I hope your preparations are going to your satisfaction. I understand you’re still staying at the Hammer and Anvil, if my agent is to be believed. He says you took the table for more than a crown, and that the innkeeper had to kick two of the other players out after you did; I see your capacity for attracting attention remains undiminished.
Putting aside the notice you shouldn’t have drawn to yourself, you will find the sanction papers for one Rakel Andersdottir in the same envelope as this. We’ve spoken with the School of Conjurers regarding her history there. She was admitted in 308 at the age of nine, and graduated seven years later. She was a quiet and undistinguished student, but after attaining full membership she was involved in a number of indiscretions—cited in detail in her sanction papers—and since then has found herself increasingly distanced from the day-to-day routine at the Guild. In short, she is ripe for less-than-legal employment. We decided to leave the finer points of her personality to you, given your talent for improvisation, with the caveat that Rakel Andersdottir should be an unremarkable person, notable only for her involvement in a handful of notable events. Don’t overplay your role.
You’ve been granted an exemption from parts of the Code for the duration of your time undercover. You will not be prosecuted for violations of sections two, three, five, twelve, twenty-one through twenty-four, and thirty-four through forty, provided that any violations can be shown to be necessary to maintain or strengthen your cover, or essential to further your mission or prevent injury to your person. The Council and the Magehunters are trusting you with a great deal of latitude in the interpretation of those terms. Any controversy you stir up will bring a storm down on my head from the Council, so please, for the sake of my sanity, play it safe if at all possible.
Knowing your habit of ignoring details that don’t seem important and forgetting the ones that are no longer immediately applicable, I am forced to assume you don’t remember the substance of our talk about the criminal underground in the aftermath of the events of late 315. It’s relevant again, so I’ll repeat the parts most likely to come up. The large majority of the city is claimed as territory by one or more organizations of criminals. The City Watch is able to limit their visible activity in the Riverfronts, the major remaining signs being widespread racketeering and the operation of most of the city’s racetracks, gambling houses, brothels, and fighting pits. The gangs tend to see their territory as a place to establish such questionably legal ventures and to limit their blatantly criminal acts to areas outside their control. Turf wars are common, but interference from the Watch would only serve to make things worse, and all told the gangs do a passable job of keeping the citizens in their territories safe while parting them from as much money as possible.
The gangs are, of course, permitted under the Code to employ mages, but very few can afford to, and of those many choose to hire them on a temporary basis. Mages in that situation are trusted with very little, and you should endeavor to find full-time employment.
You are to operate in the southern extreme of the Riverfronts, beginning about five miles south of the Heimdal, between three and four miles west of the ocean. Parts of this slice of the city are claimed by five different gangs. The Order of the Black Dagger is the oldest and best-established, and the most likely to yield information quickly. They already employ mages, and may therefore be more difficult to infiltrate. The Silver Spear gang holds a very large amount of territory across the city, but lacks strong central authority. Influence in one area might not help elsewhere. The other three—the Miller Street gang, the Shadow Brotherhood, and the Red Skull Thieves—are more local in scope, and limited in their capacities to afford a full-time mage; further, as an outsider, it will be difficult for you to gain their trust.
The Adjudicators have no recent information on any of the gangs in this area, having been forced, of late, into securing more dangerous areas of the Riverfronts. We leave the decision of which gang to pursue to you.
If you need to contact me, you can send a letter to Anders Andersson at the Prefecture for the Preservation of History, and it will be forwarded to me. If I need to contact you, it will be in the usual way.
P.S. Please don’t get yourself killed.