Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Men at the Last

[Credit to Big Fella for the idea.]

The Men at the Last are an order of clerics, executioners, surgeons and mystics, who have accompanied the armies of Cournouaille since before the establishment of the Duchy. Usually not more than 100 in number, they tend to those wounded in battle or diseased - and are there to kill with mercy those who are beyond their help. They always do this with a misericorde - a long, very thin knife which they insert into the heart by plunging it down behind the collar bone or through the ribs. For heavily armoured men the blade is sometimes pushed in through the eye to the brain.

If they can, The Men at the Last attempt to capture the last breath of each patient in a glass jar - just before or after administering the coup de grace. A huge collection of these jars can be found in the order's headquarters, the monastery at Douamenez. Arranged in rows on shelves in a vast, domed hall, on hot days the sun streams in through the windows and makes the jars glow with astonishing clarity. On such days the men of the order gather in the chamber, imagining that they can see the very souls of the men they have slain, trapped within the jars.

Legend has it that when if ever Douamenez should be in peril, the jars can be shattered and the dead of Cournouaille will go to its rescue, whereafter they will achieve their final release.


  1. Also a little "Futurama" in there.

  2. Very cool.

    And those jars, if lost by the priests carrying them, could be very interesting magic items of some kind.

    (One thought that springs to mind is the contents of the jar would make a great ingredient for a Potion of Heroism.)

    In the Henry Ford museum in Deerborn, Michigan, among the displays of old machinery and vintage cars, is a small display containing a test tube that holds the final breath of Thomas Edison, captured by Ford's son by Edison's deathbed. Creepy and true, I have seen it with my own eyes. (That would make a fine MacGuffin for a horror/paranormal/urban magic campaign...)

  3. Roald Dahl's "BFG". That's all I have to say about this. ;)