Scales of War

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 3, Part: 4 (EXCERPTS)

After Hethralga’s defeat, we continued our trek through the caves. We came to a point where light was clearly visible in the tunnels ahead. I hid in the shadows and scouted ahead of the group. I discovered that the glow was emanating from pools of elemental blood chaos. It was welling up from the ground. There were several elementals in the chamber, some digging, others just milling about. I returned to the group to let them know what lay ahead, and when they followed me back, I remained hidden and used the element of surprise to catch several of the primordial creatures unaware. Before anyone else on either side could react, I dropped down from the wall and struck several of the creatures. The rest of the group quickly joined the fray and we were able to eliminate the elementals fairly quickly.

And then, we exited the caves.

About two hundred feet below the ledge we stood on, we could see the battle between the giants, gith, and ogres that were fighting the assembled forces of Overlook’s High Guard. From our position, we could climb down the side of the mountain and would be in a perfect position behind the giants. Their chieftain, Koruz, stood there trying to marshal his forces. We successfully made it down the mountain behind Koruz. Koruz was ugly, even for a frost giant, and I decided to focus my attack on him, initially. I wagered we could demoralize the rest if they saw how handily we could defeat their leader. Koruz was surrounded by cyclopes and stone giants, and they did not hesitate to defend their chief. The fight was brutal. Koruz could use ice in a variety of ways to attack us: at one point I dodged an ice javelin that looked big enough to skewer Ithyk. Though the giants proved very capable fighters, we did eventually defeat them. With Koruz beaten, and most of the githyanki decimated, we were able to convince the surviving giants and ogres to surrender to us. The remaining giants have been given the task of helping to rebuild Overlook’s walls, albeit while in heavy chains.

Something of note: I returned to the cave that I made my temporary home on the outskirts of Overlook and I discovered something very exciting. In the cave I noticed I could see in the dark. It was slow to happen at first. I could roughly make out the edges of the cavern’s features. But rather than reach for my torch, I stood there, focusing on the dark. After several seconds I could see in the darkness as easily as I see under the Sun at noon. Hmmm, I can’t remember the last time I preferred the Sun at noon over a moonless night. Master Ardax would likely think me some kind of monster these days. But what I have become, I have become for the greater good. Life outside the monastery is something he would never understand.

2nd Message to Baron Glasrael

Kage glanced behind him as he saw the image of Verne rounding the corner and vanishing out of sight. He hoisted the head of the fae witch Hethralga up so her now dead eyes were level with his. Suddenly there was a small blast of soot on his shoulder as Dio dismissed his invisibility. Dio’s eye’s widened as Kage carved the symbol of Glasrael onto the hags forehead.
“Tell me you’re not going to summon the boss, here and now, while your friends are right around the corner.” The book imp asked incredulously.
“Of course not!” Kage remarked, as he waved Dio off his shoulder. “ I’m just going to use Miss Ugly’s head as a conduit to talk to the boss.” Kage pressed two fingers to the emblem and placed infernal energy into the symbol. Suddenly the hag’s eyes fluttered, its mouth opened and it coughed out brimstone. The dead eyes came to focus, locked onto Kage’s and spoke.
“Kage?” The head began, speaking with the Baron Glasrael’s voice. “ Are you using a corpse to communicate with me, and a ……” The heads dry tongue sagged out and licked the dry dead lips. “ Fae? Is this the head of some fae creature? Really Kage, I’m damned Baron now, this is horribly undignified!”
“B-b-but,” Kage stuttered out. “It wouldn’t have been safe to summon you here. We’re kind of in a dragon’s lair, and it’s kinda connected to a giant’s stronghold, and…..” The reeking head suddenly cut him off.
“Wait.” Glasrael spoke, “ So you’re not in Overlook right now?”
“Ummmm.” Kage started. “No? I’m in the Vale Perch Mountains. We had to come here to waste the remnants of Zithiruun’s army. Guess they sided with some giant named Koruz and his tribe. So we’ve basically been ruining their holiday. We killed this bitch hag that you’re talking through the head of, but that’s not the best part! We totally smoked the two dragons that were working with them. It was friggin’ sweet! Let me say that one more time by-the-way. Two dragons, that’s right, two! At this point I’m pretty sure Madmartigans Men & Ithyk could take out anything that the world could throw at us." Kage paused to breath in deeply, buffing out his chest. " So yeah, we’re basically awesome."
“Mhmmm” The head nodded. " And none of you are in Overlook at the moment?"
“Huh? No.” Said Kage, is voice swimming with complete confusion. " We’re all totally here."
" Good." Came Glasrael’s voice after a moment. " Now Kage, I’d love to stay and chat, listening to you talk about yourself and your little friends, ad nauseam, but unfortunately I just remembered I had some people to talk to about doing some stuff, oooooh, right now. Have fun Kage, I looking forward to tasting the soul of that giant chief." And with that the head slumped again, looking again as dead as it clearly was.
“Huh.” Kage remarked." What do you think the boss had to do all of a sudden?"
“I would try to explain it to you Kage,” Dio said rubbing his small, red forehead. " But you either wouldn’t believe me, " The imp continued in a whispered sigh that Kage lacked the attention span he catch. " or you wouldn’t understand it."

Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Page 3
Some strange strange

Damn, I had really hoped to bang Hethralga. I mean, I know she would have had all kinds of tricks in bed, and there’s no kind of ugly a burlap sack won’t cure. I bet her strange would have been real strange. Instead she was waiting for us further in the caves we are in, with a bunch of… Cyclopses, Cyclopsi? One-eyes. Waiting for us with a bunch of one-eyed monsters (ha!) and a couple undead slags.
One of the undead was surrounded by flying skulls and kept throwing Ithyk around, even managed to throw me once. I busted his floating skulls for that.
The other undead stole the life right out of my body with their attack. That wasn’t pleasant. I called to Eachthighern for help against the dark fey I swore to murder-down for him and he answered big time. Cleansing fire wreathed my whole body, burning the undead before me like a big majestic fucking skele-torch, and restored my health at the same time. Fuckin’ A!
We put them all down in due turn and looted their bodies. Onward into the caves The Men & Ithyk and I go!

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 3, Part: 3 (EXCERPTS)

We defeated the mated pair of green dragons, and then we helped ourselves to their treasure horde. I am quite pleased with the mask and boots I claimed for myself. They are well-suited to a warrior who prefers to use the shadows to his advantage.

After we claimed all of the dragons’ treasure, we pressed onward into the caves. What we found was very unexpected: an old acquaintance.

In the caves, surrounded by undead and cyclopes, we discovered the vile hag that we first met in the Mountain Root Temple. She was the one we took the Inculabulum Primeval from, and the one who tried to kill us by collapsing the chamber we were in.

The fighting was intense. One of the undead with the hag was surrounded with floating skulls. The skulls blasted Ithyk with fell arcane energy more than once. Luckily, Ithyk is even tougher than he looks, as impossible as that sounds. The cyclopes hit hard, but didn’t take a beating very well, so they were no problem. It was the hag and the undead that really posed a threat. Tough as Ithyk may be, I did see him get sent flying across the room a few times.

Hethralga and her disgusting allies were finally defeated. We can add them to the list of those that will fall before us this day. This day in which our “warm-up” was a battle with a mated pair of green dragons.

Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two
Page 2

Know what’s more bad ass than killing a dragon?
Killing a zombie dragon.
Know what’s more bad ass than killing a zombie dragon?
Killing two dragons.
Let me repeat that, lest you think your eyes deceive: Two motherfucking dragons.
That’s right, baby! I’m bad!
After disappearing into the Feywild for a fortnight and partying hard in Overlook, we were summoned up by our beardy friend we saved in the monastery. City in danger, et cetera.
A mated pair of green dragons was teaming up with a band of giants, orcs and other smelly things, threatening Overlook. The Men and I (and Ithyk) secreted to one side of the mountain to eliminate the dragons while the army of Overlook marched on the giants.
The plan was executed perfectly, of course, and we wiped those dragons off the side of the mountain. Now to navigate through it and slay some assorted nasty.
Time to rally the troops, talk soon baby!

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 3, Part: 2 (EXCERPTS)

After weeks of dealing with murderers, thieves, and other low-life thugs, our group has been called back into action. The safety of the Vale is once again jeopardized by a threat that requires Madmartigan’s Men (and Ithyk) in order to deal with it.

There is a tribe of giants and a pair of dragons that dwell on the tallest mountain in the Vale. The giants and dragons struck up some kind of arrangement, and could possibly pose a danger to the people of Overlook and the other settlements in the area. A preemptive strike was in order.

