Ashes of Empires
The vestiges of a shadowy society of power brokers, diplomats, couriers, and outright assassins that flourished in the intricate political landscape of the pre-War kingdoms, the Veil is today responsible for the operation of the various black markets that have sprung up in the more populated cities of the Near Kingdoms. It is debatable whether the group operates out of the interests of the people or serves its own ends; the truth is probably some mixture of the two. The group is reluctantly acknowledged to serve some good in the cities, however, providing access to outlawed weapons, rare luxury items, and a relatively reliable means of communication between settlements— all for a price, of course. The Veil is also assumed to be behind the assassination of some of the more blatantly corrupt members of the Tarnished Crowns.
The Veil’s primary goal is to enable the free exchange of supplies, weapons, and information between the fragmented factions that work against the Hand. (And if they happen to profit from this exchange, all the better.) Ultimately, the organization would like to see the return of the nobles from their exile, predicated on the various rebel groups managing to repel the invaders and pave the way for the return of their former rulers.
The Veil dates back to the courts of the pre-war period, when intrigue and internecene politics were standard fare among the ruling classes of the Near Kingdoms. During the war itself, some members of the Veil took the role of defender for those nobles who were willing to pay the high fees required to hire such bodyguards. The Veil also served as a sort of intelligence organization for the nobles and their generals, bringing its members’ natural stealth and thievery abilities to bear in the discovery of enemy movements and strategies.
The Veil is governed by a shadowy, never-seen figure called She Who Watches. Despite the mysteries regarding her whereabouts and identity, her commands are never questioned. She communicates by unknown means to the local Shadow Council that oversees the operations of the Veil in any particular city. This council, in turn, provides guidance to the members of the organization and assigns individuals their missions.
The Black Markets
The primary, or at least most public, activities of the Veil center on organizing the black markets that are held in secret in all of the major cities of the Near Kingdoms. It is here that the various rebel factions gather to purchase forbidden weaponry, stockpile supplies, and exchange information with the well-informed agents of the Veil. Common merchants and citizens also attend the black markets, for a chance to buy and sell goods without paying the oppressive taxes imposed by the Hand.