A shadow in the night, the lightslayer moves with the sound of a whisper to extinguish light wherever they find it — specifically, they extinguish the followers of the Holy Light. The lightslayer embraces the teachings of the Forgotten Shadow and develops their personal power by slaying enemies who stand in the light. Some consider lightslayers the dark mirror of the Scarlet Crusade, but in truth the two organizations have little in common. The Scarlet Crusade possesses a firm hierarchy; their fanaticism is orderly and focused. Lightslayers, on the other hand, usually work alone. They make use of stealth, hit-and-run tactics, and the element of surprise. The only strong similarity between the two groups is the dedicated zeal with which both orders pursue their goals.
A branch of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow, led by a former soldier, trained the first lightslayers to combat Scarlet Crusade raids. Originally, the cult envisioned lightslayers as dark knights who would ride into battle against the agents of the Holy Light. To the cult's dismay, the Crusade's organized tactics ran roughshod over the newly trained dark knights.
Another branch of the cult, this one led by a charismatic and pragmatic Forsaken named Ilius, liked the concept of lightslayers, yet disagreed with their implementation. Ilius had been a human scout in life, but before that he had made a living as a sneak thief and burglar. He recalled those skills now to train a few faithful cultists and sent them on solitary missions against the Scarlet Crusade. These lightslayers proved much more effective, and their use has spread to many branches of the Forgotten Shadow.
The disorganized cult naturally has many different theories on how best to train and utilize lightslayers, but all agents possess basic similarities. The disorganized structure of the cult means that sometimes two or more lightslayers from different branches might embark on identical missions. More than once an assassination has failed when two lightslayers targeted the same mark on the same night and disrupted each other's plans. Ilius has made efforts to consolidate the lightslayers and their superiors into an organized network, but the different branches of the cult remain suspicious of each other. Each branch insists that it alone knows the true doctrine of the Forgotten Shadow and should therefore take control of a united lightslayer organization. It seems unlikely that Ilius will succeed in his unification attempt.
To be a lightslayer requires devotion to the cult, a measure of grace and skill, a willingness to learn and a fierce hatred for the Church of the Holy Light. Training emphasizes stealth and melee combat, and trainees also receive religious instruction. A potential lightslayer trains for a month with the cult, alternating classroom lesses on the history of the cult and the Church of the Holy Light with battlefield practice. The cult constructs special training facilities where trainees practice climbing, sneaking and lockpicking. The cult places little emphasis on finding and disarming traps; lightslayers are not common burglars. Trainees only learn how to open locks for those assassination missions that require them to enter bedchambers at night.
Once indoctrinated, a lightslayer receives missions to combat the Holy Light, particularly the Scarlet Crusade (though Knights of the Silver Hand and ordinary priests and parishioners are also fair game). These missions range from ambush to outright assassination. A lightslayer is as likely to lead a troop of knights into a forest trap as they are to sneak into a lone knight's bedchamber and behead him. Lightslayers also accept missions to thwart the Church of the Holy Light in other ways. These missions often require the aid of others; sometimes the cult recruits help, other times the lightslayer calls in favors. These missions include sabotaging caravans destined for Holy Light churches, disrupting important ceremonies, desecrating locations sacred to the Holy Light and seeking out lost relics to destroy.
A lightslayer spends months learning the teachings of the Forgotten Shadow and studying the beliefs of their enemies. The lightslayer’s devotion to the Forgotten Shadow protects them against the destructive power of the Holy Light. A skilled lightslayer’s experience in the field grants a lightslayer firsthand knowledge of how best to hurt their enemies. The highly skilled lightslayer’s faith grows strong enough to protect them against the spellcasting abilities of their enemies. They gain spell resistance against divine spells cast by paladins and priests of the Holy Light.
Lightslayers in the world
Lightslayers work alone and in the dark, and are loners by nature. They gravitate to the blackest places of the world, such as underground lairs and ruined towns overrun by the greedy and heartless. Despite - or perhaps because of - their bitter and cruel natures, lightslayers seem drawn to people with upbeat outlooks. Lightslayers remain aloof and withdrawn for the most part, but seem to crave the company of enthusiastic, happy individuals. Perhaps companions who have found peace with their lives inspire a lightslayer to make peace with their own rage and bitterness.
Each lightslayer has a home base, the town or city where the Cult of Forgotten Shadow trained them. The cult branch they associate with sends them on missions and provides them with training and sometimes with financing, so a lightslayer usually stays close to home. Most lightslayers have a single regular contact from the cult who acts as a liaison between the branch and the lightslayer. Such contacts try to remain aloof and emotionally distant from the lightslayer; they may guide several agents, and have undoubtedly lost many friends to dangerous missions. The Cult of Forgotten Shadow keeps a close eye on the lightslayers and so far has been careful to destroy any evidence of their activities. Lightslayers are often dispatched to clean up botched missions.
Due to the delicacy of lightslayer operations and the amount of coordination necessary to undertake one, lightslayers receive weeks or months of downtime between missions. During this time they sometimes research the movements of the Scarlet Crusade, but usually a lightslayer pursues their own agenda instead. They may travel with companions, track down powerful items they want to own or simply rest from their exertions.
Lightslayers often possessed a bent toward larceny and stealth in life. Many lightslayers once worked as thieves, brigands or assassins. Other lightslayers were penitents or even priests of the Holy Light in their old lives. They serve the Forgotten Shadow with a caustic zeal, loathing all reminders of the Light they once cared so much for. Such individuals train as rogues solely to enter the lightslayer ranks. Their predilection for stealth means that lightslayers favor light, quiet weapons, such as daggers, rapiers, short swords and hand crossbows. Even when not on a mission, lightslayers dress in dark colors and move with deliberate stealth.
Other Horde races distrust lightslayers on principle. No one with any sense trusts the Forsaken, and lightslayers are Forsaken who devote their lives to stealth, deception and murder. They are the least trustworthy of an untrustworthy lot. Orcs and tauren who follow shamanistic traditions sometimes feel a deep sadness for the lightslayer's lot. They see the lightslayers as individuals so consumed with hatred and despair that their only path is one of darkness and death. A kindhearted orc or tauren might attempt to befriend a lightslayer; should that prove impossible, he might try to at least be a calming influence and a compassionate ear for his companion. Many lightslayers secretly crave such understanding, though outwardly they rail at any sign of pity. The Alliance and the Church of the Holy Light suspects the existence of the lightslayers, but have not gathered solid proof yet. The Scarlet Crusade is convinced that the Forsaken muster organized resistance against them, but their claims remain unsupported (and in fact are mere supposition at this point; while the Forsaken certainly resist the Crusade, their organization leaves much to be desired).