Whisperers of Dusk
Whisperers were started as a standard thieves guild by Grambol Bowlbelly in Paxton. They morphed into a small house as Grambol moved from thief to cleric. Whisperers moved to Lan's Port to compete with guilds there as Paxton became too small to conceal them. For 10 years nothing unusual happened, and the Whisperers did well enough. Then one unbearably hot midsummer day, Grambol left to collect tributes from local businesses for protection and did not come back for 8 straight days. When he did return, he was a changed man. He immediately moved to clean up his act for the public eye to see, severing ties with his guild and taking jobs that worked toward respectability. He did not relinquish control, however, and has instead secretly moved the Whisperers in the direction of political change. He tries to lay a corrupting finger on everything he can. He has stated to his guild members the world must be made better for Branderback, and the best way is within the system. He now deals almost exclusively in graft, payback money, protection, and underbidding contracts then overcharging. While Grambol's methods are not a problem, his personality is. Never a sociable man, Grambol has become downright unpleasant over time. He is sarcastic, rude, dominating, and his focus on changing world politics seems to have drained his enjoyment of the world from him. He lost his only bid for election into the Council of Merchants and has since pushed others more suited into the limelight. Hirum worries that that he's moving too fast and pushing too hard, and has imposed sanctions on dealings with Grambol until he slows down and takes better precautions. Grambol is currently pushing his protege Cecily toward becoming the mayor.
- Whisperers Enforcers
Enforcers for the Whisperers of Dusk have shrunk to mainly a personal guard for Grambol and Cecily. They provide protection when there are personal engagements and do discreet security for Cecily's public appearances. Behind the scenes, they are run by Ober Greentooth. If they are seen in public, Wa'lerick will take point.
- Whisperers Finks
Run by Wa'lerick, the Finks are entirely concentrated on the city council and other influential groups. Almost any information they could sell would be related to the Lan's Port political structure.
- Whisperers Aquisitions
Also run by Wa'lerick, the acquisitions has shifted as noted above, with one old vice still bringing in good money. Grambol runs women of the night. He has a stable of 14 call girls who go where they are ordered and operate away from red light districts under the illusion of class. He peddles these women to a higher level of clientele and collects proof to use as blackmail later.
- Whisperers Docs
Grambol operates alone as the sole cleric of Branderback in the organization. He will not work with another cleric unless it is unavoidable.
Grambol Bowlbelly is a very round halfling whose sour cheeks and thin lips do nothing to detract from his long, pointed nose. His only redeeming feature is his shiny, curly, chestnut-colored hair that is so lively it seems transplanted from another individual. He has rather suddenly developed a deep understanding of political systems, having been an adequate leader and a decent thief before. He personally convinced Cecily to come back to Lan's Port with him while promising opportunities well beyond the small-town life she knew. Lately, he's not sure who convinced whom.
Cecily "Bluebell"? Monkshood lights up every room she's in. She has apple cheeks, merry blue eyes, and a sweet voice that resembles an angel in song'very few are not charmed by her homey, common-sense approach. These people do not know her. Grambol met her on a trip home to Paxton and immediately saw through her quiet but steady way of ensnaring favor; her special way of making promises she could not be held accountable for later. The slight gleam in her eye when she manipulated someone into giving her what she wanted while she protested, "Only if you insist." She has taken to politics like it was mother's milk and has set her sights high. She is not married and has no children.
Ober Greentooth is a green-skinned quarter-orc who heads Grambol's Enforcers. He is short for an orc, stocky and barbaric; although, crafty in his fighting ways. He is versed in forest and urban tactics as he ran raids on Center and surrounding towns for his clan before venturing forth to make more of himself.
Wa'lerick is a full moon elf with a past. He runs both the Finks and Acquisitions for Grambol as well as putting his attractive public face on display as a bodyguard for Cecily. He is just over 5 feet tall with black hair and eyes. He is a pure thief and has never wanted to be anything else. He is marked for death in temples to both Rofirein and Pyrtechon.
In the city of wizards, exists a mercenary group of spellweavers who worship the Greedy Hound. Run by a halfling sorceress, a human wizard, and a half-orc shaman, it is an odd coalition but, for them, it works. Because of the more disciplined nature required for spellweaving, there is a method in place for succession. A popular vote of candidates put forth by the remaining members. This is not to say that someone would not arrange to be put forth in case of violence against a member, and surprise, violence ensues but, so far, that has not happened. The nature of magic requires a certain amount of sharing. For that reason, these men and women have come together to trade stolen goods and spells, and occasionally to sell their services for a cut of any magical loot to be found. They have a good reputation for delivering exactly what is asked of them and, therefore, are on friendly terms with most houses, even if the houses don't consider them a house of their own. They did not have a name for a very long time, and the convention is that when their talents were needed, the purchasers would simply say they needed one o' them Spelldogs! The name has stuck.
