The Black Hand, also known in the beginning as Black Hands, is the longest lived association of power-thirsty scoundrels in Oberin.
The Black Hand was a very old organization that experienced a revival of sorts in 425, when it caught the public attention by building Poison Forges to equip the trolls of the Alliance with a new type of weapon. At the time, they were lead by the wizard Yadeth. Apart from their leader, the two most famous agents were the Twins Rasha and Varsha. Together they kidnapped the Duchess Tirana, the heir of Mirith's throne. Tirana was eventually rescued, the Poison Forges were destroyed, and Yadeth was killed, with the help of the Mhara Folk.
After Yadeth's death, the leadership passed to his wife, also a wizard, the Andrisian Elefin, until then only known for being Asliendor's girlfriend. During Elefin's command, the Hand became allied with Senator Lancaster in his barricading of Andris. Under his request, Elefin and the Twins conducted an attack against Mirith, in order to kidnap Serene, the only known heir of Elara. On the day of the attack, Tirana was revealed to have been working for the Hand as well, and fled Mirith with her accomplices, after murdering Araine, Beleth's daughter.
Around that time, the Hand and the Alliance were preparing what would soon become known as the Siege of Marali. Tired of Elefin's rule, the Twins proposed a deal to Mirith. They would lure Elefin to the town, so that the guardians of the kingdom could kill her, and Marali would be left alone. The pact, more imposed by the Twins rather than an option open for negotiation, did not stand for long. In 426, Marali was freed from the control of the Black Hand.
Forced to flee, the Twins and Tirana were hiding for a long time. During that period, the necromancer Marthonis took over the leadership of the Hand. His experiments with the dead scared off the Alliance.At the first opportunity, with Mirith busy fighting the Eye, the Twins and Tirana were reunited at their former hideout near Duldrus. They started the reorganisation of the Black Hand, as well as the reestablishment of their contacts with the Alliance. Since they would not dethrone Marthonis, two factions of the Black Hand were formed, commonly referred to as "the Twins' faction" and "Marthonis' faction". It is believed that the two factions have similar symbols, one with the black prints of a left hand pointing west, and the drawing of a lion; the other with the black prints of a right hand pointing northeast. This might be a misinterpretation of a simple change of design.
In order to refill their supplies of etherite, Tirana and the Twins kidnapped Beleth, the Royal Mage of Mirith, who had left town seeking revenge from the murdering of his daughter. Around the same time, with the help of the reformed Alliance, they stole the Royal Sceptre from the capital of the Kingdom.
The Hand's hideout was eventually found by Zem Stormbrow, and Beleth was rescued. However, Beleth's finding was part of Tirana's plot to make Mirith convince the Centaurs to open their cave. She had learnt that Cecil, after reading the Tome of the Lost, knew of the spell that would allow Beleth to find his nemesis. She had also learnt that they would need the power of the Centaurs. Offering herself as bait would eventually give her the access to the most powerful yet vulnerable creatures in the land.
However, the Twins were once again tired of their leadership, and, during the confrontation with the people coming from Mirith, they fled the cave. Tirana was reportedly beheaded, and the Twins became the leaders of the Hand. Unbeknownst to the Hand or the wider public, however, Mirith had in fact spared Tirana and taken her prisoner, in order to force her to bear a royal heir.
After that incident, the Twins were not seen again for a number of years. Instead, a section of their association, the Division of Diabolical Devices, became more and more famous throughout the mid-430s. Their main researcher, Master Rem, would soon dispute the control of the Black Hand with the Twins. The result of this was a tripartite division of factions within the Hand: the Twins with the Alliance, Rem with the Diabolicals, and Marthonis with his Bone Lords. In the meantime, the cities of Mirith, Marali, and Andris redoubled their efforts to find and destroy the Diabolicals. These efforts were met with some success in the year 438, when Mirith recovered their Royal Scepter, and Marali found and destroyed a major Diabolical research facility known popularly as the Black Asylum.
All of this came to a head in the War of 438, which began when Tirana escaped and reconnected with the Twins and the Alliance. Together they conquered Mirith and murdered half of the Royal Court, forcing the survivors to flee to Duldrus where they formed the Mirithian Resistance. The Diabolicals were none too pleased with the sudden rise of their rival faction, and thus provided limited assistance to the Resistance throughout the war. And the Bone Lords, for their part, stayed vigilant but largely uninvolved. Mirith would eventually reclaim their city, with Beleth and Prince N’eroth finally killing Tirana, and Istra Falvo killing the Twins.
The Alliance faction was severely weakened after the war, allowing for the Diabolicals to again rise to relative prominence. They orchestrated the insidious Diabolical Infiltration, but this too was eventually stopped. After these defeats in the late 430s, both the Alliance and the Diabolicals entered into a decade-long period of decline. The only Black Hand presence that was seen throughout most of the 440s was Marthonis and his Bone Lords, silently researching and experimenting as always. This finally changed at the turn of the year 449, when a resurgent Black Hand - apparently now led by longtime member Denreth - began to start troubling the countryside of Andris, which brings us to the present.
During all these years, the Hand has been responsible for numerous and regular attacks all over Oberin, having a large number of brigands and mercenaries working for them. They are still collaborating with the Alliance, as well as with the Privateers led by Captain Jass.