The Bloody Black Hand

The only thing worse than a vampire is mercenary vampire.
  The Bloody Black Hand is a young brood of vampires with a rare entrepreneurial spirit, serving as mercenaries for any magi willing to pay their price. Inhuman and immortal, the true purpose of their mercenary crusade is something greater than blood and wealth. They serve at the behest of a true vampire for... Well, that would spoil the surprise.   Where they go, trouble soon follows - if they aren't there to take care of it, they are sure to cause it.  

The Hand

Consisting of four lesser vampires and a handful of their revenants, the Bloody Black Hand is a potent force. Even the youngest among them have been dead for decades, and learned to channel the immortal blood-arts of their kind. When they aren't on some assignment or another, the Hand's members often scatter to pursue private matters. More often than not, they lurk in the Shadow, away from prying eyes.   None of the vampires go by their old names, discarding them in a brutal initiation rite as they become one of the Hand.  

Caine

If brute force doesn't work, you're not using enough of it.
 
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by Pixabay
Caine is the leader of the Hand, and has been since he devoured his predecessor. Ruthless and violent, Caine delights in his new immortality and the power he has. Even when he has other tricks and abilities, he prefers to use raw, brute force whenever possible, liking nothing more than to feel powerful.   The other members of the Hand treat him more as a rabid dog than a leader, following him only because they know disobedience means vicious punishment. Despite his cruelty, he is not without cunning and is capable of orchestrating complex tactics and schemes, but prefers to feel bones breaking beneath his grip and hot blood on his face.   Above all else and the source of his cruelty is his need for control. Whenever grip on a situation slips, his brutality escalates.
  Whatever he was before he became a vampire is something he wants to forget, washing away memories in a tide of blood.  

Sheba

Every web has its spider...
 
A warrior without peer, Sheba is the right Hand of the brood. If Caine is a warhammer that bludges and crushes without mercy, Sheba is an expertly crafted sword. Although more than a physical match for Caine, he knows something about her that keeps her from claiming the top spot. Whatever it is, the two hate each other, held together in the Hand by a greater power than either of them.   Cold and calculating, Sheba knows she is immortal and has all the time she needs. More than once, she has waited for an enemy to wither away by age before striking. When her temper does flare, Sheba can be just as terrible as Caine, indulging in petty and cruel vengeance that she later regrets. Besides Caine, she gets on well enough with the rest of the brood, and the might of the whole of them combined.
With it, she intends to do great things... Once Caine is out of the way.  

Lazarus

Immortality... Is only the beginning.
 
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by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
The oldest of the brood, Lazarus has seen a century pass since he last heard his heartbeat. He is the only one of them who has traveled into the Beyond and communed with True Vampires. In hallowed, blood-stained halls, he has learned blood magic which the rest can only dream of.   Lazarus is a quiet, secretive man, obsessed with his goals and caring little for anything else. While all members of the Hand fear Caine for his sheer brutality, Lazarus has shed all pretense of humanity in a way that makes even Caine wary.   As the mystic of the group, he concocts spells and rituals, crafts unholy abominations, and shepherds their less sanguine payments. Caine may lead, but only Lazarus can see the true purpose destination.
  Most notably, this search has lead Lazarus to seek out Walkers and other Magi, unknown to the rest of the Hand. Most notably, he alone among the Hand knows the terrors sealed in the Ruinous Vault, and knows their current task of opening it cannot be allowed to succeed.  

Scarlet

Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse - then do it all over again!
 
The youngest vampire on the Hand, Scarlet would be a self-indulgent wastrel if he wasn't so dangerous. Caring only for his own pleasure, Scarlet is a classic psychopath. Without the Hand, he would probably have become such a murderous nuisance that some Spooks would have to put him down. The Hand serves to muzzle him, as much as he hates it, and directs his energy to something vaguely productive.   Petty, vengeful, and narcissistic in the extreme, Scarlet is the kind of man who takes everything too far. In part, because he can't help himself, and in part because he enjoys watching other people squirm and break. Scarlet is the least powerful among the Hand, but acts with the belief that he is the king of the world. Out of all the Hand, he might be the least pleasant company, and that's saying something.
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)

Vampires

Blood-sucking horrors from beyond the grave, Vampires are dangerous horrors that haunt the Shadow. Most Vampires that a walker might run into these days are of the lesser variety, humans turned into abomination, but their origin lies in the Beyond.   True, or Greater, vampires were never human, but spawned from the blood-splattered depths of myth and magic. They're as rare as they are powerful, each one an equal for a dozen magi.  
Vampires
Species | Jul 25, 2021

Blood-sucking, undead fiends that definitely do not sparkle in the sun. While lesser vampires were once humans, their true origin lies in myth-shrouded monstrosity.

