Calm before the Storm
The ongoing civil war between the Larkspur and the Albescu has been a subtle one, carried out in the back allies, bad neighborhoods, and frontier towns of Mos. The Albescu publicly pledging their support and fealty to the Larkspur, all the while propping up petty gangs and crooks to eat into the Larkspur bottom line. The only thing that’s kept this shadow war from bubbling up beneath the streets are matters of loyalties and perceptions. The Larkspur and the Albescu are not the only families on Mos or in the Combine.
There are currently four lesser entities that swear secret fealty to the Larkspur Combine, including the Larkspur known as the Dinner Table. Their exact number and strength has varied over the years, as some rise, fall, conglomerate, or get absorbed by one and other. The Albescu are one the "strongest" aligned families, and have been a problemed child since their creation. While the main Larkspur family could easily crush any of these vassals individually, if they were to act in conjunction the Larkspur could face a serious threat and destabilization of their control over Mos. That was the status quo for most of Mosi history, it was clear to all involved that the Larkspur held a decisive advantage over the rest of the Dinner Table.
The Albescu constantly tested the extent of this control. They needled and poked at the Larkspur, funding petty gangs, cults, and hit men to do damage wherever they could, always with deniable assets. They mostly paid lip service to the Larkspur, maintaining their loyal front regardless of how bad things got. The Larkspur for their part put out these brushfire conflicts and stomped down on these disruptions, without accusing or coming down on the Albescu. The Larkspur leadership knew that merely acknowledging that there was a problem, would be admitting glaring weakness. Worse yet, crushing an otherwise ‘loyal’ member of the Dinner would be a clear act of tyranny and turn the remaining three against them.
This was the pattern and the way of things, until the Albescu stock piled enough stolen bleedshards, manpower, and weapons to get bold. The Albescu played their hand, and kidnapped the Larkspur patriarch, a bold-faced act of defiance that the family didn't even try to deny. That act shattered the delicate balance of power, throwing what little veil of subterfuge and subtlety out the window, sending the criminal elements of the combine into open civil war.
The Albescu family have now gained the resources and the numbers to make an all out fight with the Larkspur a risky proposition, and they know it. On their own, they stand a chance to win an all out war, but, with aid, from a few of their fellow vassals the odds would be much more in their favor. The Larkspur know this, the Albescu know this, and all the subordinate families know this. Thus, we had our previous status quo.