The plan was to have Overlook’s forces attack the giants, while we simultaneously attack the dragons. Once we dispatch the dragons we are to find our way to the giants and we’ll meet the Overlook guards in the middle.

Timing was everything for the approach. Alerting the giants to our approach would give them time to call for the dragons’ aid. I took the lead on the trek through the forest in an effort to shore up the forest canopy to keep the giants from spotting us from their mountaintop perch. The group deftly navigated the woods. I’m grateful to work with such a competent team, even if I don’t always agree with their methods.

With Overlook’s forces in place, we scaled the mountain and took on the dragons. The battle was as fierce as one would expect when fighting two dragons in their own lair. After spending decades together they complimented each other in battle very well, but thankfully we were able to maintain enough of an edge by repeatedly knocking them out of the air. Whenever we beat them down to the ground we didn’t hesitate to rain blows on them. I think the dragons were surprised we all hit as hard as we did. An important lesson to those studying the Way of the Bat: it is not the size of your opponent that matters, it is only how skilled they are.

As I write this we are catching our breath after the battle, preparing to pore through the dragons’ horde before continuing through the caves to take the battle to the giants. There will be much more death before today is over.

Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two
Page 1

Hey baby, what’s shakin’? It’s been a few weeks, apparently. Funny, doesn’t feel like much time has gone by at all. I guess that’s how the Feywild works, sometimes. There’s been a slew of beautiful, mysterious women in my life lately. Unfortunately they’ve all been in my dreams. First there was the gal in the shiny unicorn dream, then there was a chick in white who led me up a hill and said I could fuck her on it, basically. It’s not like I’m not getting plenty of gash, either. Ever since we iced Sarashan and his flunkies I’ve been up to my nuts in Overlook sluts.
Where was I? Oh, the Feywild. Right, so, yesterday or, well, two weeks ago I guess, I was out in the forest around Manse Victorius, just getting the lay of the land, when I found this beautiful glade. I mean, completely fucking peaceful, crystal clear pool, shimmering motes in the air, the works. So I stop, kick off my boots (and everything else) and take a dip. When I came back up, my gear was all gone. I called out, but no one was around. As I climbed out of the pool, my glory was covered by all the swirling motes, sticking to me in the form of a shining suit. I’m not much of a clothes guy, but this looked good.
At this point I knew I wasn’t in the real world anymore. The woods around me parted into a path and, taking a hint, I followed. It led me to a clearing where Eachthighern, the unicorn from my dream the other day (what is going on with my life?) was standing. He congratulated me on my victory over my foe and asked if I’d considered his offer. I pinched myself, didn’t wake up, and asked him if He meant the offer to be His Knight that I dreamed. Here responded simply by saying not all dreams are in the mind and then looked at me as stoically as a giant winged unicorn.
So I said what the fuck, why not. He nodded, lowering his horn to each of my shoulders, told me fight bravely and help others, then flew away. Looking down, I was now wearing gleaming, pearly armor with ribbed grooves all over it. I dumbfoundedly followed the path back to the pool where my stuff was waiting for me. Noticing that I was naked again I put my clothes on and walked back to Manse Victorius, where a search party was getting ready to go out looking for me for the 15th day, so I was told.
I was gone for a couple weeks, everyone was worried, yadda yadda.
Now I feel a very real power pouring through my body. A light, even. It’s pretty bitchin.
While I was gone the Men & Ithyk… changed, subtly. Ithyk & Tzolek both seem more intense, in their own, murdery ways.
Thanoril has really started to creep me out: I never see him enter or exit a room anymore. He’s just there, then he’s just gone, with only the slight flap of his cape. And his voice is getting raspy. Elf puberty?
Kage has been looking at me strange. Stranger than usual. Almost like he’s… Nah, nevermind. Also, he smells a bit funny.
And Clunky, well… he makes my brain hurt a little, I guess. He’s faster, but not really. He just seems to move smoother. I really can’t describe it.
So, I guess I’m not the only one with some kind of weird, new found power. It sort of feels like when we were boys and everyone started getting hair on their balls and deeper voices at the same time.

What Now?

