Echoes of Heaven
Crime in Felric's Redoubt
Crime in Felric’s Redoubt comes from one of four sources.
By far the most powerful crime family in the city, the Balacazar clan is also the oldest. Menon Balacazar is the aging head of the organization, with his son, Malkeen, taking his place as second in command.
For more than two centuries—dating back to Menon’s great-great-grandmother, Maven—the family has literally run the business of crime in Felric’s Redoubt. The city has long been an opportune place in which to do business: lots of commerce, lots of money, and few obstacles.
In addition to the various houses and apartments it holds in a variety of false names throughout the city, the family owns a number of warehouses, storefronts, crafthouses, and other buildings. Some of its businesses are entirely legitimate, some are purely fronts. In any case, all these locations serve as potential safe houses or meeting places for members of the organization.
While the Balacazar’s are overall in charge of organized crime (at least in theory), other, smaller families lead in specific areas of the criminal empire:
- Smuggling – Balacazar family
- Protection – Kepler family
- Gambling and Prostitution – Sadar
- Drug (production and distribution) – Killraven
The Balacazar’s have a working balance with the local Thieves Guild. The Guild has agreed not to participate in the businesses of smuggling or drug trafficking and to honor the “protections” of the family sold to businesses (not to individuals) in exchange for the crime family members to stay out of the theft business unless they pay the appropriate fees to the Guild.
While the Balacazar’s (and their extended families) maintain control of several realms of criminal activity, others belong to the thieves guild. The Thieves’ Guild in Felric’s Redoubt is a powerful organization, but they take a more relaxed and long-view than most guilds. Whereas thieves’ guilds in most cities attempt to control all crime inside its limits, the Thieves’ Guild in Felric’s Redoubt knows thieves are an individual bunch. They know thieves in the guild lie and hold back profits from them all the time, and forcing them into the organization only gives them more motivation to try to keep more money away from the guild.
What the Felrican Thieves’ Guild does is charge every member 10% of their take. For this charge, the members get all of the protections and aids of a craft guild, but because they aren’t recognized by the city, they don’t serve in the City Watch (pretty much everyone in the city agrees this is a good idea). In addition members get certain strong-arm protections as well, such as thugs to guard them if they cross one of the organized crime families (as long as they stay out of the Family’s “protected” businesses of smuggling, protection and drugs). Since they only bring in members who want to join, this gives them a membership that expects to pay their 10 percent and the guild makes more off these members than they would if the person wasn’t a willing confraternite.
Freelance thieves are allowed to operate in the city, but they must pay 35 percent of their take to the guild. Here is the catch: they only owe what the guild knows they owe. So a freelance thief that somehow makes a big score without the knowledge of the guild owes nothing. The guild has done a lot of study on their profits under this scheme, and they have a good enough grasp of the goings on in the city that they feel they make more money this way than by forcing a thief to join.
While most criminals within Fleric’s Redoubt join either the Guild or one of the Families, some still try to operate on their own. While this can be much more profitable, it also comes with great risk as the independent loses the protections that come with being part of a larger organization.
Those in the know consider the Assassins’ Guild the biggest threat to Felric’s Redoubt. This isn’t because of their innate effectiveness, but because the Assassins’ Guild is the best known of all.
This is ironic, because there is no evidence that the Assassins’ Guild exists, much less that it has a base in Felric’s Redoubt. There are only rumors and legend and urban myth to prove their existence.
But there’s no doubt that assassins operate inside Felric’s Redoubt. With the number of assassinations that occur over the course of a normal year, there must be at least a few, probably acting in collusion.
The number of murders in Felric’s Redoubt is too high for comfort as it is. The type of premeditation and planning required to perform an assassination, the cold-blooded evil of it, has to add another level of threat. The murders keep the land drenched in blood. The assassinations give it a weight of evil to drive it deep.