Yet each is a member of The Vineyard, a highly secretive organization dedicated to “running things properly”. These are the shadowy figures behind those that have public reins of power, making sure the world runs properly. What do they mean by “properly”? They mean in a way to strengthen the city (and country), diminish those who would distract the Court and Guild Council, and of course enrich and empower themselves.
This group started as an informal and secret connection of “men of power”. By secretly coordinating their actions, they were able to be more “effective” in doing things. “It is amazing what effect a small action in another area can have upon one’s own world,” was what one of the original members said. A guild man makes sure that a deliver of certain foodstuffs is late or of bad quality, causing a noble to have a “disappointing” party, allowing another noble to take advantage of the confusion to put their own plans in place. This domino effect has given several members “strong successes”. Since these alliances were secret, they can not be planned for by others. Since they seem “disconnected”, no one thinks to look for them. These secret alliances gave great power to those involved. The group can effect The Prince, The City, Noble politics, certain international relations, and certain “criminal” elements.
The organization does not have its own “minion”. Every member has their own servants that are sometimes “loaned out” as needed. In fact, the “wine barrel merchant”, being associated with a certain guild, will - for a small fee - loan out any number of specialists in the ill reputed professions. (Sometimes they will go for free, if there is an appropriate favor being set up.) There are some minions of the Intelligencer type (i.e. Spy), originally in the employ of the Noble and Seneschal, who have found their way into the employ of others.
The organization can go to great lengths to protect itself, though they dislike direct action. Discrediting opponents is not only more fun, but they can then utilize the discredited person as a pawn (promising to undo the discrediting).
The organization has become more “formal” now, adding members as appropriate people appear. They are currently looking for a military officer who might want to advance his career. War is good for business and “social position”, and the right war will play nicely into the group’s future plans.
There is another (espionage) organization which is using the codename “Vineyard”. This might bring added power to The Vineyard (if people know of The Vineyard agency) or problems (as the enemy spies stumble over them… and think they are The Vineyard). This may be the undoing of this organization.