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

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Pedes­tri­an.
  • Rod­ney Marsha Par­tial­ly-reformed Thief.
  • Mr Eras­mus Rooke – the Boss.
  • A Mys­te­ri­ous Chi­nese Gen­tle­man.
  • Sev­er­al Burly Guards.
  • Eight Tong Gang­sters.


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…