The Alley Rats is the elven mob in control of the Ostwick alienage. The organization came to power about twentyfive years ago.
The alienage in Ostwick was a particularly poor one for a long time. Due to overpopulation, a lot of elves lived on the streets instead of in homes, disease spread quickly, and it was not uncommon to die of hunger. Illegal activities were also part of everyday life, including prostitution, and making and selling of drugs and alcohol. The illegal activities were badly managed however, due to a constant internal power struggle. No one in the alienage seemed capable enough to run them, which in turn led to fighting, violence and, in some cases, murder.
Greer, the City Guard Captain at the time, tried to deal with the alienage issues by sending in frequent guard patrols to arrest and violently punish whoever was or seemed to be involved in the illegal affairs. But the guards were only able to temporarily shut down the illegalities, and it would only be a week or two before it was all up and running again.
Guard Captain Greer eventually became so angered and frustrated by the fact that he wasn’t able to shut down the illegal activities in the alienage, that he decided to put a stop to it once and for all. He began sending in guard patrols every night to raid houses in hopes of catching anyone red-handed. At first, he had great success, but then something happened. Patrols in the alienage started disappearing. They would go in at night but never come back in the morning. There wouldn’t even be a trace of them ever having been there. And of course, no one had seen anything. Captain Greer’s solution to this was to send in more guards. Many of them kept disappearing, but slowly and surely more guards came back from their patrols. The ones who came back however, had nothing to report. There were no illegal activities to be found in the alienage all of a sudden.
Inside the alienage, an organisation called the Alley Rats had risen. It was started by Rasa, who had one goal: to put the illegal activities in the alienage into a system that would benefit all the elves who lived there. She knew that the elves needed those activities to make money and survive, but she also knew that they needed a strong leader to make sure the alienage didn’t continue as a violent anarchy. To become that leader, she had to prove herself, and she decided to do so by going up against the city guards, who the elves already feared and hated.
Rasa spent almost two years secretly recruiting and training likeminded elves who shared her views, before attacking the city guards. The attacks were so well planned, the guards never knew what hit them. The Alley Rats would hide in the shadows and attack as a large group. The victims were quickly killed before they were dumped in the underground sewers, where the rats would eat the remains. When the guards started getting the message that there was a new leadership in the alienage, Rasa would let more and more of them get away alive, but not without letting them know that if they tried to interfere with the alienage business again, they would be disposed of as well. She earned the respect of the city elves through these actions, and she was able to continue with the rest of her plan, which was putting the illegal activities into a functional and financially lucrative system.
Captain Greer was desperate to find and catch whoever was behind the Alley Rats, but Rasa’s identity was kept secret by all who knew who she was. Even the guards that had been threatened didn’t know her identity, because they had never seen her. Greer became so obsessed that he barely ate or slept. He eventually went mad because of it and killed himself.
Ever since then the Alley Rats have been in charge of the alienage, and they have grown as an organisation. They have an agreement with the guards that they can continue their illegal activities as long as they cause no visible trouble and keep within the perimeters of the alienage. City guards do still patrol the alienage, but it’s more for show than anything else. They turn a blind eye to everything they know the Alley Rats control. If a guard happens to step out of line inside the alienage, the Alley Rats are quick to show them who’s in charge, using whatever means necessary.
Activities and control Edit
The Alley Rats control everything within the alienage. They are the source of work, money and food for every city elf in Ostwick. As a resident of the alienage you either work for them and receive a weekly amount of food and a small salary, or you don’t work for them and get nothing.
Their main areas of income are prostitution and the sale of bootleg alcohol and homegrown weed. Their whorehouses are very popular and frequently used by sailors who come into port.
They also serve as protectors for the alienage, but the residents must pay a tax for said protection. If a resident can not pay for protection, they are left very vulnerable. Unprotected residents will on a regular basis be subjected to raids by the city guards. This is a show of goodwill from the Alley Rats to the city of Ostwick. There are also rumours of unprotected residents being sold into slavery outside the city.
The Alley Rats have a very modern view of the world. All members are x generation city born elves who have long since stopped believing in ancient elvish gods and traditions. They look to the future and not to the past, and view the Dalish as rigid and old school and want to be as far removed from them as possible. They compare themselves to humans more than anyone else, and simply see themselves as Ostwickans.
When it comes to religion, they either believe in the Maker or have no particular religious belief at all.
The Alley Rats recruit both males and females and can in theory be anyone. Members are often recruited at a young age (about 10 years old), and children who are orphaned are almost always taken in. The Alley Rats raise them and become their new family. Anyone not orphaned who wishes to join the Alley Rats, must cut their family ties and transfer their loyalty to the gang. It’s not uncommon for families to give their children to the gang, in hopes that they will have a better life with them.
Structure and hierarchy Edit
The Alley Rats refer to each other as family members: mothers/fathers, elder and younger sisters/brothers.
There are no fathers and only one mother in the Alley Rats. The one and only matriarch is Rasa herself. Directly below her are two advisors, referred to as teachers by the lower members. Below them are the older sisters and brothers. They are responsible for and in command of their own groups of little sisters and brothers.
Justice system Edit
Both the external and internal justice system is based on a fairly simple rule: follow the rules and do as you’re told and there won’t be any trouble.
The punishments for residents in the alienage depends on the crime. It can range from not getting paid for work to getting a severe beating to being banished from the alienage and the city. The Alley Rats only kill residents if they attack or try to kill members of the gang.
The punishments for members of the Alley Rats are completely different. It’s viewed as a great betrayal if you don’t follow orders or you’re disloyal to the gang in any way. If a member is found guilty of betrayal, Rasa lets the guilty member decide their punishment for themselves. This shows her whether the guilty member truly made an honest mistake or purposefully deceived her. Members who make mistakes will usually go out of their way to show her how regretful they are and give themselves harsh punishments, often cutting off fingers or toes, or even larger limbs in severe cases, and giving them to her to show their regret and their continued loyalty. While members who have purposefully deceived her, will most often try to get out of it somehow or give themselves small punishments that don’t fit the crime. Members who don’t punish themselves properly, will first get their pony tail(s) cut off before they are killed by Rasa herself.
From the moment they join the gang, Alley rats are not allowed to cut their hair. To show rank, they keep their hair in one to four ponytails partially wrapped with cloth. The lowest ranked (little sisters and brothers) have one ponytail, the older sisters and brothers have two, the advisors/teachers have three, and the matriarch is the only one who has four.