The Witch called O-Koroshi-hime has ruled the distant nation of Sakurada for generations. The Murder Maiden first appeared during an intense civil war in Sakurada. It was a time of merciless bloodshed; clan fought clan, brother fought brother, for the dubious title of ruler of the isolated island nation. Finally, there arose an unstoppable general – a man who would use any and all means to achieve his ends – a man in love with murder.
Ado Naganobu was a man without mercy, a man without pity, a man without remorse. He killed his own brother in open combat to inherit rulership of their clan. He married his sister to a rival and then slaughtered the man’s army when his rival was convinced they were allies. He burned the monasteries of the native faith because they granted shelter to his enemies and crucified the Enochian missionaries for preaching peace. He introduced firearms to the battlefield, gunning down enemies armed only with bows and swords. He drank rice wine from the skulls of his enemies.
As the conflict escalated, the men under Ado’s command became fiercer and more sadistic. They would burn whole villages to light their camps by night. They took the heads of their opponents as trophies. They became monstrous.
A last alliance of the free clans came to battle Ado Naganobu. Surprisingly, he offered them a chance to negotiate and invited the leaders to his tent. Here they finally learned the awful truth about the Devil General: he was merely the thrall of a greater power. On the plain of Daikodo the clans of Sakurada were introduced to Ado’s goddess. They beheld the might of O-Koroshi-hime.
She appeared like a young girl from a foreign land. Blonde, petite, and pretty, she was dressed in night-dark black. No man could meet her eyes; for all her childlike appearance, her will could beat down anyone who approached her. The bravest warrior of the free clans gouged out his eyes and rushed her; she laughed and her laughter became knives that cut him to ribbons – bloody ribbons she tied into her hair and affixed as bows to her dress. They knew she was a goddess made flesh… and they surrendered.
Sakurada is now a military dictatorship where the descendant of Ado rules as Lord High General and O-Koroshi-hime is worshipped as God-Empress. Cruelty is the law of the land. Parents sell their daughters into prostitution for enough rice to live through winter. The knights of Sakurada test the sharpness of their wondrous steel sabers on condemned prisoners – or peasants in the street when they feel like it. Uprisings are put down with brutal savagery. The Murder Maiden revels in the anguish of the people.
Unsurprisingly, O-Koroshi-hime joined the Grand Coven more as a lark than from any great ambition. She is already God-Empress of Sakurada, so the conquest of Morden was of little concern to her. The Sakuradans are mercenaries in as much as O-Koroshi-hime was promised payment by the Crone; that payment was new subjects on which to refine the art of killing, and the Murder Maiden was paid well. When the Grand Coven was broken, she took her army and left, like a spoiled child bored of a game.
And yet, O-Koroshi-hime is not quite satisfied. There are Deathmasques who resisted her indoctrination – who refuse to worship her as their goddess – still on the loose in Morden. She has dispatched Banes and assassins to destroy these apostates; they vex her and as they continue to vex her, Morden begins to vex her. This irritation begins to become an ambition. She’ll show those traitors who is the master, and perhaps she’ll show all Morden what it means to defy her.
Style of Magic
The Murder Maiden is the mistress of pain and cruelty. She can telekinetically control any weapon from the humblest knife to the mightiest cannon. She excels at inducing fear.
Much of her magic involves masks. She knows that the anonymity of a mask frees a man from his inhibitions; when no one knows it’s you, you can be as cruel as you want without fear of repercussions. When she imbues a mask with a little of her own essence, a little of her limitless cruelty and desire to inflict pain, then the wearer of that mask can become the most terrifying monster in the world.