The Fires of Vesta
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Leader: Meredin Sandyfoot
The Halfling Thieves’ Guild is a curious organization founded five generations ago by a thief named Irwin Shadelock. Many halflings on the Rock were the descendents of slaves that were dumped on Bral when they weren’t profitable or when police keeping organizations like the Elven Imperial Navy objected to the slave trade. Unskilled and considered physically and mentally inferior to other races by many others, the halflings were gradually pushed into a ghetto by discriminatory housing and renting laws.
Thievery was originally developed as a means of survival, and Irwin was no exception. What lead Irwin to change the halfling community was his ambition: he’d heard tales of an ancient and alien dungeon within the depths of the Rock, and alone braved the many puzzles and traps inside. His prize was a magical key that could open any lock. After several very successful jobs, Irwin donated the money to the much-in-need halfling community, and others flocked to his cause.
Since then, the Halfling Thieves’ Guild has grown larger and wider. Their headquarters is located on a layer inside the Rock, deeper than the sewers, from which they run a complicated smuggling and drug moving network. Despite the lucrative business, the halfling community seldom indulges in their own product, preferring to sell to outsiders and other races. In addition, the guild maintains a complicated information network and offers protection services to local businesses. The current guild master is Meredin Sandyfoot, a former thief who now serves as a coordinator and negotiator to the guild’s contacts. They have a long standing rivalry with the Shou Thieves, which has increasingly become violent over the past years.
Leader: Elric Ismark
Alignment: Lawful Good
The House of the Just is a paladin order composed of knights from across Known Space. Founded during the time of Prince Han, the purpose of the House is to provide an intermediary between various organizations of lawful and just warriors as well as provide resources and training to those paladins who travel across space. The House of the Just is the glue that ties together orders from dozens of star systems. While few of these knighthoods agree on everything, the purpose of the House of the Just is to put behind the specifics and see that forces of righteousness and justice are not lost in the great expanse of space.
It counts various churches of good deities as its allies. Though law is an important principle to the House, that alone is not enough to earn the paladins’ respect, as an even more important principle is that law is meaningless unless it promotes goodness. Despite common belief that the House is a rigid and strict organization, it is rather loosely defined. While Elric Ismark is the leader on the surface, in actuality he is merely a figurehead for those individuals and groups that wish to deal with the House to speak to. The paladins that are members of the House largely pursue their own objectives.
Most members of the House of the Just are paladins who are sent in their early years by their parent order to learn and train in space. It is often a challenging time for many young paladins, but they return with experience and wisdom that benefits their knighthood of origin. Thus, most paladins serve the House of the Just on a temporary basis, though some who make their homes in space stay permanently. It’s customary, though not required, for paladins arriving from distant orders to bring funds to help maintain the house, though there are many local businesses and nobles that also donate to the House of the Just. By special order of Prince Andru, paladins on the Rock are granted executive discretion to uphold and enforce Bral’s laws as they see fit, with an unspoken understanding that they also limit their interpretation of it and work alongside the city guard.