Name: Marcheval Dufien
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
The city of Udynaesses located in the border region of Groam and Caheb has been a lawless pit ever since the area was ravaged by a devastating plague and while the region in general has more or less recovered, the city of Udynaesses unfortunately has not. With a long and glorious history as the once capital city of Caheb, Udynaesses was seized by Groam during the period of plague some 80 years ago and is the southernmost population center of Groam. Groam hasn’t had an interest in keeping the place in line though and mostly this is because it’s hard to reach from Groam – one would have to travel through dense jungles, cross snow peaked mountains or risk dehydration if reaching by desert.
The de facto ruler of Udynaesses is now Marcheval Dufien who is known and feared in the region less affectionately as “The Beheader” because beheading his enemies is his signature gesture of power. Marcheval lives in a small fortified desert castle (Villa Hargassah – in reality not a castle but a well fortified villa) just a few kilometers south of Udynaesses. His power in the region is partially backed up by groups of Caheb origin wishing to see the city revert back to Caheb and this goal can possibly be achieved by disrupting the nominal leader of the city – commander Remnor Galant. Galant is appointed and backed up Groam but in truth has little say in the day-to-day affairs of the city.
Marcheval is of mixed descendence himself having a father from Groam and mother from Caheb and he himself initially had no political motivation – he didn’t care which country called the city as it’s own – but things have changed since the day when he saw a possibility, grabbed it and became the feared ruler of the city by joining a few of the bigger outlaw groups and creating a unified force with him in the lead. Formerly he had made a name for himself by running various small-time crime operations in the region and gradually becoming a prominent crime ring leader. Since effectively taking over the city he has had ample opportunities to further line his pockets with coin and strengthen his presence in the region. He has no official intention of competing with the mighty countries Groam and Caheb – both of which countries haven’t shown much interest in returning rule of law to the city – but lately he has been contemplating with the possibility of forming an independent city-state and also seizing control of the harbor towns of Tash and Calemnor located in the south coast of Dhaira Bay. His plans are known only to a select handful of his most trusted men. Common people see him only as a violent opportunistic brute whose aim in life is to cause misery and pain.
As a man Marcheval is cunning and brutal. He believes that maintaining and attaining political and military power as well as coin actually requires the use of violence and that the brutality of the violence used must exceed that of the opposition – whoever it happens to be. Mercy and forgiveness are not words in his vocabulary. In a relaxed state he is actually quite jovial and friendly even but he rarely shows that side of himself in public; it’s strictly reserved to close friends and manifested within closed quarters.
It has been rumored that Marcheval is somehow linked to the so called Dhaira Cult and one of it’s leaders – the High Priestess Chya. The nature and intimacy of their relationship is subject to speculation, however, but apparently Chya has been spotted at Marcheval’s villa on several occasions when wild (and some witnesses would use the word vile as well) festivities have taken place. Whatever their relationship actually is, some of Marcheval’s backers are less than thrilled about it since Chya’s activities directly threaten many prominent families and the coastal city of Tash in particular. And since the city of Tash is firmly under Caheb control, groups that are friendly with Marcheval against the invading Groam are very wary not to undermine their own country’s power in nearby Caheb -controlled cities.
Name: Hart Miklo
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
The life of a treasure hunter is really not that glamorous as common tavern chatter would have you believe. Then again, only the most extraordinary feats are usually good enough to end up as tales repeated over a tankard of ale. Hart Miklo was once a farm hand and a stable boy making a barely meager living in a small rural town of Maekones just north of the northernmost tip of Dhaira Bay in Groam. On free evenings he marveled at the tales spewed forth by a local veteran treasure hunter by the name of Janos Martol who liked his mug full of ale and a crowd around him centered at him. Janos Martol was full of big fat lies about his travels in search of long lost treasure from the jungles west of Dhaira Bay. His tales of bravado and untold riches just waiting for their finder were enough to convince young Hart that his place in this world should be somewhere else than in a quiet little farm surrounded by horses, pigs and goats.
20 years later and Hart Miklo’s name is quite well known among the people as a treasure hunter of some fame. He has never struck gold as such but has been part of several successful expeditions that made back their investments a dozen times over. However, gambling, drinking and stupid wagers have been around Miklos’ adulthood as flies are around a dog’s turd and he has pretty much lost every penny he has ever gained. He also buried a sizable amount of money a few years ago while he was extremely drunk and come next day he forgot where he buried it. It’s somewhere in Udynaesses for sure and contains a few kilo’s worth of gold and silver artifacts retrieved from an ancient ruined temple.
