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The Nemeses (or the Assassins of Conscience)

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Ria Hawk:
The Nemeses are a troupe of wandering assassins.  They are not just any assassins, however.  They only target those who have commited horrid crimes and gotten away with it.  They are spoken of only in whispers, and many think they are only myth.  They are very real, however, and they're never wrong, and they never miss.  They work by mimicking ghosts and figures from the past to work on the target's conscience (or what's left of it).  It isn't uncommon for the target to go insane before they die.

There are four members of the troupe.

The Storyteller - He is the herald of the Nemeses, and the last chance that a target will get to atone for his or her sins.  He is a fairly attractive young man, and a self-proclaimed writer of tales.  He is also an eternal optimist, and a tad naive.  He would like to believe that people are inherently good; however, his work is proving otherwise.  He will warn a target of the danger in one way or another, and attempt to convince them to sincerely atone for their misdeeds.  The "sincerely" is the key part.  It won't work if the target doesn't mean it.  He has a very strong moral outlook, and doesn't always agree with the rest of the troupe about who they target and who they don't.  It was also due to his insistence that targets are given a second chance at all.  He may warn someone outright or perhaps play the part of a warning (this could happen to YOU!).  Whichever way, his aims are the same: give the target the chance to repent.  He will not actively assisst the troupe in an assassination if he has not satisfied himself that they deserve it; in one or two cases, he actively opposed them.  He sometimes annoys the rest of the troupe, but he can't help it, and they realize he generally has a point.
An example:  Once the target was a pathological killer, who took pleasure in murdering anything and everyone.  The Storyteller encountered him, and rescued him from a supernatural foe (in reality, one of the other members of the troupe).  As they were trying to escape, they had to cross a narrow footbridge.  The boards gave way (by design), and they fell.  The Storyteller ended up hanging onto the killer, who was hanging onto the bridge.  They couldn't both get back up, and the killer was losing his grip.  The Storyteller gave him the chance to promise never to kill again, and to do penance for the killings he had committed in the past.  The killer agreed, and the Storyteller let go, allowing the killer to scramble back onto the bridge.  (The Storyteller was pulled out of the river by the rest of the troupe, and was never in real danger.  If the killer had meant it when he agreed never to kill again, he would have been spared.  However, he didn't.)

Ria Hawk:
Once she gets involved, things have gotten downright ugly and generally frightening.  She uses enchanted (possibly mechanical) puppets and dolls.  She has some minor talent in illusion, directed at changing the appearance of her dolls and occasionally herself.  Her specialty is mimicking children, although she has been known to copy adults.  She is a seemingly young, very beautiful woman, and is not above seducing people when there's a need for it.  She is also a very skilled actress.   She is very cynical, and tends to be irritated by the Storyteller's optimism and naivity.  (The Storyteller, by the way, is very much in love with her, although she has yet to return the emotion.)  Her puppets serve many purposes: seeming to be ghosts, still living people from a target's past, and if necessary, copying someone should it be too dangerous for that person to actually be present.
An example:  While the troupe was working on a target, they were posing as members of a caravan he was part of.  This person had brutally killed several people.  One night, he killed what appeared to be a small child who was a friend of his.  (This was part of the master plan of the troupe.)  However, since the troupe will not endanger innocents if they can help it, what was actually attacked was one of the Puppet Mistress's dolls, spelled to look like the child.  The real child was kept safely occupied out of harm's way by another member of the troupe.
In another instance, the target was a fellow who had killed his employer's young adopted son in a jealous rage.  The Puppet Mistress made one of her puppets look like the boy's ghost, as part of the planned punishment.

Ria Hawk:
He is the brute force of the troupe.  In his natural form, he is a big, hulking, animalistic, and slightly ugly fellow.  However, he can change his shape to whatever he wants.  It remains to be seen yet if he can actually be harmed by physical means.  He usually plays many parts in a single job.  His roles have ranged from people from a target's past, to providing a convenient distraction, to appearing to be a credible threat.  He also does any required heavy physical work (heavy lifting, bashing, etc.)  He has a slightly cynical outlook, and a definitely sarcastic sense of humor.  He seems to be perpetually amused by the rest of the troupe.
An example:  On one job it became necessary to finish up with a target in public.  The catalyst for this was the appearance of a certain person, so he changed his shape to look like her.  
In another case, he played the part of a threat in a carefully scripted scene in order to scare the target into thinking about his situation.

Ria Hawk:
He is the leader of the group, and a magical powerhouse.  He looks like an extrememly short, toad-like, and very ugly old man.  He generally poses as a wandering monk or priest.  He makes any and all illusions that don't deal with the Puppet Mistress's tools.  Generally, there's a lot of them.  All his illusions are designed to work on guilty consciences or innate fears; in short, to be terrifying.  He's very good at it.  More often than not, it is his illusions that do the worst work on the target, and that end up destroying the target one way or another.  He is pessimistic, cynical, morbid, and can be infuriatingly mysterious when he wants (often).  Though he'd never admit it, he's secretly glad that the Storyteller insisted on giving targets a second chance; it eases his own conscience.  Of the four members, he's probably the one most at risk of becoming the same as those he hunts.
An example:  In the case of a necrophiliac who had started by stealing women's corpses and leaving them strewn about the city streets, and then moved up to murdering beautiful women, the Illusion-Maker plagued him with (what looked like) the ghosts of the women in question, eventually driving him to suicide.
On another job, a sociopathic woman who had ruthlessly manipulated people and had caused the deaths of at least four people (her mother, her little sister, her lover, and her father, in that order), his illusions drove her mad.  (She later wandered off a cliff accidentally.)

Ria Hawk:
The Nemeses are, for the most part, very uncompromising people.  However, the target gets what he or she deserves.  Even if at first glance it doesn't seem so, the target has done something dreadful.  The Nemeses are here one moment, then they seemingly vanish into the unknown.  They are described as a troupe, for they are, above all else, actors.  They always plan an assassination to fit the crime(s) in question; the target always brings destruction on themself.  It is very rare for a member of the troupe to physically attack a target.
This is not to say they are never in danger.  These are horrible people that they hunt, and the nature of what they do means that they put themselves into harm's way; the Storyteller has been assaulted and ambushed, the Puppet Mistress was very nearly killed by a target when she posed as a victim.  And often, troupe members are set up to be attacked or killed (generally by the target) because they know too much.
No one knows where the troupe gets their information, except for the troupe members themselves.  It is thought to be a supernatural source, because they never make a mistake, even if the crime they're avenging was years in the past.
The group members will always do what is neccessary to help and protect one another, short of allowing a target to get away permanently.  (Failure to do a job is not an option; however, postponing a job for safety reasons is very much an option.)  Someone who threatens a troupe member is going to find the results most unpleasant indeed.

Questions, thoughts, comments?


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