The Black Roses

‘The Black Roses’ is the name given to the Sasserine thieves guild that Moxie claims as her own. Having started out as a virtually unknown group of misfits operating out of the back room of a second-rate brothel, under the leadership of their Guild Mistress, Moxie, the Black Roses have flourished into a semi-legitimate guild, legitimate business, and collection of political movers and shakers throughout the region.

While the leader of the Black Roses had been working on her guild’s movements for some time, it was the defeat of the Lotus Dragons at the hands of the Gang of Five, as well as the liberation and clearing of Parrot Island, that allowed Moxie to begin to execute her plan and exploit the opportunities she saw before her. With the Lotus Dragons – who aimed to control or eliminate the members of the Dawn Council via force, coercion, or outright murder – defeated, Moxie stepped in to fill a “vice vacuum”, approaching the Dawn Council with a novel proposition; what if the crooks in the city were their crooks? It was not unheard of, after all, for the ruling council of a region to turn a blind eye to blue-collar crime if it meant putting a collar on white-collar crime. Persuading the ruling members of the city that if she were to not fill the gap created by the hated and adversarial Lotus Dragons, that another guild would rise in time to fill that role, one not as willing to work with the city leaders. After some debate, it was decided that Moxie’s guild would be permitted to throttle and control vice in the city on a provisional basis.

The physical manifestation of this agreement was a new brothel, tavern and casino known as ‘The Golden Hind’ established on the now vacant Parrot Island. Using her connections to hasten the building via magic, the business was up and running in a few short months, and as the business began to take in simply obscene amounts of money, the Black Roses made good on their word to stamp out the more vicious criminal element within the city and to use their skills at reconnaissance and investigation to the benefit of the city’s politicians.

Another turn in the rise of the Black Roses came when Mason Draktus, the dullard nephew of the current Shadowshore council representative Emil Draktus, succeeded his uncle after the elder choked to death under mysterious circumstances. Seeing Mason as an easily-manipulated boy who would cause far less trouble than his uncle, the Dawn Council was prepared to accept the untimely death of Emil and prepared to deal with Mason as necessary. What they could not account for, however, was the canniness of Moxie, Mason’s new guild mistress, who persuaded the young man into her company and then proceeded to manipulate him directly, effectively making him nothing more than a puppet for her own dealings with the Dawn Council and becoming the representative of the entire Shadowshore district by proxy.

When Mason was killed during the shadow pearl detonation in the city of Cauldron some months later, Moxie, also presumed dead, briefly left the guild leaderless, sending them into a panic. Business suffered and nominations for a new Shadowshore representative began even as the Gang of Five fought to undermine and disrupt Demogorgon’s plans in the Abyss. Weeks after the initial detonation at Cauldron, Moxie alone finally returned to Sasserine, disrupting the very ceremony intended to select Mason’s replacement, and did so with startling news; in her hand she held a marriage certificate, proving that she had, in private, wed the now-deceased representative of the Shadowshore district. As a hereditary title, it was now hers, by right. It was shortly after this revelation that Moxie reached out to Vincent Marcos, headmaster of the House of the Dragon, through his niece, one of her own guild members, and was asked to travel to the Abyss for the final assault on Gaping Maw.

With Demogorgon slain, the mystery of her own lineage unraveled, and her control over both a portion of the city’s leadership, a majority of the vice trade in the city, and a profitable business, the Black Roses continue to expand in leaps in bounds, their growth seemingly limited only by the ambition and cleverness of their leader.

Moxie Blackrose:
Guild Mistress of the Black Roses, Moxie is a young woman of about nineteen. Born and raised in Sasserine, Moxie claims that her mother was a prostitute and her father one of her customers, though even her actual birth mother’s identity is only half-remembered to her. Living on the seedy underbelly of Sasserine society since her youth, Moxie has grown up to be a tough-minded, canny young lady who uses her wits, skill, brains, looks, and guile to carve a place for herself. Known for being generous and fair with her own people, Moxie is celebrated in her own guild and has even managed to make cordial business inroads with the Dawn Council, itself.

Long-time off-and-on long-distance girlfriend of Dorian Ridgetide, Moxie was present for the shadow pearl explosion that rocked Cauldron. Believed dead for the months Dorian spent traveling the Abyss, it was revealed during the trip to Shendilavri that Moxie had survived, thanks in no small part to her own demonic investments of the genetic variety. Moxie came to the Abyss for the assault on Gaping Maw and was part of the surviving forces that managed to take and establish the beachhead. Her future as the leader of her guild, Shadowshore representative of the Dawn Council, and owner of the Golden Hind is assured.

Lucas Kol:
An otherwise unknown member of the Black Roses, Moxie apparently called Lucas a friend of some fashion or another. It is unknown whether he was ordered to attempt to infiltrate the Lotus Dragons Guild or whether it was his own idea, but the poor halfling (the other half? Tiefling, apparently) met the same fate, regardless; while attempting to find his way inside the bowels of the Lotus Dragon Guildhall, he encountered two of the rhogadessa the guild kept as guards, and was killed, where his body was eventually recovered by the party and his effects returned to Moxie.

