OK - So the Brinston Merchant Houses have been spreading all manner of propaganda against the Forsbury Cartels. A lot of this stuff is about how they’re all over extended and cannot pay their bills, but some of it is to try and minimize the abilities of the entire region. People like to think their rivals are stupid and weak, and the propaganda war is playing on those feelings. But it appears that they went too far.
One of the rumors is that last summer’s war was a loss for the Council of Baronies. (Forsbury is one of the baronies.) The war was against a group of spiritualists who used some massively powerful magics and tried to take one of the baronies as their own. (Centuries ago it was their ancestral homeland, so they felt they had a right.) The Barons beat them, but not according to the story tellers in Brinston. In rumors short on details, it sounds like the Council lost the war and a sizeable piece of its territory to a weak adversary.
Now we’ve talked about motivations here a lot, and this is exactly the kind of motivation that works - They’ve pissed off the Barons. While Baron Forsbury was already “all in” with his cartels, the other Barons are now branding themselves as merchants and therefore assuming that any attacks against Council merchants are against them as well. This isn’t farfetched at all, since each of the Barons is a merchant. Honsdeck is a Cattle Baron, Cifisdoan runs coal mines, and others control corn, cotton and other plantations. If Brinston really is coming against the merchants of the Central Plains, the Barons will be affected, and one by one, they’re all agreeing to help the cartels in whatever way they will need to.
In other related news, a night club owner in Brinston who was rumored to be a blabber mouth was killed “by robbers”. They didn’t hit his strong box, slit his throat from ear to ear (no other marks on him), and a new owner was in place the next morning. Yeah - Sounds like robbers to me. Good investigative work there Brinston! Then again, that’s one information source that Forsbury won’t be able to use.