Patience is bitter, but her fruit is sweet
Together we shall riseDefying the confinements from a judgemental elite, the Exploration Alliance covertly aims to advance society. A fragile teamup of three secret organizations, the Alliance works on technological advancements, with which they hope to develop society and free it from the grasp of the arrogant upper class. One of their main goals is to send steamships on expeditions outside the Grayburn area. Each member organization has its own motives. The Industrialists, dissident members of the upper class, aim to be freed from the scorn of their peers. For this goal, they skim resources for their private projects. The Alchemist Union, a group of magic users capable of using herbal lifeforce in medicine, desires a safe place to practice and research magic publicly. The Graycloaks, who sell information and courier services, primarily seek profits. Yet all are united to end the stagnation of Grayburn's society, for which the full blame lies with the Conventionalists, and their obsession with public image. To do so, the Alliance must tread carefully, for the Conventionalists still control most of the resources of Grayburn. As such, they can easily cut off the Alliance from all they require. Industrialists could be disinherited, while Alchemists and Graycloaks could lose their jobs and patrons. So the Alliance members keep up their pretense, milking their opponents while hiding their hostility. The Gray Church is another party that the Alliance is wary of. While their only function is to gather donations to aid those in need, as has always been throughout the history of Grayburn, it is this charity that gives them a massive amount of potential influence. The Gray Church has the hearts of the people, so the Alliance must win those hearts first, before they dare risk alienating the Church.
Like its member organizations, the Alliance takes precautions so that exposed members cannot topple the entire organization, starting with a clustered setup. In each city and town where they operate, only a few individuals of each organization are familiar with the other Alliance members, and will only occasionally meet to exchange resources and information. Lower-ranked individuals may only vaguely be aware of the other organizations. The exception to this are the two Alliance bases, Greenbay and the Lonely Isle. There, all work together, though the higher-ups remain masked.
Secrecy remains a must in the Alliance, with their resources and influence at stake were the Conventionalists to discover and oppose them. This makes disguising oneself very important to all members, so that they are not recognised at a wrong time. Members will wear near-identical masks and clothing, with only colors and small marks to differentiate between each other. The masks are a combination of stiffened linen for the top part, and cotton for the bottom part. Contact-lenses help hide one's true eye color. Meetings will follow strict procedures with keyphrases and special signals to verify membership. Voice-changers are often used to disguise one's voice, again meant to help prevent identifying an attendee. If anyone were ever to be caught, these measures should buy others the time needed to get to safety. While careful in their interactions, the members will all treat each other with respect. Each group has aspects that the other groups admire, all serving society as well as their own survival. Disagreements are debated fairly and even when outvoted, the groups hold no rancor, even if individuals may. After all, none doubt the commitment of the others, and they recognise all have plenty to lose.
Main AgendaThe Exploration Alliance seeks to further technological development, surpassing the societal restrictions that are holding back the next stage of the Industrial Revolution. They seek a Grand Expedition, both as a goal and means. By contacting other civilizations, discovering new resources, and finding better lands outside the reach of the Conventionalists, they aim to rid themselves of the oppression of societal expectations.
Isabell Patience Latimer is living proof that a name can be a perfect fit. As she grew up, she realised society was stagnating and that saying so would only cause her grief. Instead, she held back but kept her eyes and ears open, patiently plotting for future days. Her younger brother, Emmett Pleasant Latimer was more vocal about his discontent. Isabell convinced him to be more careful, so high society would only frown at him, rather than spit him out. At age 16, Isabell received management rights over her first factory. She managed it well, all the while looking for loopholes to exploit in the future. Two years later, Emmett received a factory in the far south. After a few years, the two started funneling resources into covert projects, concurrently recruiting likeminded individuals for a clustered organization. Later their organization would be called the Industrialists. While their actions remained unnoticed by high society, the Graycloaks did not miss what the siblings were doing. At age 22, Isabell was contacted by Agnes Amaryllis Gridley, the Graycloak leader. Agnes offered services and aid, and in return she sought resources and useful employment for some of her members. After a few years of careful cooperation, Agnes brought Isabell in contact with several members of the Alchemist Union. After months of negotiations, the three organizations formed the Exploration Alliance. In the years since then, the Alliance managed to reclaim parts of the lost city of Greenbay, as well as build a base on the Lonely Isle. In the far south, deep within the jungle at Deepwood Fortress, they test weaponry and other new technology.
Other areasNot counted among Alliance bases are Goldrock and Deepwood Fortress. These settlements are primarily controlled by Industrialists, not by the Alliance. Furthermore, the Conventionalists still have significant influence in those areas, so there the Alliance would not dare maintain a shared base.
Grayburn knows no military force asides from guardsfolk and hunters, due to having nearly no history of armed conflict. Thanks to its widespread religious charity, there have been few cases where violence tempted people. The Alliance does have one standing army, but not for fear of guardsfolk. They solely fear whatever hostility may await them outside their borders. To prepare, they have created the Latimer Hunting Force, located at Deepwood Fortress. There, extremely hostile wildlife has proven the perfect testing ground for weaponry and troop organization. The Hunting Force, commanded by Emmett Pleasant Latimer, has 3600 dedicated troops, slightly outnumbering the local guardsfolk. It consists of ten Years of troops, each further split into five Seasons, and further down into eight Weeks. The smallest unit configuration contains nine Days, as single troops are called. Half the Years are located at Deepwood Fortress, the other Years man bases deep in the rainforest. Primary arms are air guns and swords, while backup weapons include crossbows, longbows, and knives. Specialist weapons, which only some per Week are trained in, include pikes and air rifles. Both the Fortress and bases are armed with air cannons, supplementing the defensive structures that ward off local predators. Hunting expeditions and defending bases have trained the troops on how to deal with ambushes, as well as frontal confrontations with hard targets. However, their leadership realises that they have no idea how to fight against an enemy force, which they are desperately trying to resolve. And while they may be capable of taking over a city, the Alliance knows an armed coup would not serve them well. Violence would only turn the people against them, leaving them extremely outnumbered. As such, their sole goal is creating a defensive force to protect the Expedition.
Isabell Patience Latimer Alternative Name
The Expedition Military Level
Poor tactics Members Opponents Important individuals Bases Member relationships
The Industrialists know that they can easily deny most claims the Graycloaks could make against them, which makes them more confident. The Graycloaks distrust the upper class, but mostly trust any Industrialist they have worked with in the past. Knowing the Industrialists treat them with respect rather than with contempt, and are a good source of profit, is all they need to like them.
The Alchemists don't fully trust the Industrialists, afraid for persecution. The Industrialists have great respect for the Alchemists, though they still act with great care.
The Alchemists are glad the Graycloaks have never sold them out, but still treat them warily, making sure to leave as little to chance as they can. The Graycloaks don't fully understand the Alchemists, and a lack of knowledge is what they fear most. But they know the Alchemists mean profit, and that they appreciate.