The Order of Qualmë is said to hearken back some millennia ago, taking its root and form in old Elven forests dotted by the Kingdom of Valos. According to letters and books hidden and eventually recovered by future Qualmë scions, the order had been founded by a fanatic Elven Ranger, known to the histories simply as Eldar. Interestingly enough, the name and profession corresponds with a notorious Elven criminal of Valos, who killed a king in cold blood, and martyred himself some 700 years ago.
The Order of Qualmë functions partially as an assassin organisation, but also as a religious order. The former guise is of common knowledge to many in the continent, the latter only known to committed members, and perhaps those intrepid enough to delve deep into folklore and the history of assassinations. Given the nature of the Order, many of those who commit themselves to studying it without an intention to join, often end up disappeared. Because of a fear of exposure and reprisal from the kingdoms and duchies that Qualmë has its branches in, the Order carefully recruits members of the landed gentry and of the local courts when it can, to downplay its true nature and location.
The Order of Qualmë mainly operates away from towns and cities, in secret communities underground by forests and mountains. These communities generate resources and income of their own, and produce a high quality weapon for its operations from Núlë, a rare breed of tree especially cultivated from strands taken from the tree that Eldar made his first home. While many associate Qualmë with a skull and crossbones symbol, its true sigil derives from the nature of the Order itself; the worship of Hurax, god of death, life and renewal. Scions of the Order believe that Hurax represents an end to all things, but also a beginning of a new cycle for those souls, and seek to kill in order to draw closer to him. For this, the Order is represented truly by a snake eating its tail, known as an Ouroboros.
One of Qualmë's most important focuses is the acquisition of knowledge, old and new. The pursuit of knowledge is handled by the right hand of Qualmë, the order of monks and mystics, while the left hand, the assassins and spies, are sent to follow up on whatever orders they are given. To this end, the leader of each branch of Qualmë, elder shamans who are said to commune every full moon with a powerful spirit in order to determine what path is to be taken, will send operatives to infiltrate various groups, fellowships and factions, either to discover information, or destroy it.