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.
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.
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.