Scales of War

Madmartigan's Journal: Book Three, page 9
Plop, plop. Sizzle, sizzle. That's the sound of a teabagged devil.

So we killed Dispater. He’s kind of had a hard on for us for awhile now, seeing how we keep interrupting his plans and roughing up his minions. I guess he figured he could get the job done. I offered him a chance to flee, more to save time than for any mercy towards a Lord of Hell, and he actually started listening to me. I’m not sure who was more surprised, the Men or myself. It was like I suddenly had all the right words in my head.
Of course, Dispater had to go and ask for the corpses of the skin golden dragons, which I figured Bahamut would be pissed about, so I said no and cold-cocked him. Our talks let me get close enough and I guess he didn’t anticipate me having quite the reach I do now that I’m all big and shit.
I squatted, plopped my balls on his head (singed some hair off, too. My man is muy caliente), and then started killing devils with reckless abandon. It was a real hoot.
He was tough, but Madmartigan’s Men & Ithyk were tougher. Duh. You’d think nobody had heard of us still. Oh well, it’s their strangling.

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 9, Part: 2 (EXCERPTS)

Following the attack on the temple we quickly regrouped and decided that our first priority had to be trying to rescue Amyria. With that in mind we decided to head straight to the Platinum Palace, where Bahamut’s former throne was now occupied by Dakranad.

When we reached the palace it was filled with devils and some angels who had once served Bahamut. We showed mercy to the angels once again, but we gave no quarter to the devils. After tearing through the initial opposition, we rushed further into the palace. We found a chamber that was filled with the slain golden priests of Bahamut. The seven golden dragons had been visciously murdered and callously left on the chamber floor. Seeing the raw evidence of Dakranad’s corruption was infuriating, but we pressed on.

We reached the main palace and found Dispater himself, as well as some of his guards. Dispater took the opportunity to rub in our faces how fully he was able to turn Dakranad against Bahamut, and how he was able to slay Bahamut’s seven gold dragon priests. When Dispater spoke of successfully stopping the resurrection of Bahamut we interjected. He had not yet succeeded in that goal. After offering Dispater a chance to flee, he made a counter-offer that we could not agree to. The inevitable battle broke out and spanned the chamber.

The battle against Dispater and his guards was brutal, but Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk were victorious. The Lord of Dis fell before us like so many before had, and with his loss we see hope in our further success. We need to stop Dakranad. We need to rescue Amyria. We need the Spark from Moradin’s forge.

We need to bring back Bahamut.

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 9, Part: 1 (EXCERPTS)

After securing the Arrow of Fate and fighting off Guionne and his devil minions, we returned to Sayre. Upon arriving we learned that Amyria’s condition had deteriorated severely. Bejen was at a loss and urged us to depart for the plane of Celestia, where we could hopefully find help for Amyria in the city of Jusor.

Tzolek was carrying Amyria as we made our way to our ship. But before we could reach it their was a thunderous howl that echoed from the sky. When we looked up we saw a group of warriors running towards us. They were actually running through the air, in similar manner to the way Ithyk takes to the air from time to time.

When the warriors landed in front of us their leader introduced himself as the Erlking, the Master of the Wild Hunt. He apparently makes a habit out of seeking out the most skilled warriors he can find and challenging them to mortal combat. The Erlking and his hunting party launched their attack, but they found that we were a quarry they could not defeat. With the knowledge that we needed to get Amyria to Celestia as quickly as possible we fought hard and defeated the so-called, Master of the Hunt.

We quickly set sail for Celestia. Verne was able to use a ritual to allow us to cross the barrier between planes and we soon found ourselves in Jusor. We were greeted by a small group that included a friend. It was Kalad, the dwarven monk. He had died in the later battles fought against the Githyanki. Moradin was pleased with Kalad’s service, however, and so he made Kalad one of his exalted servants who would be stationed in Jusor. While saddened that he died, we were happy to see him so rewarded by his god.

