The Black Hand Curse was a strong spell placed upon each of the 13 Drads by the wizard Merguth to ensure loyalty to the Vaxian Empire This was known as the "Dark Ritual," and reportedly involved Merguth actually opening the drads' chests with magic and inscribing the curse onto their hearts. Prior to this, the drads were actually servants of the empire of their own free will.
The curse was known to activate for various reasons. Amongst them are: disloyalty, free will and strong emotions. It is believed that the Black Hand curse affected each Drad differently, resulting in anything from comas to madness. Drathan was the only drad who successfully fought off the effects of the Black Hand curse on his own.
The Curse Breaks
When Augustus Razzaine vanished into the mythical portal at the bottom of Lake Nebrak, Merguth also vanished, because the two were inextricably tied together. When Merguth vanished, the Black Hand curse, apparently lacking ontological inertia as many spells do, vanished from all remaining living drads, freeing them. All the drads were released from their obligations to the Empire and (except for sitting Emperor Balcazar) removed from the line of succession. Jonny 4 Blades is the only Drad still remaining in the combat service in Ramsalon and Ogsum 10 Tons serves by training the empire's elite in Lirr. A few drads still act as Ambassadors for the Empire elsewhere. The rest are officially retired, or dead.