Making of a Crime Lord…
Morwyn’s journey was a complex one. She started with a physical beauty and a native intelligence that made her an instant treasure to her parents who secured her in the dragon cellar of their wagon when they faced certain death at the claws of a vengeful drake. Found by a woman with a lifetime of wisdom and lore to pass on, she was taught every day from the cradle the things that make a wise woman a power in the villages and farmlands. She learned to midwife and she learned the herbs and foodstuffs of the wilderness and how to cultivate the plants needed to cure ills and end suffering. Had her story ended with the death of her adopted mother she most likely would have become an accomplished herbalist and lived a normal life.
When the Holglen came and took her away her life went down a crooked path. Long before they became lovers the boy form Holglen taught her the languages he knew, walking into her thoughts with his mind-speaking ability she learned old high elfish, and gnomish and runes of all kinds in her teens. He taught her the elven body discipline for exercise called ‘The Poses’ with its emphasis on flexibility and fluid grace and as a game they would play he taught her the wildling dances of the satyrs and nymphs that are physically demanding and consummately seductive. In all this her body magic was awakened but undirected. Ultimately the Holglen was creating a lover, and once they became lovers after years of trading knowledge the Holglen taught her the art of body reading and muscle control in the finest detail. Her learning of herbs and foods and natural and magical substances was enhanced by the Holglen’s virtual total command of the subject. It came to pass that she gave the strange forest man a son that he marveled at and her command of him was greater then any had held for much of his life.
When he vanished and she was left with his fading spells for company and a son that needed care that was drifting beyond her ability to provide she broke faith and fled the wilds for civilized lands. On the way it seemed to her that she had long been captive in some spell and that her son was not hers at all. She dropped him at a holy shrine and made her way along the roads to Kings Crossing.
On the road she repented of her abandonment of the child but by then she was caught in the intrigues that secured her safety on the road. She had seduced a young noble guard captain to be her protector, but she also had to contend with his jealous streak and manage his physical hunger and lust. He did not prove to be beyond her skill to manage and he proved to be a good stepping stone to introduce her into society with a fake title from the hinterlands.
She fell in love with the handsome noble Horace De’Einter who was the heir to a title as a Marquis and a considerable shipping concern. As one of the most eligible bachelors in town the man had skimmed the cream of half the society women in town. Morwyn caught him with a combination of love potion and seduction techniques that the Holglen taught her. However this was not an unfair trade, she bore for him five children and kept her body strong, supple and seductive over the years. While not a doting mother she was authoritative with the children’s nannies and with the household staff. She kept the house ordered as she desired and left her man to manage the business and estates. However she remained insatiable as a student and her command of language and writing and alchemy led her naturally to seek teachers in the high art among the gnomes and elves of Kings Crossing. She was a curious member of society, with her casual gift of high language and beauty and wealth she was the Marquise De’Einter with her brood of handsome children and her fine husband… but she was also known to read esoteric books and seek lessons from the most obscure professors of alchemy and herb lore. Elf lore masters and gnome craftsman came to respect both her command and honest desire to know their subjects.
As her skill grew she began to manifest her magical talent as an artificer, the ability to cast spells from scrolls that would challenge powerful mages, the ability to identify and understand spell work without the ability to cast spells… her talent was at knowing and executing magic that was the work of another… and she could make magic potions from spell scrolls purchased from hungry mages with such a flair that she could meta magic the spell effect with her recipes and sell it at a profit or store it for her own use. Of course the wife of a nobleman does not engage in ‘for profit’ work, but that lead to the start of her double life and secret identity as Raven and her taking coin from those who had need of a source of potions that was not open to public scrutiny.
Of course with her powers and potions and sex appeal she had a tight grip on her man, but as she grew older her focus became to find the ingredients and recipe for a potion of rejuvenation. This she managed to do, but it lead to a period of neglect of her husband that allowed a curious thing to happen.
The city of Kings Crossing had a long tradition of institutional corruption in that if you wanted justice to look the other way or if you wanted a contract to build or do a certain job, you just paid off the judge or the appointed city official, especially if you were of the voting nobility that set up those appointments through the Council of Lords. There was a well known set of laws for the nobility and another for the commoners. Included in it was a vendetta defense for the nobles and the ability to challenge for honor on an issue and have legal duels. That began to change as the Paladins of the various lawful churches began to gather strength and managed to be recognized as ‘Peers’ to the Crown, and thus were able to challenge corrupt nobles to duels that tended to be one sided.
One such female Paladin came into close contact with the Marquis and shattered the spells around his mind and heart, which lead to an affair that stressed her oaths and triggered the rage side of Morwyn’s personality. While unforgiving of his affair, she had to acknowledge that it was her magic and the backlash of an unraveling spell that probably triggered the unfaithfulness. So the target of her ire was the female Paladin Captain that had lost her powers briefly in atonement for her affair. Morwyn used a potion that triggered such lust in the woman that she spent a month on her back in a brothel giving it away for free to all comers. The woman fled the city pregnant with a bastard and baffled by her own mad behavior.
Then Morwyn simply shattered her husband’s health with another concoction and ran things from behind the scene in his name. Gradually she came to repent her leaving her husband in a debilitated condition and her studies into the ways of healing for him were sincere. She fully intended to restore him to full health and was prepared to wait until that happened to take her potion of rejuvenation.
