The Hierarchy of Oni
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see...
TRANSMIT - initiate the infernal signal - RECEIVE - initiate the nine-way cadence - THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS - observe the house banners - WITNESS - the Hierarchy of Oni.
How do the Oni demons exchange brotherly love? Let us count the ways...
One is for the House-in-Chains. Every link is forged from a white-hot soul.
Two is for the House of the Unwritten Talisman. They know the true name of something even they fear to write down.
Three is for the House of Bloodied Silks. Clotted stains are the hieroglyphs of their history.
Four is for the House of Snakes and Smoke. The deep fumes of the dark earth fuel their thrice-fanged wisdom.
Five is for the the House of the Red Road. They rule the sharp-rocked road that all souls who died in rage must cut their bare feet upon.
Six is for the House in the Void. Until called to purpose, they writhe, greasily, in the ever-dark nothing of their abyssal home.
Seven is for the House of the Howling Dog. They swallow screams like wine.
Eight is for the House of Caged Birds. They keep a caged aviary of all their kills. The song is so sad and sweet.
Nine is the House of Sworn Revenge. The eight other houses of horror all show fear and obeisance to them. What more need be said?
The number is what is important, sweetling. The number nine. The number is constant. Houses come and go and the order of their standing changes, but there are always nine. Initiate addendum. There is a tenth house, but the other Oni do not like to talk about them.
Politics among Oni are fluid and violent. At this linear moment, the houses are divided into elemental tiers. The first tier, the Tier of Blood, is composed of the House-in-Chains, the House of the Unwritten Talisman, and the House of Bloodied Silks.
The second tier, the Tier of Earth, is composed of the House of Snakes and Smoke, the House of the Red Road, and the House in the Void. The middle children of Hell, violence above and below them.
The third and top tier, the Tier of Fire, is composed of the House of the Howling Dog, the House of Caged Birds, and the House of Sworn Revenge. At the very apex, Sworn Revenge perches above all others. But for how long?
Oni society follows a feudal model built on complex antagonism. Competition brings out the most wicked of merits. But their fractious nature limits their scope. The Oni are fierce, strong, clever, and resourceful, but lack unity. In the hell dimensions, their armies grow beyond counting. If they ever decided to conquer the worlds outside hell as one force, they would be victorious.
But don't tell them that, sweetling.