The Lotus Assassins are an antagonist faction in the video game Jade Empire. It's a paramilitary organization that enforces the will of the Emperor. They're led by Death's Hand.
The Lotus Assassins were founded by Emperor Sun Hai at the end of the Long Drought. They were originally the Emperor's monastic servants and protectors under his brother Sun Kin the Hand of Heaven, with the organization known as the Order of the Lotus. However, following Sun Kin's treason with Sun Li the Glorious Strategist and his subsequent death and recreation as Death's Hand, Sun Hai disbanded the Lotus Monks and remolded them into his fanatically loyal enforcers. They were given as headquarters the mausoleum originally built for Sun Hai, situated in the Necropolis of the Imperial City.
For twenty years, the Lotus Assassins carried out the more brutal tasks deemed too important to be entrusted to the Imperial Army. This included silencing any who questioned the Emperor's will. Shortly after the siege of Dirge, a squad of elite Assassins was ordered to kill Sun Li's wife and newborn daughter for his treason. While Li's wife was killed, his daughter — later known as Dawn Star — was saved by the Assassin known as Sagacious Zu who killed his comrades and went into hiding with the girl. The Assassins also searched for Sun Li and the pieces of the Dragon Amulet, never expecting the Glorious Strategist to be hiding as a humble teacher in the remote village of Two Rivers.
By the Emperor's will, the Lotus Assassins began to construct in his mausoleum an army of golems. The golems were turned from lifeless statues to mobile automatons through the souls of the dead. These souls were initially extracted from the graves of the Necropolis. However, it was discovered that the golems are more obedient if the souls used are of the recently dead, especially if brutally killed. Ceasing to rob graves, the Assassins started butchering slaves instead. These slaves were acquired by forcefully taking workers from the Wall and making deals with slavers, including Gao the Greater, the leader of the criminal organization known as the Guild. It's through this slave trade that Sky's daughter Pinmei lost her life to Gao's slavers, making her an indirect victim of the Lotus Assassins. The Emperor made it appear like he knew nothing of this and that Death's Hand was secretly gathering power for himself.
In the first chapter of the game, Two Rivers is attacked by mercenaries led by a Lotus Assassin. They are defeated by Sun Li and his pupil, the last living Spirit Monk, with the former killing the Assassin personally. Later Li lets one of his other students, Gao the Lesser, to discover his true identity. Gao tells this to his father, Gao the Greater, who in turn tells it to the Lotus Assassins. Death's Hand and his second-in-command, Grand Inquisitor Jia, lead the attack on Two Rivers and imprison Sun Li. The Assassins allow Gao the Greater's men to ransack the village afterwards so that there'd be no survivors in accordance to their policy. The last Spirit Monk sets out with Dawn Star and Sagacious Zu to find Sun Li and get to the source of the attack.
The last Spirit Monk and their companions arrive in the trade village of Tien's Landing in the second chapter and cross blades with Gao the Greater and the Lotus Assassins. The Assassins have opened the Great Dam and drowned the river Tien's Landing is dependent on in order to access the submerged ruins of Old Tien's Landing and locate the Dragon Amulet's fragment hidden there. The head Assassin of the area, Inquisitor Lim, manages to steal the fragment from Chai Ka the Heavenly Gate Guardian, intending to bring it to the Imperial City. The last Spirit Monk kills both Gao the Greater and Inquisitor Lim, taking the fragment back.
When the Spirit Monk arrives in the Imperial City in the third chapter, they're wanted as "the Scourge of the South", but fortunately the description is too vague with the little information the Assassins have. The Spirit Monk is approached by Princess Sun Lian the Heavenly Lily who agrees to take them to the Imperial Palace in exchange for uncovering the Lotus Assassins' operations. By impressing a Lotus Assassin Inquisitor and/or Executioner, the Spirit Monk is accepted as a recruit and allowed into the Lotus Assassins' fortress. By acting as an acolyte, they gather information of the golems' construction until they sabotage one Jade Golem, causing it to wreak havoc in the fortress and weaken the mausoleum's foundations. They are then confronted by Grand Inquisitor Jia who confirms the Emperor's involvement. After she's killed and the Spirit Monk retrieves the last Dragon Amulet fragment, Death's Hand arrives. Sagacious Zu sacrifices himself to give the last Spirit Monk time to escape from the grumbling mausoleum.
For the remainder of the game, the Lotus Assassins serve only as combatants of Emperor Sun Hai and after his death, Emperor Sun Li. They participate in fighting the last Spirit Monk during both of their assaults in the Imperial Palace and the second siege of Dirge. If Sun Li remains in power or the Spirit Monk seizes the power for themselves, the Lotus Assassins continue their role as the enforcers of the Emperor's will. If the natural order is restored, the Lotus Assassins are presumably disbanded.
Infrastructure and policy
The Lotus Assassins value in their members one trait before anything else: fanatic loyalty to Death's Hand and the Emperor. Through brutal training and the dangerous training grounds, the recruits are stripped of their former identities and twisted to regard their lives forfeit and themselves as extensions of their masters' will. The Assassins commit depraved acts to maintain order in the Jade Empire and enforce the Emperor's will. They make assaults for specific reasons and leave no survivors to tell the tale, like during their assault on Two Rivers. They use this secrecy to spread fear and keep the people in line. Guilt by association can be enough to draw their attention.
The other highly valued trait among the Lotus Assassins is competence. Only the best recruits — whether the strongest or the most cunning ones — are accepted as Lotus Acolytes. Failures often result in harsh punishments. The Assassins' lives are valued so little that they can get away with killing each other as long as they make it look like incompetence from the casualties' part. Many acolytes die in the rivalries between masters such as Gang and Shin.
There are two branches of Lotus Assassins: the Inquisitors and the Executioners. The Inquisitors prefer to use stealth and subtlety to carry out their duties while the more battle-oriented Executioners are more open in their brutality. All the Assassins stain their hands dark with blood instead of dye like they used to as Lotus Monks. Sometimes Assassins deform themselves deliberately for intimidation purposes. They also beat their own bodies continuously in order to become completely deadened to pain. Many Assassins prefer to fight with the Viper martial style and the Tempest magic style. Some Assassins are capable of using magic to summon the spirits of the dead or command Rat Demons.
- Death's Hand - The right hand of the Emperor and the head of the Lotus Assassins
- Grand Inquisitor Jia - The second-in-command who directs the Assassins in Death's Hand's absence
- Sagacious Zu - A former elite Assassin turned traitor
- Inquisitor Lim - The one in charge of the operations around the area of Tien's Landing and Jia's representative in the partnership with Gao the Greater
- Master Gang - A trainer under Master Shin's direction
- Master Shin - A high-ranking Assassin in Jia's favor
- The Watcher - The guardian of the headquarters' entrance