The Seraphim are the Black Hand's generals, who answer only to the Regent of the Sabbat, and who collectively have absolute authority over all members of the Black Hand. The office of Seraph was created in honor of the fallen Assamite warrior, Dastur Anosh.
Seraphs determine which assassinations should be carried out, which requests for assistance from Sabbat leaders should be answered and how, and assign Dominions as needed to see it all done. They pass judgments on Black Hand members accused of any disloyalty, disobedience to their superiors, or any offense against the Sabbat's Code of Milan. They also judge their own members on accusations of infernalism, refusing to surrender them to the authority of the Sabbat Inquisition.
Historically, the Seraphim have not always agreed on matters of doctrine, policy or action, but when the dust settled and a decision was made, it was usually the will of Izhim ur-Baal that prevailed. Now Jalan-Aajav holds the rank of First Seraph, and thus far none of the acting Seraphim have attempted to thwart his will, though that compliance is not likely to last forever.
While echoing the same mockery of Church hierarchy as the Sabbat with its ecclesiastical titles, the founders of the Black Hand reached even higher for the source of their authority and took their name from the loftiest ranks of the angels themselves: the Seraphim. As Heaven has only four archangels, so the number of the Council of Seraphim has always been four. They have led the Black Hand through the coalescence of the bitter survivors of the Anarch wars into the Sabbat, the Sabbat's migration to the New World, and three Civil Wars that, except for the Black Hand, might have torn the sect asunder. With such leadership, the Black Hand has remained a constant through the rise and fall of Archbishops, Cardinals, and even Regents.
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, with Jalan-Aajav the Second, Corvus the Third, and Wanyan the Fourth. Djuhah later became the Fourth after Wanyan disappeared in 1952.
But the Final Nights have come and portents of Gehenna are everywhere. The Tremere Curse on the Children of Haqim has shattered like a brittle sword, and many of the once-faithful Assamite antitribu have abandoned their vows to Caine's Chosen and returned to their ancestral home. The leaders of the Gangrel Clan – such as they are – have turned their backs on their former allies in the Camarilla, taking a good portion of their clanmates with them and depriving the Sabbat's hated foe of some of their fiercest fighters. And, but a few years ago, the eternal night was shattered with the screams of the dying - mortal and undead alike – as one of the ancient Antediluvians rose from its long sleep and, in the space of a week, all but wiped out its entire bloodline.
The events of the last few years have wrought a series of rapid shifts in the Black Hand's leadership and direction. The loss of many of the eldest Assamite antitribu left tremendous gaps among the ranks of the dominions, emissaries, and Watch Commanders, offering opportunities for sudden advancement among the experienced operatives whose ambitions had been long frustrated by Assamite domination. The ranks of the Seraphim themselves have been radically thinned; of the four who have led the subsect for the past half-century, only Jalan-Aajav remains. Without Izhim ur-Baal to moderate his strategies, or Djuhah to challenge his decisions, the scarred Gangrel warlord has become the undisputed leader of the entire subsect, a position he no doubt plans to take full advantage of while he can.
Missing in action Edit
No one in the Black Hand has seen or heard from the ancient Assamite warrior Izhim ur-Baal in nearly two years. While Izhim has always been as mysterious as any elder with his comings and goings, rarely speaking of his intentions even to his most trusted associates, it is hard to imagine that the wisest and most cunning of the shakari could himself have been outmatched or would have abandoned the subsect he helped to found. Yet in the wake of the mass desertion of so many of his brothers, Izhim's continued absence is a silent void in the Hand's leadership that Jalan-Aajav by himself cannot fill.
The fate of Djuhah, the other Assamite Seraph, is equally uncertain. Rumors of the powerful warrior's Final Death have spread like storm winds among Hand operatives, based on the description of ashen remains found in the ruins of his haven. But as his Seconds and an entire Black Hand Column led by the legendary warrior Tariq are also currently unaccounted for, some questions yet remain. Particularly with Izhim missing as well, Djuhah's failure to reappear speaks far louder than the protests of acting Seraph Yazid Tamari, Djuhah's charismatic grandchilde, who struggles to maintain Assamite solidarity among the Chosen.
The fourth Seraph, Elimelech, has never been entirely reliable – or for that matter, rational. Given the old one's sometimes tenuous grip on the realities of night-to-night existence, and his propensity for casual violence when even mildly annoyed, his absence from his known havens comes more of a relief than a matter for concern. Jalan-Aajav, in fact, would doubtless prefer that Elimelech remain among the missing for the rest of eternity.
- Dastur Anosh (the original Seraph)
- Izhim ur-Baal
- Appius Claudius Corvus