The Free City of Vallor has been an important hub on the continent even in the old days. For Signum it became a repository of ancient knowledge, a bright spark of hope in the growing darkness. And at the same time – an Apple of Discord for the greedy gods. The power and untold riches hidden beneath the city attracted mercenaries of all kinds and simple adventurers.
Impossible as it may seem, the powerful cataclysm that has befallen the lands of Signum because of the Chaos Dragon Vortiris, the same one that has changed the face of the ancient continent, barely touched the Free City. Citizens of Vallor have taken their miraculous survival as a sign of divine patronage. But perhaps this was merely a cruel joke of fate.
It all begun with the sudden death of the Duke. Important families of the Higher Cities observed each other with suspicion. The Guild of Merchants has accused the Guild of Shadows and demanded to conduct a thorough investigation of their assets. The Guild of Shadows too has raised a similar accusation in return.
“We are protecting the rights of the thieves, but it doesn’t mean we are to blame for all the crimes that happen in Vallor. Assassination of the Duke is quite different from cutting a purse.”
Accusations were thrown around from all sides: the Guilds of Mercenaries, Jewellers, Architects. Wild rumours spread across the city – the Duke died after being stung by a specially bred assassin bee; the Duke was cursed by a powerful necromancer and died in horrible agony; the Duke found out his future from a fortune-teller and committed suicide. Some were completely ridiculous, such as the rumour that the Duke has fled the city with his mistress and left a dead double in his stead. But all these rumours agreed on one thing – Vallor no longer had a Duke.
Before all that, the Duke would serve as an arbiter in the endless disagreements between the Great Guilds. And now each guild attempted to promote their own candidate for that role in order to increase their power over the city. As always, there were far too many claims. Arguments broke out, followed by mutual insults and threats and very soon it all ended up in armed conflict. Units of city militia were unable to restore order when faced with well armed private armies that served the Great Guilds. Entire blocks were set ablaze across the city. Not a single fief managed to avoid being dragged into the war between the guilds and the usual course of life in the city was completely disrupted.The Guild of Shadows against the Guild of Merchants, the Guild of Architects against the Guild of Blades and so on. No one side of the conflict could gain a decisive advantage.