Wednesday, 16 April 2014

L is for Lea-Jan Cobbius

Sorry for the lateness of this post. Nurgle's Rot has well and truly dug its Chaotic claws into me, and as such I am finding myself unable to do near anything... But, the show must go on, so I've decided to bump back this week's posts by two days, and will skip the Sunday breaks, so that I will still finish on schedule.

They say that whoever controls the flow of goods in and out of Marienburg, controls the city itself. Whilst this is certainly true, trade goods aren't worth squat if they're stuck on board a ship, or lashed into a cart. That is where the Stevedores & Teamsters Guild comes into play.

Perhaps the most powerful unified guild in Marienburg, the Guild is headed by one Lea-Jan Cobbius, a battle-axe of some sixty years who has held the position for the last thirty. Today, he controls all the unskilled labour of Suiddock - which accounts for nearly 90% of the population of the Ward. He maintains control over this throng with a strong but nurturing hand.

The Stevedores & Teamsters Guild boasts perhaps the greatest perks of any organisation in the Old World: the payment of medical bills, widows' and orphans' pensions, and even short-term unemployment benefits for those labourers unable to work. Furthermore, the guild house - outwardly an unimpressive building - is stocked full of creature comforts. One can always find at least twenty guild members within its walls gambling, drinking, and lounging about between shifts.

How did Lea-Jan manage to create a guild of this quality, you ask? He was fortunate in two ways - the first is the declaration of 2482, which decreed that only guilds officially recognised by the Stadsraad would be given dues, and the Guild was the only one of its category. The second, is that Cobbius cunningly holds onto records of everything he and his men load and unload. Now, as with all organisations in Marienburg, the Guild is involved in a measure of crime (even Adalbert Henschmann is forced to use official stevedores and teamsters when unloading illicit goods) but due to their charter they are technically blameless in this trafficking. All it would take is one word from Cobbius, and the Excise would be bearing down on the offenders.

Despite this constant state of threat, Cobbius has nurtured close relations to many figures throughout Marienburg, including the aforementioned "Casanova", agents of the Black Caps, and several others besides. All who meet the man know him to be a harsh and uncompromising man who is deeply in love with Suiddock, and would do anything in his power to protect it.

And it would seem his protection is becoming more and more necessary. Recent escalations between the Stevedores & Teamsters Guild and the labourers of Elftown (which is the one Ward where others are legally allowed to perform docker duties) have resulted in beatings and arson on both sides of the canal. Lea-Jan urges his followers to peace, and has declared that he is personally looking into a solution to this problem. What this solution is, is unknown, however many believe it will involve unknown agents, cold steel, black clothes and a great deal of fire.