After we finished catching up with Kalad, we moved on to the business at hand. How do we restore Bahamut to life? And what can be done for Amyria? With the help of Kalad and the others, we discovered that Bahamut had foreseen what was to come. Before he died he placed a portion of his essence into the sword that we had found in Rivenroar, the same one that we used to restore Amyria originally. With that act, Amyria and Bahamut are now connected. We need something called the Creation Spark, which is in Moradin’s forge, and we need to bring that spark, along with the Arrow of Fate, across the Bridge of Al-Sihal here in Celestia. If we can do that, then Bahamut would be reborn.

Of course we need to do this while making sure that Dakranad does not get his claws on the spark and Bahamut’s mantle, which he most certainly wants to do in order to claim Bahamut’s power. As we were discussing our plans, the temple we were in was beset upon by a force of angels, devils, and silver dragons. We ran outside to face them and were able to convince the angels to leave, by appealing to their loyalty to Bahamut and letting them know that in our previous battles we did not kill any of their fellow divines.

The devils and the dragons, however, did not leave. We fought a battle that raged across the rooftops and streets of Jusor around the temple. In the end we were victorious, but it was a costly victory. When we reentered the building we found that another group of devils had attacked, and they took Amyria. We need to get to Dakranad and stop him. Bahamut, Amyria, and the lives of countless others are at stake.

Madmartigan's Journal: Book Three, pages 7-8
Big time!

I got a new toy. I ripped the Arrow of Fate out of the biggest giant I’ve ever seen, after the Men & Ithyk laid the smack down on him. It’s neat! It turns into different weapons and sizes, lets me breathe fire and competes with the other voice in my head. Oh boy, it’s getting crowded in there. Luckily my head is bigger now, so there’s more room.
I got some new swords, too. Now that I’m big I want big swords in my big hands. Being big is fun! No wonder Ithyk is always laughing.
Amyria is sick. A ghost dwarf we used know told us it was because Bahamut was inside her, or something. I didn’t get it. So we hopped in the Ship Victorious, defeated the king of Goblins real quick, and took off. Eachthigrn came to me in a dream to tell me how proud he is of me for standing up to him. It was fun!
In the holy city we flew to (warped to), thanks brain! (you’re welcome). Warped to. What a fun word. We warped to Celestia to steal the fire from Moradin to do something on a bridge and make Bahamut pull out. I think. Usually Kage pays attention to that stuff for me.
Anyway, we fought some dragons and devils, a fun name for a game, and the butts stole Amyria!
OK, I stopped bleeding. Time to go kick some dragon tail.

Madmartigan's Journal: Book Three, page 6
Pissing off the Gods, for Justice!

So we stormed the angel island, beat the piss out of several of them, and then proceeded to break a bunch of ancient Godly seals to steal a super charged arrow, all while a Titan approached, bent on killing us all. In other words, my day has been fucking amazing.
We used the Exodus knife to buy us a little rest time and I finished the last of the head Eachthigrn told me to eat last night.
I woke up big. Like, Ithyk big. My clothes were all ripped to shreds and my swords all look tiny in my hands, not a problem I’m used to. I made some quick adjustments to my armor so it didn’t look like I borrowed my little brother’s leathers, and ate most of our food stores. I’m still hungry, but not ravenous anymore. I guess this is what Eachthigrn was talking about. I hope I don’t get bigger. On the upside, Mr. Pokington stayed the same size. He looks small on my new body, but if he was proportionate I might really hurt someone.
Apparently it’s clobbering time. I’ll check back in once we give this Titan a Roman War Helmet.

Madmartigan's Journal: Book Three, pages 2-3
RIP Unky Herb

Hey there gorgeous,
Haven’t felt much like writing lately. Apparently The Platinum One is dead. Or, maybe not, it’s hard to tell. Anyway, things are kind of a bummer right now. We killed the lich that did it, but not before he finished his God killing ritual. If a lich casts a ritual, does that make it a lichual?
He had it coming, but I still didn’t feel good about killing him. I know he was an ancient, evil lich, but he looked a little like my great uncle Herb. We just basically killed an old man. We talked to him longer than it took us to destroy him.
I’m sad. Uncle Herb gave me my first beer. Oh, and the whole Bahamut thing.
We sailed the Astral Sea to some island to look into maybe bringing him back from the dead, or something. Some big son’bitch attacked the ship, but we killed him good. Ithyk ate his eye, which is supposed to contain some tiny piece of an evil God. I’m not scooping that poop, I can tell you that much. We took the things head and mounted it to the prow of Madmartigan’s Ship Victorious.
When we got to the island a bunch of angels and dragons accused us of killing Bahamut, though they didn’t seem to believe it themselves. I left them alive for questioning, I’m guessing they’re being forced into doing someone’s bidding, or some such. Just waiting for them to wake up…

