The Hierarchy of the Combine
Within the Larkspur Combine there are 5 major families, Zugravi, Albescu, Larkspur, LeVert, and the Sokolov. These are the founding families of the combine, where the most power and influence pool.These five families have a seat at The Table, and have sway over the operation of the Combine.
These 5 main families often control several other cadet branch families, subsidiary groups, and subservient clans that control territory, rackets, and other facets of their sponsor’s enterprises. These cadet branches often found and sponsor yet further cadet branches when they become large and powerful enough, granting a consig or underboss their own family and promoting an existing family member to take their place. This has led to the creation of an almost feudal-corporate hierarchy in the Mosi criminal underworld, as families and clans follow chains of respect and loyalty, all leading to the top.
This hierarchy allows for a great deal of flexibility and deniability for the Combine, as a third or fourth tier family can be charged with a task, and quietly denied affiliation if things go wrong. Conversely, the creation and sponsorship of these subsidiaries and branch families can cause some degree of infighting and strife, as low tier branches fail to recognize one distant relation and squabble over petty business. To combat this, those who sponsor these branches are often held directly responsible for their actions, making the sponsor more cautious against reckless expansion and subdividing of their power, and the sponsored more cautious of repercussions coming down from above.
The Five Families
These families have been present since the overthrowing of the previous planetary government, and assisted the Larkspur in the reconstitution of Mosi society. Each of these families are powerful, and well respected, though none more so than the Larkspur themselves.
The longstanding blue bloods and blue collar leaders of the combine. The Larkspur led the overthrow of the colonial government, and have leveraged that position of leadership to build a powerbase among the working man, and as the brokers of power between the other families. They have long lived up to the name of their founder and are ubiquitous to all institutions and corners of power within and without the combine. The family commands respect and fear to all that might recognize their name and they wield it with generations of experience.
Technically the youngest of the five families, their membership tends to skew toward the young and the brash. They are very much an “ends justify the means” group, the ends typically being money. They have a very capitalistic view of the world and the upper management devalue human rights and labor in favor of profits. For decades, the Albescu have been paying lip service to the Larkspur, paying the correct tributes, publically following the right protocols, all while funding rouge subsidiaries and deniable strikes against the Larkspur until 278 (Mosi calendar) or (1038 TTGI calendar), when they kidnapped the Larkspur Patriarch.
Despite being heavily involved in the original uprising, the LeVerts have found their greatest niche as silent workhorses in the shadows, and their place is often found at the Don’s side to provide gruff words and sober counsel. The LeVerts have strived to remove themselves from the front-facing operations of the combine; however, they still pay their favors and remain dedicated to their duties. Apart from a rare few, this family has receded from the fiery action of their predecessors.
When conventional means of violence and magic are not enough, you call a Sokolov. The Sokolov family is a bloodline, tradition, and school of powerful bleed users and researchers with a focus on creating special-grade operatives. Founded during the revolution by the Sokolov family themselves, the family is driven by the belief that peace is maintained through the strength and readiness to enforce it. Publicly, the Sokolovs are heavily embedded in the Mosi Republic’s intelligence agencies, and draw most of their income from these sources.
Where the Larkspur are the champions of the working man, the Zugravi are the chief patrons of culture and the cutting edge. The Zugravi began as a handful of wealthy socialites who threw their fortune and influence behind David B Larkspur, funding and shaping the messaging of the revolution. Ever since, the Zugravi have made and broken trends in fashion, music, drugs, and media. Publically they own several talent agencies, fashion brands, music labels, and production studios. While involved in countless illicit acts, and masters of negotiating social citations, the Zugravi are considered highly religious, with heavy ties to spiritual and sacred practices and traditions.
Major Cadet branches
These cadet branches, subsidiaries, and smaller families are of particular note. This could be due to their utility to their sponsor family, their cultural influence, their historical contributions, or the extent of their local power. Some of these cadets are powerful enough to operate effectively independently within their own local spheres, some are very much dependent on their patrons.
An old family dating back to the initial founding of the Combine, the Zabis are technically a cadet family of the Larkspurs. The Zabi’s sphere of influence is primarily in orbit, operating primarily on Mos’ moons, and several small orbital stations. While the Zabis technically are not part of the big five, their influence over the satellites and communication systems on Mos have left them in a position of some power and influence despite their lack of manpower. The Zabi believe in increasing the orbital infrastructure of Mos, creating orbital colonies, enhancing the satellite networks, and eventually moving their efforts planetside once further terraforming has been completed. Family Motto “Our Souls are Not Held Down by Gravity”
The Groundworks Technical Concern
Technically a construction and earthworks company run out of New Harmony, the GTC are a front and criminal cartel that has sworn fealty to the Zugravi family. Publicly, the GTC run construction and infrastructure projects across Mos, primarily the digging and laying of foundations for construction, laying of roads and rail tracks, and the digging of tunnels. Behind closed doors they operate money laundering and extortion rackets through the use of their construction contracts, keeping sites ‘under work’ for years, or threatening to demolish homes and businesses. They also make use of large amounts of forced labor, buying off the debts of those exploited by loan sharks as ‘new hires’.
The House of the Serpent
A small but popular cult with a small following in New harmony and numerous townships, the House of the Serpent are a subsidiary to the Albescu family. Publicly, the House of the Serpent is an organized religion based partially on the Praxis and partially on the worship of a bleed entity known as the “Three Eyed Serpent”. The Serpent is an embodiment of the whole of the praxis, and its symbol is that of the ouroboros, and allegedly offers a simple solution to walking the path of the praxis through supporting the church. Through acts of charity, devotion, and ritual purification to the Three Eyed Serpent one can accelerate their path or change to a more fighting position on the praxis all together.
These are all, of course, fabrications. There is no Serpent, there is no trick, and many who belong to the church and seek their services are well aware of that. The church does offer real services to its flock, by way of food banks, soup kitchens, and cheap medical assistance, however in private each church operates as small dens of vice. After ministering to a community for some time, the clergy identifies and offers ‘ministrations’ to its flock, which consist of prostitution, drugs, and other vices. The church makes a large portion of its money through these ‘cleansing rights’ as well as donations from its members, and forced labor undertaken by its debtors.
The Sarkova Catalog Company
On the surface the Sarkova catalog company is a vital life line for many of the small settlements and villages along the outskirts of Mos. The Sarkova Catalogs supply and own numerous general stores out on the frontier, stocking them with everyday essentials while keeping a copy of the Sarkova trade catalog in each store, where customers can purchase anything available in New Harmony, with the convenience of it being brought out to their local general store within a week. However, the Sarkova Catalog carries more than sundries, tools, and appliances. If one knows the right passphrase they can request the ‘Red Pages’, a secret secondary catalog containing every piece of contraband and illegal goods one could potentially find in new harmony, conveniently and discreetly delivered to your local general goods store.
The Starosta Family
Residing in a modest homestead not too far away from New Harmony, is the Starosta Family. While they have never been the largest family, they are credited and renowned for the invention of Vice-Aid during the early days of the Mosi Republic. Many of the members of the family have since then ventured into drug production, medicinal or not. They are traditionally aligned with the Larkspur Family, though it is rumored that many a prodigy have shifted to the LeVert Family to further insulate the Don from threats. Once in a blue moon, a group or two may accuse the Starosta of using poisons or even bioweapons, but such complaints tend to die out after a week or two.