The Guild of Red and Gold
Within the teeming metropolis of Heidelgard City sits a district with a reputation out of all proportion to the size it occupies; The Murk. This area is a byword throughout the whole of Accitaine for squalor, depravity and criminality, and the greatest cause and recipient of this situation is the organisation of thieves, killers, malcontent’s and worse known as the Guild of Red and Gold. The Guild has been in public existence for decades, but it is also believed to have existed secretly for many many more years. Its hands and influences extend throughout the Heidelgard capital and beyond, with contact throughout the whole of the country and likely beyond.They have their hands in all forms of crime, from murder, illicit substance trade, illegal alcohol creation, smuggling, prostitution, racketeering, slaving and anything that turns a profit or gains control over something.
The position is ruled and controlled by the position known as Lord Smile, the mythic figure that inspires dread and fear (along with a fair degree of curiosity) amongst all who know the name. Lord Smile, whoever he or she is, operates through a number of Lieutenants and underlings, never being seen openly but apparently seeing and knowing all. The Guild is segmented into various cells and operations, some knowing of each others work and some not. The Guild has its own cant and way of speech, and this has been almost impossible for law enforcement and others to fully break as the penalties to defectors and betrayers in the Guild are horrific, with root and branch extermination of loved ones, family and all friends being the least of the crimes handed out. This encourages most to prefer suicide to capture, though true members (not the various hired freelancers and contractors) are very unlikely to be captured. Indeed, there is a vast difference between working For the guild and being in the Guild.
The Murk serves as headquarters and base of the Guild, with its true whereabouts within being unknown and kept as a secret to all who do not need to know. Whilst the Guild is the most powerful criminal element within the slum, other criminal individuals, groups and gangs operate but all pay a cut to the Guild to be able to do so; failure to do so invites very bloody and final punishment for the encouragement of others.
The Guild sign is a Golden Coin, normally a Heidelen Crown with a bloody smear on the heads side. If such a coin appears so daubed on a persons door or in an area, this is normally the only indicator that someone has been warned and to expect a very serious conversation in the near future, one that a person would do well to heed. Needless to say, the penalties for someone who falsifies the sign is predictably grim, both for them and for all whom they hold dear.
For such an organisation to exist would seem strange and illogical given the existence of the Society of Harmony and the views of certain nations and realms, but the Guild is very sure to avoid Society entanglements (the Eye of the Society sees much and is extremely hard to contend with) and makes it clear that it is not interested in heretical or other proscribed activities, for whilst law enforcement would be hard pressed to do anything substantial to the Murk and its dark governors, were the Society to lend its aid to attack the Guild the outcome would be bleak for the criminal organisation. As it is, there are enough people with political clout and influence within Heidelgard who prevent such a disaster occurring within their city (some undoubtedly bought, others with motives ranging from practical to less obvious interests).