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 7, Part: 2 (EXCERPTS)

We advanced further up the tower and were greeted by more of Irfeljar’s guards. There were several undead scattered about the room. I dashed in towards the one who looked like the leader of this group. The others quickly followed and the melee spread across the chamber. We quickly eliminated the group and once again made our way to the next room.

The next chamber we entered contained four pits in the corners and more guards. The leader of this group was busy torturing an angel tied to an altar. As we prepared to fight he dragged his sword across the angel’s chest to taunt us. I rushed the leader and sent him flying back towards the group. As we were dealing with the undead a beholder rose from a pit in the corner and joined the fray. I ran over to it and knocked it back down into the pit so we could focus on finishing the others first. With the undead destroyed, Madmartigan, Ithyk, Tzolek and myself jumped down and attacked the beholder while Kage and Verne rained down bolts of energy from above. The beholder was finished quickly.

In the next chamber we were face to face with Mornujhar, finally. He was, of course, not alone. He had more undead allies, these were more capable than the others we had faced on the lower levels. Tiamat’s Black Exarch was a ferocious combatant, and his allies made it an even more dramatic fight, but in the end he too fell to Madmartigan’s Men… and Ithyk.

With Mornujhar dead, the only challenge left here is Irfeljar. We must reach him before he can use his ritual. A ritual capable of slaying a god, and here we are racing to stop it from being cast. …We’ve come a long way since Brindol.

The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 7, Part: 1 (EXCERPTS)

After our victorious battle, most of the others rested at the manse for some time. I split my time between aiding the rebuilding effort and dispatching those who tried to take advantage of the chaos and prey on the innocent. I would check in on the rest of the group at the manse every couple of days, and keep an eye on them when they would go out for excessive revelry, just to make sure things did not get too out of hand.

And then after a few weeks of this, an angel of Ioun appeared and wished to meet with us. We met with the angel in the library of the citadel. The angel told us of the Black Exarch of Tiamat, named Mornujhar. Mornujhar was conspiring with a very old, and very powerful lich, named Irfeljar. The lich had once been loyal to Vecna, but had been lured by Tiamat to leave Vecna’s service. Irfeljar had a domain in the Shadowfell that he had created and been ruling over for centuries.

The angel informed us that Irfeljar was preparing a ritual in his tower for Tiamat, and that the exarch was protecting him until the ritual was complete. The angel asked us to go the Shadowfell, learn about the ritual, and destroy the lich. We agreed and quickly went on our way through a portal.

The lich’s realm was a forest of dead trees that sat under a muted grey sky. The air was thick, but I could feel the currents of shadow stirring in this place. As my connection to shadow grows, I feel the lure of the Shadowfell more and more. But this place was strange. The lich’s presence had corrupted it and there was something about the shadows here that didn’t sit well with me.

We were barely getting our bearings when we were attacked by a treant and wights wearing heavy armor. Despite catching us somewhat off-guard, we made short work of them.
As we continued, Verne and Kage could sense the magic of some powerful ritual still resonating in the realm.

After hiking through the forest for a while we came upon a black stream. Standing on the opposite bank was a skeletal wizard and some kind of large undead monster. The spellcaster offered us a deal. He, too, sought the death of the lich and offered to work together. He identified himself as a priest of Vecna (it should be unsurprising that the gods would hold grudges for so long). The sorcerer was clearly trying to get information out of us through discussion, and became agitated when we declined his offers of gifts from his lord. In his agitated state, he let it slip that the lich had created a ritual capable of slaying a god. Once he realized his mistake, he attacked. Despite having Lord Vecna on his side we were able to dispatch him and his brute quickly.

