The Emperor’s Hands
The Emperor’s Hands are small groups of experts who are sent out into the empire or its surrounding lands to accomplish tasks that don’t fit the responsibilities of other groups. As the name suggests, their tasks come ultimately from the Emperor himself, though they are usually delivered by one his trusted advisors.
In keeping with the theme of hands, the Emperor’s Hands are almost always made up of five individuals. There have been exceptions to this, but they are rare. Usually, if the Hand requires more or less than five people, the task can be better done by some other group or individual.
It has been suggested that this devotion to the five-person team has made some of the Hands’ tasks more difficult, or even impossible.
Common AssignmentsIn peacetime, Emperor’s Hands are commonly called upon tasks like these:
- Recovery and/or destruction of Mage Lord artifacts
- Recapture of fled Servants
- Skirmish or reconnaissance-in-force against the barbarians that harry the borders
- Low-profile escort of important persons, items, or documents
- Assassination of enemy leaders
- Dangerous or critical communications
Servants Among the Hands
The nature of the Hands’ duties makes arcane support a near-necessity. Many Hands throughout the years have relied upon more than one Servant – a thaumaturge and a biomancer. Assignment to a Hand is considered by many Servants to be a prestigious vocation. It is one of the few assignments where the Servant will have much chance to travel, and without a doubt offers the greatest freedom of creativity and choice.
The Servants’ Keepers are not counted toward the customary five-member limit. In theory, their presence is merely a consequence of the inclusion of the Servant. In fact, many Keepers who are assigned to the Hands’ Servants are themselves well trained in useful arts.