The Aprendice Phantasms were(are?) a group of assassins and thieves, so called because of their tendency to completely disappear and leave little trace of their thieveries behind, aside from a signature.
Establishment & KillingsEdit
In -288 CE, Baldwin Aprendice became disgruntled at a neighbor. The head of his own household, he enlisted his two sons, Simon and Lewis(aged eight and ten at the time, respectively) to slip into his neighbors' home and nick small things. They started off stealing baskets, gardening tools, and the like, before eventually taking food and money. The older the children got, the more they stole, and though investigations were made over the course of the next decade, there was no way to properly pin the crimes upon the Aprendice household.
With the two children growing quickly and now having few skills aside from moving about undetected and thievery, they decided to move to the city of Soncton and put their skills to good use. They stole much from the middle-class, and were said to often bully members of the lower class for entry into homes and a place to sleep. After a year, the two had grouped together with and trained several more thieves, and they now formed a troupe of five skilled criminals, operating out of the slums of Soncton.
In one of their first attempts at the robbing of a noble's home, the servingman heard a bump and went to investigate. When he began to yell for help, Simon was said to "bite and claw at the man's neck, like an animal, until long after even the gurgling had stopped."(From an interview prior to the execution of one of the original three men helping the Aprendice.) Having now alerted the household with the commotion, the other four swept through the house and swiftly cut the necks of everyone in the household. They managed to slip away soon after, unnoticed by city guards.
The Phantasms didn't know at the time the commotion they had set off with the murders, but latched onto it as soon as they learned that the family killed had been that of Christopher Nakita. A wave of paranoia swept through the nobility, and the phantasms took their chance to expand their network of thievery throughout the city and swiftly, silently murder any members of the nobility or upper class who could be seen as prominent enough to have a ripple on society's face if they were to die, leaving only a scrawled signature upon a wall, reading "The Phantoms of the Aprendice."
The three who assisted Simon and Lewis Aprendice for nearly a decade of murder and thievery were all caught, tried, and executed, though the Aprendice brothers themselves were never caught nor heard from again. The Phantasms continued to operate for at least 30 more years, although on a much less public scale.
Phantasms in the Modern AgeEdit
Three years ago, copycats began cropping up, seemingly at random. The scrawled signatures, the systematic killings, and the apparent elusiveness of the criminals cropped up in several cities, but each perpetrator was quickly apprehended and each admitted to being a copycat, trying to draw the attention away from themselves in personal scuffles and grasps for money.
Perhaps the most disturbing of these cases led to an abandoned crypt just outside of Soncton proper. While old, it was quite elegant, and contained two stone caskets. One was simply marked "Our Phantoms," and the complete skeletal remains of two men were found inside. The other was dug out into a system of tunnels. No one who has entered the tunnels has made it safely out; they are apparently full of traps. Since the time the crypt was found, no further explorations of the tunnels have been led. Many think that this is the modern den of the Phantasms themselves, though no evidence has been brought forth to prove this.