The Curalon Hestaris, the infamous Brotherhood of Sinners, is an ancient school-guild of warriors, founded, among many other such guilds, during the years between the fall of the Ancients and the rise of the modern Agera kingdoms.
Originally, the Curalon Hestaris was founded by Witiza the Black, the legendary Bloody-Handed Blademaster, Murderer of a Thousand Warriors, Slayer of Kings. Witiza was an Ageran warrior, trained by swordmasters of the Ancients, who was one of the primary terrors of the Bloody Age (Many Ageran folktales and legends remember him as a primary foe of their culture heroes). Witiza led his band of slayers for more than 50 years before he suddenly, mysteriously, slew them all.
Having done so, Witiza formed the Brotherhood of Sinners, gathering notorious criminals, bandits, and warriors from all across Bloody Age Ageratos. All, including Witiza, took an oath before the Dread God Angra that they would become the greatest warriors of all Time, reciting the Oath of Sinners and Swords, still the principal oath of the Curalon Hestaris:
"Before Angra Blackheart,
the Lord of Fury, fire-eyed,
I do swear that I am
The Sword That Drips Blood
I do swear that
None shall defeat me in single combat
None shall overmatch me in soldiery
None shall see me beg, fall, or fear
And when Death comes
I shall smile."
The principal axiom of the Curalon Hestaris, and the basis of all its teachings, is this:
"Inhale. Kill. Exhale."
Disciples of the warrior-religion of the Brotherhood, called Hestari (Sinners), Swordmasters, or simply Swords, are the finest single warriors in all of Ageratos. None can match their skill, reflexes like lightning, dexterity like cats, courage and ferocity like madmen, strength like bears, and the fanaticism of their insane sword-worship. They compose poems to their knives, and prayers to their swords, and they write their own death-songs; they are feared for their singular technique, the Blade of Fury. The mysticism of the Curalon Hestaris is powerful indeed, even drawing upon magic (called Weirding by the Hestari) to an extent. Many Hestari have been seen striking without moving a muscle, and healing the most grievous wounds without ointment or prayer.
Hestari hire themselves out as mercenaries to the highest bidder. Many wars between kings have been one simply due to the timely hiring of Hestari warriors.
Hestari take on all comers who seek to join their brotherhood, but they make no promises of survival. Only the most hardened make it through the horrific weeding processes of the Brotherhood of Sinners. The Curalon Hestaris also purchase orphans and slave-children for their Brotherhood; many orphanages actually prefer to adopt their children into the Curalon Hestaris, for the Swords pay very well.