The Vampire Crusades Edit
The Red Hand's facility in Transylvania was both its crowning achievement and its undoing. The labyrinthine complex would spiral out of control over a span of some thirty years from an occult science facility into a terrible biological factory, a place of suffering for its unfortunate subjects.
Founded as Installation 10, by the last days of the Red Hand it was referred to only as the Slaughterhouse.
It was first established in 1945, shortly after the Soviet Red Army moved into Romania. Situated in the snowy peaks of the Custurii mountain valleys, Installation 10 was a base for the delivery of subjects for experiments of 'bio-energy potential'. Generals, occult scholars and scientists had very carefully chosen Romania - there were no coincidences in its location or its purpose.
Surveys had indicated that the very rock of the mountainside of Bacas County was irradiated with a strange power, an energy their magi and scholars wanted to tap into to further their human mutation project.
Disgraced soldiers, asylum inmates, burnt-out cosmonauts and the criminally insane were sent here to be 'rehabilitated' and put to use for the common good. These people were of course never seen or heard from again. By successfully taking care of these dregs of society, the Hand soon secured funds to construct a large, underground extension to the original complex.
As 1960 rolled around and the Soviet occupation of Romania had ended, another matter had gained the attention of the scholars: the vampires of Eastern Europe. From the few specimens they had been able to capture, they knew that the current bloodline of these creatures began in Romania. The scientists believed that mixing vampire genes and human genes would result in super-soldiers more powerful than those of any army, anywhere; immortal, with no regard for human emotion or pain.
They also knew that the Securitate worked hard to conceal the attacks of one particularly powerful Bucharest vampire from the public. It was decided that the Red Hand would remain in Romania to find this vampire and propose an agreement and secure a mutual understanding.
The vampire in question was Mara, who in the 1960s ran rampant in Bucharest - dreadfully bored and frustrated that none of her antics generated attention from Lilith. When one of the Hand's most experienced and powerful magi found her, he brought a welcome distraction to her otherwise unexciting existence.
Mara murdered the delegate regardless - human life meant nothing to her - but her interest was piqued. The Red Hand offered her the power and the glory she so dearly craved and, with it, another opportunity to prove herself worthy of Lilith's attention.
She agreed to provide the facility with her unfortunate kin; a great number of vampires she had sired during the last five hundred years. She even created new ones specifically for this purpose and sent them to Bacas County.
In return, the Soviets would build her an army. That much was the plan, at least, but the reality of their crossbreeding was less successful. The unnatural forces of the vampiric metabolism warped the experimental subjects, creating monstrous brutes that could never pass as human and could not be controlled in the manner the scientists had hoped.
It was a failure that threatened the project's future within the Soviet Army. In the Cold War climate and with its faith in the Hand fading, the Kremlin drastically cut the funds of the operation. Disappointed by the lack of results, the Politburo withdrew all military personnel from the numerous Red Hand installations and reduced funding to a minimum.
The facility in Romania changed masters within the Hand itself, too. When it became clear that the desired result was unachievable, the magi washed their hands of the operation, leaving only scientists behind, people who dedicated even more of their resources to it.
Whether touched by the corrupting force buried in the ground of Bacas County or repeating the mistakes of scientists past, mastering their hybrid race had become an all-consuming obsession for those who remained. At the Slaughterhouse's peak, hundreds of workers lived and toiled in the warrens beneath the valley, transforming dozens of subjects by the week.
Outside of their insular world, the Seventies came, and the Red Hand would lose the last of its waning power within the military and government.
The faction's leaders had scattered and its facilities across the globe were hastily destroyed or abandoned. As Installation 10 had become largely self-sufficient, it went almost forgotten for several years - before an incident with escaped subjects and their rampage across Transylvania brought it back to the military's attention.
Seeing it as a disastrous and horrifying liability, but unable to commit the resources to scouring it from the world, the decision was made to simply seal it off with the majority of the workers and subjects inside. The reasoning was that if no one could get out, no one could talk about what had happened there.
That was forty years ago.
When Mara recently returned to Transylvania to wage war against the Eight, Cucuvea, Octavian and everyone else who had once thrown her out, she had long since tired of the arrangement's inability to immediately provide her with an army. She decided to claim her prize however small it would be. Unaware of the development since it closed down, she found more than she could have possibly hoped for when she opened the rusty doors to the Red Hand facility.
Hundreds, even thousands of enhanced vampires were trapped in suspended animation or running loose in the underground bunkers. The survivors, if they could be called that, a sub-race unto themselves, demi-vampires, were easily dominated by Mara into the rank-and-file of her assault. These super-soldiers, thawed from their cryogenic cells or captured and subdued, would provide the brute force where there was no need for human subtlety.
Once more mixing the pure-blood vampires of her brood with unfortunate human victims, the long-suspended machines in the recesses of the Slaughterhouse have resumed their terrible instructions; spewing out an endless stream of hybrids of unsurpassed strength and cruelty.
If nothing else, Mara is stubborn, and she is determined to win the battle of Bacas County. To her, the cost is insignificant - she can always make new vampires.
Neither side is backing down, but the vampires have time and stamina, and with their heavily padded armour, they can even fight during the day. It is only a matter of time before the humans are unable to withstand the pressure of their ever growing numbers.
Their numbers far outweighs the humans, and their strength is superior, but much to Mara's chagrin, the villagers have found help in the Romany and secret world recruits, and together they have put up a good fight.
It was supposed to be easy.
This is where her first life ended and her second life started, and the symbolic value weighs heavy. She cares little for the soldiers of her makeshift army. They are disorganised and stupid, and are merely a means to an end. Her trust lies only with her generals - the vampires she created centuries ago. They are powerful and loyal and can see the war through on her behalf.
When she discovered the long forgotten Soviet vaults and pried open the locked and sealed doors, Mara found a secret worth more than any treasure in the world - the Red Hand soldier vampires. With them, she could form an army, a glorious, unbeatable army that could reclaim Transylvania - her homeland - for her.
Mara, the dark queen of Transylvania and the bride of Vlad III Dracula, leads an unorganised but rapacious army of vampires to recapture their ancestral lands and form the root of a vampire nation. She has called in her underlings from all over Europe and Asia Minor, and every day, more of them wash over the valley.
Constant attacks and blood-curdling shrieks throughout the night. A growing army of murderous monsters and enormous siege machines looming at the edge of the forest. War has come to Harbaburesti