The Avenan Empire
Crowley Crane was born and raised in the Imperial section of the Ndango caer. His father and aunt were the last two surviving members of the Hand organization that, prior to the Isolation, was numerous and active in the dwarven kingdoms.
Over the generations, Hand training and missions were handed down from parent to offspring. Indoctrination and training began at a very young age, and young Hand recruits were often kept isolated from the rest of the caer – and even from the rest of the small Imperial settlement in the city. Crane was one such young recruit.
He was raised to be fanatically loyal to the Empire, and to complete the missions he was given, even in the absence of regular communication from the Imperial command structure. As part of his training, he ventured out alongside his father and aunt into the tunnels to the Underdark where dwarven warriors often journeyed to prove themselves – but he was also active in the caer itself. The Imperial section of the city had the highest “suicide” rate in the city – particularly among those who voiced dissatisfaction with their status as Imperial citizens.
When he came of age, he took over his father’s cover identity as the secretary to one of the city’s numerous jewelers – an elderly dwarf named Harrigan Cross. Cross was a priority target, but one that was to be protected until he handed off certain documentation to Imperial agents. For 350 years, Crane’s family had protected the jeweler against the day those Imperial agents would finally come.
Crane’s history after his sanction of Cross is less clear. Shortly after he followed through on the assassination, he arranged the murder of a young adventurer, and coerced the local Imperial governor into stripping a trio of Imperial soldiers of their commissions and marching troops against one of the foremost clans in the city.
When his machinations came to light, he somehow fled the city and started south towards the capital cities, hoping to rejoin the main body of the Hand in Avenanhma. At some point during that journey south, he encountered the embassy of Moiro Lycaeon and placed himself under the ambassador’s command.
Crane shortly discovered that he and Lycaeon had similar sympathies regarding the current structure of the Empire. Upon sharing certain sensitive information, they also discovered that that their missions were compatible, and they committed to working together for the benefit of the Council of Regents and the Empire.
Journeying to the old Imperial city of Anglesey, they discovered the fortress Earldom under siege by a vast army of monsters, and decided to use the siege as leverage in an attempt to get the Earl to surrender the one remaining Imperial soldier from the conflict in Ndango, as well as the critical artifact he carried. The Earl – or, more to the point, the Earl’s son – refused.
Shortly after the siege on Anglesey was broken, the soldier in question fled westward, in the company of the Viscount and the Lord Commander of the city’s paladins. Lyceaon remained in the city, but Crane went south, once again back toward the capitol cities of the Empire, and this time bearing sure knowledge of the identities of those he hunted.