Phantom's Hand Organization in The Broken Path | World Anvil

Phantom's Hand

La Main du Fantôme

If the world won't give me a place in it, then I'll carve my own through blood and fire if necessary.
— The Phantom
There's no brigand more frightening than one who carries a small kitten on his shoulder. This is because the kitten indicates he was set to die in his childhood, but somehow lived beyond his fate. It also means he's most likely part of Phantom's Hand.  
The criminal organization known as Phantom's Hand moves in the shadows throughout France. Members of the group are what is known as delinquent, meaning they did not die when fate said they ought to and thus they no longer have a place in the Grand Tapestry. This makes them especially frightening; delinquent people do not appear in fortunes, so an ambush on a stagecoach cannot be foreseen even by the must skilled diviner.   No one knows for sure how many members there are, but it's thought to be around 200, maybe more. Small subsidiary groups - known as 'fingers' - are spread out around the country and funnel their profits back to the central organization. The Hand has its fingers in many fields: highway robbery, house breaking, extortion, smuggling, and rescuing slaves.
Delinquent or Unbound?
The two conditions have much in common. The most noticeable difference is that a delinquent person still ages and can be killed. Delinquent people still have all human functions like sleeping and eating, and are generally less feared by society. Additionally, Unbound people may not have passed their designated death yet. Delinquent means you are overdue for death; Unbound means a supernatural process has occurred to cut you off from fate.

The Hand's Noble Intentions

The last one is not well-known by the populace, but some members of the Hand would argue that it is actually the primary goal of the organization and all their criminal activities go toward funding it. In France, and several other Arbitrist countries, it is illegal to be delinquent. Someone who has out-lived God's plan for them is dangerous, as they have no fate to follow and could throw a wrench into destined events. For this reason, all delinquent people are required to report to a church.   The church will request that the person committed suicide to correct their thread of fate, but will not execute them if they have not committed any crime. Instead, delinquent people will remain under close supervision in the custody of the church, where they will be put to work doing any task needed. If no work is needed, they will be imprisoned indefinitely.   Phantom's Hand rescues these people from the church whenever possible. With a system of safe houses across France, they smuggle delinquent people to freedom in the Holy Roman Empire (where they can blend in; Catholics never have their soul guide with them to show what age they ought to have died). Many escaped prisoners, however, choose instead to join the Hand and become members themselves.   The Hand consists of people who became outcast from society. Unable to live freely or find employment, they banded together and turned to crime to support themselves. Most people in France, though, would argue that they lost any sympathy for their persecution when they became thieves who don't shy away from killing.


Only about 40% of members are actually delinquent. There are three classes of members:  
Delinquent - 40%
People who have outlived their fate. They perform the majority of field work since they cannot be detected by diviners.  
Frayed - 20%
A frayed person is someone whose thread has gone a bit wonky, but they're still generally on course. This is only easily detectable in people who sustained some injury that is not mirrored on their soul cat (as a soul guide always shows the scars a person will bear at the time of their death from the moment they arrive). Someone who, for example, is missing an eye while their cat still has 2 would be considered 'frayed', and generally distrusted and outcast from society.
Supporters - 40%
Normal people whose fates are still on course. There are two types of these. The first are the brutes who just wanted to join a criminal gang. They're in it for the money. The others are those who disagree with the church's stance on imprisoning delinquent people and believe in helping them to freedom. Most of these people are not actively involved in the crime side of the gang and instead operate safe houses.

The Phantom

The leader of the Hand is an elusive figure known only as the Phantom. Very little is known about his identity outside of his inner circle. The French government, in their efforts to track him down and destroy the Hand, have gathered only a few facts about him.
It is known that he founded the Hand in Corsica in the early 1770s in a response to the island being annexed by France and thus subject to their laws on delinquent people. The Phantom, though, is not Corsican, but seems to have roots in either Venice, Egypt, or both.
Venetian Egypt
Egypt was conquered by Venice in the 15th century and remains under their control.

Je suis vivant
I am alive

Illicit, Gang
Alternative Names
The Hand
Je Suis Vivant
The motto of the gang - or, some might say mantra. Delinquent people have none of the rights and protections afforded by the French parlement because, legally, they are not alive. They are legally classed as dead people, who happen to still be around. "Je suis vivant", then, is their statement of defiance against that law and asserts their personhood.   The three bloody fingerprints represent the group. There are three for each word in the motto, and the blood symbolizes their continued life. Safe houses are often marked with three blooded fingerprints somewhere around the door.

This article has no secrets.