|“||Offend not the Great Poison with cruel deeds or poor fashion. Seek the children of demons. Love them as you love your lord. Do not let the children be alone.||”|
–one of the initial mandates of the Crimson Hand, The Red Scrolls of Magic
The Crimson Hand was a cult that was initially founded by Magnus Bane as a joke, unknowingly giving Asmodeus power, to the point where the Prince of Hell himself built up the cult, with the assistance of another warlock, to continue worshiping him until he has enough to be summoned.
The Crimson Hand was formed some time in the 1800s by Magnus Bane from an idea formed with Ragnor Fell. He'd formed the cult in his father Asmodeus's name as a joke, hoping to make a mockery of his name. They pulled pranks on and stole from rich people, distributed the bounty to hospitals, cleaned streets, fed the poor, drank and threw parties, and helped warlock children who had been abandoned or abused and provided them with a family. He wrote down instructions for the cult in a manifesto called the Red Scrolls of Magic which became a type of holy scripture for them later.
Over time, Magnus gathered quite a number of mundane followers. Because of their activities and worship, however, Asmodeus noticed the cult and, upon realizing that Magnus was its leader, showed himself to them. Asmodeus took the group of followers for himself and took his son's memories of the Crimson Hand away. The cult continued on in secrecy, with Asmodeus now involved.
At some point, the cult recruited Shinyun Jung from a tiny village in South Korea, helping her to get revenge on the villagers who tried to kill her by slaughtering them all. She, along with other warlock cultists, were taught to think themselves as the children of Asmodeus. Shinyun later became the leader of the cult, turning it from a joke into a real threat.
Around 2007, the cult started killing faeries and mundanes as sacrifices in order to raise Asmodeus, which caught the attention of the Spiral Labyrinth. The governing body sent Tessa Gray to investigate, leading to her impersonating an acolyte in their Venice headquarters to find out who the new leader was. During a ritual, she was exposed as a spy and narrowly escaped. This infiltration caused the Crimson Hand to abandon Venice and led to Tessa asking Magnus to find them, as she had found evidence that he may have been involved with them. Magnus cut his vacation with Alec Lightwood short to investigate, meeting Shinyun along the way but not realizing that she was the new leader of his old cult.
The investigation came to a head in Rome, when Shinyun captured Magnus and attempted to sacrifice him in a ritual to Asmodeus to bring him into the world and claim her place at his side. Her ritual ultimately failed; first when Asmodeus, summoned by the mundane Bernard who had planned a coup against Shinyun with the other cultists and Asmodeus himself, intervened to try to coerce Magnus into killing her instead, and again when Alec stopped her from stabbing him. Asmodeus was banished and the cultists rounded up by Shadowhunters from the Rome Institute, including Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow.
Despite having Shinyun in custody, Alec released her before the arrival of the Roman Shadowhunters and she disappeared from the scene, evading capture. Instead, Bernard took the fall for the murders when he proudly claimed that he was the leader of the cult, despite the other members' disagreement.
- Magnus Bane (former/founder)
- Shinyun Jung (former leader)
- Bernard (leader)
- Mori Shu †
- Various unnamed mundanes