"Too many seek to abuse the power of the gods, twisting it to their wicked whims or aspiring to become one themself through the Rite of Ascension. When they do, we will be the ones waiting in the shadows to strike. We have enough evil in this world." Boomslang, Member of the Serpent's Hand
Ever since Mortair
became the first Risen to Ascend into godhood, many others have desired to do the same. Some were successful in their efforts, but many others failed in their attempts. Many failed due to inadequate rituals and offerings while others had their rituals foiled by outside hands. Those finding themselves among the latter could often credit this to the Serpent's Hand.
Not to be confused with the Hand of The Collective
, the Serpent's Hand is a faction founded for the sole purpose of discovering and often ending a Risen's pursuit of Ascension. They are secretive in their manner of acting alone as they have made sure their name and purpose are widely known to strike doubt or trepidation into those who might seek to become a god. Working in the shadows, the Serpent's Hand is spread throughout every nation and has built a deep network of contacts for communication and information gathering. Members are almost entirely Dahlen
outside of a few outsiders recruited for unique talents and similar views.
Their professional practices are more akin to spies and assassins than guards or wardens. Once they gain information about an individual aspiring to Ascend, they move quickly to determine the correct course of action. If caught early enough, they will perform everything required to infiltrate the aspirant's organization or following, getting in as close and involved as possible. Members have been known to infiltrate cults and governments for up to years at a time to sew discord or create an opportunity to stop the aspirant. If caught too close to the end of the Ascension process, they will move en masse and strike quickly and kill with extreme prejudice. They will often use combinations of venom and poisons to pay patronage to Sturn
, though they are not averse to using brute force and Arcane Magicks to accomplish their goal should poisoning be an inadequate option.
Many have criticized their work as being too rash and biased. Not everyone who might aspire to be a god poses an extreme threat to the world. Beirn
became a great healer and a source of divine medicine to his followers, while Hector
ushered in an era of learning and emphasis on knowledge upon the Risen. However, the Serpent's Hand treats these as rare exceptions to those who wish to Ascend. Power corrupts nearly all who possess it. The power of a god is such an enticing wine that there are few who could resist temptation should they get hold of it.