|The Midnight Hands|
|Second||Whiteport, Durvastrand, Fort Raven, Avo|
Original Midnight Hands
The original Hands started as a group of disgruntled commoners led by a girl by the name of Benny Finn. Benny sought revenge on the local lord, Reed Howell, for the murder of her father, Terry Finn. In the winter of 621 AU, Benny gathered as many people as she could from her hometown of Black Mark and laid the foundation for a secret public service organization. Backed by Prince Jamie Narvineous, Benny and her followers made precise but subtle strikes against Arl Howell, weakening his hold over the village until nearly driving him to the point of desperation. Despite his complaints to King Juilus Narvineous, there was nothing that could be done to stop the Midnight Hands, or so they thought.
In 622 AU, the Westwardens invaded the north and wiped out the entire exposed village of Black Mark in the process. Benny and the rest of the Hands were largely caught in the siege, and the entire village of Black Mark was destroyed in the process. Benny, distraught by this loss, took every remaining and able member of the Hands and assaulted the city of Goldrok, where Reed Howell was cowering. Using the rifles that Prince Jamie had been developing for them, the Hands publicly assassinated Howell in front of the King. King Juilus immediately ordered all of them to death, even though they were defended by the Prince, him even claiming he put them up to it in order to spare their execution. Jamie's plan didn't work, Benny and the others were killed, and the Prince was forced to flee the wrath of his father.
Trying to escape Berma, Jamie was eventually cut off before he could make it to Whitedoor and leave by boat. However, Juilus simply couldn't bring himself to kill his son, so he let him go and instead killed his knight, Sir Henry Armstrong, as a body double. Jamie, together with Benny's older sister Luna Finn, made his way to Whiteport and vowed revenge on both his father and the world.
Modern Midnight Hands
In 623 AU, Jamie Narvineous set off to recreate the Midnight Hands in his own imagine, this time with a plan on creating a peace for the entire world, in honor of Benny Finn. Jamie believed that it was conflict and poor government that had caused her death and was determined to create a world under his own order. Starting with literally nothing, Jamie set to work creating a business first and then a league of assassins.
Using various old contacts and building up small businesses in various cities, Jamie began to build his underground empire. Knowing full well of the effects of gunpowder, the former Prince focused on acquiring as many mines as he could to start his own private production. The business didn't evolve beyond a one-man company until the Berman War in 625 AU when Jamie started focusing on marketing to both the Berman and Avalot armies in secret. Eventually, enough money was earned through this trading to afford various bases of operations in different nations, all owned by private sources under different names. Soon, the Midnight Hands was an organization of several hundred hands, allowing Jamie to focus on the next phase of his plan.
In 635 AU, Jamie began taking an interest in positions of higher authority in the government as well as acquiring the most deadly killers in the world. Hiring various high-profile agents from southern cities and the Black Market, he also began looking for children or orphans interested in working for him in exchange for promises. He succeeded in acquiring three promising children, Lance Wymund, Grit Maynard, and Isolda Drago, the first personal assassins of the Midnight Hands. Jamie was chiefly interested in creating a group of killers extremely loyal to the Hands, willing to die for the cause if they were captured or beaten. As a fail safe for traitors, Jamie personally created the Moonhand, a tattoo of black ink that never faded until death, to mark those who showed even the slightest disloyalty. As he trained these promising students, planning to place them in high level positions of authority, the Hands started to earn the attention of various shady nobles such as Thaddeus Wymund and Olaf the Glutton.
Laying the Trap
By 647 AU, Lance and the others had all passed their training and the Hands were growing ready for their master plan. Following their "graduation" a second generation of assassins were trained, though slightly older to save time, expanding the deadly reach of the group. Jamie set up the first generation to take high ranking positions in Avalot, Pokol, and the Pinelands to disable their governments when the time was right. The Hands took no jobs, like the Black Market assassins, and instead worked on building a large trade empire and trust in their different corporation names. In 650 AU, the various businesses owned by the Hands devoted all their manpower and time into creating weapons and war-machines for the coming barbarian invasion. Jamie became reacquainted with Hysaph Jaric, childhood friend from his youth in Berma, and helped the rising Westwarden earn his status as Hysaph in favor of helping his plans.
