Final Debrief

"Hunter Mathew. Welcome to your final debrief. Please state your name, rank and registration."   Without a second of hesitation he replies to the query "Mathew Hayes. Hunter. A8P17QRX."   "Thank you. Do you have any questions, Hunter Mathew?"   "Am I not dead? Where am I?"   "You died in the line of duty. This is your final debrief. Take a deep breath, Hunter, we have a lot to cover."   "Right. Shit. I guess I lost that bet."   Specialist Wen smiles for a brief moment and says "Hopefully they will not realize that they won the bet anytime soon."
The final debrief has been a standard procedure in the Hunter's Guild for several centuries. During this time the rumors of its existence have always been there, but were never confirmed and most hunters assume that it is nothing more than a legend. Those that do know of its existence are sworn to secrecy.   The debrief is done with the soul of the deceased hunter. The soul is captured by a soul cage that every hunter is bonded to during the Blessing Ceremony. A soul cage can be found in every regional headquarter. Once the soul is captured the specialist enters the room within the soul cage to conduct the debrief as an astral projection.  


When a hunter dies a huge asset of the guild is lost. It is a major investment to train and equip capable hunters. They need the tools to survive a very dangerous life. The death of a hunter often means that mistakes were made. The debrief aims to uncover what these mistakes were and help the guild to prevent them from happing again in the future.   In addition, it gives the hunter a chance to record or hand over any knowledge or intelligence that could be useful to the guild and other hunters. Though this has become less important as knowledge management in the guild has been improved many times since the debriefs first happened.


Every debrief follows a simple common structure. In some cases this structure is derailed when the hunter has something else to say, but the specialists attempt to keep the debrief on task. They take regular breaks as the debrief usually takes several days. In rare cases it can take weeks.

The Last Mission

"First I would like to talk about your last mission."   "Right. The one that killed me. That vampire was so fast. Who was she?"   "Please start at the beginning. We will get to her in time."   "Yeah, sure. It all started with the briefing. Seemed like a standard grab mission. A dangerous supernatural who escaped from prison."
  The recounting of the last mission of the killed hunter often brings valuable insight in how it happened. Unlike the people still alive they have no longer any reason to hide mistakes that were made. It killed them after all. This of course only happens when the hunter was killed directly in the line of duty and not from something else.   Starting with this also helps the hunter comes to terms with the fact that they have just died. In many cases, this is very traumatic as death is usually not a nice experience, but it is something that has to be done. Most hunters come out with some peace of mind from telling their last story.
Debrief Specialists
  The debrief is handled by a senior specialist with years of training and experience. They are recruited after they have spent many decades proving their loyalty and skill to the guild. The people asked have conducted many interviews, interrogations or therapy sessions of different kinds throughout their careers. Handling the debriefs is a delicate and important matter and cannot be done by amature.   The debrief itself is listened to by a second specialist. As observers, they then discuss the interview with the leading specialist during breaks and give hints to something that the lead might have missed. This concept ensures a high quality during any debrief session.   The final debrief specialists are members of the Phantom Division and recruited by its director personally.
"Why did you feel that you had to kill her?"   "I ... I just remembered that the commander repeated many times that we could not allow her to survive. She is too dangerous."   "is?"   "Yeah I failed after all. She was still alive when everything became black. And then I came here. The last thing I remember is the sword coming towards my face."   "The team reported that you killed her."   "What? No. I mean she was dying, but the vampire stopped my spear. She was way too fast. I didn't think she would just kill me."   "Then you believe the woman is still alive?"   "I'm not sure. Could be. You seem relieved?"   "That woman was a witness. Your commander wanted her dead."

From the Beginning

"Everything?!" asks Mathew exasperated. The specialist had just told him that his commander was a traitor. Mathew would have done anything for him. His mind was racing trying to figure out what he could have missed. Or why this woman would lie to him. "Did the commander really betray the guild?"   "Let's start at the beginning. What was your first contact with the Guild?" ignoring his question.   "I ... Fine. My dad was a hunter."
This second part can take a long time. It is rare that the full life is debrief in detail, but the specialists attempt to at least match up the important events from the reports. They look for anything that could be important. Anything that could be out of place between the story that the hunter tells and the one that the reports tell. These differences can help to find issues and traitors. Though in most cases everything is just as expected.

