Name: Adrian "Shadow" Hex
Bounty: 50,000,000, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE for 437 counts of first-degree murder, high treason against the World Government, 25 counts of impersonating a Marine, assassinating a Rear Admiral, 1203 counts of third-degree murder, 826 counts of murdering an on-duty Marine, 429 counts of assaulting a Marine, and knowingly associating with a traitorous organization.
Personality: Adrian, though a man in the pursuit of justice, is an assassin by trade, and it shows. As a former Nightblade, he is not without compassion, but he has been taught from an early age that, for many evildoers across the seas, death is the only just sentence. He will almost always kill a person he has decided is his next target, as few that he seeks out are worthy of a second chance. He is not all doom-and-gloom, however. He can be a fun-loving person outside of the battlefield, but he's slow to truly trust others, knowing that in the world of outlaws, and especially pirates, almost anyone you meet is willing to slit your throat in your sleep for a few dozen berries. It should be noted that he's convinced himself that simple violence won't fix the world, but will only be stopgap solution. Even so, he is willing to kill Marines, and both work with and kill pirates, out of simple necessity.
Backstory: Adrian was born to parents he never knew, the product of a one-night stand between a drunk pirate and a prostitute. He never knew his mother, the woman abandoning him as an infant. He somehow survived to adolescence, eking out out a miserable existence as a street urchin in the moderately-sized island city he was born in. Over time, he witnessed many Marines, whose job it was to guard the city, abuse their power on the regular. Running rackets against the citizens and beating those who couldn't pay, threatening to arrest anyone who dared inconvenience them, turning a blind eye to pirate dealings in exchange for bribe money, and sometimes even committing murder and getting away with it.
There was a Marine commander, one William Draco, in charge of this island, and he was by far the worst of the lot. There were few pies he didn't have a hand in, and very few crimes he had not committed during his career, though perhaps a more appropriate term by this point would be "reign." Commander Draco was a massive man, said to be capable of effortlessly tearing an ordinary person in half. He was an expert in armed combat. His weapon of choice was a massive, two-handed battleaxe modeled off of a Marine boarding ax, that he once used to cut down the support beams of an entire tavern that hadn't paid his protection money, collapsing the whole thing on top of himself and walking out unscathed. He was also an expert swordsman, easily disposing of the few pirates who dared attack him when he didn't have said battleaxe with the cutlass he kept on him at all times.
On the morning of Adrian's 16th birthday, he woke up to find the Marines shaken, their protection rackets no longer in effect, and no more crimes being committed. He asked one of the local street boys he knew what had happened.
"Didn't you hear?" he said. "Draco was killed an hour ago. They one second he was fine, beatin' the shit out of some kid who mouthed off to him, and the next his head just fell off. There was a rush of wind too. They think someone just...moved fast enough to decapitate the guy without anyone seeing him. An' then, five seconds later, there was a note on his carcass: 'Your commander has been executed by the Nightblades. Abuse your power again and you will meet his fate.'"
Adrian ran off, without another word, leaving the boy calling after him. He figured that the assassin couldn't have gone far. And maybe, just maybe, if he could catch the guy, he might be impressed enough to let him join these "Nightblades." It wasn't like his life was going anyplace good anyway, even with Draco short a head.
The only way on or off the island was a ship, and he figured the assassin would be wearing some kind of disguise. This was a decently-sized island, and he doubted the assassin could keep that speed up forever.
Sure enough, he caught what looked like an young Marine boarding a civilian ship at the docks, by himself. The people wouldn't question a Marine, no matter if he was familiar. Just because Draco was dead didn't mean the fear he instilled would go away, at least not immediately.
He tailed him, using the skills he had learned hiding from the Marines to sneak onto the ship. When it left the dock and was sufficiently out to sea, he came out of hiding and announced his presence. He was brought before the captain, arms tied behind his back, and held at swordpoint by the captain, who asked him why he'd stown away. The captain seemed to be smirking. Had she known that he'd been onboard the entire time? She might've thought he was a Marine spy, and as he had noticed the unique armbands the crew were equipped with (likely designating a secret ranking system), he smiled widely. He knew that he had come to the right place, and he needed to make sure she knew he wanted to join and wasn't here to hinder their plans. He announced then and there that he had hidden on their ship so that they'd be impressed enough to allow him to join, having figured out that this was a Nightblade vessel.
