The story of the appearance of the Night Stealers clan is rooted deep in the past. The clan was created during the Era of Change, a time infamous for its bloody power struggles and ferocious territorial wars. Noble Human and Magmar warriors organised a regiment to defend their peoples from Orc incursions. The Orcs were, at that time, marauding across Faeo, invading foreign territories and forcibly seizing land from the inhabitants of Ogriy and Khair. Ordinary peasants suffered more than anyone else because those who lived in the capital and large fortresses enjoyed the relative security offered by such fortified settlements. The Orcs, for understandable reasons, did not favour the idea of long and protracted sieges; they were more interested in rapid incursions into the undefended settlements of ordinary peasants and working people. As a result of these raids, villages were razed to the ground and Magmar and Human prisoners were carried off to already-occupied lands where they were used as slaves and forced to work day and night. The appearance of the blood-thirsty Orcs was so unexpected and violent that the Humans of Ogriy and the Magmars of Khair only regained their senses when the Orcs had already committed all sorts of outrages on their continents, smashing the armies sent to protect the Humans and Magmars by the stunned commanders. The first seeds of dissent, which later turned into the Night Stealers, came from the very people forced from their razed villages. Forming groups and driven only by a thirst for revenge for those they had lost, they enacted their retribution under the cover of darkness, armed only with kitchen utensils, which was all they had that remotely resembled weaponry. When darkness came, the Stealers would creep into the Orc camps and slaughter those who slept, booby-trapped the paths and poison the food supplies. United by one enemy and a desire for revenge, the Magmars and Humans of the Night Stealers forgot for a while their own inter-racial squabbles and turned into a serious organisation, capable of repelling the merciless Orcs.
Over time, the number of Night Stealers grew, at the same time perfecting the art of war and acquiring vast military experience and belief in their own abilities. With every nighttime sortie, the occupiers suffered greater and greater losses. The Orcs’ efforts to deal with the Night Stealers were a failure, because in the forest sheltered the displaced steppe inhabitants, who were far better acquainted with their surroundings than the Orcs, even at night. All this ultimately forced the Orcs to stop their aggression, so giving the Humans and Magmars the time to organised a decisive counterblow. A superbly planned operation to eliminate the invaders was brilliantly executed. The battles in Thorn Apple Brushwood and on Freedom Steppe have gone down in history as the greatest of the battles which liberated the Humans and Magmars from the Orc yoke.
The surviving Orcs left and life gradually began to return to some sense of normality. But it was not the same as before; much had changed. The Night Stealers, now steeped in the art of war, did not want to return to the daily grind of village life. The experience they had gained carrying out risky raids into the camps of a dangerous enemy, curved blade in hand, had turned them into professional assassins. And the glory showered upon them after the rout of the Orcs turned them into the most respected heroes of their time. Sensing in them righteous defenders, people began to go to them in search of justice and protection. So began the life of this legendary clan of mercenaries, which has existed comfortably for many centuries, fulfilling the orders of peasants and kings, banishing monsters and destroying evildoers.
But nothing lasts forever and the presence of both Magmars and Humans in the clan finally began to make itself felt. The mermaids became the stumbling block, more specifically an order placed by a bored and wealthy aristocrat, for which he promised a generous payment. He wanted a living mermaid in his palace with which to entertain himself and his dear guests. One section of the clan, the majority of whom were Humans, considered such an order amoral and something that would make the highly-qualified mercenaries no better than a gang of unprincipled bandit cutthroats. Another section, mainly Magmar, saw nothing wrong with kidnapping mermaids and considered the reward a more important consideration. In their eyes, the path of the genuine mercenary is the path of money.
The conflict, driven by the differing principles and inherent natures of the clan members, grew to such an extent that it became the cause of a schism in the clan, which split into three. The Humans, who did not agree with the latest ideas called themselves the Union of Stone Lotus and left for deepest Ogriy, explaining that the policies of their alliance would never clash with the interests of the poor and defenceless but would, on the contrary, be aimed at offering any defence and help required by those in need. The Magmar section followed their example, establishing the Red Axes clan. But, in contrast to the Stone Lotus, they proclaimed quite different laws and rules, the main one being “Profit is better than a good name!” They swept the morality question under the carpet, considering it a weakness not worthy of mercenaries.
The third fragment, consisting of Humans and Magmars, went nowhere, considering the good relations and friendship, which tied the members of the Night Stealers together, more important than the fate of several mermaids. They did, however, try and avoid such orders in future, tending towards ‘cleaner’ work and the struggle with common enemies, such as Chaos and various aggressive fauna.
All three clans exist to this very day, the members of each piously honouring the laws of their unions, as preached by their forefathers, and acting in accordance with them, often leading to conflict between each other.