At some point in every gahl's life, they're going to get hurt. They'll get sick or injured, and they'll need to get medical help. In a large city they may be fortunate enough to find a variety of options, from dedicated hospitals, to private physicians, to churches whose clergy practice the healing arts. But each of these comes with its own sets of risks and restrictions, particularly for those whose profession or legal status demands a certain degree of discretion. A church may turn away the non-believer, a hospital might demand official paperwork, and an independent doctor is a complete unknown unless they come recommended by a trusted comrade.
However, there is one organization whose services are available to any and all that are willing to pay, or provide a service in kind. That organization is the Widow's Guild. Clad in black and white silk robes embroidered with webbed patterns, the Widows can be found wherever ordinary folk need a helping hand. They are a somewhat occult group devoted to a saintly figure they call "Mother Mercy", who has no direct connection to any established religious scripture, though one which Chimer tradition is always happy to incorporate. The Widows have endured accusations of witchcraft and sedition, but survive on the goodwill of those who know them by their works.
The Silken Sign
Providing medical care for the denizens of Gahla's underworld often means working in secret, and far from the places where they normally conduct the rest of their business. For this, the Widows prefer to make house calls, and for their appointments to be set by trusted intermediaries - often the tavernkeeps and madams of the kinds of places this clientele tends to frequent. To identify a place where one might inquire about these services, the Guild leaves a most unique callsign - a simple web, woven somewhere just prominent enough to catch the eye, yet unassuming enough that one pass off the faux pas as a symptom of lazy cleaning habits.
Healers in the Shadows
The Widow's Guild has three primary elements to their operation.
First is their role as a shelter and refuge for victims of abandonment or abuse. The guild is devoted to the care of war orphans, exiles, teens escaping troubled family lives, or victims of abusive spouses. There are even orphans of wickened
parents who yet live, but who cannot recognize their own flesh and blood. So long as these outcasts are willing to pitch in after a suitable recovery period, they are welcome within the guild's merciful embrace. Being well-versed in the goings-on of both urchins and outlaws, the Widow's Guild provides a buffer of protection from exploitation for those kids who would otherwise get recruited into gangs, through that ever-churning street-informant-to-criminal
Their second mission is as a day care and education agency for working families who might not be able to afford conventional means of schooling. With so many loyal (if small) hands at their disposal, the guild finds ways to promote mutual aid efforts even when material supplies are at a shortage. The Widow's train their apprentices in the art of the Fleshweaver's Harp, a musical instrument that the use to command the swarms of tiny spiders whose delicate appendages have evolved to stitch together the cuts of animals.
Leveraging this extraordinary skill, the Widow's Guild third purpose is as a no-questions-asked center for the treatment of wounds, and access to reproductive care resources. This (along with the occasional pest control job) is their most profitable service, one whose revenue goes to support all their other ventures.
Though the guild is perpetually strapped for resources, it would not be wise to threaten or infringe upon the Widow's Guild. Not only does their close alliance with the Veteran' Union ensure that they never lack for proper security personnel, the higher ranking members of the guild are not people to be trifled with. Skilled in the arts of alchemy and entomancy, the wrath of a guild widow can be as deadly as it is subtle.