In response, the captain sheathed her sword...and decked him across the face hard enough to knock him over, saying, "The Nightblades are an assassin group. WE. KILL. PEOPLE. You shouldn't be so eager to take lives, nor throw your
life away, just because we did a good deed for you. You need to carefully consider your course of action. You'll be fighting the cruelest pirates and the most corrupt Marines imaginable, and you'll see the worst humanity has to offer." She then pulled Adrian to his feet and put her face an inch from his, saying, "And you're going to kill them, or you're going to die. This isn't a life you sign up for because you want to rise above your station. You enter because you want to clean up the world, and you're willing to put your life and freedom on the line for that ideal. You're willing to become an enemy of both the World Government and the pirate community in the name of that goal, and devote yourself to the cause. You will murder, you will often fight for your life, and you may very well die in action. Or worse, be made an example of by the World Government. I can tell by looking at you that you're some homeless ragamuffin, and you've probably done all of this because you think that being one of us will give you a better life. Well no, it isn't. It's much, much
more dangerous, even if you get fed more often."
She then dropped him to the ground. She said to her underlings, "Put him to work for now, give him a taste of the day-to-day life. I'll ask him how he feels about it in a week."
True to the captain's word, Adrian was put to work as a low-level crew member almost immediately. It was tedious and sometimes back-breaking labor, but he had gotten a feel for it over the course of the week. Of course, he hadn't joined for an easy way out of the homeless life, though that was certainly a contributing factor. No. He just wanted more people like Commander Draco to drop dead already. The world would be better off without them. In a week, he was asked his answer, and it was a resounding yes.
The ship eventually arrived at its destination: Seemingly a large deserted island covered in dense jungle, he was led to a hidden entrance at the base of the island's natural cliffs. Inside, he saw the Nightblade HQ in all its glory. They had hollowed out the entire cliffside, creating a colossal stone fortress, complete with folding-out openings for cannon emplacements and such, hidden in plain sight. A passing Marine ship would have no idea that that the Nightblade headquarters was within swimming distance, as, using a similar technology to that found in the motors of cyborgs, their vessels were hidden behind a sliding rock face at the back of the island's natural bay, kept in a grotto.
And it was in this base that Adrian would learn the ways of the Nightblade. It turned out that the group had been founded by a former CP9 member, a master of the seven techniques of the Rokushiki. Having overcome his brainwashing and become disillusioned with the World Government's warped sense of "Absolute Justice," he deserted the organization and founded his own group of killers, a group that, while no less lethal, would employ the nuance that the World Government sorely lacked.
Adrian became proficient in the six major Rokushiki techniques, never quite managing to master the seventh secret technique, but he became an established Nightblade in his own right over the course of 437 successful assassinations across the following five years. And yet...the jobs never stopped coming. He had killed hundreds of people by this point, ranging from small-time pirate captains (and their crews) all the way up to a Rear Admiral--though he barely escaped that fight with his life. Was he really helping the world, just by eliminating pirates and corrupt Marines? He was putting fear into the hearts of the World Government, for sure, but realized that one group of violent killers cannot change human nature. Murder, on a large scale or a small scale, couldn't change the world. Even killing the World Nobles would just cause a power struggle that would leave even more people dead. The Nightblades were self-defeating: All they would do is kill, solving nothing, until they were killed themselves.
And so, he asked the Council of Nine, the group's leaders, if he could leave the organization. They agreed. They would give him everything he needed to leave the island: A small vessel, enough supplies to reach civilization--as he had no bounty on him at the time, so impeccable was his record--and enough money to start a new life as anything he chose.
So, he packed his things, and left for the nearest civilized island. There, he tried to settle down, start something new with his life. Two years later, he had managed to become a small-time trader, and was traveling along one of the prime East Blue trade routes when his navigator caught sight of a formerly-deserted island to Starboard. The island, known for its natural cliffs, was thought to be uninhabited, but for some reason those beautiful cliffs had been utterly obliterated.
The navigator immediately called for his captain's attention, asking what they should do with this information. Captain Hex told him to move towards the island. And so, despite some shocked cries from the men, they did so dutifully. Adrian had thought that it couldn't be possible, but he knew the coordinates of the island well enough by this point. This was the NIghtblade hideout. And it was in ruins.
The cliffs had been reduced to little more than rubble, and beneath the rubble were bodies. Thousands of bodies. Nearly all of them had decayed into skeletons by this point, but he recognized a precious few. He left the island sullen and miserable, and he told the crew to never tell a soul about what they had just witnessed. They solemnly agreed, but when they arrived at their next stop, one crewmember, on the guise of heading to a tavern, alerted the local Marines to his captain's suspicious reaction, and almost immediately the Marines put two and two together: The man who captained this merchant ship, one Adrian Hex, was in fact the assassin who had been given the moniker "Shadow," a Nightblade who had managed to stay completely under the Marines' radar for over half a decade now. The annihlation of the Nightblade's order had caused the authorities to assume he was killed in the bloodshed. After all, who could have survived a Buster Call which warranted the personal intervention of the Fleet Admiral, two of the three regular Admirals, and five Vice Admirals?
