HWE Kijo Picture

Name: Kijo

Alias: "ogre', 'ogress', 'Japanese Hag', 'demon', 'demoness'

Alignment: Neutral Evil

Rank: 1-2 Kaijin

Race: Yokai

Height: Kijo commonly do not grow much larger than the average woman and usually not more than twice that among the greatest of them outside of magic.

Weight: Kijo have denser muscle tissue and bone (particularly keratin) than humans and are usually twice as heavy as their size suggests. Ranging anywhere from 180 to 240 lbs.

Powers:

Deranged Hedge Witch - Kijo are particularly gifted when it comes to the darker side of magic. Curses, hexes, and divinations are simple matters for a Kijo to manifest. Over their long lives they collect sizable arsenals of arcane power and even have a talent for alchemy. Allowing them to create potions of virtually any description so long as they can procure the often foul or intimate materials required to concoct them. Their foremost expertise comes in the form of illusions. They are quite gifted at weaving visual masterpieces to fool, torment and beguile unwitting victims. Kijo become so skilled at creating these mind snaring plays that breaking the illusion either requires specific magical counter measures, divine assistance or an incredibly powerful will. Living out in the most remote wilds, Kijo also enjoy a great deal of private knowledge concerning herbalism, survival skill, and geography for any location they decide to make their lairs

Deceptive and Dangerous - Kijo may appear to be not much more than demonic looking and hideous women at first glance. They are however many times stronger than their petite frame would suggest, easily capable of mangling an Olympic weight lifter with the ease said weight lifter could toss about a toddler. This strength is particularly potent in their legs, allowing them to make super human leaps of over a dozen meters in a single bound or slap the surface of a river hard enough to allow them to skip across. This often gives the impression that Kijo can 'fly'.

Bag Lady Hands - While loath to resort to physical displays of power unless absolutely necessary, a Kijo has nails that are long, strong and sharp. Making all four of their appendages fearsome raking claws. These claws are sharp enough to pierce through a foot of steel and strong enough to rend large cedars in half with but a few frenzied swipes.

War Mask - Being masters of illusion, Kijo will adopt a personal 'avatar' of sorts when their cover is blown or when they wish to close in for the kill. This avatar takes the form of a personalized and extremely hideous face that exaggerates their already rather demonic features into the sort of imagery many familiar with Oni would expect. These War Masks induce a feeling of terror into those who view them, enhanced by the screaming and cackling the Kijo indulges in while projecting it.

Weaknesses:

Strong but not Powerful - Kijo can easily manhandle most humans but among other Yokai and creatures of greater clout Kijo are not very impressive physically. They make little effort to improve this as a Kijo's definition of strength is not in brute force.

Not as Planned - Kijo rely extensively on their knowledge, magic and plots to advance themselves and get what they want. Foiling a Kijo's plans in some unforeseen way vexes them greatly and they are prone to irrational and savage behavior when thwarted, often exposing themselves or leaving themselves vulnerable in their efforts to correct the oversight.

Divine Magic - Much like Oni-Baba, Kijo are vulnerable to the exorcisms, prayers, rituals and ritual instruments of practitioners of Orient faiths. Their reliance on magic makes them particularly susceptible to such tactics though attempts made without real faith are often taken advantage of by the Kijo to humiliate and inevitably mutilate the offender.

Pierce Skin, Bash Head - Kijo are nearly the utter opposite of Oni when it comes to physical vulnerabilities. A Kijo's horns cannot be cut, they must be smashed off, preferably with a divine instrument of some sort. Their tough and leathery hides make cutting them difficult as their skin tugs and folds around most blades if it's not a straight shot. Kijo however can be pierced and such attacks go right through them. Firing a blessed arrow or something similar though the heart of a Kijo is an effective method of slaying them. Losing their horns doesn't make a Kijo lose their physical strength but instead their magical strength which can take years to decades to replace and regrow.

----

"Are you going to answer my question now?" Ruki asked after Kaitheros had explained in great detail the general motivation of any given yokai, in particular the odd crushing heads known as Tsurube. Finally dropping the name of the next Yokai he was to share today.

Kaitheros nodded, huffing as he began to recall the malicious creature that Ruki had asked about.

"You asked before what happens to a woman who falls to the same sort of hatred and wickedness that defines Oni. Oni-Baba is a fortunately rare and very specific sort of occurrence of just that. But in the Material Plane there have been much younger women, consumed by the vices that always seem to manifest during such an important time in a woman's life. These vices reach such extremes that if such a woman comes in contact with the Toho Plane, she becomes what we know of as a Kijo."

"Just an 'Oni Woman' huh? I thought Oni didn't have women?"