Updating the Will

"Can I speak to Larissa?"   "No, you may not speak to your wife here. Or anyone other than me." answers Specialist Wen. "You may edit your will one last time but we will make sure there are no hints in there that you wrote it after your death."
  At the end of the debrief the hunter receives a chance to update their Will. Although all hunters are regularly reminded to keep their will up to date, but it is not something that many do. Few think that they will need it soon despite the dangerous nature of their work.
Soul Room
  A small room that is modeled by the soul cage on the preferences of the soul that is trapped within that room. It is supposed to feel like home. Though there are always two chairs facing each other somewhere in the room where the interview takes place. The debrief specialist can tweek the properties of the room to some extent. Especially if the trapped soul proves to be uncooperative or even hostile.
Non-Guild Hunters
  Those hunters who have left the guild after receiving the blessing are still called in for this debrief. For many of them this comes as a huge surprise that they are still interviewed. These interviews usually focus on the reasons for them to leave the guild and what they have done afterwards.   These talks often become much more hostile as these hunters do not just volunteer all the information the specialist wants to know. Although torture is never used there are still many interrogation tactics that can be deployed. The most common is simply time, once trapped within the soul cage the soul can not escape by itself. After a few years of interrogation and waiting anyone may no longer be willing to protect the secrets of their past life.

What will you do Next?

Once the debrief ends the hunter has a choice to make.    


The final rest for all hunters. What happens after this is unknown. Many hunters believe that they will join the deity of the hunt in her hunting grounds for all eternity. This is the most common choice by senior hunters that have seen their fair share of action and lived their life to a nice conclusion.  
Retire!? I am just 28 years old! I can't already retire.
— Hunter Mathew

Legion of Glory

The Legion of Glory defends Earth from extra-dimensional invaders. Hunters make for great soldiers with their skills and experience. A hunter who decides to join the legion is trapped within a soul shard. This soul shard is then embedded in a new body and the hunter is sent to the front lines. These hunters usually join special units or assume commanding positions and are an important asset and highly respected within the Legion.  
The Legion, eh? Would be nice I guess. Kill a bunch demons and other monsters. But what is their retirement plan?
— Hunter Mathew
  Join Now!

Phantom Division

A special task force of elite hunters to combat astral and similar supernatural threats and collect intelligence both within and outside of the guild. Not everyone is offered this option, but when it is offered many take it.  
The phantoms are real!? And I can join them? Am I even good enough? I've heard they only accept the best!
— Hunter Mathew
  Join Now!

Cover image: Book of Magic by TJ Trewin


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25 Feb, 2022 14:08

Enjoy the Phantom Division, Mathew!   Now shipping him with the vampire...

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
25 Feb, 2022 14:13

But she put a sword through his head...

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
25 Feb, 2022 14:39

I've seen worse Enemies To Lovers slowburns. Tasked to investigate his treacherous ex-commander and her, clashing, protecting, fighting side-by-side, at some point the reveal to her that she's the one that killed him, eventually they become lovers. I can ship it.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
25 Feb, 2022 15:01

Very nicely done. I love playing with the concepts of death and afterward when magic is available to alter it. The thought you put into this shows, and the quotes really pull the whole article together. It was a great read.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
25 Feb, 2022 15:31

Thank you, SolarCat! Means a lot coming from a necromancy fan like yourself! :)

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
25 Feb, 2022 16:50

Thanks! Necromancy is a Wholesome Science!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
25 Feb, 2022 21:08

Hi Soullink - this is really great. i love the concept of the soul cage and the bureaucratic feel of the transition to the afterlife. You asked for feedback on the Discord, and all I can think is perhaps you could make it a bit clearer at the start what the core purpose of the debrief is... why do they do it and whose interest is it in? Do people try to lie their way through a debrief? Is the outcome important to the soul being debriefed? What happens to the souls afterwards?

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26 Feb, 2022 13:33

Thank you for your questions! I added a little section on the key / original purpose of the debrief. I might expand on this more later. The people who are debriefed are loyal hunters most of the time so they would not have any reason to lie.   As to what happens with the soul depends which of the three options the soul chooses and is either unknown or will be expanded in the linked articles eventually. :)

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