But, due to an early retirement, Adrian had survived, and now he was a wanted man. Thanks to Soru, he could run farther than anyone else outside of CP-9. But eventually, he'd be caught, tried, and executed...right?
Abilities: Adrian is proficient in the six main techniques of the Rokushiki: Geppo, Tekkai, Shigan, Rankyaku, Soru, and Kami-e. Geppo allows Adrian to jump off the air itself. Tekkai allows him to shrug off blows that would easily kill a normal man, and harden his body to deal extra damage. Shigan is a quick assassination technique where Adrian can force his finger into the opponent's body, usually with lethal results. Rankyaku allows Adrian to strike the air fast enough to create high-pressure waves of wind capable of slicing objects and mutilating a human target. Soru allows him to move faster than the eye can track. Kami-e allows him to bend his body like paper, avoiding damage and becoming even faster. But before he retired, he was working on learning the Rokuogan, a technique that would have allowed him to project a massive shockwave into the opponent at point-blank range, a technique which was capable of severely injuring even Luffy. Unfortunately, this technique is out of his reach for now, though it would have made Adrian's life significantly easier if he had managed to master it before the Nightblade HQ was blown to smithereens. Perhaps he can still master it?
As for his weapons, Adrian prefers to fight with two daggers and is a master of using them effectively. He is also fond of darts: By applying the speed of Soru to his arm, he can multiply the force of a throwing dart a hundred times over, enabling his darts to go through walls like they weren't there, and rip straight through most armor with the force of an anti-tank rifle. He has expert aim with these darts, and they're much quieter than guns, not to mention he can throw them dozens of times faster than it would take to reload a flintlock. There is a very good reason he carries a seemingly-endless supply of darts on him, as he tends to expend dozens to clear out large quantities of minor enemies quickly. Furthermore, he has excellent aim with virtually any throwing weapon, from knives to axes to even spears. He even prefers throwing weapons to his Rankyaku, as they are much more subtle. He can use virtually any melee or ranged weapon he picks up at least somewhat effectively due to his Nightblade training preparing him for all circumstances, but is out of practice with most other than his favorites, the twin daggers he carries on him constantly, albeit concealed underneath his coat. He also carries on him a few Nightblade tricks of the trade, such as caltrops to slow down chasing enemies, smoke bombs to create an opening to escape with Soru or disorient a foe, chloroform wipes to incapacitate an enemy quickly, and homemade firebombs to create chaos when things go hairy. He is also adept at mixing poisons and drugs useful for clandestine work, ranging from neurotoxins to hallucinogens to sedatives. Of course, he's also capable in a mundane fist-fight as well.
As a former captain of a small merchant vessel, he understands the principles of seamaking and of running a ship, and knows a thing or two about business as well. He's able to recognize when he's being ripped off, as well as appriase an object's value, the latter of which would make him invaluable on a pirate crew, should he choose to join one.
Perhaps the most important tool in his arsenal, however, is stealth. As a trained assassin, he is skilled in the art of not being seen, as well as using disguises to hide in plain sight. He is adept at evading the authorities and sneaking into places where he shouldn't be. If you need a man to break into a heavily-fortified installation without causing a ruckus, Adrian is your man. He's not one for honororable combat either, happily gouging out an enemy's eyes if necessary.
All of this together makes Adrian a fast-moving, heavily-armed whirlwind of death and destruction who can always vanish in a puff of smoke when he's at a disadvantage, only to re-engage from an angle you aren't expecting with a dart aimed for your vitals. He may not have a Devil Fruit, but that's no reason not to take a former Nightblade who was learning the Rokuogan very, very seriously.
The Scarlet Pirates: None. He hasn't joined their group. He may work with pirates in general as allies of convenience, but so far, nothing beyond that. Still, being on a pirate crew could provide him protection from the World Government.
The Nightblades: Like any somewhat-old clandestine organization, there will be others who have retired, or were sufficiently out-of-the-way to avoid the Marines' wrath even after an event like this. The Buster Call may have obliterated the HQ and dismantled the Nightblades as an organization, but there are likely still others alive. Who these others are, Adrian has no clue. He retired quite some time before the attack, he knew little of the goings-on at the Nightblades at the time of the Buster Call beyond which of the few friends he could recognize are dead and which are unaccounted for.
Family: What family? Adrian never knew his parents. He gave himself the name "Adrian Hex" because he thought it sounded cool when he was four years old, and it stuck. His whore mother is probably somewhere on his birth island, but his pirate father could be anywhere, and may have even been killed by this point. Pirating is a dangerous profession.
Dreams: To see "Absolute Justice" removed, and true justice instituted.