives of beasts. Some are content with the more standard fare such as wolves or bears, but the cannier among them know that real coin and glory reside in the hunting of the fantastic. If you’re lucky enough to hire a Beastslayer, then your monstrous problem will likely be resolved in a short manner. Often working in teams and preying on the weaknesses of their foes, Beastslayers are utterly ruthless and efficient. Their quarry won’t show them mercy, why should they?

The next, Demonologists, are a far more varied breed. Demons from the Abyss aren’t as common as your augants or trolls, and are often far more dangerous. While you can attempt to cleanse a demonic infestation with the aid of an acolyte of the god of your choosing, bounty hunters are decidedly less restricted than their holy competitors. Demonologists gleefully operate in the grey area between hunter and peer, often trapping demons in impossible contracts or games of chance through clever tongues and fast hands. When those methods fail–or the prey proves too stupid or fearsome for them to have any hope of working–the hunters will fall back on salt-imbued blades, alchemical concoctions, and even, on occasion, demons in their own employ. Whatever gets the job done.

Finally, we have the Sepestrites. Not to be confused with the devout followers of our Gloam Queen, the name is an ages-old joke that simply stuck. Either veteran hunters who have realized they will never enjoy a life of peace and contentment or those blessedly few in number who simply hold no value on their life. Sepestrites will take nearly any job, as long as the pay is within reason. And sometimes even without coin. The battle, the thrill itself is rewarding enough for them. And while there is all the chance in the world that they will perish in the pursuit of your contract, there is a reason they hadn’t yet died before taking the job. When the Goddess of Death is so ever-present in your life that you some say you’re closer to her than any of her own flock, chances are you know your way around a blade.”

– An excerpt from Harlowe’s Guide to Beasts and Terrors, Vol. 3