We defeated Sarashan and saved the people of Overlook but I find myself less at ease now that we are done. Without an enemy to focus on I find myself analyzing the behavior of my companions and it concerns me. Kage turns into a demon, Thanoril manipulates the shadows, Mad Martigan is more concerned with women than a leader should be, and I don’t need to say why the animated suit of armor bothers me. Even Ithyk, my brother in blood, has given me pause. He refuses to be labeled as part of our group and has started to recruit gnolls for himself. To what purpose? The only thing I know is they will cause us problems in the future. I constantly worry about what will happen now. What is it my companions desire from the world and how long before it causes conflict among us?

I couldn’t sleep while these thoughts plagued me. I needed to stay active to keep these thoughts from my mind. As I walked around Overlook I suddenly felt myself called to the mountains. I climbed the mountains day and night for several days. I occasionally had to kill some animals and creatures to defend myself, but these kills were joyless, all that mattered was reaching the peak of the mountain. When I finally reached the top I was surprised to see an old human waiting for me. “Well done, you got here quicker than I expected” “Who are you?” I asked, though I somehow already knew the answer. “Who isn’t important, what is. I’m your teacher.” He taught me the secrets the earth had shown him. I felt my strength grow, as did my anger but it was different now. It sat deeper within me and at the same time it was closer to the surface, it’s difficult to explain. But after a week of training with him all of my previous concerns melted away.

Then I learned to manifest my rage into physical fire and the old man told me my training was almost complete. “Almost?” I asked, although again I knew the answer. “You need to kill me.” Before he could finish the sentence I was on him. He was agile and difficult to hit, and he landed blow after blow upon me. Then my anger took over and the ground obeyed my rage and knocked him down. It only took one swift chop to kill him, and I saw him smile before I did it. I returned to Overlook a new man. Mad Martigan’s Men and Ithyk may cause problems in the future, but I will only worry about that when it happens. Until then I know there are greater evils in the world than Sarashan and I look forward to killing them.

Musings of a Murderous Mind pt 5
Window to Madness.

Ithyk stooped down, looking at the archway of the portal. He had been accompanying Madmartigan’s men, namely Kage and the one Ithyk referred to as “Ghost-Thing”. They had needed to close the portal for reasons he could not fathom, He only understood that there was a potential danger and that he would gladly be a wall against it. His pack was brave but frail. He knew they needed him.
The two had begun their work deconstructing the magic inherent in the portal, dispelling it harmlessly into the ether. Unbeknownst to his comrades Ithyk began to hear the Sleeptalker murmuring in his mind. Ithyk had been ignoring the Sleeptalker for a long time and he began to listen through the portal instead. Ithyk disliked most conversations the Sleeptalker provided. He begun to listen to the boiling sea through the gateway and saw the portal for what it was.
“I can hear from the mouth and look down its throat. It growls and it spews. I can hear its blood. I can hear all the different bloods pumping in it, they drum in different thunder, but it is all the same song. I look at the mouth and it talks to me and a blister eye grows at the bottom. It talks my birth language.”
“Bloodspeaker, do you feel the lightning in my blood?”
“Yes, there is thunder too.” He said amidst his oblivious companions. Teeth had emerged from around the eye at the base and began cascading up the sides of the hell maw engorged on the muddied red ichor oozing forth from deep in the entity’s bowels.
“Yes, the sounds can cut your teeth, but when you listen hard enough and you hear through the pain it brings you glory, it brings you life. You can keep the life for yourself if you can keep the pain for yourself.”
“This is true, this is good,” said Ithyk, mesmerized by the finger-like protrusions clawing through its lips.
“Do you want it? Do you want the life I can provide? With pain? With blood? With you at the apex? I can’t give them to you, you must take them. Life must be taken. You must consume it, but I am a lot to consume.”
“Yes, I will eat your life, I will drink your blood.” Ithyk scanned the ground looking for his axe and shield, they were not in his vision. A discarded sword met his foot and Ithyk grabbed it in a slow hypnotic movement. He smelled the burnt iron coming from the webbed orifices that had appeared between the finger-like organs. He stood upon the stairs standing in the electric blood gazing at the milky blister of an eye.
Ithyk giggled almost hearing Kage say, ”Ithyk, no, no, no don’t do that Ithyk, no!”
A mad cackle shot through the room as plunged the sword into the sickening eye, Ithyk shuddered as sharp blood spasmed into is body. He savored the agony coursing through his veins blackening the blade in his immovable grip. The blade itself began warping and reshaping itself from the heat and cold blackness pouring from the maw. Ithyk continued to convulse pushing the warped blade further into the eye striking the blood and the life of the entity. The gnoll howled and chattered as his body flung backwards from the elastic reaction of sucking the last of the hell maw’s energy. Singed gnoll hair choked his own lungs. A deep chuckle came from his somewhat burnt throat.
“Ithyk! Ithyk are you ok?!”
“It’s good.”