Mason Dracktus:
Former representative of the Shadowshore District, Mason was a thick-headed, dim-witted cutpurse whose history with the party predated its very existence. In fact, it was Dorian’s betrayal which lead to Mason’s subsequent arrest and imprisonment that caught Lavinia’s eye, causing her to invite Dorian to be a part of the group she hired to solve the first of her many endeavors.

After serving a fairly routine and brief stint in the city lockup, Mason was approached by Moxie, who was aware of Mason’s familial connection to the current representative of the Shadowshore, Emil Dracktus. As Emil’s nephew, Mason was his only heir, and Moxie believed Mason would make a worthwhile addition to her guild for what he represented and for his connections, regardless of his loutish personality. The fact that his uncle died of a medical complaint shortly after Mason donned the Black Rose, giving Mason the hereditary title of District Representative, is considered a happy accident, though those with an ear to conspiracy whisper that perhaps Mason’s new boss engineered Emil’s demise so that she could have a member of the Dawn Council in her pocket. Whether the rumors are true or not, it’s impossible to ignore that having a Dawn Council representative in her guild afforded Moxie a tremendous amount of leeway and freedom in her movements and dealings.

Unfortunately for Mason, his grasp exceeds his reach, and even in holding a honored (some would joke “honorary”) position in the guild and as a barely-tolerated puppet of Moxie to the Dawn Council, he felt owed something greater. His surly sense of entitlement was quickly grating on members of the Dawn Council and high-ranking members of the Black Roses.

Mason was Moxie’s only companion when she traveled to the city of Cauldron, and following the detonation of the shadow pearl hidden in that city, and according to Moxie, who survived the ordeal, Mason did not escape the city alive. Since his death, control of Sasserine’s Shadowshore district has fallen to Mason’s legal “wife”, Moxie.

Lucid ‘Sidney’ Azure:
A tall, lanky elf who sports a mohawk shocked up in a rainbow of changing colors, ‘Sidney’ as he answers to is a Kyonin-born expatriate who serves the Black Roses as their resident “expert” on everything: with the aid of a massive library, eidetic memory and passion for what he calls “adventurer trivia”, Sidney’s contribution to the guild as a researcher vastly outstrip his contributions to the field of music: having embraced the epithet so often used against him in his homeland and abroad, Sidney has pioneered the birth of a new musical genre that emphasizes loud guitar and drum, eschews excess, is fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics.

Lutus Lenniger:
“Brutus Lutus” is a massive, good-natured man who works the door at the Golden Hind and, less frequently, acts as the Black Roses’ chief enforcer. Lutus is so large and intimidating, in fact, that many speculate he may be a half-ogre, something that Lutus remains silent on but seems to encourage with his clothing deliberately a few sizes too small, shaved head, and facial piercings. Fond of drink primarily, Lutus’ chief priority is the pursuit of a pleasantly relaxed time with his friends, and sees his role as a violent man in the guild as a necessary evil undertaken to ensure everyone else is having the best time possible. Much the same as any good-hearted man who inflicts pain for a living, he tends to use violence judiciously, but does not hesitate when he must do so.

Reen Marcos:
Niece of Vincent Marcos, Headmaster of the House of the Dragon, Reen is one of the top students of the house and a sometimes friend of Moxie who specializes in magical research, crafting of magical items, and bookkeeping. Exceptionally savvy for her age, Reen bears her uncle’s stern, no-nonsense demeanor and sharp mind. She sees her membership in the Black Roses as an opportunity to rise above her station and to distinguish herself from the rest of her family. Prone to bouts of misanthropy, Reen tends to keep to herself, and dresses in neat, fashionable clothing that isn’t ostentatious or showy. She keeps a collection of wands holstered on her hip and has never been seen engaging in active combat. Word among the Black Roses is that romantically speaking, she prefers the company of women exclusively, and it’s an open secret that she has been pursuing fellow Black Rose Djina Sevok.

Zelda Troy:
Madame of the bordello contained within the Golden Hind, Zelda is a large, gregarious woman fretted with a panoply of tattoos and piercings. Forceful and brash, Moxie recruited Zelda from the now-defunct bordello her mother worked at, recognizing Zelda’s keen sense for business, promotion, and ability to carouse equally well with dignitaries and criminals. Preferring to dress in flattering, scanty clothing, Zelda has most recently been romantically connected to Lefty, who spends nearly all his time in Sasserine with the woman. Whether she saw him as a john or a potential mate was largely unclear, but some have noticed that Zelda has taken on no clients over the last several months, ostensibly because she wishes to keep her distinction as a boss discrete from the function of her subordinates.

Djina Sevok:
A master of subterfuge and stealth, Djina is the guild’s chief information gatherer and spy. While on the surface serving the guild as the official Pit Boss and Chief of Security of the Golden Hind casino, Djina’s ultimate concern is the acquisition and management of information that passes through the Golden Hind each night and the composition of strategies on how best to capitalize on that information. Generally tacit, Djina is widely regarded as the most formidable fighter in the guild, though this may be a result of her mysterious reputation more than any actual skill in combat. Preferring to keep a pair of katar on her hips, Djina is most often seen dressed in professional business attire, though during missions she prefers to employ camouflage, whatever form that takes. It is rumored that Djina is romantically involved with fellow Black Rose Reen, though she is also known to carouse with men from time to time.

The Black Roses

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