"Remember, the term 'Oni' was once very liberal when Yokai first appeared. A Yokai can bear the term 'Oni' in its name and not be related to Oni in anything except character. As the sort of character that defines an 'Oni' can manifest in more than just men. When such a character manifests in women, it creates a Kijo. Though admittedly the vices that create Kijo differ somewhat from that of Oni. Just one of their many differences."

"Such as?"

"For starters one of the main causes is extreme jealously or anger so great it curdles into a soul eroding hatred."

"Like if the cast of 'Mean Girls' turned into demons. Something like that right?"

The short reel of teen girl angst left Kaitheros with a brief loss for words before resuming.

"Where do you even get these- *sigh* never mind. The point is that such emotions soon erupt out of such women and transform them into forms that suit such ugly emotions. Unlike Oni however, Kijo can also become what they are due to a curse or by committing an unforgivable crime."

"So not all Kijo were horrible people but most of them were at one time." Ruki Surmised.

"The difference in antagonism between Kijo is so minute that there might as well not be a difference at all." Kaitheros replied.

"If they are made 'differently', then what makes them different from Oni?"

"Kijo could almost be considered opposites of Oni save for that are just as predatory of mankind. For starters, Kijo once transformed soon seek seclusion in the farthest and most treacherous of parts of the natural world they can find that still have fairly decent human traffic. Whereas Oni are supremely strong, Kijo are just as powerful when it comes to magic. Like the witches and legendary hags of other parts of the world, Kijo are Asia's equivalent."

"Oh! So they brew potions and turn people in frogs and such."

"That's not even half of what they do. Over their long lifetimes Kijo divine, steal or ferret out all manner of magical power and the methods one can use it. They horde large albeit archaic libraries of eldritch lore, much of it pertaining to the black arts and nearly every type of hex and curse one can imagine. Often it's not a matter of what spells a Kijo can cast but WHEN they can cast them. The eldest and greatest of them were often powerful members of the 12 greatest Mage Clans, which should give you an idea of what kind of magical power they can wield should they decide that it's worth the effort."

"The Mage Clans really messed up didn't they?"

"Ruki...you'd have to been there to see the aftermath of what they left behind. 'Messed up' doesn't even come close to describing the disaster that Shangri La, for all its enlightenment and knowledge, unleashed on the Material Plane. But anyway, simple spellcraft and alchemy is not a Kijo's true talent." Kaitheros prodded.

"Sounds like Kijo are really love magic, is it pulling Houdini's?"

Kaitheros raised a brow at the mention of the world famous magician and laughed.

"Oh the sorts of things that Kijo loved above all else were not mere parlor tricks or escape acts. Kijo are masters of illusion. They can weave beguiling dreamscapes and horrific nightmares to life. Such that your senses can easily fool you into believing that its real. Kijo enjoy illusions as from their perspective it shows their mental superiority over those they trick and inevitably capture to turn into regents for their spells or just their next meal. Kijo are far from picky but like many of those that bear similarities to Oni, they are notorious maneaters. Kijo in particular enjoy the flesh of children and young impressionable adults. They have devised specific but no less disgusting uses for just about every type of victim they chance across."

"Wait, if Kijo are the opposite of Onis...then they must be squishy wizards right?! You can just thrown them down some stairs or something!"

Kaitheros couldn't help but laugh heartily at the idea of a Kijo being sent flying down a Shrine's long winding steps in a screaming, rolling heap. He eventually recovered his composure and continued.

"If only it were that simple my audacious Miko. While it's certainly true that a Kijo's physical strength pales before that of an Oni -who doesn't- and indeed many other Yokai, they are still comfortably twice as strong as the strongest man. Their nails are formidable claws that can match any sword forged by man and penetrate the thickest armor. Their legs are so powerful they can make leaps that send them over tree tops and allow them to skip across water like a stone. Many who have encountered a Kijo and lived would swear that the ogresses can 'fly'."

"Can they?"

"No, but they run so fast and jump so far that wouldn't be any easier if you could. They know the lands they lair in like the back of their gnarled and wrinkled hands. In the event that you force a Kijo into a serious physical altercation, they have a final nasty little trick up their ragged sleeves."

"They scream 'I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too'?"

"No, and before you even ask throwing a bucket of water on them will not make them melt."

"Aaaaawww~"

"Kijo are capable of using their mastery of illusion to manifest what they call a 'War Mask'. These horrific avatars exaggerate their already hideously demonic features into even more grotesque forms that project great fear into those that look upon them. Those shaken by the War Mask are easy prey for the Kijo to slay."

"You mean like those classic Oni masks you see on tattoos and carved up for festivals?"

"Where do you think mankind got the idea for the things in the first place? That said Kijo abhor having to resort to brute force beyond finishing their prey off. A Kijo's War Mask is its last defense and can be used as a tool of escape as it can be a tool of torment."