As the city turned against the nobility’s tendency to corruption the various criminal enterprises came under the control of thuggish commoners and the underbelly of the city darkened. In his poor health Morwyn’s husband still took a stand against the corruption and for that he was murdered in a clumsy attack by several thugs. Left with a bitter taste in her mouth and with her dragon rage kindled Morwyn declared Vendetta against the crime lords and began to cut them down in the most inventive series of assassinations in the cities long memory. Each one she killed she also replaced, first with her two sons, one to run the dock union the other to run the teamsters by marrying the daughters of the men she had killed. Later she used men that she trusted or seduced to take over minor operations. Finally she used her daughter to seal her final conquest of the prostitution and gambling ring, marrying her to the most powerful pimp and giving him a title and the gift of the lead bookmakers books and the mans head as a wedding present.
Morwyn took her rejuvenation potion and rolled back to twenty years old physically. Then she became a ruthless manager of the underworld and an implacable enemy of the Paladin hypocrisy that had split the old system and made crime much uglier.
Her organization has at its core the guild leaders who need and expect privilege even though they are not noble, these men are the money and source of favors and rare treasures that make the guild more powerful then other less well connected groups. There are guild mages, sages, candle makers and cabinet hangers that are also on the thieves guild payroll. Then there is her inner circle of alchemists that use the skills she teaches to make thieves able to turn to mist, dodge arrows and do a hundred other amazing feats in exchange for a share of their loot. Following this is the protection racket, the purchase of immunity from the activities of her thieves, and the enforcement of the area against non guild thieves of all types. Her guild has actually lowered the crime rate by a considerable amount by only allowing sanctioned crime. Below that are base shoulder thumpers who are just the common dock workers and teamsters and laborers that fall under the guilds her son’s control. Last is a small group of noble assassins that use a combination of guile, social immunity and provocation to kill the targets of her choice. Her pretty boy killers are well known and much feared for their ability to provoke a duel and kill with skill and ruthless intent. These she set up as a check to Paladin authority, using the same trick they used to clean up the city to stop them cold… kill a dirty noble, find yourself in a fight with a skilled assassin of noble rank… it has made the status quo much more stable and Morwyn sees it as the just deserts for her husbands death.
Recently her son in charge of the teamsters has become a problem, setting up his own side operations and skimming more then his fair share in the hopes to build a nest egg to take his mother on with. Once she rejuvenated he became desperate because he saw no chance of her retiring and leaving him in charge. With the war footings coming to the country the Teamsters are in a position to reap huge profits in transporting goods for the campaigns as well as enjoying military security. So they are angling to break free of Morwyn’s control and set up an independent operation. It may come to killing her own son to keep her power, which Morwyn is as yet unwilling to do, but she is willing to start hurting those her son loves and trusts to let him know she is not happy with him.
On the dwarf built side of town the organization is straight forward and bluff, protection, prostitution, smuggling and gambling. On the elf side of town the organization is more circumspect, blackmail, seduction, and murder are the tools in play since the majority of the nobility live there. Morwyn is the woman that provides the elf mage with the essence of succubus when he does not want to know where it came from. She is the one who feeds the hunger of the nobleman for the euphoric drug high and sex with young girls that he craves, in exchange for his men at arms escorting a load of contraband into the warehouse district. She trades in favors and in scarce items, and keeps the wheels of commerce moving to make sure she has plenty of coin flowing through the coffers. Her coin helps keep up roads on the dwarf side and dredge the canals of the elf side… so the city is a better place in many ways from her influence. She is death to whore killers and whore beaters, and she is a life line to many a young lad or lass who finds themselves on the street.
Finally she has a hunger for her first son’s love and a desire to tie him too her, he is in many ways his fathers son and as such he is freedom personified. In his duty to the crown he has taken on the roll of agent and soldier, but in reality he is operating beyond the border of law and acting as a law onto himself as his father would. When she met his companions she was instantly filled with a need to conceive a child by his friend and make her sons friend bound to her. One more thread to make the boy respect, need and love her even after the way she abandoned him.
As for her power, she is capable of casting scrolls of sixth order, and sees magic as well as any sorcerer or dragon. Her potions have the ability to convey most of the meta-magic feats on the spells they carry if she wants them too. She is also the largest importer of exotic materials and compounds in the city. The personal wealth of the Marquise is in excess of five million gold pieces in property, coin and inventory. She can pull together deals ten times that size at opportunity. She has already used her money to buy books that enhanced her mental acuity and her charisma. She has discrete items of powerful magic and a ring that cloaks her own magic aura in non detection strong enough to blind a dragon. Her favorite toy is a torque of Tenser’s Transformation that allows her to turn into a fearsome warrior woman if cornered and hack her enemies into bloody shards.
She loves wealth and beauty, lusts for strong and handsome men and hungers for lore of the deepest and subtle type. It is said that she has been the mistress to royals, generals and ambassadors and has never received a complaint. Her childhood in the arms of a demigod left her such a craving for power that no man can fill her forever. The one thing she cannot seem to discover is the cure to the dragon malady. She cannot leave her riches for long without becoming fretful and paranoid. The more she has, the stronger the prison she builds for herself. She knows this but cannot stop grasping and gathering and hording and manipulation. Most people cannot see this in her, to them she is just a typical city native… but to her oldest son the signs are sad and a warning. Never let the objects of the world become the meaning of ones life. For him, mother Morwyn is a brilliant but mad creature in a golden cage of power and prestige.
Once each year during the midsummer feast Morwyn gives in and dances with the elves of the high quarter and there she accounted among the few who are masters of the dances of elf kind, human or otherwise. She is called Gypsy among the dancers and she patronizes them without requiring anything of them except that they dance and love freely in her city. So in her way she retains her one day of freedom and rebellion to keep her own soul.