Hart is an easy going fella with a witty mouth and fast legs both of which are many times used in conjunction as he has the bad habit of not controlling his verbal output while intoxicated and intoxication is not an uncommon state for him. He is quite funny to be around and while a bit mischievous at times, he is still trustworthy and values a good friendship above else. Hart has been in Udynaesses for a few years and considers this lawless city as his home now. He is always looking for jobs somehow related to treasure hunting and has a rather well rounded skill set for such work.
Name: Dominique Atel
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
As a pathmage of some reputation, Groam has been a good source of income for Dominique. She has helped countless caravans and small groups in finding their way out of troubled locations or alternately into troubled locations they wish to enter. Dominique settled to Udynaesses a long time ago after a very lucrative job of helping a wealthy, but somewhat mysterious, extended family of some 20 persons to safety away from Udynaesses’ poverty, decadence, violence and corruption. Dominique herself did not flee the city but decided to stay instead.
Since moving to Udynaesses some 20 years earlier, Dominique has specialized in creating and selling all sorts of magical wardings. Her repertoire includes warding stones, warding crystals, warding jewelry and warding clothing items. She is not actively selling her stuff, but instead has a small network of known associates who refer seekers of said items to her. She is also not doing it for the money any more – she has plenty of that to go around already. That fact also gives her justification to refuse certain clients or requests of wardings with a possibly malevolent intent and some other tasks pathmages are sometimes requested to do. Dominique lives in the north side of the city’s centre in a spacious villa abandoned by her former clients. She has further fortified the villa. The villa has about 20 or so residents most of which work for Dominique either as helping hands or apprentices.
Dominique’s warding stones are very popular due to their reliability among certain groups. Local guides, mercenary bands, hunters and such – even the feared crime lord Mercheval Dufien – buy the bulk of Dominique’s warding stones. Stories abound that Dominique’s warding stones against, for example wild animals, work easily a fortnight even if used every night to protect a camping site.
Name: Jaime Castillo
Location: Udynaesses, Groam
15 years as a professional pirate in the high seas taught only one thing to Jaime – that life is cheap, but still worth living. Jaime has spent most of his adult life on board ships of a multitude of shapes and sizes. He started out as a deck hand on a small trade vessel, but wanted a more exciting career and switched over to the side of the piracy before he celebrated his 18th birthday.
Udynaesses – a once bustling, opportunous, international and joyful city almost big enough to be a city state lost a good number of it’s populace to the plague 90 years ago. Then an invasion by Groam and steady decades of decline towards corruption and crime. The last ten years have treated the fallen city relatively kindly and some of the city is now almost functional – albeit corrupt, filthy and diseased, but functional nonetheless. The trade routes are only a fraction of the past glory and while the city is nominally under Groam control, it actually is managed by a self-appointed and tyrannical criminal.
Jaime runs a protection agency now. He has a modern villa in the city center that houses his employees, a small safe house, training grounds and a protected vegetable garden. Many modern buildings in Udynaesses are now designed to be resistant to mob attacks and have facilities with which the occupants can be self-sustained for short periods of time. Jaime’s villa is named Castillo’s Claw and that’s the name of his protection business as well.
Business is now blooming. Crime lords of the city took a severe blow a year ago when a wandering paladin of Aldamar named Augustus von Haedor returned an official court and justice system back into the city. Von Haedor succeeded – with the support of the citizens – to re-establish and rekindle systems that had fled the city long ago. Unfortunately it was a short-lived endeavor and after the paladin went his merry way towards new challenges, the city has struggled under the crime lords again. Many citizens regard von Haedor as the saviour of the city and equally many are trying to work against the newly established rule of law. Needless the say the conflict is still very much active. And they all need protection against each other. A delightful situation for Jaime.
Jaime has 12 regular employees and few more on irregular odd jobs. They work for merchants who refuse to pay “protection money” and they work for crime lords who are squeezing “protection money” from merchants. Essentially Jaime’s business doesn’t take into account what’s morally right and simply lets the highest bidder dictate the “morale of the day”. But they don’t do murders, assassinations, kidnappings nor any sort of active violence that potentially could lead them to the hanging hill of the city. Instead they offer services of protection and only resort to violence if attacked first. Or so they claim. Some disagree.
Jaime Castillo has the charismatic presence of a rebel leader. Even if he has no political ambitions at the moment, he has the potential to become a major player in the city. He is a clever and resourceful pragmatist and quite good at creating social networks around him. He respects hard work and loathes all who he thinks gets things too easily. This applies equally well to lazy city officials pushing papers and to fat crime lords farting at their subordinates to steal them more money. Jaime dislikes the brutal violence with which the city’s biggest crime lord Marcheval Dufien runs the place but as long as the violence isn’t targeting him or his men, he welcomes the added business such violence brings. But in his heart he knows that sooner or later the city runs out of people to kill or the actions of the crime lord turn toward him. Good solutions to the situation, however, are hard to come by…