Runelord Belimarius rules the western kingdom of Edasseril in New Thassilon through strict edicts, cruel acts, and a fervent bureaucracy. Upon magically emerging from the ancient past and into the modern day along with her capital city, Xin-Edasseril, Belimarius quickly seized the surrounding territories to expand her burgeoning nation. Despite her harsh rule, not all of Belimarius’ subjects revile her. Some citizens credit Belimarius’ foresight for their survival from the ravages of Earthfall. Others are grateful to the runelord for deposing the unpopular King Opir Eightfingers, who had ruled the nearby region before her city’s return. Still others simply admire Belimarius, hoping to emulate her rise to power.
Most subjects, however, chafe under Belimarius’ rule. Desiring freedom from the runelord’s oppression is risky. Belimarius sees such “deserters” as traitors for daring to claim that any land could be superior to one under her rule. Accordingly, Belimarius threatens anyone attempting to flee her realm without permission with summary execution—sans trial.
Guaril Karela, influential leader within the Sczarni crime syndicate and former associate of the Pathfinder Society is never one to let an opportunity for profit pass him by. He has offered those seeking to flee Belimarius’ rule the means to escape Edasseril’s borders... for the right price.
Valais Durant, leader of the Society’s Radiant Oath faction, has offered assistance to Guaril in smuggling citizens out of Edasseril and south along the Varisian coastline to Magnimar to start new lives. Valais finds Guaril somewhat distasteful, especially since the Sczarni charges hefty fee for his services, but Valais believes that the Radiant Oath’s involvement in the operation will ultimately protect those fleeing Edasseril and ensure that Guaril’s “business practices” don’t descend into blatant abuse of his clients. Valais accepts that Guaril’s enterprise requires funding for transport, bribes, and the like. She has conceded to working with the highly connected Sczarni in exchange for his strong assurances that he won’t charge anyone more than they can afford to pay, and that he’ll work with her to ensure there is reputable work and lodging arranged for those leaving Edasseril.
Valais and Guaril have made most of the arrangements for the first group of refugees but have run into a snag. Guaril has become a known entity in Edasseril, and Belimarius has placed a price on the heads of the Sczarni as well as his known associates, including the leadership of the Pathfinder Society. Valais has come to realize that the best way to aid the refugees now is to the employ of a team of relatively new and unknown operatives capable of slipping into Xin-Edasseril disguised as merchants, assembling the refugees, and escorting them aboard outbound ships. These efforts are complicated by the fact that Guaril was forced to flee Edasseril before he was able to give the refugees their final instructions.