By Grimmwald 18 Comments
The Red Mist of Grimm
Left directionless without the iron fist of the Shogun, purposeless without an ideology to guide it, the Orochi - a once legendary clan of ninja known for mixing murder with business - was lost. Lost until found by the horned specter of Grimmwald, and turned into a brutal cult of faceless avengers with ice water running in their veins and the torture and punishment of the unjust in their minds. Now led by the Horned Saint, the Orochi stalk the shadows as the authors of a reign of terror on the criminal element and those deemed guilty by their leader.
The Red Mist/赤い霧 - Origins/Background
An ancient shinobi order first founded during the Sengoku period in Japanese history, the Orochi were bred in chaos and turned a land ravaged by war and turmoil into their proving ground. Clad in crimson Keikogi, the Orochi came down upon their enemies like a red mist, taking their lives and bringing a swift and mysterious death to those who spoke ill of the clan, and making an example of those who defected from it. Lives spent in the shadows, lurking and listening where none dared to look, the Orochi eluded the quills and pens of historians, becoming myth and eventually a legend that struck fear into the hearts of those who'd hear it.
A legend that found common ground - and reward - with the feared mutant death cult; the Strigidae. Willing to slit throats and spill blood so long as the Shogunate honored their debt and filled their pockets, the Orochi found purpose and power under the leadership of Ivana Strigidae, the Shogun of Venezuela. Leadership that vanished like the Orochi so often did into the shadows. Ivana had disappeared, leaving behind legacy as much as mystery. And in her wake, the Orochi had lost their purpose. Fading into the shadows and leaving some to wonder if they ever even existed, they were found by the only one who walked the shadows better than they; Grimmwald. And he gave them purpose, a goal, and a code to live by.
A code that'd see them give their lives to spreading a culture of extreme brutality and fear to paralyze and castrate the world's criminal element for generations to come. To put the fear of the Orochi in the hearts of criminals, terrorists, and those declared guilty by the Horned Saint.
The Shinobi/忍び - Ranks/Organization
Disciplined and deadly, the Orochi are a well-oiled martial machine. And under the guidance of Grimmwald, they've grown more brutal and more manipulative. Armed with vibranium blades and carbon fiber compound bow with a variety of different arrows, the Orochi are warriors trained in every facet of combat, both armed and unarmed. They are intimate with grappling and striking in the clinch, from the outside, and on the ground. However, from heeding Grimmwald's advice, the Orochi exhibit an aversion to ground-fighting lest it to be stab an opponent and only when shielded by the numbers game. As a result, the Orochi often use their superior numbers in conjunction with ambush tactics involving neutralizing the senses and disarming and disorienting the enemy before engaging.
Trained, conditioned and drugged to the peak of Olympic athleticism and armed with the martial skill of professional mixed martial artists, alone the Orochi are well trained but unremarkable, but together as a unit, they are an army of legendary skill. And like all shinobi, the Orochi are no stranger to the art of ninjutsu, an array of tactics of guerrilla warfare, espionage, sabotage, disguise, camouflage etc. In accordance to the Togakure-ryū scrolls, the Orochi are well versed in the eighteen disciplines of ninjutsu:
- Bajutsu – Horsemanship
- Bōjutsu – Stick and staff techniques
- Bōryaku – Tactics
- Chi-mon – Geography
- Chōhō – Espionage
- Hensōjutsu – Disguise and impersonation
- Intonjutsu – Escaping and concealment
- Kayakujutsu – Pyrotechnics
- Kenjutsu – Sword techniques
- Kusarigamajutsu – Kusarigama () techniques
- Naginatajutsu – Naginata () techniques
- Seishinteki kyōyō – Spiritual refinement
- Shinobi-iri – Stealth and infiltration
- Shurikenjutsu – Throwing weapons techniques
- Sōjutsu – Spear techniques
- Sui-ren – Water training
- Taijutsu – Unarmed combat
- Tenmon – Meteorology
Furthermore, the Orochi are followers of the Horned Saint's code of ethics. They are concerned with establishing a culture of fear that promises punishments of the utmost cruelty and brutality to those who engage in criminality, villainy etc. A culture of fear to shape the behaviors of generations to come by deterring them from crime. And to realize this, the Orochi have developed a razor sharp focus on ruthlessly eradicating injustice and evil, through coordinated efforts such as excessively violent ambushes, permanently crippling enemies, publicly displaying the flayed skin of living enemies, using fear toxins, psychological warfare, and employing all manner of terror tactics.
