The Secret Lives of Heroes
The Cerulean Society
By charter amendment, Menzo does not allow merchants, laborers, or tradesmen to form guilds, but it does allow for a thieves’ guild. This causes legitimate workers no end of frustration and anger. Many of the poorer noble houses bristle at the blatant extortion engineered by the thieves’ guild Cerulean Society. The Cerulean Society runs a fairly typical protection racket with excruciatingly smug satisfaction, as Guildmaster Boule provides his Cerulean Society with actual blue uniforms to wear when they come to collect, giving the guild the look of authority. The price a “client” pays for the Cerulean Society’s “service” varies, depending not on wealth but on a complicated formula known only to the guild’s new, true leaders, Richard Twidell and Nikos Makimoff. The Cerulean Society offers its protective service to every noble house, as well as to wealthy merchants, and any others who cross it.
When a potential client fails to pay, it goes on a list provided to the gangs of cat burglars and second-story men legitimized by the guild, who then have the go-a-head to act on that information as they see fit. Those who cannot or do not pay open themselves to theft and muggings. Failure to pay does not automatically guarantee thefts, however, as doing so would make it too easy for the Crimson Brigade to capture the guild’s allies. The guild works together with legitimate gangs to ensure they don’t overwork an area or cause too much suffering to any particular non-client. The threat of theft and robbery at knifepoint is enough to make most potential clients pay up, so the guild is careful to not always extend the offer of this service to every potential target.
In addition to blatant extortion, the Cerulean Society also generates income by regulating the other gangs in the city. Twice per year, the Cerulean Society sends members and trusted agents throughout the city, again wearing its distinctive blue uniform, collecting dues from other gangs. A gang that pays its dues to the thieves’ guild gains a level of legitimacy that allows the guild to tap the gang’s members for the purpose of showing why the Cerulean Society’s protection is a valuable service. Those gangs that can’t or won’t pay the dues don’t last long. The swift eradication of such gangs by the thieves’ guild strikes fear in all who witness or hear about such events, further ensuring that gangs pay up.
These days, the Cerulean Society members do actually perform illicit acts of their own, although for the most part they leave thieving to the other gangs. Instead, thieves’ guild members operates most of Nikos’s other operations throughout the city. They maintain a monopoly on smuggling into and out of the city, which ties in well with its extensive drug empire. In addition to drugs, the society also oversees the importation of weapons, necromantic and demonic goods, and unusual creatures. It exports drugs, slaves, and infernal goods. Of course, because it so tightly controls the smuggling trade, anything illicit that comes into or goes out of the city passes through one of its warehouses or ships. Those who try to bypass the Cerulean Society in a smuggling operation can expect to take a spacewalk…without a suit.