- For another meaning of "Red Mantis", please see Red Mantis assassin.
|Leader||Blood Mistress Jakalyn|
Source: Escape from Old Korvosa, pg(s). 66-71
The Red Mantis are one of the most feared organizations in all of Golarion. This order of professional assassins can be distinguished by their trademark bright red and black, light armor, serrated blades (such as the sawtooth sabre), and frightful mantis masks which grant them both an enhanced sense of sight and a terrifying visage. The red dye is a reference to the colour of their god's carapace.
Operations & Tactics
The Red Mantis are known as the most effective and tenacious killers that can be bought. No wall is thick enough, no bodyguards tough enough, or safehouse hidden well enough to keep the Red Mantis from their prey. They take little notice of social or political status, seeing all marks as equal if their client pays the price. That said, the assassins refuse to take contracts on rightful monarchs, out of respect for their patron deity, Achaekek, viewing monarchs as the mortal parallel of gods. Those who come to power by deception or might alone do not fall under this protection and are seen as viable targets.
They do not always take their payments in treasure, often accepting favors or the promise of future collaboration with the organization in lieu of gold. This makes some prospective clients nervous, as they never know what price the Red Mantis will ask. Even those who think they are receiving a bargain, later find out that they are paying a very high price indeed. They pride themselves on being assassins, and nothing else. Prospective clients seeking assassination plus "extras" such as espionage will have the entire contract refused. Existing clients who try and vary the contract to include additional services soon find out that the Red Mantis are concerned only with the sacred rite of assassination.
Contacting the Mantis can be a tricky proposition, as there are no direct channels. Those in search of their skills must spread rumors among the lowest, most criminal members of a given society and wait to be contacted by a representative. At other times, those who have a strong grudge against someone, or who wish to revenge themselves, are contacted by a member of the organization out of the blue. It is unclear whether this near-prescient knowledge is merely the result of an extensive spy or informant network, or whether the Red Mantis use magical or supernatural means to spy on potential clients.
Beneath the Mantis God himself, Red Mantis assassins report to a cabal of assassin lords called the Vernai, the High Killers. This group of several dozen of the world's greatest hired killers rule the organization from their secret island headquarters, the Crimson Citadel, located outside the city of Ilizmagorti on Mediogalti Island. Most of the Vernai are women, and the deadly mistresses each have influence over a specific nation or region, dispatching agents to the lands they know. The pinnacle of power within the Red Mantis is the role of Blood Mistress (currently held by Blood Mistress Jakalyn), a position that can only be held by a woman, and arguably grants more individual power than any other position in Golarion.
They remained neutral in the religious conflict known as the Oath Wars, hiring out their services to the clergy on all sides. However, the Oath Wars ended with religion being banned in Rahadoum, and the Red Mantis were exiled along with all the other religious groups.
They relocated to the then uninhabited Mediogalti Island, situated off the western coast of Rahadoum, in 2560 AR—apparently in response to a vision from Achaekek received by Ximena, the current Blood Mistress of the Vernai at the time. They built their new headquarters, the Crimson Citadel, hidden within the jungle interior. They also founded the city of Ilizmagorti on the coast, to serve as a place where potential clients could seek to hire the Red Mantis.
It is rumoured that the Red Mantis' first ever victim was the Nexian halfling, Merivesta Olinchi. Her death is very late in the time line of the organization so, more likely, Olinchi is the first person whose death was publicly attributable to the organization.
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