Of Poets, Fools and Madmen. . .
Rather than a specific organization, the title is a catch-all term for the ubiquitous black-markets, thieves guilds and other “underworld” power structures present in virtually every “civilized” region. As a result of Panisadore’s climate, particularly in the equatorial and subtropical regions, most illicit business deals are conducted during the heat of mid-day when law-enforcement (and legitimate business) activities of necessity are kept to a minimum. A great deal of more conspicuous activities, such as large scale movement and delivery of contraband are still conducted under the cover of darkness. Burglars tend to specialize in either noon or night-time practice of their trade. As a whole, the Noonday Profiteers tends to refer to the interactions and business conducted between the various criminal organizations that constitutes more widespread, even international, illegal traffic. Specific groups vary widely in scale, scope and zone of operation; some competing over small districts and/or functions in a single city with others exercising influence or outright control of certain activities throughout extensive geographic areas. As such, little can be said pertaining to all save that avarice and personal profit are the guiding motives, making the church of Mine the single most pervasive and influential element among them.
Those cabals pursuing objectives more related to behind-the-scenes socio-political power and influence than financial gain (while still clearly part of the ethos of Mine,) operate separately and tend to focus their activities in areas of illegal services (kidnapping, assassination, usury, etc.) and are therefore rarely identified with these organizations. Where prostitution is illegal these latter (when present) tend to control it. Elsewhere the Order of the Ladies’ Hand and its associated Courtesans Guild function openly and legitimately. Even in these places however, markets for illicit services (e.g., child prostitution, “snuff,” and various fetishes which clients would prefer kept secret) invariably exist and are supplied. Opposition by the Order is universal, up to and including outright covert warfare, at which the Ladies’ Hand proves surprisingly adept.