"No one speaks of the Cartel in the open. Why? It's a good way to attract attention. Those who attract attention often disappear."
The Azure Cartel is a criminal organization that spans the entirety of the Ensis Galaxy. The Cartel is extremely secretive, with some speculation that it's infrastructure and chain of command can be likened to that of a cult, and there is only one publicly known base of power, the planet of Analine. This is not to say that the Cartel is limited only to Analine. In fact, quite the contrary, as the Cartel has influence nearly everywhere within the confines of the Ensis Galaxy.
Despite it's relative secrecy, the Cartel has a well established reputation. It is known to be vicious in it's dealings and won't shy away from removing any competiton through force. The Cartel has it's hands in nearly every known criminal activity, from smuggling, the slave trade, assassination and black mail. The Cartel is feared by many and subject to many tall-tales, rumors and legends. It can be safe to assume that every empire has been approached by the Cartel and know better than to cross it.
The Cartel has been whispered about for centuries and the date of it's exact founding, and the circumstances of it's founding, are unknown and subject to speculation. Since seemingly always, the Cartel has been involved in nearly all the crime within the Ensis Galaxy, as no one body of law enforcement is strong enough, funded enough or has enough data to do so. As such, the Cartel has remained relatively unscathed for numerous years.
Perhaps the Cartel is most known for the planet Analine. Prior to the Cartel's investment of the planet, the planet was uninhabited and used as a "dumping ground" for criminals and other such undesireables from various empires across the galaxy. Those who were left stranded often did not survive the planet's environs or the native wild life. After decades of uninhabitation, the Azure Cartel turned it's eyes to Analine; not just seeing a desolate and scorched world but a "gold mine". The Cartel moved to Analine and began to construct suspended arenas, called the Pits, within many of the sinkholes that dot the planet.
Since then, the Cartel has been providing the galaxy with vicious and violent entertainment, all the while earning very large profits.
The leadership and command structure of the Azure Cartel is perhaps the least known aspect of the organization. While privileges and perks of rank are unknown, it is known that the Cartel follows a system of ranks:
Exalted Master: The highest rank a member can attain. The exact number of Exalted Masters is unknown, but there is at least one. Exalted Masters are responsible for running the Cartel and are, as such, vital to the organization.
Master: These members are second only to an Exalted Master. Their voices carry great weight and they are responsible for much of the Cartel's workings. Each and every Master reports to an Exalted Master, and the identities of the Masters are kept secret from anyone but the Exalted Master. Masters usually run the gladiatorial pits and betting.
Journeyman: These members are more experienced than Initiates but still report to Masters. Journeymen can have some command over Initiates, but this power is speculated to be minimal.
Initiate: Initiates are the lowest ranked members within the Cartel and quite possibly the newest members. Initiates have little to no power and are often used as workers.
The Cartel has a private army consisting entirely of mercenaries and technology purchased from others. Their mercenaries are often veterans from other empires seeking employment. It is unknown how large this military force is, but it can be assumed that it is very large and very well stocked. Military forces are deployed for a wide variety of uses. Some are bodyguards to high ranking members, armed escorts for caravans or trade vessels, and assualt troops should the Cartel openly engage in warfare against any other.
Space craft and vessels come in a wide variety and there is almost no uniformity to the military, making it difficult to develop a specialized defense against them.
Uniform and InsiginiaEdit
Very few members of the Cartel are "permitted" to wear the "uniform". The Exalted Master and Masters may wear the uniform; long cloaks with hoods. These robes are blue with white accents. They were designed to offer freedom of movement, conceal the wearer's identity and convey a regal, powerful image. The insignia of the Cartel is located on the square center of the chest.
The insignia of the Cartel is composed of a four-pointed figure, an eye, all enclosed within a circle. The four-pointed figure represents a star, and since it is at the center of the symbol, can be assumed to represent the Galactic Core. The circle represents "the whole", perhaps meaning the entire galaxy. The lines criss-crossing the interior of the figure represents the spiral arms of the Ensis Galaxy. The eye is perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the insignia and it represents the Cartel's power and is a silent warning; the Cartel is always watching.