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In Osoerde, the guild of Diirk Watershold is not a mercantile guild, but an espionage organization. There is smuggling, counterfeiting the duke coinage, fencing stolen goods, and even theft of goods, here and there. Certainly craftsmen and merchants are members of Watershold's organization, but its purpose is not to profitably sell dwarven crafts in stone and metal, but rather to join together in common efforts to survive and even thrive in the tyranny of the bloody duke. Those who resist the duke need an organization, and many are fearful that William Moergen's merry band cannot offer protection.

When Raenech took over the throne, Diirk Watershold was a well connected guilder in Osoerde with but a few holdings in the north. But as the new duke consolidated his power and as the tyrannical nature of the regime revealed itself, many people were eager to join a figure like Watershold who could organize them for mutual protection, advise them on their security against the duke's abuses, and who always seemed to know what the duke is up to and where he plans to strike. Membership in the Royal Guild is more like membership in an underground society, with hidden meeting places, concealed identities, and passwords. The Royal Guild uses bribery, infiltration, and theft of state documents to gather information on the duke and his activities. When a member blacksmith is denounced by a commercial rival and doomed to face the inquisitor, it is the duty of the royal guild to know this ahead of time, collect the belongings of the smith and move him to another village, far away, with a forged new identity and a ready made network of new friends in his new home.

So far the posture of the Royal Guild has been defensive and inward, protecting its own, and only striking at the duke's regime to achive that narrow end. The Guild and its master, Watershold, have not decided its desirable to seek direct opposition to the duke. It is easier and so far sufficient to play a defensive game and make him do all the work. Perhaps they just need to believe that there is a real alternative, whether Moergan, or someone else. Perhaps they are content to just keep their heads down and avoid attracting attention.



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