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Unveiling the Radu Clan

by Andrew Theisen from Threshold Magazine issue 1

The origins of the Veiled Society go far back in the annals of Karameikos, before the Duke, before imperial occupation, perhaps as far as the Dark Ages of Traladara. It was founded as a loose democracy of powerful Traladaran nobles and mercantile heads; hidden behind elaborate masks and cloaks, each man's purposes could be considered on their own merits, anonymity providing a level playing field. Much later, when the eyes and legions of Thyatis imposed their own interests on the nation, the Veiled Society became more of a cabal, a means for its members to secretly maintain control of their own economic and political goals in the shadow of the empire.

Most recently the Radu clan, always an influential member of the Veiled Society, has turned the cabal into a criminal enterprise. Playing on the fears of the Traladaran families and their hatred of the new Duke, Anton Radu leveraged himself into a position of power over the Society. He and his brother Cartha then flooded its ranks with Radu clan members and allied thugs.

Today, through threats of blackmail, intimidation, and extortion, Anton rules the Veiled Society with an iron fist, and enjoys unprecedented power under the Duke's very nose. But though outwardly the Radu clan seems a united front, Anton's control may not long outlive the man himself.

*The Veiled Society and the Radu family first appeared in module B6: The Veiled Society by David Cook. Anton Radu is detailed in Gaz1: Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and again in Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure.

Cartha Radu, brother of Anton

History: Anton and his younger brother Cartha were thick as thieves growing up, and thieves is what they eventually became, together transforming the Veiled Society into what it is today. While his brother used his skills to dig up dirt on his foes for blackmail, and fanned the flames of discontent with the ducal uprising to their advantage, Cartha took care of the more physical work. Intimidation, organizing riots, quietly dispatching the more outspoken opponents of the family regime; these were the areas the younger Radu excelled at.

Personality: Alas, the success of the brothers and the corrupting influence that power and wealth have brought to them has driven a wedge between them. Anton is reluctant to give up his control of the Veiled Society, and distrusts Cartha's loyalties, while Cartha resents his brother for usurping what he feels is his equal share of the spoils of their life's labors. The tension between them is slowly but inevitably stirring.

Like Anton, Cartha is a calculating man, though their methods could not be more different. Anton studies his foes and uses their weaknesses to pressure them into cooperation; Cartha uses those same weaknesses to dispatch them, permanently.

Appearance: Tall and athletic, but not overly muscular like his nephew Zweis, with black hair just beginning to go to grey at the sides. A short beard covers a scar on his chin, earned dueling in his youth. Green, piercing eyes, and always impeccably dressed; even the ducally mandated bindings on his ever-present sword are of an elaborate silken cord.

Relations: Cartha would prefer to discredit Anton as opposed to killing him, but he is starting to feel his time to act is running out. His closest ally Pieter has been sent away from the city, and it has not escaped Cartha's notice that Anton is grooming his own grandson Emil as heir. Cartha may use that knowledge, as well as his suspicions about Theodosius' true parentage, against Anton.

Zweis, son of Anton
History: Zweis grew up during the period of violence and strife that accompanied Duke Stefan's acquisition of Karameikos. As a youth, he led a gang of toughs in the streets of Specularum, often at odds with the Thyatian invaders, the Torenescu clan, or hapless citizens. When Zweis came of age, his father enlisted his aid as an enforcer in the Veiled Society in an attempt to turn his few talents to some good for the family name. His brutish ways proved beneficial to Anton in his quest to remake the cabal into a criminal organization.
Personality: Anton's eldest son is a bully and a ruffian. To his father's great dismay, he lacks subtlety, and is rarely trusted with any but the most simple of tasks. Zweis exercises all the power and influence that is his, both as a Radu, and a ranking member of the Veiled Society; alone among men, only Anton can put Zweis in his place. Like most of his family, he is utterly loyal to the Radu clan. Though he has several daughters, Zweis was long frustrated by what he saw as his wife's inability to produce a son for him, and often took it out on her verbally and physically. Since Theodosius' birth, Zweis has doted on the boy endlessly; there is no more precious thing to him than his son. He was also overjoyed when his illegitimate son Pieter turned up a few years ago, although relations between them are not close.
Appearance: Zweis is a ruggedly featured man 40 years of age. He is tall, like his father, but sturdily built, with dark hair and brown eyes. He has a pronounced tendency to glare and stare down anyone he meets. Zweis' clothes are of high quality, but worn carelessly.

Relations: Though keenly aware that Antonito was always the favored son, Zweis is nevertheless a loyal- and often unthinking- lieutenant of his fathers. He has no clue that Cartha plots against Anton, and even less suspicion that his own sons, Theodosius and Pieter, are not his trueborn heirs. Should he ever learn the latter, there is no predicting to what heights his violent temper may take him.

Antonito, son of Anton

History: Born in 967 AC, the Radu family had consolidated control of the Veiled Society while he was still a child, and thus Antonito grew up in a wealthy lifestyle. His father favored him greatly, and had him taught in the finest schools, hoping he would become heir to the family leadership. Early in his studies, Antonito demonstrated a knack for spellcraft, and was tutored by a Radu allied wizard. The lavish lifestyle he lived, coupled with his ability to use magic to manipulate others, caused Antonito to grow up spoiled.

Personality: Antonito is used to getting his way through his natural charm, his family connections, or his enchantment magic. He has never worked a day in his life and feels confident that he will rule the Veiled Society, just as soon as his old man kicks the bucket. He could not be more of a disappointment to Anton, who views his lack of ambition or vision with disdain.

