The Great Western Citrus Company (GWCC) to all outward appearances seems to be a new, up and coming maritime trade company specialising in shipping fruits. It is in fact something far more sinister.
The GWCC Edit
A new addition to international maritime commerce, the GWCC mostly operates on smaller routes and carries less obviously valuable cargo; presumably to avoid open competition with the far more powerful Acharis Trading Company. Its headquarters and main port of operations are in Callum'Dor - and dwarves make up a significant percentage of all employees, though not senior management oddly enough. Though smaller and less influential than the ATC, the GWCC is much more centralised and directed. The Chairwoman has total control over routes assigned, cargoes to be carried and outposts to be established; though she is assisted by a number of section heads and grants individual captains and merchants a fair amount of operational discretion. So long as the goal is accomplished is her motto.
Relationship with the Acharis Trading Company Edit
Despite the rapid growth of the GWCC, the ATC in public (and often in private) not unduly worried by the nascent competitor due to their own relative dominance of trade on the seas. Some odd decisions by the GWCC chairwoman also lead many ATC workers to speculate that the company will collapse within the year due to mismanagement.
Smarter ATC employees, senior staff and covert operatives are privately concerned by the GWCC however - as they note it seems to be making profits in spite of seemingly stupid business decisions. They also note with some disquiet that the GWCC will not hire any former Acharis Trading Company employees - no matter how qualified they are or what rates they charge. Certain senior figures within the ATC are trying to infiltrate the company to determine what their source of income is, whether it could be of benefit to the ATC and whether more direct action is needed to prevent the GWCC from becoming a true competitor in the future.
The Real Great Western Edit
The truth about the GWCC is that it is a front for a multi-species, multi-national group dedicated to the destruction of the ATC. Survivors of ATC corporate raids, price-increase induced famines, escaped slaves and destitute independent traders form the upper echelons and command structure of the GWCC. They maintain the fiction of a growing trading company, making some money to support the operation but mostly making up for the losses with their own funds or those raised from like-minded individuals. Under gnomish chairwoman Lyorat Perro the GWCC seeks to disrupt the activities of the ATC as a prelude to a more open conflict, trying to weaken them as much as possible. They engage in all manner of activities, ranging from introducing counterfeit currency, sabotaging ATC ships, supplying ATC colonies with potent narcotics or paying pirates to ensure ATC ships never reach port. Anything and everything, provided it cannot be traced back to the GWCC before they are in a strong enough position.
Important individuals within the GWCC Edit
Chairwoman Lyorat Perro Edit
The Chairwoman is a survivor of an ATC plantation on Typhon, the only member of her family to survive after a careless bureaucrat in Acharis sent a shipment of lemon seeds rather than any cereals. She named the company in a spirit of remembrance and anger; and this experience continues to fuel her today. She has incredible organisational and managerial skills, able to keep track of names and numbers spread across months and the entire known world. Speaking multiple languages and having made contacts at the highest level in many ports she is still responsible for setting the goals and objectives of the organisation; both for the front company and for the true purpose. Cautious but driven, she is working to make sure that when the group strikes against the ATC it is a killing blow. She much prefers dialogue and reason over any sort of violence or force when she is in direct trouble, being old and frail with little magical skill she relies on her guards for defence.
Secretary Jubal Edit
Secretary Jubal is a hobgoblin who managed to escape from an ATC slave ship whilst being transported between colonies. Prior to his capture he had been an arms instructor with a large mercenary company, and though his time in bondage has left him physical incapable of performing this task he makes sure to provide direction and oversight of training the recruits for the GWCC marine corps. Though small in number these men and women provide some anti-pirate and anti-ATC protection for GWCC ships on the high seas; and Jubal takes suitable members for induction into the true purpose of the GWCC. In terms of the overall mission, he favours direct action and is chafing under the Chairwoman's leadership - though he acknowledges that without her the organisation could not exist.
Commodore Dolf Krieger Edit
The commodore conveys the instructions and orders of the chairwoman to the various captains, merchants and operatives of the GWCC. A tall, thin man with both eyes he looks little like the typical pirate; yet pirate he was until ATC assassins killed his crew and burnt his ship in revenge for a particularly daring raid. Taking this personally Dolf joined the GWCC when it was being founded and now provides expert nautical advice to the chairwoman. Though he does not engage in trade or missions himself - save those of vital importance - he remains more than capable with cutlass and dagger, as well as having amassed a new crew of dangerous curs ready to slice throats and sink ships when called upon.
Plot hooks and engagements Edit
The GWCC is operating publicly as a normal trading company, and as such has a number of typical jobs one might associate with such an entity; hunting pirates, escorting merchants, etc.
In terms of the real organisation, there is the potential to infiltrate it on behalf of some senior member of the ATC worried about what it really is. Expect deception, espionage and sabotage as the GWCC tries to root out the infiltrators in their midst.
In terms of working for the group, they have a number of schemes on the go to try and weaken the ATC. As previously mentioned these are meant to do damage and be impossible to trace back. If rasher, more impatient individuals were to take control of the group then they might favour direct action and more open combat. Otherwise it would be things like poisoning a pro-ATC politician, sneaking a cursed artefact into the ATC building or drilling holes into their ships.
The major, top secret and final stage of the chairwoman's plan involves collecting something from Hope's Lament which she believes will cause a terrific plague in Acharis, a plague which the ATC can be framed for causing. This object, or individual, needs to be retrieved intact from the cursed continent and returned to Callum'Dor.