The Friends of Monsieur d’Orland

The Friends of Monsieur d’Orland

Occupying a societal space somewhere between a guild, a syndicate, and a social strata, the Friends of Monsieur d’Orland are a network of loosely affiliated criminals of various stripes. Smugglers, spies, thieves, assassins, and dacoit all have their places among the ranks of the Friends—indeed, the only real criteria for membership seem to be flexible morals, something akin to loyalty, and the ability to keep a secret. If truth be told, the general world considers the Friends to be open to absolutely anyone, though this conclusion is no doubt influenced by the fact that unsuccessful applicants are never heard from again and can therefore voice no opinion to the contrary.

Locally headquartered in the Court of Miracles in Andiva, the Friends of Monsieur d’Orland have more than two decades of history behind them. There is some confusion about when, exactly, Monsieur d’Orland made his first True Friend, but most accounts agree that it must have been roughly around the same time as the start of the Harrowing. Embracing a cell-like structure, the organization is led by the True Friends (who in turn receive their instructions from Monsieur d’Orland himself). The True Friends give marching orders to the more general Friends, who in turn occasionally make use of what they refer to as “Friendly Acquaintances” in their schemes and endeavors. These Friendly Acquaintances tend to be unaffiliated criminals and bandits who can be hired cheaply to provide muscle, information, transportation, or, on notable occasions, a distraction.

The Friends of Monsieur d’Orland pursue a variety of ‘lines of business.’ Some of the most prominent (to outsiders) are obtaining, moving, and distributing contraband, the inhumation of select individuals on a contractual basis, and river piracy. Grifting, theft, and sins of the flesh are also prevalent, though they tend to involve entrepreneurial individuals or small coteries more than wide spread groups needing significant infrastructure. Different lines of business divide territory in different ways, and while a thief and an assassin might share a location without incident, the Friends have to take steps to minimize the overlap between interested parties in the same vocation—infighting is bad for business, after all.

By way of certain secret phrases and fashion accessories, Friends are able to recognize one another, even if they have never met before. While such precautions are helpful in keeping the proverbial riffraff out, the general public also specifically go out of their way to avoid accidentally unraveling such mysteries and simple tricks for a very good reason: outsiders who attempt to infiltrate the group or pass themselves off as Friends, even accidentally, have a strange habit of waking up without their kneecaps.

Prominent Members

Charles Campbell: A self avowed “sewer rat,” Campbell served as a sapper in the army of Kraekirk until his dishonorable discharge. Comfortable in confined spaces and with a knack for subterranean navigation, Campbell has a reputation for being able to sneak through (or, more accurately, under) most any urban environment.

Mishka Easton: Straddling the line between “criminal” and “folk hero,” Mishka Easton is one of the better known ne'er do wells operating in Valathia. Rumored to be a former military scout, Easton has made a name for himself by confining his depredations to the wealthy and powerful, and takes pains to share the spoils from his activities with the less fortunate members of society he happens upon in his travels.

Jasper “Jaz” Porter: An information broker and confidence person, Jaz Porter has a string of contacts stretching from the Free City of Ij to the Far Mountains (or so they claim, in any case). Trading in secrets, falsehoods, and all manner of information in between, Porter often acts as a facilitator and go between, matching interested talent with employment opportunities as the need arises.