The Orochi will prey on those who interfere with their goals, and the progress and effectiveness of their culture of fear. They are proponents of justice without mercy. The following are the two separate class of Orochi found in Grimmwald's incarnation of the order, separated in accordance to specific skills:
Named after death spirits of Japanese folklore, Shinigami are the Orochi's warriors and torturers, men and women whose minds and bodies are sharpened to kill like the sharp edge of a sword. Once assassins who stained their vibranium blades with the blood and guts of their enemies, Shinigami have bent to the Horned Saint's will and taken a no-killing vow. A vow taken only when one proves their loyalty to it by submitting to the Horned Saint, a ritual that sees a Shinigami's face cut off and their larynx removed, rendering them faceless and mute, a brutal price to pay to prove one's loyalty, and a measure to ensure that defectors reveal little.
Trained in Grimmwald's methods, Shinigami are skilled torturers, excelling in both physical and psychological cruelties. Experts in the Horned Saint's face-peeling skill but unfamiliar with his face-changing methods, Shinigami are fear mongers with a penchant for terror tactics, often leaving the flayed skin of living victims in elaborate and very public displays - an open warning to those who oppose them and refuse to bend to their whims. And while all Orochi are roughly as skilled as professional mixed martial artists, Shinigami are a level apart not in skill but their instinct for the very extremes of violence. All Shinigami wear the traditional red Keikogi of the Orochi, and all are either armed with vibranium katanas, daggers and all manner of bladed weaponry in addition to bows and arrows.
Whereas Shinigami are the Orochi's warriors and torturers, Faceless Ones are the Orochi's spies and are responsible for intelligence-gathering operations, altering sociopolitical structures through manipulation, and the use of mind games against the Horned Saint's targets. And though they cannot change their appearance as radically and convincingly as Grimmwald often does, Faceless Ones are taught by their leader on how to best alter their appearance enough that most will rarely notice one is the same person seen before. Their greatest talent however, is in social manipulation, a skilled owed to their insight into the nuances of human emotion.
Faceless Ones understand the ways in which people unconsciously like one another, the mere-exposure effect, reciprocal liking, persuasion, emotional abuse and how to wield it's effects. Furthermore, from their time spent in the political scene of the Shogunate, Faceless Ones are well versed in power dynamics. They understand that all manipulation is based on calibration, therefore Faceless Ones are masters at cold reading, at reading not only facial expressions but body language as well. They are skilled readers of the human condition and often adjust their course of action while simultaneously analyzing their environment. At times a Faceless One may fake authentic intuition and insight by acting like someone they aren't in order to manipulate values they themselves do not consider important.
They wear social masks and act differently to better understand how foolishly people can be in their observations and responses. A Faceless One will say something false to observe the reactions of others. They will act differently to simulate power. And they rarely ever break character. They are the Horned Saint's eyes and ears, lurking in pubs and hotel lounges, and by dumpsters in alleyways and seedy underground haunts.
The Shinobi Armory/兵器 - Weapons & Tools
The following are the various weapons and tools in the Orochi's arsenal:
Blades & Bows/Arrows/ブレードと弓
Armed with an assortment of bladed weaponry ranging from basic knives, shuriken and wrist-bracers from which vibranium blades extend, to bladed chains, polearms and katanas forged from solid vibranium. Orochi katana are constructed from durable and flexible titanium cores while the sides of the blade are made from a strong and wear resistant tungsten-steel alloy. Furthermore, the swords feature vibranium edges and carbon fiber wrapping.
