- 1 The Black Hands: Yadeth and the Poison Forges
- 2 The Black Hands: Elefin at the Centaurs’ Cave
- 3 The Black Hands: the Betrayal of Elefin
- 4 The Black Hands: forced into Exile
- 5 The Left Black Hand doesn’t know what the right one is doing
- 6 The Black Hand: the Betrayal of Tirana
- 7 The Black Hand: The Twins’ Leadership
- 8 Death in Mirith
The Black Hands: Yadeth and the Poison Forges[edit | edit source]
The story of the Black Hands and their leadership is long and convoluted. The Twins, however, can boast to have been involved from the start.
They were first seen working for Yadeth, the first known leader of the devilish association. In 425, the Black Hands were busy trying to build what is known in History books as “the Poison Forges”. This enterprise was opposed by the cities, for political and environmental reasons (the Mhara were suffering from the poisoning of the water).
During one of the many battles against the soldiers of Mirith, the Twins, still relatively unknown to the public, managed to hurt Zexe severely. This coincidence suited a parallel purpose very well: with the Royal Guard out of combat, Andris' Senator Lancaster was able to gather fake evidence produced to incriminate Zexe for the murdering of his fellow Senator Waltham, thus initiating the so-called Lancaster Wars.
The Black Hands: Elefin at the Centaurs’ Cave[edit | edit source]
The connections of the Black Hands to Lancaster were certainly deeper than the simple coincidence of enemies, alas, they were never made clear. However, after the death of Yadeth, Nafets led an expedition to the Centaurs' Cave, in an attempt to heal the wounded Zexe. Once there, Elefin, Yadeth’s wife, revealed that she had taken over the Hand's leadership after the murdering of her husband. This revelation was followed by one of the bloodiest massacres in the History of Oberin, and still explains the persistent lack of trust between Centaurs and humans.
But the revelations were not over. With Elefin (and Lancaster’s support?), the Twins took part in the kidnapping of Serene from Mirith. Serene was the only known heir of Elara, and Lancaster would later use her power to unleash the energy of the Curio. On that somber day, however, one more piece of the puzzle was revealed, with Tirana killing Araine at the castle, publicly demonstrating her alliance with the Hand.
With Andris under the rule of King Lancaster, and the Duchess of Mirith on their side, the future of the Black Hands seemed promising. Sure of their power, they moved on to capture Marali.
The Black Hands: the Betrayal of Elefin[edit | edit source]
Soon after the kidnapping of Serene, however, the Twins started showing signs of what would been one of their recurrent problems: they were weary of the Hands’ leadership. Consequently, they proposed a deal to Mirith. They would bring Elefin to the city, under favourable circumstances for the Royal army to kill her. In exchange, Marali, where the Alliance had already made several incursions, would be left alone.
The Twins kept their side of the deal, and the Hands’ leadership passed on to Tirana. In 426, Marali was taken over, and her generals killed. The rest of Oberin, of course, did not give up their city in the North. It took them many moons and many bloody battles to free the fort, but eventually, in under the Lucky Moon, they were victorious. The Twins were forced to flee, and the Black Hands’ leadership passed to Marthonis, a young mage who had been working for them during the occupation.
The Black Hands: forced into Exile[edit | edit source]
What happened to the Twins during their exile is known from the twenty-one letters found in a chest in the Tree Maze, in 430. Tirana commanded them to hide apart from each other, in different parts of the world. That decision, of course, was not welcomed by the two siblings, and their hatred for the Duchess grew during their separation and is well stated in the documents.
From the letters, we also know that the rise of Marthonis caused a further weakness of the Black Hands, since the Alliance was scared by the mage's ventures into necromancy. Thanks to a magical cloak produced by Tirana, a cloak that would allow its wearer to change physical aspect, Varsha was able to infiltrate Marthonis' training camps. Her plan was to assassinate him and regain control of the Hand, but the Necromancer was not fooled, and sent one of his newly-invented Bone Lords against her in his defence. Varsha had to flee once again, and for a while was hiding near the Volcano. Afterwards, she moved on to Andris.
In the meanwhile, Rasha was hiding in Mirith, the very centre of the Kingdom, where he found out that Beleth had left the city looking for Tirana, ignoring the fact that she, too, was in Mirith. At the time, Rasha and Tirana started planning Beleth's kidnapping, in order to use him as a slave producing etherite for them.
With Varsha safely in Andris, and Rasha in Mirith, they were able to keep track of Marthonis' movements. The population was too busy fighting the Eye to continue chasing the Twins. That gave Tirana and Rasha the chance to return to their former hideout near Duldrus and set the planned trap to catch Beleth. Shortly after, Varsha was allowed to join them.
The Left Black Hand doesn’t know what the right one is doing[edit | edit source]
Around this time, two factions of the Black Hand were made official. One under Marthonis, and the other under Tirana and the reunited Twins. The latter reestablished their former connection with the giants and trolls. The reformed Alliance demonstrated their efficiency shortly after, by stealing the Royal Sceptre from Mirith for Duchess.
However, Tirana's plans to rule Oberin required that the Centaurs' Cave was reopened. To the effect, she decided to allow Zem Stormbrow, a mercenary hired by Mirith, find their hideout and free Beleth. Things went according to her plans, and the Mirith Vanguard rescued the Royal Mage in the Dancing Moon of 430.
The Black Hand: the Betrayal of Tirana[edit | edit source]
Shortly after, already in the Sleeping Moon of 431, Cecil and Beleth led a group of adventurers to the home of the Centaurs. The former head of Brigobaen had found a spell in the Tome of the Lost to locate Tirana, but he would need the Centaurs' power to cast it. The Duchess was aware of it, and would take the opportunity to enter the cave.
As it happens, the Twins were still wishing for their leader's death. When the cave was open and Tirana confronted Beleth's and Cecil's group, they did not take long to turn their back on the Duchess and flee. Tirana was consequently caught and (apparently) killed, and the Twins became the leaders of their faction of the Hand.
The Black Hand: The Twins’ Leadership[edit | edit source]
The Twins’ loyalty had been, always, to each other. Their leadership suffered, perhaps, from this dedication. What is certain is that, during their time, several other wizards of the Hand started gaining autonomy in their researches. A famous section was Master Rem’s Division of Diabolical Devices. According to the Bone Lord Necrosia, Master Rem, the head of the DDD, rose in power, threatening to take over the from the Twins. On the other hand, the mages Valencius and Jalux were making progresses on their own in the creation of what are now known as the Hell Mages. Thirdly, the druid Denreth seemed to distance himself from the main goals of the group, and be involved in some projects of their own at the Tree Maze, perhaps with the help of cleric Rellia. All those details are, of course, rather fuzzy.
Death in Mirith[edit | edit source]
One can but speculate that, assuming their lack of talent to lead, they Twins accepted to join forces with Tirana once again, in 438, in her quest to kill King Galandir and take over the city of Mirith. The taking of the city was a great success, with Tirana and the Twins dreaming of expansion again.
Alas, this last joint effort proved to be fatal for the couple of siblings. The citizens of Mirith organised their resistance, and rebuilt an army, with help from all the allied cities, to take back their home. And, in the day of liberation, the Twins were killed like rats, in the sewers, by Nyatha Vaup with the assistance of Istra Falvo and many adventurers when Mirith.