Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
The Eastern Temple
The Hidden Dragons
In the old times, during the founding of men’s first empires, the dragon Long looked on mankind and despaired. Long saw humans’ great potential squandered in wars and systems of oppression, and he vowed that he would show the humans a new way of inhabiting the world. He took on a chosen few human pupils, intending his selection to place the fulcrum for the lever that would move the world. What future generations would divide into ideas like "philosophy,’ “religion,” “martial arts,” “magic,” and “chakra,” Long taught to his students as a holistic way of inhabiting the world. They became powerful, gaining abilities other mortals could not match, and for a time they spread peace and harmony among the world’s people. It did not take long, however, for the Dragon Disciples to find themselves in conflict with the greedy, the power-hungry, and the unbalancers of the world, mortal and supernatural alike. They faced down these agents of disharmony and misery over many scattered instances, rarely dealing with a problem larger in scale than a single city. It wasn’t until one among them became corrupted that their order faced a threat to their entire order.
Human society had become more organized and regimented, now. The advent of writing, travel infrastructure, and trade languages made it easier for mortals and supernatural entities to conspire, and conspire they did. On the day later known as The Great Siege, a patchwork enemy coalition made an attack on every stronghold, every monastery, and every safehouse of the Dragon Disciples. When the dust cleared and Liao Tai-Kung, one of the most revered Disciples, founded The Royal Tigers from among the ranks of the attacking coalition, only the scattered disciples who survived the purge in hiding could see his true treachery. They met in secret, resolving to make the perilous journey to the mountaintop temple where Long lived to seek his counsel. After six months of journeying, dodging Tiger agents and braving natural dangers, they reached the crater where the temple once stood, and found, at its center, the blackened skeleton of the dragon Long.
It is the victors who write the history books, and Liao lost no time in doing so. Within six months of the Great Siege, every person, king to peasant, knew the tale of how the hero Liao had slain the evil dragon Long and stopped his campaign for dominion over the lands of men through is Disciple thralls. Meanwhile, the fledgling Royal Tigers was going gangbusters in attracting wealth and power. They became a supremely skilled mercenary band and tipped the scales in several small wars before Liao announced his intention to form a Tiger Empire.
No one was surprised by Liao’s subsequent assassination but Liao.
The Royal Tigers lost no time in blaming the killing on the remaining Disciples in hiding, now known as the Hidden Dragons. When an armed group with dragon insignia assaulted the Tigers’ headquarters in Guandong and left only horribly mutilated bodies a few weeks later, there was very little question what had happened among the commoners and government officials. Quite a number of ministers and tradesmen had mysteriously left town without a trace, so they were obviously complicit in the slaughter. The Royal Tigers were well and truly finished, and never heard from again.
The Tigers, having successfully staged their own death and eliminated their chief rivals, began a more cunning campaign to further the same aims they had held from the beginning. The council Liao had left in charge decided they would learn from Liao’s Mistake, and never again allow themselves to be the obvious figureheads of power. They confined their activities to covert action from then on, renaming themselves the Crouching Tigers to underline their new emphasis. The Tigers required very little from those in their ranks in exchange for their training; all they needed was for their members to seek money and power, to keep their association secret, and to remember where their first loyalty lay. Soon, every government, criminal organization, and merchant guild had Crouching Tigers dotting its landscape.
The Eastern Temple was formed in the 1800’s as a coalition of the Eastern supernatural with representatives from many major supernatural communities in the East, from the fey courts to the White Council. The Crouching Tigers had been so successful at concealing their existence that their only emissaries and members in the Eastern Temple were those who were already double agents in other organizations. They infiltrated the Temple, installing loyal officers in key positions just as they had done in every other organization of import, and continued their schemes and intrigues.
The Tigers were completely certain of their superiority and control toward the end of the 20th Century, and so they were completely shocked to see a major motion picture released calling them and their ancient rivals out by name. They examined the movie and its makers’ minutely, trying to determine who was to blame and what further messages were implied by the movie’s production. The only thing not in dispute among the Tigers was the clear fact that, somewhere, the Hidden Dragons were alive and well, and they remembered the enmity between them perhaps even better than the Tigers themselves. Tiger scholars began tod connect dots in historical records, hypothesizing Dragon influence among them, and Tiger leaders began pressing their subordinates to route out any hint of Dragon activity.
It was for this reason Takahashi Hidenori was sent to Seattle to chastise Nishimura Osamu. His actions had frustrated one Tiger-allied plot too many, and he was under suspicion. The Tigers bolstered the charges of abuse of power and reckless endangerment that were already floating around the Eastern Temple, and made sure it was their man that was sent to relieve Nishimura of duty.