Art by Mark Poole
Appius Claudius Corvus
circa 1933 CE
Fall of Lasombra AntediluvianEdit
Both these vampires buried themselves among a contingent of Lasombra from al-Andalus led by Gratiano, and their Assamite allies, supporting their plan to destroy the Lasombra Antediluvian. The pair did not join the band that actually went into the Founder's haven as Gratiano took along only the Cainites he felt he could really trust. But the Lost Tribe definitely helped talked up the rebellion, and Anosh in particular was such a hell of a preacher nobody even thought to ask him how old he was. But they were on the loop.
The story goes that after watching Corvus in action during all this, somehow Gratiano figured out the man had more and weirder associates than he was letting on. So one night he barged in and demanded an explanation. Poor old Corvus had to just come up with something on the spot. Well, he admitted to being part of a secret cabal but he still did not want to give out the real name.
It does not take a lot of brainpower to figure out that "The Lost Tribe" has to be some kind of Noddist reference, and at this point Gratiano's rebels still did not give fuck one about Gehenna. So instead he just said he was part of something called "The Black Hand", which sounded nicely spooky yet vague; and he made it out to be just another conglomerate pack with more on the ball than most. And the name stuck.
Fall of the Tzimisce AntediluvianEdit
While Velya and Vykos had already pretty well figured out the Eldest's location, they were scholars, not spies or warriors. They had no idea how to go about the reconnaissance, especially since the place was apparently well off the beaten path. Nor could they really use their Tzimisce sorcery against the ancestor who would bequeathed it to them in the first place and cherish any real hope of success. And that is where our people came in. Corvus and Parvati put their devious little heads together and came up with the ace in the hole that made the whole plan foolproof: the Tremere.
The Tremere did not do much, actually they did very little. Something to do with screwing up the way the earth-energies in the area were flowing. A vital distraction at the right time, drawing the Founder's attention over to the esoteric while the real, very physical threat just marched on in.
As for the reconnaissance, that was just plain logic. Corvus just followed the blood, cause it seemed pretty safe to guess there was some kind of guard on the place, and either it would be Cainite, (in which case they were going to have to bring mortals for them to feed), or else it would probably be war-ghouls, (in which case somebody was going to have to make trips out to feed them). Either way, the thing to do was have the routes to and from civilization watched, continuously and quietly.
Naturally this took a little more patience than the anarchs were used to exerting. Even with the help they were getting from us and Gratiano's people, I am not sure they would have managed without Jalan-Aajav, who seems to have showed up right there at the foot of the mountain to join the coup. Together with Jalan-Aajav they eventually caught the vampire who was maintaining the war-ghouls, extracted information from him, dumped his ashes in a well just outside the walls of Timișoara – and the rest is history.
Becoming a SeraphEdit
By the time Dastur Anosh was destroyed, he was so important to the Black Hand, that they felt it necessary to encode his former duties into the identity of the Hand as the title of Seraph. Sabbat historians solemnly note that the Black Hand appoints four Cainites to the Seraph's title, in recognition of Anosh's importance: Izhim ur-Baal became the First Seraph among equals, since he was eldest, and Jalan-Aajav the Second, Corvus the Third, and Wanyan the Fourth (Djuhah was the very last Seraph appointed, after Wanyan disappeared in 1952).
Second Sabbat Civil WarEdit
In the 19th century, during the Second Sabbat Civil War, Seraph Corvus of the Black Hand came to the West Coast to stop the useless internecine violence and direct it to better ends (like killing the Camarilla encroaching from the north).
He was working closely to the Brujah antitribu, and went to Baja to repel a Camarilla incursion. He did this by operating from a theory that was then unheard-of among his clanmates, which is that Brujah are not stupid, merely tragically undereducated. The young Brutes and Hunters in those parts diablerized each other almost as fast as they were Embraced. Corvus quite simply showed them something better to do with their energy, shaping some of the best Removers the Black Hand has to this night.
With the advent of the Code of Milan, which ended the infighting among the Sabbat caused by the Second Civil War, a Cainite presented himself to the common members of the Black Hand. Introduced by Jalan-Aajav, he spoke in heavily accented Arabic, translated by Regent Galbraith herself.
Elimelech explained that he had killed Corvus the month before in legitimate Monomacy. He did not say who challenged whom. But he explained that he felt moved by a sense of duty to an honorable fallen foe to take that foe's place as Seraph of the mighty and stalwart Black Hand. And that he, like Jalan-Aajav, would give his last drop of blood in defense of the regent and the Regent's Peace.
Since the death of Corvus, the Lasombra have felt decidedly underrepresented in the leadership of the Hand, though Jalan-Aajav's appointment of Banjoko has already served to mollify Lasombra pride. As one of the majority clans of the Sabbat, several Lasombra operatives have expressed the opinion that no clan should ever hold more than one Seraph seat – and that one Seraph should always be Lasombra. If Jalan-Aajav has any opinions on this matter, he has chosen to keep them to himself.