The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
“Even the smallest blade can slit a throat.”
“Shaarat’khesh” is a Goblin word that translates to “silent knives.” The shaarat’khesh are an order of goblin spies and assassins. This order can trace its roots back to the ancient Dhakaani empire. At the height of the empire, the shaarat’khesh served as the hand of the emperor, bringing silent death to traitors and criminals. Once the empire fell, the shaarat’khesh became mercenaries, selling their services to any warlord with gold. As the Dhakaani age came to an end, the Silent Master called upon the shaarat’khesh to withdraw into the depths of their mountain fortress, leaving the remaining warlords to squabble over the ruins.
Now, thousands of years later, the Heirs of Dhakaan have reemerged — and the shaarat’khesh have returned with them. For the past century the goblins have been studying the nations of modern Khorvaire, moving among city goblins and establishing safehouses across the land. All of the clan lords rely on the shaarat’khesh for information, and many have sought to win the allegiance of the assassins. But the Silent Master has maintained a position of neutrality. The shaarat’khesh are the servants of the empire. But until the clans unanimously agree on an emperor, the silent knives treat all clans equally and demand payment in gold. The shaarat’khesh do not accept every contract; as a rule they do not assassinate Dhakaani clan leaders or dirge singers. But once the silent knives take an assignment, they see it through to the end, even if this means fighting other members of the shaarat’khesh. It is this impartiality and dedication that has allowed the clan to survive amid the warring heirs.
The Dhakaani are an agnostic people, and the shaarat’khesh have little interest in gods or arcane mysteries. A goblin initiate seeks to become the perfect living weapon: swift, silent, equally deadly with fist and blade, whose focused mind can overcome any weakness of the body. While he may feign emotions when it serves his cause, a silent knife is cold and calm, and he always remains focused on his next task.
As a general rule, a goblin must be born into the clan of the shaarat’khesh to learn the ways of the order. However, exceptional goblins have been adopted by the clan, and they even have a few members of other races — most notably changelings.
Organization: A student of the silent arts carries the title of shaarul (dull blade). Upon completion of his training, the monk takes the title of tar’khesh (silent hand) or il’khesh (silent eye), depending on whether his primary focus is combat or espionage. Monks with assassin levels are known as mula’duur (bringers of sorrow). Clan decisions are made by a council of elders; the leader of this council holds the title of guula’khesh (silent master).
Monasteries: The il’khesh have spread across Khorvaire over the past century, and the silent knives have eyes hidden in many of the great cities of the Five Nations. Any city with a significant goblin population may contain a shaarat’khesh safehouse. However, only one true monastery exists: the fortress hidden deep in the Seawall Mountains, home to both the monks of the shaarat’khesh and the noncombatant members of the clan.