The Unkindlies are a monster-hunting bureau and secret society in Albion. They began as a legitimate organization – the King's Ravenkeepers, which allowed them to make use of ancient laws that made them immune to territorial laws. They could trespass wherever, so long as they were "chasing a royal raven" and had to be tried in Royal courts only, whatever the crime, since their service was so essential.
Since they could go anywhere and could only be tried in courts where the King could immediately pardon them, but they also had plausible deniability built into their job description, they were the ideal figures to deal with problems that the King wanted dealt with, but couldn't officially acknowledge – like blasphemous nine-bodied Spawn that feast on the souls of unborn children, or manticores.
Albion has had serious manticore issues ever since the Krajina was founded. Nobody is sure why.
In the rest of Vosca, monster hunting groups tend not to be that embedded in the government. If there's a griffon flying around eating people, you just hire the Black Brothers or the King's Men to take it out. Why have a government office dedicated to a problem that arises maybe once a century?
Traditions & Practices Edit
There, they prowl until they find a Nachtmacher, and then, so the stories go, they ask it to answer play its riddle game with them. If it wins, it can eat them, if it loses, it has to give them something. The "riddle" varies, but the songs of the Albish record a great many varieties, supposedly collected by observers. Some permutations:
What color is grass?
What hue is the sky?
Which way is up?
Are we in the Kaselreich?
Does fire burn?
Supposedly, no Nachtmacher has ever gotten an Unkindly riddle right.
What they ask for as their prize is a secret, though the songs say they demand that the Nachtmacher say "God Bless the Queen," (or king) which causes them great pain and consternation.
The Unkindlies are divided into four branches. Kralchester, Belchester, Noviton and Sutthigrad. Each of these four branches is headed by a Master – a Master being an individual who has slain a Fascine Troll in single combat, and who is approved to take over by the departing previous Master. Retirement is rare among the Unkindlies but, truth be told, the Krajina is not that large of a country, and many Unkindlies end up joining knightly orders in Illegon, the Kaselreich or Galli for the opportunity to fight more monsters. Thus, there is frequent mobility in the Unkindly Order, and any capable member may someday end up being a Master, if only for a short while.
The four Masters themselves answer to the Grandmaster. Unlike the other positions, a Grandmaster's term is for life. His duty is not the killing of monsters, but of other Unkindlies. When a Grandmaster dies the current Masters are brought to Kralchester Keep, and are not allowed to leave until they have chosen a new Grandmaster. A dead or unconscious Master's vote may be given by whoever rendered him as such. The result is usually that the four agree immediately on who is to be their leader – but occasionally it does result in protracted fistfights in the silent halls of the great castle.
The Grandmaster holds total authority over the Unkindly Order, and has the right to order any member to commit suicide. If they fail to do so upon command, his hand-picked squadron will usually accomplish the feat for him, in brutal fashion.
The current Grandmaster is Arcturus "The Crow" of Kyev, a Ruscovite who came to the Krajina with an armful of hopes and dreams. Now thoroughly dashed, the only hope Arcturus has left is that someone strong enough to kill him will come along in the next few years, before he goes insane from the Blood Taint.