Sunday, October 7, 2012
In Vesh, most disputes are resolved within each Holding according to that Holding's particular rules and laws. Inter-Holding disputes are resolved mostly by those Holdings beating the shit out of each other for a while, or quietly backstabbing, depending on which Holding we're talking about. In cases where an individual causes problems across multiple Holdings, usually deals can be worked out, and people can work together to take them down. It's in the general interest.
On occasion, however, something more is needed. Vesh has no overarching governing body; there's nothing to tie the Holdings together, and if anyone ever tried there'd be outright war (this hasn't happened yet, mostly because everyone recognizes how utterly dumb it'd be to try). But sometimes, an inter-holding dispute goes on so long that it threatens the integrity of the other Holdings, the business of the city (because Vesh IS a business: it's in the business of entertainment and illusion)
In that case, the Grey are called in.
No one is quite sure when the Grey began, or where they come from. They didn't seem to exist back when Vesh was just a normal city with some places to gamble. And yet they seem to also have always been.
Most of the time, the Grey are called in as mediators, to sit and keep some of the more childish Warlords in check during meetings. They are neutral, outside both the pulls of ego and of money. They aren't paid for their services, at least, not that anyone knows of. You just ask them, and they arrive.
There are a few Warlords they refuse their services to. The Queen of Tir Na Nog is one, because she tends to call upon them every day with a new SO AND SO WAS MEANNNN TO ME! SO AND SO IS OPPRESSING ME!!!
Every warlord (even the Queen of Tir Na Nog) knows better than to harm one of the Grey. None of them are sure what would happen, but each will vouch that it's a terrible idea. There are rumors that in years past, one Warlord called a Grey to their Holding, and had her killed. No one will speak this Warlord's name, or say who it was. Nikolai Habsburg, owner of the Průmyslový Palace resort, and one of the oldest Warlords, will crack a dessicated smile when asked. "She was foolish," he'd say, "And proud, and did not know that one cannot threaten thunder. Now even her name is forgotten."
On equally rare occasions, the Grey intercede on their own, without prompting. Usually when this occurs, every Warlord drops what they were doing anyway, as does any citizen who knows what's good for them.
Again, this doesn't happen often. They're no secret police, and they answer to no one. But that may be why they're so terrifying.
The Grey also set up places called Grey Circles, which are areas in the undercity surrounded by large standing stones. These areas are Quintessent negation zones; basically, antimagic fields. They exist for the purposes of negotiation on neutral ground.