The Hand of the Emperor (or just "The Hand") is the most powerful appointed position in the Liang Empire, second only to the Emperor in authority and responsibility. The Hand is the Emperor's closest advisor, appointed and authorized to make decisions in the Emperor's name. The Hand of the Emperor is the highest-ranking member of the Imperial Vessel, and leads meetings of the council as proxy for the emperor when the monarch is absent.
During the reign of strong and able emperors, the Hand is the chief agent for coordinating and carrying out the emperor's plans. During the reign of weak or ineffectual kings, the Hand is often the real power behind the throne, and the man chiefly responsible for holding the realm together. The Hand is supposed to fulfill plans made by the emperor, but during the reign of weak kings when the Hand is left to clean up the political mess caused by inept rulers, a common saying is that "The King shits, and the Hand wipes".