Appearance: He looks much like his father Anton, though slightly shorter, and with brown hair. His looks and ever present grin are legendary among the lords and ladies of Karameikan society. He is clean shaven and always impeccably attired in silken finery and jewels.

Relations: Antonito tolerates his brutish older brother, whom he has always been able to easily manipulate, as well as his uncle Cartha, who is almost as good at manipulating people as himself. He sees the affection his father bestows on his only son, Emil, but does not suspect that Anton would ever consider bypassing him as a choice for an heir. Should he ever learn of his father's plans, he might resort to charming his own son to gain control of the family.

Emil, son of Antonito

History: Antonito's only son, Emil, was born well after the Duke finally consolidated his position in Specularum, and has grown up in a world beginning to be marked by inevitable- if grudging- Thyatian and Traladaran integration. He has largely been raised under the thumb of Anton Radu, as his own father's self-interest and philandering rarely give him leave to spend time at home with his wife and children. For his Shearing, he apprenticed himself to the Merchants Guild, gaining an education in finance and following in Antons footsteps. Two years ago he was welcomed back to the family and given a ranking position among the Veiled Society.

Personality: Though he yet lacks a wider sense of the world outside of the city, Emil has demonstrated all the markings of a true successor to Anton's carefully crafted empire. He is educated, ambitious, and a shrewd judge of character. His only shortcoming, in Antons eyes, is his timid approach to dealing with the Societys enemies; however, Anton is confident time will drum this reluctance out of Emil.

Appearance: Emil looks like a younger version of his father, though he bears a casual confidence in contrast to Antonitos exuberant flamboyance. He wears his hair short, like his beard.

Relations: Emil genuinely regards his grandfather more highly than his own father, whom he resents for his philandering and neglect. He is the closest thing to a friend that his cousin, Theodosius, allows in his life. Suspicious of Cartha's loyalties, Emil recently convinced Anton to maneuver Pieter out of Specularum to the Veiled Society's new operations in Kelvin.

Theodosius, son of Zweis

History: Zweis Radu despaired of ever siring a male heir, and took his frustrations out on his wife and four daughters. Needless to say he was overjoyed when, 15 years ago, she gave birth to little Theodosius. The boy grew up sullen and quiet, despite his fathers best efforts to draw him out. Zweis dotes on him nonetheless, and was proud when Theodosius recently informed him of his intent to join the Veiled Society when he is sheared in a few short months.

Personality: Theodosius is quiet and reserved, unlike his father, but nevertheless bears a similar air of danger. Though Zweis never once raised a hand to the boy, the abuses suffered by his mother and sisters left him with a cold sense of detachment towards the suffering of others. He has recently found a clinical amusement in killing and dissecting small rodents and livestock.

Appearance: Lean of build and red haired, Theodosius looks nothing like Zweis. Fortunately for him, he resembles his mothers side of the family instead of that of his true father- Vasile Torenescu. He rarely smiles, his expression dark behind his gray eyes.

Relations: None but his mother know that Theodosius is the product of an affair between her and a member of the hated Torenescu clan, although Cartha and Pieter quietly seek confirmation of their suspicions. Emil Radu is the closest thing Theodosius has to a real friend, and will make him a deadly lieutenant one day. Pieter and Theodosius, despite beingbrothers,” are not close.

Pieter, son of Zweis

History: As a youth, Zweis Radu fell deeply in love with a peasant girl, Marika Petrescu. Theirs was a doomed affair, though, for Anton Radu had already betrothed his son to a more influential Traladaran family while building his power base. When Marika turned up, pregnant, Anton had no choice but to quietly relocate the young woman to a convent far outside of Specularum. The fact that her child was actually Carthas (with whom she had been having an affair), and not Zweis, made it all the more imperative. The object of that birth, bright-eyed Pieter, was thus raised within the Church of Traladara. Following his Shearing ceremony, he immediately took his vows to become ordained a cleric in its hierarchy.

A few years ago, Pieter- now a ranking priest in the church hierarchy- showed up at the Radu family estate, revealing his parentage as the son of Zweis and Marika. After confirmation of histruelineage by both Anton and Cartha, Zweis welcomed him with open arms and he was instated as a lieutenant in the Society.

Most recently, he was sent away to the city of Kelvin, under the auspices of his priestly role, but secretly to oversee the installation of a fledgling branch of the Veiled Society there.

Personality: Pieter takes his priestly duties very seriously. He detests the Thyatian occupation and the efforts of the Church of Thyatis to convert his Traladaran people. Incredibly, he sees no hypocrisy in also directing the efforts of the Veiled Society, which he views as a tool to help undermine Thyatian interests in his homeland. While his outlook on the function of the Society may differ from that of Cartha, one opinion both men share is that the Veiled Society- and the Radu clan- are better off in the hands of their side of the family than in Antons.

Appearance: Pieter is short, even by Traladaran standards. Though barely 26, the ease of his station has caused his formerly wiry build to turn to pudginess. That, combined with his soft features and smile, give him an almost fatherly appeal. He is never seen in public without his robes of office.

Relations: Pieter and Cartha are thoroughly complicit in their plots to take over the Veiled Society, which is perhaps why Anton had him stationed in Kelvin. Though he is determined to establish control over the city, he is well aware that it is a fool’s errand; the lack of any real criminal underground and Baron Kelvin’s militant followers make any such plans all but impossible. He knows that Cartha is his true father, and works with the man to undermine Anton’s authority while still manipulating his ties to Zweis, but he feels little affection towards any member of the Radu clan.