Scales of War
The Red Hand was an army of disparate, malevolent forces that tried, and very nearly succeeded, to conquer Elsir Vale ten years ago. They included blackblood tribes drawn from the mountains of the Vale, the Even Handed assassin-cult, three giant clans, and stranger creatures including dragons.
The Kel-Khull hobgoblins provided military discipline and orgnasiation to what would otherwise have been a chaotic horde, and the banners of the Hand were hoisted above devastated settlements and conquered people.
The Hand first struck at Drellins Ferry (historians note that several palces had been attacked before then, but Drellins Ferry was the first one from which anyone survived to tell the tale) and their victory there spurred the rest of the Vale to stand together rather than be crushed.
The final battle against the Hand, at the little (littler, now) town of Brindol is the source of some confusion. By rights, the free folk of the Vale should have lost that fight, but they didn’t. Some say that fighting broke out amidst the Red Hand’s forces at the end, others that an unseen battle was fought between the gods of the Hand and the gods of the Vale, and the outcome determined the victors on that red, smoke-blackened day.
Regardless, what happened, happened. The Hand’s survivors took to the caves and passes of the mountains or the depths of the forests to avoid pursuit, and have plagued the Vale since with banditry, but no united force has been forged from them and the banners of the Hand have been left to gather tales as trophies over mantlepieces or dust under beds of those who would rather forget.