Within the Ebony Order of The Moon is an elite force of assassin-spies which forms the backbone of a large network of intelligence gathering and seedy dealings throughout the continent. They are the worst-kept secret of The Trust, billing themselves as secret and known only to a few, yet known to nearly all. Though their existence is hardly a secret, their internal organization (if any) is virtually unknown, except that they take their orders from whomever oversees the Ebony Order.
It is thought that each member of the organization is personally selected by the Archmage of the Ebony Order as a reward for loyalty and subservience. This allows the group to function secondarily as personal guards to the leader of the mage order, and executioners to carry out his or her personal dirty work as needed.
Primarily, assassinations and intelligence gathering are the forte of the Nightstalkers. Though it is commonly assumed that the targets of the assassination are dictated by the leader of the Ebony Order, who also receives the fruits of the intelligence taken from around the continent, the truth is that the Nightstalkers are a convenient scapegoat for The Trust to use in situations where it does not want to get its hands dirty. Many missions carried out by the group originate from discussions on the High Mage Council, clandestine or otherwise. Goodly mage orders would of course never consent to assassinations, but in dire cases have looked the other way during these meetings, and for the most part none of the Nine Orders of Magic object to intelligence when it benefits The Trust. All in all, even though there is dissent over how the Nightstalkers operate, the ends are rarely disputed.
Due to the nature of the group’s mission, its members have become renowned experts in magical concealment and remote sensing. Their research has focused on the use of magic to get into and out of places undetected, and how to detect what goes on in those places without needing to enter at all. Since most self-respecting powerful figures who have information to hide often understand the need to take measures against scrying and unauthorized entry, the Nightstalkers have become adept at countering these protections.
Curious-minded mages serving the Nightstalkers have also worked hard to perfect magical poisons. The need to kill quickly and reliably is in high demand among the membership, and several concoctions of plants and herbs mixed with magical enchantments known only to the group have served this need handily. Nevertheless, there is always an arms race involved when it comes to poisons and countering their affects, and when one becomes known and targets begin to guard against it, there is need to develop another, which the mages of the organization are happy to do.
As a precautionary measure to guard their own information, most organizations of The Trust actively avoid contact with the Nightstalkers. No one wants to be the target of the group’s intelligence efforts, and even less so its assassinations. Some have suspected a connection between the Nightstalkers and The Burning Page, particularly a subgroup of that vast organization called The Death Runes. Like the Nightstalkers, The Death Runes are a widely-distributed intelligence organization, but with highly-developed merchant and mercenary forces existing mostly in the Underdark. The Nightstalkers wish to spread their influence into the depths below Negaria’s surface, which is a goal shared by its superiors in the Ebony Order. Meanwhile, The Death Runes wish to do the opposite and establish ties to the surface. A blooming partnership benefits both groups, but would be scandalous for The Trust. A newly spreading group called The Glyph Bringers is a sister organization to The Death Runes operated by saemilists whom The Trust suspects are in competition for magical knowledge.