"Alright Thero-Kun. So Kijo are scary super hags that use and abuse magic to kill and eat people. So how do you beat them? Do they have the same weaknesses as Oni? And why do they do all that anyway?"

"Unfortunately Kijo do not share any of an Oni's weaknesses. Their physical weaknesses are the exact opposite. Their horns must be smashed off and their body pierced. Their tough leathery hides make it difficult for blades to find effective purchase. If they lose their horns they lose a great deal of their magic but they do not lose physical strength and are as dangerous as a cornered bear even without their horns."

"Wait...are there Oni Bears? Oh sweet Kami do they have a cavalry of ONI BEARS?!"

"Actually yes. I-I mean no. I mean...We'll discuss that later!" Kaitheros blustered "Look, Kijo are more like patient trappers and ambushers to the Oni's marauding plunderer. They use their magic to lure or trap those that wonder close to their lairs and then capture them. Most Kijo follow this seclusion laden sort of predatory behavior but some particular Kijo take it a step further."

"A step further? How much further can they go! Do they raid orphanages for snacks!"

"Now you're starting to see things my way a little." Kaitheros beamed. "Some Kijo carry over personal grudges or even political vendettas from when they were human. Sometimes these grudges and goals are 'justified' depending on the nature of the Kijo's manifestation. Of course, this is a bitter, envious and extremely hateful sort of Yokai. So any goal that a Kijo has outside of feeding on human flesh and acquiring magic is bound to be both extremely cruel and unusual in nature."

"So Kijo are about as different from Oni as night and day. They never...you know...hook up?"

The visualization and memory chain took an uncomfortable turn for both of them.

"I thank whatever fortune I have that 'interspecies breeding' is not a routine occurrence between Oni and Kijo. Their differences are as extreme as Mars and Venus. Kijo deceive and manipulate. Oni are entirely honest about their desire to slaughter you. Kijo are powerful spellcasters, Oni are destructive juggernauts. Kijo either avoid overt human contact or work behind the scenes like chess players. Oni live for the visceral and hot blooded carnage of open warfare. Kijo can, if their conditions are met, be somewhat reasoned with and many have tried to make bargains with them. The only deal you make with an Oni is the last one standing is right. Even their horns are different! The only thing Kijo and Oni have in common is a great deal of pure and mutual hatred toward humanity. Kijo are simply more sinister in their application of that hatred than Oni. Two extremely hateful breeds of Yokai can rarely if ever work together...though there have been 'exceptions'..." Kaitheros mused grimly, remembering certain famous Yokai from ages past.

"What kind of exceptions, does love find a way after all? Even with Yokai?"

"More than you'd think, less than you'd hope Ruki. But for combating the perilous and insidious magic of a Kijo, the very arts you are learning now are instrumental in defeating them."

"Wow really? This stuff actually works on a super witch like that?"

"The very forces that make them so potent magically make them extremely vulnerable to the very divine arts you are learning. Like Oni-Baba, Divine instruments, rituals and spells are the bane of a Kijo's existence. It tears through their illusions to reveal the truth, it can cast off their War Mask and render them naught but bitter jaded wretches at your feet...so long as you have actual belief and faith behind their use. Never attempt to fight a Kijo on their level unless you have the faith and strength of will to match them. Many an arrogant priest or deceitful monk has discovered too late that their false worship did not protect them from a Kijo's wrath. There is no greater irony and pleasure for a Kijo than to strip such a person's self worth down to nothing before destroying them...or worse."

"But Thero-Kun, how do you know that all this will give me real faith and belief? What if at the end of all these exercises I end up like those monks? Or even like a Kijo?"

Kaitheros noted that look of unsteadiness in the young girl's eyes and simply rested his muzzle close enough for her to press against it reassuringly.

"Because like those before you Ruki, 'I' have my own faith in you and what you can do. You are one of the strongest humans I have met in my lifetime. It is why I chose you and you are on your way to becoming a strong woman in your own right. The lessons themselves will just give you the tools and knowledge to succeed, but you have to have the conviction and spirit to use them with honesty and purpose. Kijo became what they were because they lacked the inner strength to rise above such pettiness and they spend their long and wretched existence trying desperately to make up for it and fill in their void of a heart with anything that can relieve their feelings of insecurity and spite. You are nothing like the sort of women that turn into Kijo. Though...there is still a chance you might turn into a sloth."

"H-hey! I'm not THAT lazy!"

"We'll just have to see won't we?" Kaitheros teased good naturedly while Ruki stood scowling with a flushed face. She could be rather adorable when she had her dander up. He really couldn't help it sometimes. As he watched her leave from her second day of lessons with a stronger stride in her step Kaitheros knew she'd be fine. Though he remembered that regardless of all their weaknesses and specific behaviors, Yokai were anything but predictable and even when they were slain...they did not always remain as such.


Continue Reading: Ages of Man