The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

 
Even other monsters fear Vampires for their cannibalistic hunger.
 

Revenants

Revenants are unfortunate mortals, bound to a vampire's will through a pact of blood. By consuming the vampire's blood, a mortal can gain a spark of their power - but at a terrible price. Most revenants serve their undying masters as in any number of capacities, from bodyguard to courtesan, and can live for centuries, as long as the blood flows.  
Revenants
Species | Jul 25, 2021

Mortal slaves of vampires, bound by pacts of blood to immortal masters.

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by Unsplash (Zoltan Tasi)
 

The Ruinous Vault

A prison for creatures beyond killing and things beyond destruction, the Ruinous Vault guards secrets that could end the world. As long as any magi can remember, the Vault and its cult have been around, occasionally making an appearance to shop for new members or some trinkets.   For the most part, they wait and watch, keeping the Vault sealed except for the somber occasions when they inter something new into its eternal depths.
The Ruinous Vault
Building / Landmark | Jul 28, 2021

Where immortal dangers are bound, blasphemous artifacts locked away, fiends forgotten.

A greater power lurks behind the four, pulling strings to guide them into place. Only Lazarus knows of their true master; a greater vampire, watching through their blood and waiting. Whatever the scheme is, it can't be good.
 

Current

Right now, the Bloody Black Hand is employed by the rogue spook, Alexander Sheridan. This outcast corporate warlock pays them in warm bloodies and magical power, using them as his bodyguard and personal muscle. Under his command, they've assassinated, abducted, butchered, and pillaged with abandon, their worst excessed curbed by his own formidable, personal might.  
Even Alexander is growing cautious, now. The nature of their payment combined is beginning to trouble him, like the outline of a pattern he's just starting to grasp.
  Always ambitious, Alexander now intends to use the Bloody Black Hand as the point of a spear to breach the Ruinous Vault and plunder its forbidden, world-ending secrets for himself. It's an idea so bad and with such catastrophic consequences that even the Hand is starting to have second thoughts.    
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by Unsplash


Cover image: by Unsplash

Comments

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25 Jul, 2021 17:30

o.O I'm more afraid of them than I'm towards the Fae!!!!! At least Fae have some... charm?

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy
2 Aug, 2021 12:06

These vampires definitely don't sparkle :D

25 Jul, 2021 17:31

Ooooh, you got me hooked with the first paragraph. I wonder though, what was the Hand like when the predecessor was alive? Like you state, the rest follows Caine only because they know what he'll be like when he loses control. But did they have respect for the leader that came before? How did they start out as a group? How did they meet and band up together?   So many questions, I'm curious to see where it goes! Especially that spoiler. :D   Keep up the great work!

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
2 Aug, 2021 12:07

More of the spoiler is explained in the Exsanguination article now! ;D Surprise, it came up again!!

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
2 Aug, 2021 00:28

I love the two levels/kinds of vampire here, and the bios of each member, AND that tease near the beginning. Nicely done!

Don’t miss The Antagonist, my entry for The Shipwright’s Challenge!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
5 Aug, 2021 08:58

Ooooh! Sequel baits already! XD   I love the quotes you have for each characters, they're really fun XD Unsurprisingly, Sheba seems really interesting to me :p   I'm a bit surprised that all of those vampires are so young. Do humans-turned-vampires not usually survive much longer or do the older ones have more sense than to get involved in that mess?

5 Aug, 2021 11:16

Older, more powerful vampires aren't as easily manipulated by the true evil mastermind behind the scenes. >:D