Kingdom of Aeristine
The Underbelly of Burke
There are two major criminal factions in the City of Burke, vying for control and domination of the city. Both are known to have tendrils in and through the official government channels as well as influence over various vendors, merchants, and craftsmen.
The first is known as the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, while not the city’s first or only guild of thieves, is the most powerful and prominent. Unlike most powerful guilds, they allow lesser thieves’ guilds and independent rogues to operate undisturbed in the city. This allows them the ability to readily shift blame and implicate others when accused of wrongdoing. This also vaults them into an elite status that draws the talented resources from the lesser guilds while filtering out the chaff. Any other guilds that get too influential or interfere with the plans of the Brotherhood, are likely to bring their ire and significant resources to bear. The Brotherhood has a sophisticated network of fences, safe-houses, on-staff barristers, a well-organized black market, and a highly sophisticated network of spies and informants, both mundane and magical in nature. They are usually the first pointed to whenever a high-stakes robbery occurs. The leader of the Brotherhood is known directly by only a handful of other semi-anonymous high-ranking members, but is known to all as the Master of Shadows.
The second faction of major significance is The Family Belagosi. The Belagosi family is the one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Burke, and ages past was its ruling family, under the rule of Count Erik von Belagosi. The Count was cast down from power when the Kingdom of Aeristine was formed around 170 years ago and the new monarch installed his cousin to rule over the area as a duke. The Family Belagosi has never forgotten this affront to its honor, and continually plots and schemes to increase its political influence in the city and would no doubt seize control if the opportunity presented itself. No fewer than five of the city’s council members are known to have direct familial ties to the Belagosi, as well as several magistrates and the vizier to the Duke, securing the Family’s continuing influence.
While the Family has risen to a very prominent status in the political structure of the city, it is ever unsatisfied with its less-than-supreme control over the city. The head of the family, Baron Evald von Belagosi III, is known to all as ‘The Father’ or for those less familiar, ‘Father Belagosi.’ Through his political ties and allies, he remains untouchable to legal prosecution. The Family, is feared and respected by most of the populace and is rumored to be involved in all manner of illicit trade, gambling rings, and racketeering operations. At least two ‘Security’ companies can be tied to the Family, which frequently compete to see who can extort the most from the local businesses in the way of ‘protection money.’ A group peddling assorted addictive drugs and potions, calling itself ‘The Source,’ is also suspected of being another arm of the Family’s empire. Lastly, several of the best brothels in the city are owned and operated by members of the Family. The Family’s information network is not nearly as sophisticated as the Brotherhood’s, but thugs in the Family’s employ are notorious for finding and extracting answers to vexing questions.
The Father has few enemies in the open, as most who openly oppose him or his interests disappear or end up dying in horrible, violent accidents or quietly assassinated in their beds. Naturally, there are never any ties or evidence that lead back to The Family directly; these events merely seem to always work in their favor…
The struggle between these two groups is apparent, from skirmishes in the street, to brazen daytime robberies. A constantly shifting turf war waxes and wanes as the two groups apply their considerable resources to up-end or disrupt the other.
The Hatchet Clan
- There is a smuggling ring, suspected to be managed by the Family, called the Hatchet Clan
- Each of its members are proficient with dual-wielding Hand axes, and usually carry two spare for throwing.
- They indicate rank with different colored sashes.
- The have a base in a warehouse by the docks on the west end of the Northern Commons.
- They have been recently importing rare dwarven goods while the rest of the market supply is drying up. Mythril is available cheaply in the black market, meaning well armed ruffians abound.