Black Hand, Order of the

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Foundation: 1751?-1769Dead.gif
Capital: Gibraltar
Religion: Hussite Christian

By Martin Helsdon


A religious order, originally Kaballists and then Hussite Christian, who appeared on Gibraltar around 1751, having travelled, according to rumor, from the British Isles.

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1753-1754 T212
Knights of Tabor: Father Mohaim (a Taborite knight) took a squadron west from the siege of Marseilles to visit Gibraltar and speak with the masters of the Black Hand. After some discussion, the kaballists agreed to allow the Danish Navy to maintain a watering station just outside of the town.

The Black Hand: Having struck an arrangement with the Danes - and allowing the Empire to establish itself in the fishing village below the Rock and the city thereon - the Hand proceeded to eject the Papal monastics who had a thriving monastery on the other side of the mountain. The clerics were shown the road to Cortez and told "you're lost, but that's the way home."

Three Isles: Duchess Neya had recently learned of a group calling itself "le man noir" which had established itself on the critical island of Sicily. Having no desire to harbor a "cult" in the bosom of the Duchy, Neya swept down upon the Black Hand estate with ten thousand men. Everything was seized, examined, weighed, measured, considered, examined again and finally put back in disorder. Much to the disgust of the authorities, they found the order's business to be entirely legitimate.

1755-1756 T213
The Black Hand: Minded their own business.

1757-1758 T214
The Black Hand: Kept to themselves and laid low.

1759–1760 T215
The Black Hand: The Order kept its head low, save for commissioning a fleet of nearly forty frigates from a shipbuilding company in Narbonne.

1761–1762 T216
The Black Hand: Wary of the increasingly tense situation in the Mediterranean, the Order mustered as many soldiers as they could to defend Gibraltar, as well as fortifying the Rock. A minor trade in religious trinkets, books and hand-made candles was started with most of the neighboring nations. Within the Order there was additional trouble – the Deverill ‘regime’ suffered an eroding base of support among the younger knights. Anthony Corsp, a more energetic leader, won their affection instead. Accusations were made of fiscal impropriety by Deverill, and while never proven true, the ensuing ‘investigation’ ran most of his remaining supporters out of their offices. Younger men, who accounted Corsp as their patron, moved in and Deverill was forced to resign as Master of the Order.

1763–1764 T217
Free City of Gibraltar: Having gathered his strength, Corsp and his men of the Hand seized control of Gibraltar city outright. The nominal allegiance owed the Danish Empire was repudiated and then, once he was in direct control, Corsp ordered the city walls strengthened (wise, given the proximity to poor, benighted Spain) and expanded. Some Hand engineers also set out for Seville, marking the path of a proposed highway with colored stakes and making careful maps.

They were forced to flee back into the citadel of the Rock after a few months, as the tides of war in Spain threatened to wash over them. Then the Islanders confiscated the estates owned by the Order on Sicily and in the Baelerics, which threatened to put a fatal crimp in the Free City’s economics.

Three Isles: Similar – though far more violent – efforts were made to drive cultic influences out of Sicily. Namia led a powerful fleet and army to the sometimes-rebellious island and obliterated a recently discovered Polytechnic League secret base, as well as invading and slaughtering the inhabitants of a Black Hand order estate in the western end of the island. The Empress was in no mood to allow foreigners in her lands without her leave.

Princess Nimi, sent to restore Islander authority over the Baeleric Islands (returned by Carthage due to treaty), also exercised her troops in storming various possible cultic locations and groups and burning the Black Hand estate there to the ground.

1765–1766 T218
Denmark: A combined air- and sea-fleet was dispatched to the western Mediterranean to deal with the upstart Order of the Black Hand, which had recently ejected the Danes from Gibraltar.

Free City of Gibraltar: The situation of the Free City being rather precarious, Corsp managed to barter for necessary infusions of Carthaginian gold and Catalũnan grain to keep his people fed, paid and shoes on the baby’s feet. Corsp, who had been absent, returned to find that Machilli (running things in his absence) was making a personal fortune by embezzling public funds and selling grain on the black market at obscene prices… Machilli soon lost his head.

Of course, then things got interesting.

Events in Spain
March: The Carthaginian admiral Philosir arrives at Gibraltar with a sizable fleet and army and unloads his men, while standing by to be reinforced by Colonel Harko.
May: Quite to the surprise of the denizens of the Free City of Gibraltar, a large Danish fleet appears offshore of the fortress and begins shelling the town and the Rock alike. Danish airships swarm in the skies overhead…
The Carthaginian fleet in harbor is taken by surprise, though the rather timid Phiosir immediately orders his ships to sea, and sends his 24 airships aloft, trying to come to grips with the enemy. The 8 Danish zeppelins, however, are already bombing the landing anchors and six Carthan airships are burning before anyone can get aloft.
A melee ensues in the air over the Rock, and the Danes (with altitude and speed up) knock down two more Carthan zeps. But there are so many Carthan airships, some manage to break through to fire upon the Danish steam-cruisers which have swung into action, bombarding the Carthan ships-of-the-line as they hoist sail and dog for the open sea. A confused melee ensues as the Carthan ships bolt for sailing room, the Danish steam cruisers zig-and-zag wildly trying to avoid the bombs raining from the Carthan airfleet… the heavy guns of the cruisers shred some of the Carthan sailing ships, but are forced to break off the attack as the enemy zeppelins seize control of the sky.
The Danish expedition retires behind their cruiser screen, leaving five ships-of-the-line burning to the water, six captured, and another 11 damaged and requiring immediate repairs. On the Carthan side, nine ships-of-the-line were sunk, another nine severely battered and fourteen zeppelins lost.
June: Colonel Harko arrives at Gibraltar with six zeppelins to reinforce Philosir, and to take command of the fleet. Everything is in chaos and confusion. It will take months to get the Carthan fleet repaired and recrewed – and who knows when the Danes will attack again?

Carthage: The Gibraltar Incident startled everyone, and war fears ran rampant in the cities of the Emirate. “War With Denmark!” blared the papers. “Danish Treachery Stuns Parliament.”

1767–1768 T219
Denmark: Missionaries were dispatched to Gibraltar in support of the fleet, which was returning to restore Danish control of the city on the Rock (the Carthaginians having expressed dismay over the “misunderstanding” which had cost so many lives).

Order of the Black Hand: Diplomacy Granada (^oh)
After much discussion between the Danish and Carthaginian foreign offices, the dispute over Gibraltar was settled – with the fortress and city remanding to Denmark. The Order of the Black Hand remained in the city, though now civil administration and security was maintained by Danish fleet marines.

The Carthaginians, meantime, returned a number of captured frigates to the Danish navy and were very busy unloading more troops at Gibraltar, under the guns of both Dane and Carthan fleets. The turmoil in Spain, it seemed, had at last drawn Hussite attention.

1769–1770, T220
Order of the Black Habd: Destroyed by an outbreak of mad rioting, which leaves all of the Hussites in Gibraltar city dead and the Danish garrison fled…

The Masters of the Order of the Black Hand

  • Anthony Corsp 1761-date
  • Rhys Deverill 1751-1761

The Players

  • Whitney Dunn T215-date
  • Eric Miller T211-T214
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