The Red Redemption was born during the bitter religious wars fought between the Men of the West and the swarthy Arabians. Amongst the countless factions of crusading warriors, those known only as the Brotherhood were surely the most feared and the most powerful.
As with all protracted wars, there were long periods of inactivity, whilst supplies were organised, spies sent out or paltry scouting missions undertaken. Such lulls were anathema to the more zealous of the warrior-priests of the Brotherhood . They hated sitting around whilst they knew the Arabians were out there being, well, downright Arabian.
Eroneus Balbadron was one such frustrated fanatic. Eroneus fell into a black mood whenever the fighting got held up. Each stoppage caused his moods to become even blacker; indeed, legend has it that his skin and hair turned completely black during this time. His frustration turned easily to anger, and the anger grew inside him until it was almost a palpable thing. He sought solace in the holy books of the Brotherhood, but to no avail. His anger grew and grew until he became crazed and twisted with it. His hatred of Arabians became a hatred for all.
Presently, a very strange thing happened that was to change the course of Eroneus's life, and the lives of countless others also. It was a dark evening, and the Brotherhood had just captured the ruins of an ancient temple from a group of Arabians. The enemy had hardly put up any resistance, and the fight had been a most disappointing affair. It was as he searched the ruins for any signs of the enemy that Eroneus saw a curious book, its cover barely visible as it lay on the floor. Eroneus compulsively picked it up and sought secrecy in the ruined remains of a sunken room.
Eroneus placed his torch in a bracket by the wall, and feverishly spread the book in front of him. Kneeling before it he began to read. To say that what he read was a bombshell would understate the impact that the volume had on him. In truth his crazed mind could not at first believe that it was possible: this aged book contained the truth. Eroneus was overwhelmed by a feeling of physical, spiritual and mental Redemption. The book was a sacred scripture dedicated to and revering the Chaos God of Khorne. Khorne the black God of Battle, the dark Lord of Slaughter, the thirsting God of Blood!
At once Eroneus felt his links with the Brotherhood, and with humanity, permanently broken. In a fever of ecstasy he pounded his face against the chamber walls until all that remained was ... well, little enough remained to betray the fact that he had once been human. Only then did he see the black robes and iron masks that hung upon the chamber walls. The iron mask was unnaturally hot and seared his face as he put it on. The black robes soaked the blood from his armour. Eroneus had become the first and greatest of the Redemptionists, the Master of the Redemption, and his cry was, 'Be redeemed through blood, saved through slaughter.'
Quickly slaying his former comrades in a chaotic commando-style exercise of carnage, Eroneus fled into the world at large. His objectives were unclear, but he was certain that people of the right persuasion would be sure to welcome enlightenment. He was right.
Only a few years after the incident of the Brother-slaying, the cult of the Red Redemption had become established throughout the Old World. In the secret temples of the cult, initiates were introduced to the vile and bloody ways of the mighty God Khorne The skin was ritually flayed from the face and torso of each initiate. Glowing hot iron face masks and cuirasses formed a now and tougher skin. At last they were permitted to wear the black robes of Khorne. Of course, this resulted in all of the Disciples of the Red Redemption suffering from total and irrevocable madness, but that really didn't bother them too much. (They were more concerned in shedding the blood of heretics, as members of the countless groups of Disciples then spreading the ways of Khorne in the world.)
One such group is Darkhoth's Disciples of the Red Redemption. Darkhoth is said to have been initiated by the Master of the Redemption himself, a great honour indeed. His power is such that he can command a group of up to 40 Disciples. The key to this power is the large black book that he always carries - the Darkhold. This is a transcript of the original scriptive book discovered by Eroneus. It is a very powerful magic item, although its uses are confined to cult practices. Merely looking at the pages of this book would drive any living being insane. The Disciples are immune to this by dint of them already having achieved this particular state of mind. Darkhoth is able to read passages from this book, and herein lies his power. A passage read from the book gives Darkhoth absolute power over any Disciples who hear him. During the initiation ceremony, Darkhoth reads a special passage from the book which so assaults the mind of the initiate that his personality is forever shattered. Darkhoth assesses the suitability of the initiate for cult membership by his reaction. If the initiate reacts with extreme violence, this is judged to be good, and he is prepared for flaying and encasement in glowing iron. If the initiate fails to react with sufficient violence, he is given up as a sacrifice to Khorne.
PROFILES - 2nd edition