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THE BLACK HAND

He must be a Demon flown first class from Hell,advance
agent for the Anti-Christ,if he is not him in person
-Philip Jose Farmer, Nobody's Perfect

The Black Hand is a sect within a sect, an elite group of vampires recognized as separate from all other Sabbat. The Black Hand (or simply the Hand) is not truly a separate body. However, since all its members are loyal to the Sabbat over all else. The Black Hand is composed primarily of Assamite Antitribu, as well as many of the more militant vampires from other clans. The members of the Hand do not exist in packs of their own. Rather, they are members of normal Sabbat packs. while most Black Hand vampires are tough, their irate packmates quickly put them in their place if they overstep themselves. The Black Hand is a special militia which the leaders of the Sabbat can muster in times of need. All Hand members are quite skilled in the ways of war. The Black Hand does not remain intact for long periods of time, since the Sabbat leaders fear the order might attempt a coup against them. Throughout its history, however, the Hand has always served -faithfully. The leaders of the Sabbat call upon the Black Hand most often for the purpose of leading assaults against Camarilla- held cities. The Hand is the most deadly assortment of vampires ever gathered and makes short work out of almost all opponents. The top-ranking Sabbat do not favor elitism, and when low-level Sabbat leaders muster and deploy a part of the Black Hand to deal with a threat the Sabbat packs could deal with, the low-level leaders are punished. The members of the Black Hand-themselves select the Sabbat vampires who are to be offered a chance to join the -Hand. Some of the more ambitious Sabbat try to catch the eye of the Hand by showing off their martial skills, participating solo in a War Party, performing bravely in sieges of cities, or challenging a member of the Hand to a duel. The Black Hand puts all candidates through a rigorous series of trials which test cunning, willpower, physical prowess and martial skills. Those who pass the trials are inducted into the Black Hand. The new Hand member receives a permanent magical brand in the shape of a black crescent moon on the palm of his right hand. After the vampire's induction, the Hand assigns him a sponsor who acts as a mentor to the vampire. The new member of the Hand receives detailed instruction in the order's ways, and he must come when the Hand calls him to action. A council of four powerful vampires rules the Black Hand. These four, known as the Seraphim, act as generals for the order, serving the Regent directly and sitting on the Consistory with the prisci and cardinals. The Seraphim are aided by the dominions, the lower-level leaders within the Hand. To become a dominion or a seraph requires the support of the existing leaders, as well as excellent leadership, in- trigue, political, combat and tactical skills. The Black Hand is one of the major reasons the Sabbat has stayed together through all its internal conflict. The Black Hand alone among the Sabbat remained united through the last Sabbat civil war. The Hand managed to hold onto a few cities, preventing the growing Camarilla from moving in. However, the newest seraph, calling himself Djuhah, is rumored to have plans for the creation of permanent packs, called columns, composed completely of Hand members. The Black Hand has been view secretive of late, so this could view well be true. The Black Hand is also rumored to be fighting the power of the Sabbat Inquisition. This could be for political reasons, but it is possible that the Black Hand has secrets it wishes to keep hidden.