Part Five: Organisations of Conclave
More powerful than the nations whose boundaries they transcend, the Merchants League is a massive conglomeration of 'Merchant Clans' who have banded together for mutual protection, and for the purpose of adjudicating trade disagreements. The League maintains a huge fleet and can field a considerable military force to protect its assets. Although it claims to put trade before conquest, it is the effective ruler of many countries. Only the protracted in-fighting between the clans prevents it from becoming ever more powerful.
What the League won't touch, the Black River Society deals with. Illicit goods, 'warm cargo' (i.e slaves), drugs, poisons, guns from Hudan; the Black River Society casts a world-wide net of criminal activity, backed up by many legitimate fronts to keep the money going round.
The Shadows of Radiance are agents of the Empire willing to go beyond the boundaries of proscribed society to further the aims of the Empire. It is rumoured that the Shadows of Radiance are seeking a way to re-invigorate the ailing Empire, and the best way to do that is through war.
The Ulvoski are the inquisitors of the Vaartan Church. Robed in black these zealots are given special dispensation to use forbidden magic to root out heresy.
And speaking of forbidden magic, there are rumours of a covert struggle between the Followers of Vuul, widespread cultists who seek to resurrect a dismembered evil god and the Dark Sphere, magicians who are willing to sacrifice all (including innocent by-standers) to prevent them.
Other groups exist with more local concerns. The Retrievers are Hudanese agents sent to recover stolen technology; the Tuuma Cormayr are one of the most powerful pirate groups of the Southern Sea who have a pact with shark spirits and the Jade Sword are a gang of renegades who fight for the poor and innocent of the Ashoyin Protectorate.
(c) 2006 The Creative Conclave.