To the average adventurer, this all sounds like the perfect place for an evil cult. The bad smelling candles also leads one to think of more nefarious activities. In fact, this is indeed the location of a cult. It is, however, a hapless and deliberately obvious one. Its members all believe themselves to be part of a secret order, the Black Eye Cult, bent on expanding their consciousness to gain greater power.
In reality they are patsies for a real cult, the Schism, a nasty group of nihilists. The sect leader of the Schism, Evan Trokkar, created the Black Eye Cult with the express pursue of giving the authorities an easy to find group. That way when the Schism's deeds of murder comes to light, the Black Eye Cult will take the fall. To that end Evan provides the Black Eye Cult with money and dogma, as well as bodies for the pawn cult to dispose of; such as making candles from the fat.
Evan TrokkarEvan is below average height, balding, and slightly pudgy. He has been fairly non-descript all his life and this led him to resenting the rest of humanity, especially those who passed him over or ignored him. The original founder of the Schism, Sebastian Taylor, noticed Evan’s seething hatred and offered him an outlet within the cult. Evan took to it like a fish to water and soon took control of the cult, after killing his former mentor. Evan embraces the system of belief that power can be gained through the act of murder. The validity of this belief seems to be confirmed by the fact that a higher power does indeed speak with Evan and the Schism, granting them new spells and rituals.
Hiram RayHe is the leader of the Black Eye Cult and owner of Everburning Candles. He has always wanted to be someone special. He thought being a merchant would be what made him someone people noticed, but that wasn’t the case. Certainly his candle shop garnered no special notice and in fact was on the verge of going out of business when he was approached by Seraph. Seraph is a fallen angel (Evan Trokkar in disguise) who offered to show him true power, along with gold to keep his shop afloat. From there Hiram was able to recruit a couple of like-minded individuals and Seraph made him his High Priest of the Black Eye Cult. Hiram revels in the authority he now has (though it is only over two other people) and the secrets he holds, though he hopes to one day do more than simply dispose of dead bodies for Seraph.
Adventures-Hiram Ray comes to the characters looking for aid. A ghost has taken up in his shop and he wants it gone. Hiram was smart enough to clean up most traces of the Black Eye Cult within his shop. However, it's really not that smart to have adventurers snooping around his shop at his invitation. As for the ghost, it is the ghost of Sebastian Taylor who is seeking revenge on Evan Trokkar and it will attempt to lead the characters to the Schism.
-The priest, Prelate Stang, has gone missing and a substantial reward for his safe return has been posted. Prelate Stang has been kidnapped by the Black Eye Cult for the express purpose of creating magical candles. Hiram is seeking to expand his candle business and he is using his cult to do this. Not the brightest idea but Hiram is not in his position because of his smarts.