Jennie Fourtoes is a halfling sorceress of great power, beautiful looks, and charming disposition. With her firey red hair and startling violet eyes, she finds it easy to manipulate those around her. Glomming on to his message of self-sufficiency and obtaining all one could desire, she is a recent convert to Branderback by most standards. It is her stated goal to master all the forms of magic, and she is preparing to follow the path of wizard to that end.
Godfred Artur MacMallion is the son of a prominent businessman from Port Hempstead and is approaching middle age. He has secretly worshiped the Wary Shadow from a lad even though his family gave thanks to Toran. He has a public face that is very different from his Branderback one, which is that of loving father of six, community leader, and devoted husband. Away from the public life, he is a wizard of some power and specializes in alchemy and poisons. Lately, his magics have made embezzlement and seduction entirely too easy.
Podagog is the oddest member helping to run the Spelldogs. An aged half-orc, he discovered Branderback while scrounging as a youth in the coastal cities along Mistone. He became a shaman of the Wary Shadow, and his unique perspective and unusual wisdom has proven valuable to the group; though, he still needs pointers on hygiene from time to time.
Sharina Shadowfang was a harsh mistress to her house. She was demanding at even the best of times and kept slaves for her attendants and personal pleasures. She had no care for age nor gender when it came to mercy or the lack thereof. It has been said that she was almost Xeen-like when it came to her lust for gratification of all kinds. The greatest assassin ever known to the Greedy Hound, she accepted no excuses for failure or insult. Once established, she could easily dispose of any who displeased her without the need to lift even her own finger. But in her cruel and vise-like grip, they prospered in their own fashion. In time, she molded them into one of the most sinister forces of evil on Layonara with her claws sunk deep into the lands. In many ways, she became to the faithful almost an avatar of Branderback because she completely embodying his dogma in her greed and willingness to do whatever it took to achieve her ends'whether it be by deceit, poison, murder, or political ruin. Because of this, there were and still are those that would have choked on their knives willing to follow her to her death and beyond should she have told them to die.
Two years after she died, two came who claimed to have seen her, ghostly and glowing, in a vision. In this revelation, she commanded her faithful to follow her ways and to leave the Ivory Hounds to form their own house based on her commands. The two, Gigi Fursteel and B'luca Amaso, left the very next day. After the vision, they got busy in and around the Gloom Woods of Mistone. First fronting bandits to bankroll their house, then moving to robbery of highways and small towns. They named themselves after Sharina's nickname, the Many-Faced, alluding to her mastery of disguises. They steadfastly built up their membership from a few who were dissatisfied with Hirum's leadership, then from new recruits. Branderback still figured in the Many-Faced as he was the god Sharina worshiped. However, they firmly believe Sharina herself is a goddess and glorify her as they would a consort of Branderback. Over time, they have attracted quite a few skilled people. At least two clerics claim to draw power from her; although since the Wary Shadow is also followed, it's hard to verify.
Gigi and B'luca are aging, and in the last year, a young halfling woman has risen to power. With naturally dark hair and mesmerizing ebony eyes, she projects a strength and conviction of Branderback that has brought him back into the house stronger than ever alongside his avatar. She calls herself Talion. All Many-Faced are required to have body art and piercings since Sharina had many. The kind and location are not important; although, at least one must be a fanged creature over the heart of the follower. On Winter's Solstice and the anniversary of Sharina's death, tattoo artists and piercers are on hand to mark the celebration, literally, on the bodies of the faithful. Many-Faced are also required to know how to throw darts, as Sharina did, and will often dye their hair black to match hers and whiten their skin to imitate her pale look.
Gigi Fursteel is a halfling woman who was one of only two who ever got close to Sharina. At the time, the jealous and gossipy said they were more than friends, and it isn't known if this was based in fact or comeuppance. She is a thief, a shadowdancer, and a mage of small power. Gigi has dyed her hair black for years but her age is showing. She wishes to turn the Many-Faced over to a new leader but does not trust Talion since Talion worships Branderback before Sharina.
B'luca Amaso is a short, slightly built half-elven male gone bald with age. He was one of Sharina's favorite pleasure slaves. Sharina was genuinely fond of him and eventually freed him to become a thief in her house and shepherded his career. He was also Gigi's lover in the past. Now, though, they share a comfortable friendship in their worship of Sharina. He is a thief first and a bard second and mixes the two skillfully to boost his abilities. Talion makes him very nervous for reasons he does not care to share.
Talion came from seemingly nowhere to put Branderback back into the Many-Faced. She is a blindingly superb thief, it is her skills in getting just about anything that defines her value to the group. Gigi and B'luca don't fully trust her as she does not appear to worship Sharina enough, but they recognize her skills and so she stays. Occasionally, she converts someone to the Greedy Hound. She does not speak of her past except to say she has always worshiped Branderback, and she is an only child. She appears to be gathering a power base around herself.