Greystone Trading is a small trading company that operates locally within the Moonshae Isles. It transports much needed goods between the ffolk and northmen islands all year round, and has built up a good reputation among both peoples. Greystone Trading is secretly a front for a family of weredogs that maintain a vigilant watch for any signs and sightings of a legendary creature known as the Grimmulf, believing it is a harbinger of doom for the Moonshae Isles and its people.
Greystone Trading began in 1050 DR, established by Tristram Greystone and his family to facilitate trade between the various islands, and to gather information from its customers and contacts. It has had a relatively undistinguished history in the 3 centuries since its founding, but has been working hard trying to aid communication between ffolk and northmen kingdoms in the hopes of one day brokering a peace between the two peoples.
The pre-history of Greystone Trading and its founder is a far more interesting story. Tristram Greystone was born in 878 DR, the third son of a minor noble family in the Kingdom of Callidyrr, and at ten years old he was sent to the court of High King Byron II as a paige boy.
Tristram was present in the Great Hall (polishing the Sword of Cymrych Hugh) when High King Byron II was attacked by a servant that transformed into a great black wolf and tore apart his Heart Warders (bodyguards), seemingly impervious to their attacks, before advancing upon the High King. Tristram put himself between the beast and the King, and with sword in hand he sliced off its tail and part of its paw (causing its skin to char and bubble).
The beast fled and Tristram was rewarded for his bravery with a specially crafted knife made of solid silver in the image of the Sword of Cymrych Hugh (but smaller). Other rewards were to follow, and in time he became Armsmaster of Callidyrr, and led the High King’s armies into battle against northmen and firbolgs on many occasions.
In 944 DR, the Kingdom of Corwell came under attack by savage firbolg that swarmed down from the mountains overrunning many of the eastern cantrevs. King Storlln of Corwell appealed to the High King for aid and High King Tanner decided to answer the call and march with his armies into battle.
The battles between ffolk and firbolg were vicious, and although the strategies of Tristram helped win the day, High King Tanner was slain and the Sword of Cymrych Hugh was lost (supposedly carried away by firbolg). Tristram Greystone was stripped of his land and titles for his failure to defend the High King and exiled from Callidyrr.
Tristram Greystone travelled to Corwell; where he had earned the enduring respect and gratitude of King Storlln, and was granted the lordship of a minor town on the far western edge of Gwynneth known as cantrev Westmoor. This settlement was besieged by a pack of feral huge black hounds from the Wynders’ Moor that had acquired a taste for human blood.
In 946 DR the aging Laird Tristram Greystone donned his arms and armour once more and ventured into the moor with his hired mercenaries to deal with the Wynders’ Pack once and for all. The battle was horrific; the hounds were 4 ft tall at the shoulder and as long as a man is tall, worse still they were far more intelligent than normal dogs and had no fear of man. Tristram Greystone ended up in personal combat with the alpha of the pack and slew it with his silver paige knife (a gift from High King Byron II) as its jaws closed around his throat.
The wounds from the alpha hound were not from any normal animal, for it had been sired by the Grimmulf (the creature that attacked High King Byron II) and it passed on a shapechanging curse to the Laird. However, the lingering effects of the Sword of Cymrych Hugh altered the curse and rather than force Tristram to be overcome with bloodlust it changed him into the first weredog, a loyal, kind, and courageous creature.
The descendants of Tristram Greystone founded Greystone Trading to help revitalize the fortunes of their cantrev but in 1050 DR a large band of raiding northmen sacked the town and its inhabitants were forced to flee. Greystone Trading moved to the Isle of Moray and setup bases across the Moonshae Isles.
Headquarters: Cantrev Moray, Greystone Lair
Leader: Father Tannistan Greystone
Religion: The Earthmother
Secrecy: None, Greystone Trading operates openly as a trading company between the Moonshae Isles, with bases on every island. However, within Greystone Trading the secret of their curse is kept from all outsiders, even the non-cursed members of the trading company (usually the guards) have no (or limited suspicions) about the nature of the owning family.
Symbol: A black morhound asleep on a rocky moor curled around a sword.
Greystone Trading is organized around a central leader known as the Father, below him are 9 Betas who are responsible for the 9 regions of the Moonshae Isles (Norland, Norheim, Gnarhelm, Oman, Callidyrr, Gwynneth, Snowdown, Moray, Korinn Archipelago), beneath that are 12 Runners who captain one of the Suich (round bottomed, single mast, open decked, sailing ships that the ffolk invented). Finally come the Watchers; 30 informants that travel between settlements purportedly making deals with locals and looking for trade opportunities (but secretly keeping tabs on rumours and events across the Moonshae Isles).
