Make no mistake, the Guild exists for one reason and one reason only. There is talk of justice and peace, but these are secondary concerns, byproducts of their primary interest. The Guild exists to maintain the production of Malifaux Soulstone above all other things. The citizens abide by Guild law because it offers some amount of protection, but no one is confused about the way the Guild exerts its hold over Malifaux and its resources.
For thousands of years, sorcerers have been a clandestine and erudite group. Their concerns lay with scholarly pursuits, experiments, and arcane rituals. Rarely did they concern themselves with social or political concerns, except where those issues interfered with their own private matters. In such times, these sorcerers would gather together to protect their shared interests and leverage their might against the world.
There has been no greater discovery in the history of man than Malifaux and its Soulstones, and there is no room for subtlety in its production. Desperate to control this priceless resource, conjurers, magicians, and wizards came together to establish the Guild of Mercantilers. This organization brought law and order to the chaos and violence of Malifaux. Above that, they ensure that the Breach never closes and that the supply of Soulstones is never threatened.
The Guild exists as a largely self-governing body, both on the frontier of Malifaux and back on Earth, where it is one of the world's most influential organizations. Its first duty remains to the enforcement of laws that allow for maximum Soulstone production, but over the years, a number of specialized branches have been developed to combat the unique dangers of Malifaux.
Chief among those dangers are the nightmarish Neverborn. So zealous is the Guild in stamping out the threat of Neverborn that almost anyone can become deputized as a Neverborn Hunter. The job comes with a rather high casualty rate as many deputies fail to survive even their first contact with these creatures. However, there are some who excel in this role, most notably the famous Ortega family, which is credited with hundreds of slain monsters.
The magic of Necromancy has proven to be a difficult issue for the Guild to police. Those who practice Necromancy, the madmen who call themselves Resurrectionists, often act via proxy through their reanimated minions. This frequently makes it difficult to identify and locate the perpetrators of their crimes. The Death Marshals are the grim, stoic faces of final death responsible for hunting down these criminals and bringing them to bloody justice.
While the efforts of the Death Marshals and the Neverborn Hunters are almost unanimously appreciated by Malifaux's citizens, the Witch Hunters are seen as villains of the highest order. People who live in Malifaux sometimes become empowered by the rich energies of Malifaux and develop magical abilities. These Arcanists represent a danger to the Guild's authority by practicing magic without their express consent. Untrained and undisciplined, these rogue elements are as much a danger to themselves as to the general population, and many Arcanists quickly take to crime upon discovering their new talents. No citizen escapes the vigilant eye of the Witch Hunter, and in the eyes of the Guild, it is best to cut deep to remove this cancer, lest it spread.
Together, these bodies enforce the fascist rule of the Guild and ensure the obedience of the population. The weary workers of Malifaux may dig the Soulstones out from the ground, but it is the Guild and its benefactors who enjoy the spoils of their labor.