The PMC known as Der Säbel (The Saber) claims nearly five hundred soldiers in its employ. Its reputation (among those few who recognize the name) is truly vile. Der Säbel has been purportedly involved in all manner of ghastly atrocities: the massacre of a Bosnian village in 1996, the executions of Filipino prisoners in 1999, and multiple cases of ethnic cleansing in all parts of war-torn Africa. No one can identify its members because no one survived the attacks, and all traces of the soldiers behind them have vanished as well. Law enforcement agencies can’t get a lead on its members because they can’t find anyone belonging to the group. Only one man-founder Ernst von Kassel- has ever been identified and he moves too carefully to make any charges stick.
In actuality, the 500 soldiers claimed by Der Säbel don’t exist… at least not in any mortal form. They once belonged to von Kassel’s military regiment- a Hessian company in British employ during the late 18th century. They served under General John Brugoyne during the first part of the American Revolution, butchering colonists in New York and Vermont. During his stay in the Americas, von Kassel became fascinated with native superstitions and the magic that lay beneath them. He studied them intensively, convinced that he could use them to become immortal. He put that belief to the test during the march to Saratoga in 1777. The American militia cornered his forces somewhere west of Lake Champlain and slaughtered them to a man. Von Kassel allowed it to happen: the souls of his troops were vital to his plans, as were their violent deaths at the hands of colonists eager for revenge. He stole away from the battlefield shortly before they engaged the enemy and waited until that evening to return. The ground was soaked with the blood of his men, their bodies left for the ravens to devour. Drawing his saber, he planted it to the hilt in the center of the unhallowed ground and began his invocations.
It worked, though not entirely the way he thought. The souls of his men were drawn into the blade, filling him with unnatural life. So long as he kept the weapon on his person, he would not age: the power within it would sustain his youth and vitality. However, the weapon could not leave his side for more than a few hours, or the spell’s strength would weaken. Moreover, the Hessian souls within needed feeding of their own: the blood of innocents that had fueled their rage in life now became their sole source of sustenance in death.
Von Kassel was more than happy to pay the price and Der Säbel now exists as a means of keeping his weapon primed. He accepts contracts from those looking to spill indiscriminate blood, then travels to the desired location and invokes the blade. The souls of his men spring forth, rotted and blood-splattered, to butcher all in their sight. They return to the weapon to give their master the immortality he so craves. None have yet seen them and lived, and von Kassel keeps up the pretense that his troops are “normal” soldiers to keep investigators off the track. He keeps the saber in a modified briefcase, handcuffed to his wrist at all times. When working it in the field, he straps the weapon to his waist, along with the scabbard that held it those long centuries ago. The work keeps him eternally young and the pay provides the leverage to enjoy it. He doesn’t belong to any given faction or nation for that matter. Beyond eternal youth and an inability to be harmed, he has no other powers or abilities. He fears only the loss of his saber… and what the ghosts of his men might do to him if they ever broke free of its yoke.