Almost all of the members of Greystone Trading are family members (and thus afflicted with the curse), there are a few members not directly related also afflicted with some form of lycanthropy or involuntary shape-shifting (perhaps distantly related individuals whose ancestors were bastards, or those who have had encounters with the Grimmulf).
Greystone Trading uses over 500 sailors and guards, none of whom are family members or aware of the curse. They are not directly employed by Greystone Trading and are instead contracted by the Runners as needed (although many are re-employed long term due to the generous nature of Greystone Trading).
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
Officially Greystone Trading seeks to establish and exploit trading opportunities between the ffolk and northmen kingdoms of the Moonshae Isles, providing a service to smaller settlements throughout the islands that the larger costers from Calimshan often ignore.
Unofficially, Greystone Trading operates an information ring throughout the islands listening for signs of the fabled Grimmulf, but also gathering information on other events on the various islands of the Moonshaes that it can share (sell) to individuals and organisations that might benefit.
Greystone Trading does not seek to exploit markets and grow fabulously wealthy at the expense of the common folk, instead operating fair prices for the service it provides – buying and selling goods between islands and helping to resolve shortages of food and raw materials.
Membership / Recruiting
Greystone Trading recruits new guards and sailors and other affiliated members regularly to replace losses. Recruitment into the heart of the organization is far more difficult, first a trusting relationship would need to be established with members of Greystone Trading. Next the individual would need to prove either a dedication to finding and destroying the fabled Grimmulf, or possess a lycanthropic affliction that would provide some benefit to the group. Lastly the prospective member would need to prove he possesses qualities such as loyalty, bravery, trustworthiness, etc.
Greystone Trading, through its actions as an information broker and its dedication to combatting the legendary evil Grimmulf, has made alliances with organisations such as Riordayn’s Renayrs, Heralds of the High King, and other groups dedicated to combatting evil.
These long standing alliances benefit all parties involved, with Greystone Trading often acting as spies for its allies, while those allies provide other services as infiltrators, warriors, and protection for Greystone Trading should it be needed.
Greystone Trading has mistakenly assumed the Grimmulf is a creature of legend, a great wolf that stalks the isles and devours the good ffolk. The reality is that the Grimmulf is not one individual but an entire organization (the Darkmoon) of shapeshifting assassins that are employed as assassins by the secret few who know of their existing.
By attempting to monitor and combat the Grimmulf, Greystone Trading has accidentally earned itself the enmity of a powerful band of assassins who are now stalking Greystone Trading searching for the Grandfather and true leader of that organization.
Tristram Greystone (Good, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 5): Tristram Greystone is the founder of Greystone Trading long believed dead to his descendants, although he is known to have lived to a ripe old age of 137 before vanishing from his home in Caer Moray after a string of accident befell his kin and himself.
Tristram Greystone was a devout follower of the Earthmother, and a strong protector of the islands and its people. He believed that evil forces have long been at work in the Moonshae Isles, and that it was his duty to help combat that evil. An honorary member of the Heralds of the High King, Tristram ensured that his descendants held a similar reverence for the idea of a united Moonshae Isles, where all the people aided one another through life’s struggle.
Towards the end of Tristram’s life he spent much of his time wandering the wilds of Gwynneth and Moray, remaining constantly on the move to stay one step ahead of his enemies and the “accidents” that followed him.
Tannistan Greystone (Good, Human – Ffolk, Expert 2): The current “Father” of Greystone Trading, Tannistan is approaching 60 years of age and is nowhere near as adventurous as his ancestor Tristram, but he still holds fast to the ideals of unity, bravery, and patience laid down by the founder.
Tannistan remains almost exclusively in Cantrev Moray, except when his audience is requested by important persons of the isles (Lords and Kings of the other islands have been known to call upon the Father of Greystone Trading. The Konungr of Norland once requested the presence of Tannistan in 1335 DR to find a solution to the bleak winter and the famine in the northern islands.
When in Cantrev Moray, Tannistan always has an old black (an unusual colour as most Moray morhounds are grey or brown in colour) morhound curled around his feet. The dog is known only as Senfear (old man) and has been a feature of the headquarters for as long as anyone can remember. The dog occasionally barks, whines, growls, farts, or twitches in his sleep (all he ever does is sleep) and Tannistan has learned (as many previous Fathers of Greystone Trading have) that the dog’s sleeping cues usually have a meaning and can help guide meetings being held here.