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The Company of Burning Blood

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Zimrazim's picture

"Cutter, if I were to give you only one bit of advice about the Company of Burning Blood, it would be this: Avoid them. Some things are too sodding blood-crazed barmy to mess with. I don't care how much of an evil piker some berk thinks he is, Burning Blood's more sodding depraved than him. Paladin of blazing holiness who can't abide a multiverse with them in it? Too bad. They drank the blood of your divine patron for breakfast. Understand?

Fine... Be that way. Yes, that symbol, the bloody teardrop with the orange flame 'round it, that's theirs. You recognize that teardrop, aye? You think the so-called Powers haven't noticed there's a Blood War going on? The Lord of Slaughter taking an interest in the Blood War, fancy that!

Burning Blood is a merc outfit run by Erythnul's own god-botherers. They take their contracts based on Erythnul's will, or at least on what they think is His will. Of course, that particular Power isn't exactly choosy, He just wants to see everyone's head on a pike. It's not like Erythnulites would rub shoulders with baatezu or Hextorians, so the company takes tanar'ri contracts, pretty much exclusively. They don't hate the 'loths much more than they hate everyone else, but the 'loths probably loathe these pikers. You think the godless yugoloths want a sodding horde of Erythnul's creatures running around on the Lower Planes, guiding souls to the Citadel of Slaughter? Not sodding likely!

Still, the Company of Burning Blood is still around, and pretty sodding influential, especially from Pandemonium to Carceri. So either the 'loths have found a way to manipulate those pikers, or maybe what some of the barmier Anarchists and Gatehouse inmates claim isn't actually true -- maybe the 'loths actually don't control everything. That would be sodding nice, aye?

It's actually easier to join Burning Blood than you might think. To join them, you don't even have to convert to their faith outright, at least not right away. You do have to be willing to offer a prayer to Erythnul, which is something a lot of good-hearted cutters wouldn't do to save their own lives. The Lord of Slaughter just loves bloodletting, so a new recruit will be cutting himself while he's praying. The priests will even put up with worshippers of other gods, as long as the priests figure your god's interests don't conflict too much with those of the Lord of Slaughter. Just don't be a Defier. Heh. They'll pit a potential recruit against three full members. It's not even usually to the death. Fight well and you're on to the next step of the initiation. In order to get in, the new berk will have to participate in some kind of rite to Erythnul. Exactly what rite depends on how the god-botherers feel Erythnul needs to be worshipped that day. Guaranteed it won't be very nice. A lot of the time it's the Bloody Howl, sacrificing a warrior, who might be a Blood War mercenary himself, that they caught in the last engagement. I'm told the priests are extremely sodding creative when it comes to making Erythnul happy, so you can't really be sure beforehand what a rite will involve.

Even among Blood War mercs, the Company of Burning Blood has a nasty reputation. The way they treat prisoners, for one thing. A captured merc is likely to end up on the altar. They're also notorious for how they treat a captured town or village or what have you. 'Rape, pillage, and burn' about sums it up.

Most members are either humanoids of one kind or another -- gnolls, bugbears, like that -- or humans. 'Course the Lower Planes are chock full of tiefers, so the company has plenty of those too. Plus some tiefer-humanoid mixes, imagine a gnoll with a bit of tanar'ri thrown in. Some cambions too. Some Blood War companies have a decent number of bints in them, but not this one. I doubt that the Lord of Slaughter Himself really cares so much about that point, but a lot of the god-botherers are humanoids, who firmly believe that being a slayer for Erythnul should be strictly a 'no bints' club. Whether the human priests believe the same thing depends mostly on where that priest came from. Burning Blood has had a few bints as members, I'm told, but it's quite rare.

They're actually one of the largest Blood War companies, though I can't call them the most organized, or disciplined. They can put thousands of bashers into the field on short notice. I heard a baatezu claim that the best way to deal with these guys is to pike them off till they can't think straight. Makes 'em sloppy. You could say these cutters have two different specialties. First, they're good shock troops. Bunch of bashers that really want to chew your face off, and don't really care if they die, since they'll be going to their version of Paradise for eternity if they do. Second, you know how the Blood War spills over onto nicer planes all the time? Quiet little villages in the Outlands, or humble towns on the Prime? Exactly. It's actually a big deal to Erythnul's priesthood, they will go out of their way to raze some peaceful little hamlet to the ground. If they get any decent chance to sack and burn some place that seems pleasant and nice they'll jump at it.

I honestly don't know who's leading their outfit these days -- it changes pretty often. We're talking about the priests of the God of Slaughter here, so of course they fight each other a lot. However, I do know that they sometimes have a human proxy of Erythnul with them, and that he's a blood you don't ever want to meet. He's not a regular. Travels a lot, wherever the God tells him to, I guess. Supposedly this cutter managed to slaughter an entire Prime world. Rotten to be him, if you think about it. He'd get bored, you know? After killing an entire world, how in the Powers' names is he going to top that?"

[DM note: Most members are of CE alignment, though some are NE. While CN members are possible, the Company of Burning Blood engages in atrocities so often that it would be difficult for a member to maintain a non-evil alignment. While the priests do not force other members to convert fully to the worship of Erythnul, they do expect a reasonable degree of worship, and one can assume that Erythnul has at least some claim on the souls of most members of this mercenary band.]

sciborg2's picture
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Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: The Company of Burning Blood

Rotten to be him, if you think about it. He'd get bored, you know? After killing an entire world, how in the Powers' names is he going to top that?

Love this closing line. Great article!

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