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"The Shades are coming, the Shades are coming! Lurkers running, Lurkers running! Rovers are hunting, they are stalking! Watch out for spinners always lying. Dash and pay the pursers hands. Hope to masters the shield still stands."
~ Cartel Initiates Rhyme

It all began only a few decades after the Krytan Civil War, in the dark docks of old Lion's Arch, there ran gangs. Each was backed by the Aekart Family as a means to keep an eye on their rival companies. Sometimes these gangs would sabotage shipments or even kill sea captains to hold up the cargo ships' day of sail. Whenever the Lionguard came to investigate, their hopes in breaking the gangs fell apart. The gang members communicated using a broken mixture of Krytan and Ascalonian.

After the fall of the Era of Bosses, and return to the new Lion's Arch after the city's re-founding, after years of evolving north in Divinity's Reach, the Cant had taken on Elonan and even Canthan terms. Within a few years of the Cartel accepting more non-humans into its fold, the Cant began to evolve even further. Norn, Asuran and even Charr terms began to rapidly evolve the language to the point where few of the original speakers who might have remained would barely comprehend it.

Modern TimesEdit

In the Dragon-Haunted Times of the modern era, the Cipher Tongue of the Cartel is simple, and yet diverse in some areas. Overall it is a mesh of terms from all the cultures and individuals who have spoken it over the past century. Many in the Cartel learn it during the early stages of their time as initiates or as Cartelites. Many of the information in the Cartel is taught in rhymes, or simple sayings passed down over the years. The usage of Ashic (as it has come to be called) is generally reserved for conversation between Cartelites, especially when they discuss issues in public. Ashic is generally composed of not only terms, but specific phrasing that often implies a different meaning than what it might seem.


The terms, and even the dialect of Ashic, differs depending upon which sect the user is from. Sects often employ their own vernacular, including words and terms specific to that sect.

Ashic General TermsEdit

Alms Money or funds
Bane Local Enemies of the Cartel
Banner The local operation one works for
Birdy A traitor or informant
Charity Collection payments gathered in extortion, bribery or protection
Count / Countess A member of the Crown
Combo A double hit
Contact A veteran Cartelite who traines initiates in the way of their chosen Sect
Divorce To break a contract
Drace To get high on a drug. A reference to the loss of one's mind when becoming a dragonminion
Draco Someone who is not to be trusted
Draggie A dragon minion

A planned hit. (example: We're having dinner with him tomorrow)

Dockwise To be street smart, a term from back when ashic was used by the Wharf Barons
Dues A local Cartel operation
Elder A former member of Legate or Master rank who has retired from their Position.
Folkshome A central location of cartel activity
Founder Aekart the Founder
Foundling A member of the Five Families (Sometimes called Blood)
Gate To purposely block someone or undermine them

From the word gladium, means something of lesser value. Often used as a derogatory term (example: Glad-kin "Lower ranked sect")

"Got Horns" Means to have balls, to have guts
Handler A Cartel recruiter
Horn A Charr (refers to their four horns)
Impera From the word imperator, something of greater value
Kin A term for a sect (Example: Spear-kin, Crown-kin, Tome-kin)
Knob Mutation of the word noble, a candidate or person of authority in the Cartel's employ or control
Lament The reputation and story behind a Cartelite's current status
Made To gain rank and favor.
Magus (plural Magi) A member of the Tome.
The Mark Amulet worn to gain access to the MIM
Marriage A gathering to negotiate a contract, or general negotiating
Minister Someone who earns large amounts for the Cartel
My Employers Simple way to state you serve the cartel
Player A member of the Trust
The Pub Central location for Cartel activity and meetings
Rally An unsanctioned murder of a non-Catelite
Red List A significant threat to be killed in an ordered hit (Once killed, the threat has been Red Listed)
Rider A drug user, someone who likes to drace a lot
Salt The act of war or feud and/or a mass order decreed to wipe out a significant threat to the Cartel (noun: Find the Salt(ed) or He/she is a salt) (verb: Salt him/her/them or He/she/they have been salted)
Scamp A companion or escort
Sentinel A member of the Spear
Shade A member of the Shadow
Shifter A Norn (reference to the shapeshifting abilities)
Sixer A human (reference to the belief in the Six gods)
Skab A non-Cartelite

A narcotic or narcotics (example: I got me some sparkly to drace)

Spirits Any reference towards a form of belief (taken from the term, Spirits of the Wild)
Stabber A non-family servant or member of the Cartel, a family slang term referencing the betrayal they suffered at the end of the Era of Bosses.
Union The Cartel as a whole or the legal face of the Cartel
Venter A sylvari (reference to the Ventari Tablet that they follow)
Vestor Short for investor, someone above in rank who is backing another's work in the Cartel
Wanderer The Wandering Asura
Wing Any form of authority, a term that used to refer to the Seraph alone
Yap An asura (refers to their stereotypical mouthy nature)