By 655 AU, the Hands determined it was time to strike and Lance Wymund was ordered to begin the plans to destroy Avo and the Court of Nobles from within. Unfortunately,Wymund went rogue and their plans were delayed, much to the annoyance of the hierarchy in the Hands. They instead started construction on a new warship made entirely of iron, using special ingots from the country of Cheng, and allowed for Grit Maynard and Lily Ernest to be the primary conspirators in this new plot against Avalot. Though there were a few setbacks, this time the plan worked and caused a major rift within the Court of Nobles just before the Ninth Barbarian Invasion. It was the Hand's plot to capitalize on the war, offering the Eastern Territories nations rifles to combat the barbarian forces while controlling all the gunpowder on their own.
The only flaw in their plan laid with the efforts of Mary the Mute, whom built an alliance against the Westwardens and was able to fight them to a standstill. In addition, Mary's allies were able to eliminate all major officers in the Hands including Lily Ernest, Olaf the Glutton, and Doctor Pestilence. Their plot failed and Jamie was forced to admit defeat but not before taunting Mary that he would return. He returned to his homeland of Berma where he was later assassinated by Arthur Mourne in 665 AU, along with nearly his entire family.
With the death of all their figureheads, the Midnight Hands officially disbanded, though Jamie's grandson, Hartman Fowl, inherited all the wealth as the sole survivor of the family. He later moved into Westward after the Black Dog Revolution and carried on his business there, maintaining the business side of the Midnight Hands and abandoning the assassinations.
The Sand Midnight Hands
Shortly after the 622 AU disbandment of the first Midnight Hands, one of its prominent members, Gus Hoffman, abandoned Berma on his own, desperate to escape the nation of bitter memories. Like Jamie, he made his way to Whiteport, but didn't stop there and eventually headed for Blackport where he went south into the Sea of Sands. On his journey, Gus was kidnapped by the local bandits and taken to Sand Haven to serve as hostage. However, when the bandits discovered that Gus was worth no money, they instead forced him to serve them. Eventually, Gus earned their trust and managed to rise through the ranks, even marrying one of bandit chief's daughter and inheriting the leadership of the clan in 645 AU.
By 655 AU, Gus succeeded in uniting all the bandit clans in Sand Haven and labelled them in honor of his past life, the Midnight Hands. Together, they became a force to be reckoned with for the nearby city of Lockeheart and could start pillaging at will with no force to stop them.
Then, in 658 AU, the group mistakenly kidnapped Mary the Mute and General Sela Tankcreed. Through diplomacy, Mary was able to convince this version of the Midnight Hands to join her in saving Avalot. But what truly convinced Gus into joining forces with her was the loss of his son and daughter-in-law at the hands of Olaf the Glutton, ironically a major member of the Midnight Hands Gus' former friend, Jamie, had created. After the Ninth Barbarian Invasion, Gus and his bandits were given full pardon by Avalot and welcomed into the Sand Federation.
The Midnight Hands used very literal symbolism when they designed their signal. However, their banner was also created so it could be hidden in plain sight, with many members branding their hands black. This practice of "black marking" was used by the other members to mark potential traitors in their organization. Any who bore the mark couldn't hide, as the ink used never disappeared and hunter agents of the Hands knew exactly what to look for. The logo itself was a hand print the palm in the shape of a crescent moon.
- Jamie Narvineous, grand master of the organization and former Prince of Berma.
- Olaf the Glutton, head provisioner of the order and ruler of Lockeheart.
- Lily Ernest, the head of western operations in the Hands and a former Princess of the Pale Reach.
- Doctor Pestilence, the head of eastern operations, head assassins, and head doctor.
- Thaddeus Wymund, Avalotian financial backer.
- Vex, a pirate from Pokol.
- Benny Finn, the former leader of the Hands before the Eighth Barbarian Invasion.
- Isolda Drago, the Princess of the Pinelands raised to be an assassin to further the Hand's goals.
- Gus Hoffman, friend of Jamie Narvineous and founder of the Sands Midnight Hands.