The secret society, cult, or some combination of the two currently known only as Les disciples de la Main Rouge, or "The Disciples of the Red Hand", has a history shrouded in darkness. They are one of France's most well kept secrets, and the only people aware of it's existence outside of they're fold on Earth are it's victims.
They are almost entirely vampires, with a very few exceptions that represent the darkest humanity has to offer. They have an criminal empire that spans all of France, and have connections all over the world. Their true motives are unknown, as anything they have ever done have always been, by quote, "A means to an end".
The Big Note-OOC
Before reading through this, let me say that I have not gotten permission for any of this yet. This is because of a mistake made by me, writing this up before I did. I'm an idiot. Consider this the "OOC Discussion" thread until I know if anything in this is problematic, as I'm sure some of it probably is. See something that breaks the rules? Tell me, and I'll try to find a way to fix it. Sorry for the inconvenience, feel free to read through it :p
The Three Ways
The Disciples of the Red Hand is, as said before, a secret society of vampires based in France. However, they are also so much more. Their members can track their blood to France's royalty, they worship a pagan god, and are responsible for a large amount of political assassinations world wide. This odd formation has been achieved by the "Three Ways", the name given to the three factions of the society. They all have been trained to operate nigh-independently, but still perfectly work together when needed. This system is how to Disciples have survived so long. It gave them a double chance fail safe in the case of catastrophe.
The Way of Blood
The Way of Blood is followed by the political figures and royalty within the ranks of Disciples. Although they are the smallest faction, they are also the most powerful and influential. They are the ones who act out the political movements that the group wishes to happen and stand against the political movements that the group does not wish to happen.
They are the faces of the society that are hidden among politics. They are the spies that gather information on their enemies so that the other factions can deal with them more abruptly. They consider their power inherited, claiming to have the blood of royalty infused in their veins. The two other factions consider the followers of the Way of Blood egotistical and foppish. They never say this openly, however. Their leader is Felix Labelle, an influential member of the French Senate.
The Way of Shadows
The Ways of Shadows is followed by the group's assassins, mercenaries, hit-men, and enforcers. They are both the main source of income for the society and the main ways to instill fear, or death, in their enemies. They have little in terms of customs, due to their great diversity, and attempt to remain in squads of similar members.
They usually work to increase the influence of members of the Way of Blood, or retrieve artifacts of mystical importance for members of the Way of the Beast. Followers of the Way of Shadows are intensely trained, and at some points tortured, in order to toughen them up and make them willing to do anything the Disciples may ask of them. Their leader is Abel Gallic, one of the oldest members of the Disciples.
The Way of the Beast
The Way of the Beast is followed by the society's mystics, cultists, and experts on the occult. It is the oldest of the three factions, and the one least spoken of among the others. They are the worshipers and dealers of "The Beast", an demonic god whose origin lies in Celtic mythology, so the historians say, in the form of "Balor of the Evil Eye". However, this is often discredited by the entity, quote- "it's an too literal perspective". What it meant was never clarified, as the creature most often speaks in riddles or nonsensical sentences.
Regardless, it's gifts to the society are as much to thank for it's survival as the members themselves. It's simple liking for the Disciples have brought the society a very powerful contact, and a better foothold in the magical world. Their leader is Alice Báthory, most commonly known as the High Priestess. She is one of the few followers of the Way of the Beast who have yet to go into rambling madness, and an gifted sanguimancer.
When, why, and by whom the Disciples were founded is unknown, as any evidence of it's existence at the time was stricken and burned. The individuals involved at the time must of had good reason to preserve their names. All that is confirmed is that the society was formed between 1760 and 1790 and it was formed in Marseille, France. It is rumored within the group that King Louis XVI was a member before his execution.
The group remained a minor power until a few months after Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena, during which the group managed to spread it's influence over more than half of France. The reason for this is unknown. It is today believed Napoleon was secretly oppressing the group, being thought because of how highly he regarded the power of the Sun.
An less romanticized rumor is that Napoleon was the leader of the group at the time and, do to his terrible leadership, other members orchestrated his exile and eventual death. Some say it just happened to be a matter of coincidence, and discredit the gossiping members as speaking too much of matters they don't know anything about. Regardless. the truth is is still unknown among any members.
In the 1900s, the society had their hands in all of France's criminal affairs, and new groups spawned off their influence and began their own societies in Britain, Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United States; seeds for a new world order. They grew and grew, seemingly unstoppable, until 1914, at the beginning of WW1. Madness struck within the Disciples as the society was turned in on itself. Every group focused on defending it's own survival. By the end of the war, only the French, Russian, and American
In the years between WW1 and WW2, few things happened. However, the few that did happen were important. The group within the United States dissolved due to the rising amount of "McCarthyism" and, out of fear of discovery, returned to France to be reabsorbed into the main group.
The Russian group, however, grew to the point they decided to break off connections with the Disciples completely and became the Red Sons. They managed to keep their affairs hidden from most sources, though it is rumored in some sects that Stalin was their chief member. This isn't confirmed, however. It apparent there might be an confrontation between the two groups. However, any chance of that ended when WW2 began.
At first, both sides were choosing to ignore Hitler's bellyaching and focus on slowly taking each other apart. However, when Germany invaded France both shifted sides. The Disciples retreated to Britain to plot revenge, while the Red Sons plotted some potential ways of assassination Adolf. They never managed to come through with them. They continued their affairs by supplying troops to their respected governments for a good amount of time. When Hitler struck at Russia, the group most of it's control of the situation despite their preparations. After the Germans were finally repelled, the group's prominent members were systematically and discretely executed, which the Disciples proudly took credit for.
After France was retaken by allied forces at on D-Day, the Disciples returned to stabilize their control of their criminal affairs, though they left a small seed in the UK. It is rumored that Hitler was assassinated by the man currently known as Abel Gallic (See Red Eyes). Afterwards, the group left the rest of WW2 to the politicians and soldiers, deciding to have a much needed rest. They managed to keep Communist supporters out of the country, keeping the government they supported in power. The group took many years to return to it's past power, and it remained quiet until the end of the millennium.
In 2007, the Disciples had taken back control of France's underworld and began spreading it's influence once more, though at a more restricted rate so that in the case of a third World War it wouldn't be as easily splintered. They infiltrated the living weapons project known as Pandemonium, and closely watched the affairs of the mutant society known as the Court of Arcani, including both invasion of Somalia and New York. They intend on standing against them at some point, but as of yet choose not to.
The group in the United Kingdom managed to grasp itself a good amount of control over a large criminal organization within Liverpool, effectively taking control of the city's crime, and even claimed they were going to break off relations with the Disciples at one point. However, after a visit by Abel Gallic, they gave up any hopes of becoming independent. The remaining history is left to be made, so unless you can speak the future, this is done for now.