The Smuggling Wars was a conflict fought in River's Rest that began in 5018, M.E. and continues to this day
The Smuggling Wars began in 5018 after the Great Cataclysm. The earthquake raised land near the town creating the Tempest Falls. Navigation upriver from River's became a very dangerous and difficult proposition. This, of course, made piracy a less lucrative prospect and many of the buccaneers moved further up river where trade was heavier. The pirates that remained, however, turned to smuggling in order to turn a profit. This shift put the pirates in direct conflict with the pre-existing smuggling elements around the town.
The smuggling network around River's Rest had established itself decades earlier and the smugglers followed a strict code of rules and ethics. The pirates turned smugglers, however, ignored these rules and confrontations began to arise. There were no real battles or armies, despite the term "Smuggling Wars" being applied. It became more of a shadowy street war with stabbings, kidnapping, and intimidation taking place in the alleys, taverns, and dark corners of the small town.
For nearly a century this back-alley struggle for dominance between the older smuggling families and the new pirate gangs has largely been fought in semi-secrecy rarely spilling into the town proper until now...
Hostilities had always lain underground between the pirates and the smugglers, but it wasn’t until recently that they boiled over out of the Warren and into the streets. In an ambitious bid to increase his standing, Casler Huntington, took many promising Lefante smugglers in a daring seizure of a Royal Barge. Successful in his venture, Casler was sailing the barge back home when a violent storm took the lives of all aboard. The pirates, led by Valons DeRichter and his ruthless Lieutenant, Messers took advantage of the weakened smugglers and began to assert themselves.
In the months ahead word reached the ears of the smugglers, pirates, and Imperials that Casler was still alive and headed for home. The Imperials dispatched a special investigator named, Haniks Hallower, to follow-up on the rumors and bring Casler to justice for his audacious crimes. Despite putting up many wanted posters, the inspector found very few allies amongst the adventurer population and his brutal reprisals earned him very few leads. It was Cerianna Lefante, the daughter of the patriarch of the Lefante organization that clued most of the populace in about Casler Huntington. A former lover of Casler’s, she let it be known that he was the disowned son of a Fairport noble family that rose through the ranks of the smugglers and became the adoptive son of her father.
The wanted River Rat made his presence known during a daring attempt to rescue some citizens from the clutches of the town’s most hated enemy: the Krolvin. Along with a number to the town leading adventurers, Casler led an attack on the carrack to free the enslaved citizens. With his presence known, the violence on all sides grew to a fever pitch with many folks choosing to side with the pirates, the smugglers, or Haniks. Some folks met with attackers in the night, while others were brutally tortured by Messers in the Warrens.
In the end, Messers was able to take Cerianna captive in hopes of driving Casler into folly. Despite her being held in Messers’ secret room in the Warrens, she was able to get word to Casler that she didn’t want him to come to her aid. She indicated that the pirates were ready to crush the smugglers and that she still, and always had, loved him. Shortly after, however, a hooded stranger began circulating amongst the population looking to give over his fell cargo to Casler. The stranger let slip that he delivered a second package to Messers, as well. It was Luukosian Deathwort, the same poison that had killed the Empress Mynal'lyanna Anodheles and sent the victim through the Ebon Gate never to return. The stage was set.
Messers loosed his thugs upon the town, taunting the defenders and Casler alike. It wasn’t long before he used his deadly poison on Cerianna. Enraged Casler convinced Messers to face him alone. The fight was quick. Messers was killed and the deathwort on Casler’s blade ensured the pirate’s fate.
Cerianna was buried in the River's Rest Graveyard outside the town, but the hostilities remain. The death of Haniks, the imperial inspector, was also marked across the Bay. It remains to be seen whether or not the events will be enough to garner more Imperial attention the small outpost, but it seems very likely that the Smugger’s War is not yet over by a long shot.