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The Emperor's Left HandBy Jeff Daly
Geoff, something you said reminded me to toss these guys out. They are, in my campaign, the top secret of the secret. In some ways above and beyond all authorities but the emperor's, but in practical use (because of the secretive nature) generally subject to all others.
When Emperor Zendrol first began reconstructing his empire upon the death of his great good friend Lucinius, he relied heavily upon Ekoh, a diplomatic, congenial man from the Pearl Islands. This fellow was often called the "right hand of the Emperor" due to his willingness to constantly be in the forefront of all diplomatic discussions. He supported the Emperor in all things, and many say his skill in speaking was such that Zendrol was more than willing to let him be in the forefront.
Some will claim the Emperor had a "left hand" as well. I am not certain how much credit to give this claim, as most of the evidence is quite apocryphal. But the story is that this left hand was an extremely skilled assassin and spy, able to infiltrate all places and thereby ensure no dangerous enemies of the Emperor prospered. He was said to be possessed of a magical gauntlet which allowed him to fight as a man 20 times his skill. And it was further said that to "hear the whisper of the left hand, was to die", giving rise to the euphemism one may here in the farms, "She heard the left hand whispering."
Most of the story is true, and the Left Hand is known to exist among the more powerful lords. If the Emperor wishes a powerful lord to do something, but is unable to send the order himself, he sends the Left Hand. So the Left Hand's purpose is not always as dark as it is made out to be. Nevertheless, stories get spread.
The Left Hand consists of men and women, usually gleaned from slaves who show some success at the Arena. In return for their freedom, and a great deal of power, they are trained and taught to serve the Emperor in all things.