In the shadow of the Cataclysm and the Empire, monsters ravaged the land. Entire cities were left defenseless as their police and military guardians were embroiled in a brutal civil war. This left all manner of undead, demons and beasts to run rampant. All this was exacerbated by the use of vampires and monsters by the Empire to crush the Goldfield Movement.

In response to this monstrous threat, the Extermination Corps was founded. It had a simple prerogative: Slay monsters. Protect humanity. Survive.

The Extermination Corps grew quickly, as war orphans and volunteers flocked to its blank banner. The Corps had no symbol. No emblem. No official insignia. All that denoted membership to its ranks was a tattoo on one’s arm. Two numbers. A division and one’s number in that division.

The Corps started with a skeleton crew of ex-soldiers and police but grew as volunteers were recruited. These volunteers came to be almost exclusively the survivors of monster attacks, and often orphans. Volunteers were often as young as 13 years old.

The modus operandi of the Corps was to recruit survivors at the scene of the attack, after exterminating the assailant. Desperate for revenge, most survivors would join the ranks of monster hunters.

But what they often found was more than revenge. They found a place they belonged. The only people who understood the loss they felt. And the only people they believed were doing something about it.

The Corps’ leadership and members ignored the affairs of the Magocracy, and the mages in charge allowed them to persist as they also felt a resentment towards the monsters and non-humans who had hunted them during the civil war. The Corps ignored the 1999 coup and the mages appreciated their abstention, as it served as passive support. As a result, the Extermination Corps was given increased funding and came to be more well-funded than the police force.

Until 2015, when the international community uncovered the Extermination Corps work in executing mass swathes of fae, elves, dryads, goblins, orcs, vampires, werewolves and other sentient non-humans. The international community was outraged and demanded that the Corps be disbanded.

Extermination Corps
An insignia often used by the Defangers, a specialist anti-vampire unit of the Extermination Corps.

It was – at least officially. While now illegal, the police and influential mages in the Magocracy still supported the cause, and continued funding the Corps. It now acted in the shadows. Without legal oversight or official authority, it was now unchained. During these years, it began to drift from being a military organisation to becoming part warrior order, part cult, part family.

“We sacrifice everything
To avenge the fallen
To purify the world
Of the monsters and the demons.
Never forget
Earth is ours
And we will retake our world.
The darkness holds no terror
That the light cannot purify.
And the Corps will outlast the end of the world.” – Oath of the Extermination Corps

The Corps formulated its own doctrine, philosophy, moral system and unique hierarchy. Rather than being a special police force, the Corps became a body dedicated to vengeance and finding meaning in a world where all one had loved has been brutally killed.

The Corps used child soldiers, but it wasn’t simple exploitation. Every soldier consented. And the dangers of the Corps was not slavery, over-discipline or carnage – it was that the Corps became the only thing that many people had left. They grew a true dependency on the Corps. Every single person from soldier to leader relied on the Corps as their family and community.

For a Corpsman, there was only the Corps and their vendetta. And for many, this was the limits of their world. It was hard to escape the cycle of hatred. But there was also love. Corpsman were united, understanding, and loyal.

While the Corps was divided into specialist squads facing down different monsters (what they called ‘vendettas’), the Corps acted as a monolithic entity. Its members acted in accordance with that idea. All that mattered was the Corps, because the Corps was all they had left. And it would outlast the world.

But it didn’t.

In 2030, the Extermination Corps was shutdown after its key leaders were arrested and all its funding cut-off. The Magocracy police took over monster hunting duties, and the Extermination Corps was expunged from the national memory of the Magocracy – painted in the same brush as the SS in post-WW2 Germany.

But the members of the Corps live on, and they are dedicated to their oaths. While they now call themselves the Silver Brotherhood, or the Defangers, or any other monicker, the Extermination Corps lives on in the hearts and traumatised dreams of its surviving members. And it will outlast the Cataclysm, and the end of the world.