Moving through the forest once again, we soon came upon an undead dryad. When Irfeljar had moved his realm to the Shadowfell, she was transfigured into a lich as well. She is now bound to her rotting tree, and it seems that the long years trapped in this horrid place have driven her mad. She would beg us for help one moment and then the very next sentence out of her mouth would be threat dripping with vitriol. Then she would go back to begging us for help. Though it wore on our patience, we understood her lack of blame for the current situation and so wanted to honestly help her. Finally she told us of what was needed. She needed us to plant a part of her tree in the Material Plane. We took the piece she offered to carry home with us.

We continued onward, and reached the lich’s tower. Outside the gates were more of the treants, as well as several specters. After defeating them we continued inside, where ghosts with halos of flame and a chain golem awaited us.

They were more skilled than the treants and spirits outside, but we still handily dispatched them. With them out of our way we can make our way further into the tower. Wherever the lich and the exarch are, we must find them before the ritual is completed.

Madmartigan's Journal, Book Three, Page 1
Soul searching

We’re in some dark forest, about to make our way up some big evil fortress to fight another lich and her bodyguard, the Black Exarch of Tiamat. An angel of secrets told us about this ritual the lich, Irfeljar, was getting ready to cast for Tiamat. I’m not sure if this is what Eachthigrn warned me about. I hope not, because I still have like half a sack of crushed Dullahan head to munch on. More likely this is your standard “Ancient evil threatening the entire world, go get em!” kind of thing. I’m not even super jacked yet.
We came across some servants of Vecna, they said they were also here to kill Irfeljar because she betrayed Vecna, let’s work together, etc. I mean mugged him to get some info out of him, cuz he was all about taking and not giving, and that’s my shtick. He told me that the ritual is designed to kill a God (gulp) and then attacked us for giving up such a secret.
It didn’t go well for him.
We also met some crazy undead dryad bitch who wanted us to plant her tree in the real world. I’d plant something in her, if you know what I mean. She was pretty hot in a “undead booty” kinda way.
Ya know, I think my sexual appetites are getting more and more exotic. I banged Gith, there was that orgy with the transformed unicorn ladies, the Bow and the Axe Wound, now I’m hitting on undead faeries. Not to mention forcibly finger-banging a red dragon. Gone are the days of a supple red-haired wench and a content nights sleep. I think I might have a problem…

Ithyk's Epic Ascension
A letter of some urgency to the Crooked Crown

I would first apologize for my handwriting here. Normally this would not be a problem, but I hope you are able to decipher my encryption between my shaking nerves and my learning to write with my left hand. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to transcribe the events as they unfolded on the morning when we lost our camp in an effort to keep you from seeking reprisal against the invading party. Anything attempted would be a pyrrhic victory at best and utter desolation at worst. Of this, I can assure you.

While I am but your humble spy and forgery master (albeit now crippled and looking for new work) I stood on the wall of our small fortress keen eyed and on watch. I’d barely begun after breakfast and the sun had barely made it into the sky when a graceless behemoth staggered up to our gates. It smelled of burnt iron and it giggled as it clumsily walked up to the gate. It seemed to be propping itself up with a door. Orange blots of …. something I’m not sure of… streamed out of its mouth and floated up into the air as it talked. It slurred something at us. At first, we thought it said, “I am thick” and we all had a good laugh saying,“You sure are, to have wandered up here by yourself”. We made a big show of aiming our ballistas at him as well as the full line of archers we had at ready (and those hidden still). Sly Baron Carab told me to throw the boiling oil on it as he had so kindly set himself underneath it. I obliged, hit the arcanic heat spiker and turn the pot over with with a great heave.

“I am Ithyk!” Its voice resonated in my bones and the dread had set in. This was Ithyk, of Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk. Rumor had he fell from the sky and was still angry at it for it. It had also said said he was a gnoll, but this creature was was a carnivorous slab of black iron. He was all twisted shapes with a fiery glow and a sprout of broken floating chains that looked like a mane down his neck and back.

And he was also drunk.

“I am Ithyk! Run or be slaughtered!” He bellowed as the oil slapped against him and went sizzling.

It giggled.

