Saga of the Serpent's Skull
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 red and black armor, serrated blades, and frightful mantis masks which grant them both an enhanced sense of sight and a terrifying visage.
The Red Mantis began as a cult of assassins based in the temple of Achaekek in the city of Azir in Rahadoum. They remained neutral in the religious conflict known as the Oath Wars, hiring out their services to the clergy on all side. 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 – apparently in response to a vision from Achaekek received by Ximena, Blood Mistress of the Vernai. 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.
Organization and 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.
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