The Case of the Jade Dragon (an Untold Tale of the Ministry), episode 1

Marsh encoun­ters a dragon, Pren­tiss swings a boathook.


8th April 2010.

Dramatis Personae


A couple of weeks before deal­ing with the High­bury Hor­ror, the team (who had yet to encounter Miss Sharpe and Miss Spit) were assigned to watch the unload­ing of, identi­fy and pos­sibly secure, a pack­age from a ship newly-arrived from the Ori­ent. Although Mr Rooke seemed to know which ship and when and where it would dock, he was not forth­com­ing with the nature of the cargo.

Head­ing into Lime­house as night fell, the group quickly loc­ated the tar­get dock and Marsh quietly broke into a neigh­bour­ing ware­house. They climbed the interi­or stair­cases and took up res­id­ence on the flat roof, from which they could watch the unload­ing of the Ori­ent Star.

The ship was not long in arriv­ing, and a num­ber of Chinese dock work­ers appeared as it tied up at the wharf. Gang­planks were run out and a steam-powered crane brought into oper­a­tion under the bright arc-lights of the dock­yard. The team watched as thirty crates of vary­ing sizes were removed from the hold, and also took note of the pres­ence of a tall, eleg­ant indi­vidu­al in Chinese dress watch­ing from the bridge of the ship, flanked by heavyset guards. Marsh attemp­ted to get closer to the ship, but was nearly spot­ted by the guards and had to leave rap­idly. Even­tu­ally, the dock work­ers fin­ished unload­ing the ves­sel, were paid and left, along with most of the guards and the observ­er. Pren­tiss decided to fol­low the observ­er, assum­ing he was some sort of boss, as he got into a car­riage and was delivered to a lux­uri­ous hotel nearby.

When he rejoined them, the team crossed to the roof of the next ware­house, in which the goods were being stored, and des­cen­ded to explore. They found the crates on the ground floor and while Lady Ant­o­nia kept watch, Pren­tiss began examin­ing them, dis­cov­er­ing a quant­ity of souven­irs, food and oth­er trade goods.

Cur­ruth­ers and Marsh checked out the office over­look­ing the ground floor and found a cab­in­et full of papers writ­ten in Chinese, of which some bore a mark also found on one of the crates being unloaded. Decid­ing this was sig­ni­fic­ant, they returned to the floor and loc­ated that crate. Lever­ing it open, they uncovered a statue of a Chinese dragon carved out of a single huge block of jade; as Marsh examined it, a pale rep­lica, appar­ently made of mist, coalesced above it and struck at him, knock­ing him out. The oth­ers leapt in to help and Cur­ruth­ers forced the lid back down on to it, just as the doors banged open and a gang of eight Chi­n­a­men ran in bran­dish­ing wicked-look­ing meat cleavers.

Battle began fol­low­ing a shouted chal­lenge and the team shot half the attack­ers before they reached the crates. A con­fused meleé broke out, and the her­oes pre­vailed, des­pite the attack­ers’ spec­tac­u­lar high kicks. Marsh recovered in a timely fash­ion and used his rat amu­let to sneak up behind one of the attack­ers, who had an injured Lady Ant­o­nia at his mercy. Wield­ing a boat­hook in an impress­ive fash­ion, Pren­tiss man­aged to force one to sur­render (the oth­ers died of their injuries).


I ran this story because two of the play­ers had the temer­ity to take a two week trip to Japan. The flash­back story has no bear­ing on the cur­rent Pyr­am­ids of Hert­ford­shire storyline, but is more of a Mar­vel-style ‘untold story’. The plot itself reflects the kind of things these people do when they’re not chas­ing vam­pires and is derived from the unused tong/underworld war plot I wanted to use in the Temple Vam­pire. This was inten­ded to be a one off, but the Eyjaf­jalla­jökull vol­cano had oth­er ideas…