Cackling, it shouted, “I will like this. This will be good!” It shot up from the ground and leapt atop the wall, landing on top of Sly, crushing his stomach and splintering the walkway. He staggered to the men behind the Ballistas as he was lit up with arrows by our archers. Most of the arrows cascaded uselessly off its hide but the ones that that stayed did not slow it down. He gutted the first man with a sword that put my teeth on edge from impact. It looked dark, warped and sinister. The metallic thrum it made said everything; It craved blood. Without missing its stride the creature Ithyk stripped the flesh from our man’s neck with ease while crushing his leg as he fell. It snarled another challenge with strips of Gregory spilling out of its mouth. The carnage had begun in earnest.

Our archers sprayed him with arrows as rapidly as they could, orange blood floated up from under the black iron. I thought we were at an advantage as he begun to waiver, but it seemed to only be his drunkenness. It laughed again as the call to arms rallied the camp. Our men, all of them were put down, one by one. Ithyk thoroughly and brutally slaughtered our men like a gleeful avalanche.

I had wasted many a bolt trying to stop that creature and through the carnage I thought to myself,“I can get out of this, I just have to get the perfect shot. I have to wait for my moment.” amidst the sea of entrails I tried to be the calm in the storm. I hardened my nerve, walled out the tide of distractions, and set my crossbow trained on his eye. He looked at me across the field of corpses, some still writhing.

And vomited.

It was the most vile thing I have ever smelled. I stood in shock from the sheer volume his expulsion and remembered myself as it looked back up at me.

I shot it square in the eye. Square in its mother fucking blasphemous and evil eye. My shot rang true as I landed it. It should have been over.

Then it fucking laughed again.

It stomped the ground and a surge of blood as well as its prior regurgitation flew into its gaping maw.

It was unholy, it was wrong, it could not be killed. So I did what any sane man in my position would do. I ran faster than my legs could move, farther than they would allow. I ran and didn’t look behind me. I’d hoped the other men left fighting would have blocked his path. I just ran until I came to a small fox den and I thought to hide in it. I rushed inside killing the fox with my knife. I could stay there, I could stay there forever. That was my plan. Stay there till the stars burned out of the sky.
Some time later my numbness subsided with the sensation of the earth moving. One step at a time. I stood wide eyed at the entrance of the hole, waiting. I thought to myself it will all be over in moments just be a hero about it. That’s all, no one will know your story, but at least you’ll be a hero before you die. I got my knife at ready and waited for the next eternity to pass. The next instance of time happened all too fast to properly recall. I think its giant head lurched in to the hole and I instantly snapped at its throat with my dagger. It struck between it’s neck and jaw, but had accomplished nothing. I hadn’t the strength to make it through its hide. Frozen as I was, it gnashed its teeth against my arm and tore out huge gobs of my flesh. I pulled away and watched in a detached fashion as my skin tore and my hand fell back into his mouth and back out the hole. The world had turned red. I don’t mean that figuratively or to paint some fucking picture for you. The sky was red. The trees were red. Ithyk was red. I could hear my pulse in my own head drumming louder than anything I’d heard in my life before. But then my senses spread out from that squallid little hole and I heard Ithyk’s drums. It was like a marching procession. The sound of his pumping blood was so loud, it deafened me.

After some time (after my shock and some time of self reflection which would come weeks later), I came to think that somehow that’s what Ithyk sees all the time. That’s how it views the world. That it is a powerful beast filled with a life bigger than anything around it, and we are simply small, harmless, but tasty rabbits fighting for our lives.

Now, I didn’t get out of that hole through any skill of my own, through any trickery I had played, or any acts of heroism. I could only scream, that’s the only thing I was capable of doing at the time. I screamed until my throat felt as bloody as my mangled wrist. I dully recall applying a tourniquet with my belt, but that hadn’t been until after it left. It had left, for some reason but to this day I still can’t imagine why. Maybe, it had just gotten full. Maybe it had gotten distracted by another man at camp, making his last stand. But as I left the camp I shuddered, coming across another pile of Ithyk’s disgorge. A metallic smelling hot chum that had signified that he had been by there. The part that haunts me still was that pile of flesh was all that was left of people I had known, joked with, and become family with.

And it is with that heavy heart that I deliver to you this news. I implore you not to chase after this monster. It is remorseless, unstoppable, and hungry for the blood of men. It took out a camp of 30 men of which I still believe I am the sole survivor. And for that, I think the only reason I am able to write to you today, is because maybe, by the will of the gods, Ithyk had been full.


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