The Zakhm Brothers

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Secret Societies

This is the dominant criminal organization in the Shomaal. Its influence is not universal nor exclusive, but it is extensive. They operate all manner of illicit activities. If there’s a law against it, it’s their business. Though they accept all types in the lower ranks, all of the senior members skew heavily L-E. They operate extensively in Aval Kingdom, Yazd, eastern Sob-Rooz, and Bandar (though the Bandar Civil Service aggressively combats them). Information on this group is scant, but it is believed ‘The Brothers’ is operated by two people known only as Zakhm the Elder and Zakhm the Younger. It is not known if they are actual brothers, father and son, or just the two most powerful scoundrels in the Shomaal who have agreed to cooperate. The influence of the Zakhm Brothers is believed to be substantial reaching to the highest levels of power if the rumors about the city of Kahnul have any merit.

The lowest organizational unit of the Zakhm Brothers is a “cell.” Each cell has 5-30 members and is led by a “boss.” Bosses are assigned territories and have broad discretion within general guidelines prescribed by the hierarchy. Bosses are typically known within their territories as bosses. However, they know very little above their rank. Bosses report to “chiefs.” Chiefs and bosses communicate through an elaborate set of protocols that enable the boss to know he is actually communicating with the chief. Chiefs are not personally known to bosses, and their identities are well-kept secrets from the general population. It is said that when a boss is promoted to chief, he is also rotated to an area where he would not be known. Very little is known about chiefs and even less about their superiors.

Grizzled old claacos butcher in Kahnul describing the Zakhm Brothers to Relana circa 4512

“The Brothers have their fingers in everything. I have to pay a protection fee to keep my shop from getting busted up. I see you have a lute, if you want to play it in a public place, you have to pay them off. Even this pub has to pay up, and probably that band. You won’t find the Brothers, they’ll find you.”

Bilco, charmed by the elf Lenwe Aldarion, reveals more than he should about the ways of the Zakhm, circa 4513

" I signed on with the brothers at a young age. There aint many other opportunities for an enterprising lad in Yazd with no connections. I never had the skill to be what we call the Style, so that left the Muscle. Fortunately, the Brains can come from anywhere, so being a thug hasn’t held me back in my career so far."

" I started out with stupid shit: intimidation and racketeering. Just needed to show up and be threatening. I moved on to handling protection for shipments of Quat. At some point, one of the dealer networks we were delivering to got busted up by the Bandar Civil Service, so it fell to me to figure out how to unload the goods. Couldn’t very well just take them back! That’s when I unofficially moved out of the Muscle and into the Brains. The higher-ups were so impressed with my initiative and profits, they made me a Boss."

" My crew was based in New Mazra. Pretty risky, had to be smart with the Bandar Civil Service constantly sniffing around. That went well, but then word came the Quat shipments were stopping because Bandar was going to make its big move into Yazd. Everything had to be stopped and shipped up north."

" When we take over Chogha, we’ll set up ice houses and start all over. It’ll be better. We’ll be closer to more potential customers. I’m not sure where I’ll end up. I’m thinking I don’t want to go back to the delivery and sales side, I’ll want to be on the production side. Safer, and steadier profits. I’ll have paid my dues!"

" Alternatively, maybe I’ll be in the running for something in the Thermal Caves, go back to my roots, run some rackets in the armorer’s district. I hear they turn a lot of coin over there!"

Vorlan explains to the elf Lenwe Aldarion who has infiltrated a Zakhm cell the protocol to identify bona fide members of the guild, circa 4513

Vorlan teaches Lenwe some hand signals. “Do it like this. That will signal to others that you’re a bona fide member of the brothers. Other brothers will talk to you, but you won’t get access to any other bosses. This signal here means you’re cleared to talk to other bosses. Bilco really trusts you, not everyone gets to learn that signal.”

" We Zakhm operate in Yazd , Aval, southern Bandar and eastern Sob-Rooz. Before you try anything illicit in those areas, you should visit a few of the rougher taverns and flash the first signal. You’ll be approached. The local bosses have final say on what you’re allowed to do in their territories. Knowing the boss signal means you get to plead your case directly to the local boss."

" We change the signals from time to time. If you ever see a retired signal, you need to alert other brothers and watch the guy carefully. Don’t let him know he’s using an old signal. We need to figure out if he’s a spy, or if his boss has gotten killed and couldn’t communicate the new signals."

The Zakhm Brothers

Saga of Jaraah kenurion