Blacktongues (Rise of the Argonauts)
The Blacktongues are a group that feature in Rise of the Argonauts.
The Blacktongues, also known as the Black Order, were a secretive and dark cult that worshipped the Titaness Hecate along with the Titans above that of the Olympians. For centuries, they developed a reputation of being the most fierce of assassins in Greece. King Licemedes of Mynecea was known to had visited the oracle at Delphi where information was given to him that attracted the attention of the Blacktongues. They later dispatched assassins to Myncea and Delphi in order to kill Licemedes and the oracle but their attempts had failed. It was said that the Blacktongue assassin Lysander tried to kill oracle Palachia but instead fell in love with her with the two fleeing, never to be seen again. The cult also began targeting the newborn daughter of Licemdes, Alceme but they faced repeated failures from their assassins. King Licemedes evenually led a war against the Blacktongues cult and they were believed to had been destroyed with all of its members eradicated after the destruction of their fortress of Khorfu which had been thought impenetrable. His name was forever cursed by every Blacktongue in Greece. After his campaign, Licemedes believed the threat posed to his daughter by the group had ended and never told anyone about the prophecy he had recieved from the Oracle.
Medea was once a member of the cult but later abandoned it leading to her being considered a traitor by the Blacktongues. Assassins from the Blacktongues were later responsible for killing Jason's wife Alceme with the aid of Ionian mercenaries. After succeeding, they were killed with the assassin killing Alceme being brutally killed by King Jason. The act left the inhabitants of the city unaware of who were the perpetrators of the vile act. There were rumors amongst the citizens that the invaders were Blacktongue which was later confirmed by the investigations of the captain of the guard. After hearing of the assassination, Medea came to Aulcys where she attempted to exterminate any Blacktongue she could find on the siland. Whilst searching through his island, Jason encountered a battle between a Blacktongue assassin and Medea; she was, however, overpowered and only saved from death by Jason. Unknown to Jason, his own uncle Palias was in league with the Blacktongues and they were supporting his ruler.
The cult was led by a secretive Council of Ravens with each of its members being a formidable sorceror. The exact number of ravens was unknown as they decided the actions of the groups which they communicated to their subordinates. The lower ranks always remained ready in case a mission was given to them. Recruits were taken from the farthest corners of the world where they were promised paradise in Tartarus. Agents lived in secrecy and they were capable of striking anywhere at any moment. Their numbers were small but this was preferred as it prevented them from being discovered with secrecy being the key to their long term survival. They lived by deceit and cunning with it being stated that everyone that was found, there were ten that no one ever suspected of being part of the cult. It was even said that there was not a place where men dwelled where the Blacktongues did not have a presence.
Notable characteristics defined members of the group were their dress, tatoos and their marksmenship. The last of those elements was a more important factor as it was said that not a bowman in Greece was capable of shooting arrows like a Blackstongue assassin. Similar to the Ionians, the beliefs of the cult centered on worship of the old gods namely the Titans over that of the gods of Olympus. Most only new the common rumors about the group and their activities with many believing that they had been destroyed. Its members were stealthy and capable of using dark magic to simply disappear into black smoke as well as turn into ravens. Their assassins never worked alone and often operated in groups. They had spent ages in the cultivation of the arts of poison, stealth and sorcery.
The beliefs of the cult were centered around the dark witch goddess of sorcery and deceit; the Titaness Hecate. As such, they refused the supremacy of the Olympian gods and sought to overthrow them. Through rituals of pain and sacrifice, the Blacktongues yield their very souls to Hecate in exchange for sorcerous powers. The ultimate goal was to champion Hecate and help her become the supreme ruler of both the living world as well as the underworld. Until that time, they obey fanatically and believe that if they died in their duty, they would find a paradise in Tartarus to await them. All of the powers Hecate gave them were quite powerful with nearly all of them being destructive in nature. Through the use of tattoo's, blood magic and rune glyphs; the Blacktongues were able to channel Hecate's power. The more advanced sorcerors were even capable of summong terrifying monsters to serve their needs though this required a sacrifice of blood and thus was only used in the most urgent of missions.