Ithyk stayed on the floor for a bit.
1st Message to Baron Glasrael

Kage sighed as he finished writing the emblem of Glasrael in the still smoking blood of the devil he and Ithyk had slain earlier that day, his noise of exacerbation catching Dio’s attention. The book imp looked up from his iron bound book and took a sip from his flaming goblet.
“What are you being all dramatic about?” The imp said, as he pushed his spectacles higher up the bridge of his long pointed nose.
“What?” Kage began.” Oh, nothin’, it’s just, that was what, the 7th devil we had to take out?”
“The 8th actually.” Dio corrected. “I think you’re forgetting the succubus that tried to seduce you in the form of Madmarti…”
“I didn’t forget that one!” Kage snapped. Were the natural color spectrum able to support it, Kage’s face would have become redder than it normally was. The air around Kage began to sizzle with heat.
“I don’t see why you’re so moody.” Dio continued completely unphased. “I would think you’d super excited after the boss super charged all your hell given powers. Speaking of the boss, you wrote his emblem wrong.” Kage looked down at the mark, then back up at Dio.
“No, I didn’t. The boss is a Baron now.” Kage pointed down at the symbol. “That’s what that mark there means. He’s become very important thanks to me.” Kage puffed up his chest, then slumped in exhaustion. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to speak with him.” Kage then turned around placed his hands down on the edge of the circle and spoke a word of power. There was a blinding flash of light and smoke. When the soot finally cleared standing there in the room, a full head taller than he had been the previous month, stood the devil, Baron Glasrael. He looked down at Kage with a look of cold malevolence as his lips curled into a smile.
“Why hello Kage,” Glasrael spoke, glowing embers escaping his mouth as he did. “ How may I help you on this fine day?” He stopped and sniffed the air. “Hmmmmm, I know that scent. Is that….. Cashrael? Did you destroy Cashrael?”
“Ummmm, maybe.” Kage replied “Was he shadow devil, thinks he’s real cool? Total jerk?”
“Yes.” Returned Glasrael, his voice thick with amusement. “That sounds exactly like him. I’m impressed Kage, Cashrael is quite a piece of work, did you defeat him on your own?”
“No, Ithyk helped. Kind of a lot. That Gnoll got kinda harder to stop after he stabbed that portal….” Kage would have continued talking had Glasrael not abruptly interrupted him.
“Is there a actually reason you called me, Kage?” The devil said, irritation leaking into his voice.
“Oh, ummmmm….yeah.” Said Kage, suddenly pulled back to reality. “ I was kind of wondering what the deal was with all these devils that keep coming through into Overlook. They’re all total jerks, causing a ton of friggin’ problems. What’s the deal?”
“Oh, my dear Kage, I’m as of right now only a Baron. I can hardly control the actions of every devil that comes into this world. Besides Kage, think about all the devils that haven’t caused any problems that you know about.”
“Wait.” Kage began. “ What do you mean that I kno….”
“And with all this fine work you’ve been doing,” Glasrael forcefully continued on, completely derailing Kages thoughts. “ I have been able to slowly increase in power. Why, you’ve even managed to remove some devils which were causing major problems for me. I must say Kage, turning you into a true Hellbringer was an excellent choice on my part.” At that Kage stood up a little straighter. He grinned.
“Really?” Kage responded almost shyly. “Well, I mean, of course it was a good idea. A great idea even! You won’t regret making me this powerful Boss, no sir!” For a second Glasrael’s smiled faltered.
“I should hope not Kage.” Glasrael’s words now were very serious. “I would hate to think I wasted such an opportunity on someone that could not impress me. Now Kage, my new station has many matters which require my attention. I’m confident you’ll be fine here in the Vale. Remember, I don’t like being disappointed.” Suddenly there was a sickening flash of light and Glasrael was gone, leaving Kage standing there, a smile of intense pride on his face, chest puffed out heroically, thinking about what great tasks he and Madmartigan’s Men ( and Ithyk) would triumph over next and what amazing songs would be sung about them and their bravery.


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