In addition to bladed weaponry, the Orochi also carry carbon fiber compound bows with a variety of different arrow-types. Basic Orochi arrows consist of a carbon fiber shaft that holds a tiny injector powered by compressed air stored in the shaft's hollow rear. At the front of the arrow, botulinum toxin, an extremely deadly neurotoxin, is stored. The following are the different arrow-types available to the Orochi:
- Net Arrow
- Acid Arrow
- Sonic Arrow
- Explosive-tip Arrow
- Cable Arrow
- Smoke Bomb Arrow
Though in possession of different chemicals, the Orochi have adopted the use of fear toxins learned from the Horned Saint. Often deployed through smoke bomb arrows, ordinary Orochi arrows, gas pellets, smoke grenades or through other means, these fear toxins cause the Orochi's victims to experience their worst fears, relive traumatic episodes from their past, and are consumed by feelings of overwhelming dread and hopelessness, and are as follows:
- Toxin-1: Toxin-1 consists of three chemicals. The first is a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen; carbogen. When inhaled, carbogen tricks the mind into thinking one is suffocating because the brain interprets the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the blood as a decrease in oxygen levels, causing one's breathing to quicken and deepen, and heart rate to increase. Furthermore, any fears and anxieties related to not breathing will arise in the victim's mind, and in addition to this, carbogen also causes hallucinations. The second chemical is Tea Tree Oil, a natural hallucinogen. And the third is Datura which is not only a natural hallucinogen as well, but a delirium (causes a state of cognitive confusion) as well. Toxin-1 is colorless but carries a distinct odor.
- Toxin-2: Like Toxin-1, Toxin-2 also contains carbogen. However, it is different in that it also contains a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which is not only a peptide but a neurotransmitter that's involved in stress response. It triggers feelings of dread and anxiety. The next chemical is 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ Gas), a hallucinogen and inhibitor of acetylcholine that is related to atropine. Instead of causing feelings of dread and anxiety, it causes hallucinations. The final substance however, is what is responsible for causing victims to experience their worst fears. By using a protein called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is encoded by BDNF genes and is a member of the neurotrophin family of growth factors, Toxin-2 can affect a victim's long-term memory. Irregularities in the BDNF protein can be linked to mental disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder. Toxin-2 tweaks the BDNF protein a certain way by using a chemical agent in order to cause a change in the BDNF levels in the basolateral amygdala which in turn brings up personal fears caused by past traumatic events.
- Toxin-3: The third of the Orochi's fear toxins is a cocktail of a psychoactive herb called Salvia divinorum, a chemical called capsaicin, and a BDNF agent. The Salvia in Timoxotin affects the dopamine receptors d2 in the brain causing the victim to hallucinate, whereas the larger dose of capsaicin (which causes the burning sensation in chili peppers and pepper spray) causes panic and claustrophobia. Toxin-3 is colorless.
- Toxin-4: The fourth and last of the Orochi's fear toxins is Toxin-4. A combination of dopamine and a BDNF agent, Toxin-4 is a serum that when injected (through an arrow or otherwise) in the nucleus accumbens of the brain, causes immense feelings of dread leading to a sensation similar to the fear that prey feel for predators in the wild. This is because the nucleus accumbens deal with both desire and dread in the brain. When dopamine is injected in the front of it, one experiences pleasure. But when injected in the back, it causes one to experience crippling fear. Unfortunately, Toxin-4 serum requires surgical precision when injected in a victim as the room for error is measured in millimeters. As a result, Toxin-4 is the only one of the four fear toxins that cannot be deployed in gas form.
Because the chemical agents that alter CRH and BDNF take time to work, the Orochi's toxins all contain an accelerating agent to ensure that every substance's effects take place at a much faster rate.