Scales of War

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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Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Pages 29 & 30
Teabagging a God

Turns out Tiamat chose a new White Exarch, some barbarian king in the North. Tzolek told us who and what he was, this Kurzan. Apparently he was the sucker that destroyed his tribe, enslaved Ithyk too I guess. Bad news for that guy.
We all boarded The Manse Flightorious and flew North, hovering over this massive barbarian camp. We all epically made our way into the crowd, Kage and I teleporting to the ground on the back of Kickass, and started mowing down dudes like Gods among men. Typical Madmartigan’s Men (and Ithyk), in other words.
Somewhere in the bloodbath we came upon some foes worthy of our attention, but before we could throw down a cold wind cut across the plain and some Winter Court goons showed up seeking my head. Immediately a hot gust of stink cut the cold, depositing another Aspect of Dispater into the melee. Shit got real, I’m not gonna lie, but I’m here writing in my journal and they’re not (assuming they have journals. Unlikely, only cool guys have journals.)
After that fight, suckers started clearing out of our way until we found Kurzan. We traded a bit of banter before this flash of light deposited an Aspect of Tiamat into our midst. She offered us jobs as her Exarchs, clearly worried that we were going to ruin her day. I said no thanks and gave the signal, which made The Men immediately launch into action. Ithyk and I charged Kurzan and got a couple shots in before Tzolek, moving faster than I could see, turned the Exarch into a red smear, covering me in blood and guts.
With that our attention turned to the Aspect stabbing, chopping and zapping her to the Void right quick. She started teleporting around, so I stabbed her with my Fae Slayer, grabbed her tail and pinned her down. I totally had that dragon bitch on lock down, two in the pink-style. Gave her a little Madmartigan teabag before I started choking the life out of one her many necks. She managed to slip away for a second before The Kid kicked her through dimensions, back into her right place next to me. Tzolek and Ithyk came in and we invited her to a patented Madmartigan’s Men kick circle.
Watch your pussy, Tiamat. I’m coming for ya.

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Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Pages 25-28
Epic Badassery

It has been many moons since we heroes of Madmartigan’s Men & Ithyk put our noble lives on the line to stand in the way of the wicked Emperor and his evil machinations…
Bahamut, it’s not easy writing smart like that. How does the kid do it? Not that I was reading his journal while he was out “bringing justice to the meek” or something. Kid has a knack for fancy words and limitless levels of bad-assery.
Anyway, yea, we stormed the Emperors keep and beat the shit out of him & his. I hung a Madmartigan banner from the tower on the way up and tons of troops cheered. Fucking amazing. The Emperor put up a bit of a fight, but the red dragon Idontknowhisname was the more formidable. Not that I didn’t zip line up to his perch and beat the shit out of him any less for it. I hung the Emperor’s body from the top of the tower and his troops mostly gave up.
Gith came up as we were raiding the tower and asked for the sceptre, so I gave it to her. Later on that night I gave her another sceptre, too. She seemed to enjoy it, despite showing no emotion. I think that’s kind of her thing. She didn’t try to kill me after, so that’s something.
We helped out around the city for a few days, but I started getting antsy in my pantsy, so my dragon pal zapped me back to The Manse. The Men & I (and Ithyk, though the kid stayed behind) threw a huge “We saved the world” rager and I finally lived my dream of bedding a dwarf gal and an elf lady at the same time! I can officially check the “Bow and the Axe wound” off my fuck-it list! It truly was an epic night.
After that I did some relaxing, but found myself quickly bored, as always, so I went to Overlook to get into trouble. While I was there I visited my old friend Ulysses Conrad. He said there was some new gang in town, making the guards lives difficult. They apparently just didn’t have the skill or manpower to contend with The Priests, as they were called. I handpicked twenty of the best swordsman in the guard and trained them for a couple months. I paid for sweet equipment myself and had them officially recognized by the city as Madmartigan’s Other Men, or The Others, for brevitys sake. They’re dealing with The Priests now, actually winning battles and making a difference. I put a couple good men in charge and, by last count, there were already a hundred of them.
Eachthigern summoned me back to his court and warned that I needed to be prepared for something big coming. He sent me and Kickass on a journey to find some dude named Dullahan, stop him before he killed a chick named Iolanthe, and retrieve his head because blah blah blah, faerie stuff.
I found Dullahan, who rode a big black mare and had a whip made out of spines. Oh, and was fucking headless! How was I supposed to bring it back if he didn’t have one? We had a pretty epic ride down and I clocked him good, but he pulled me down off Kickass by wrapping his spine whip around my neck, dragging me behind his horse. I teloported away and then onto his horse, and we just beat the shit out of each other. Luckily, I’m Madmartigan and in addition to being the greatest swordsman I also have deadly damn hands. I literally punched him off his horse, then knocked the horse out when it tried to throw me. I stabbed Dullahan in the heart, like Eachthigern told me too, and found his head in a bag on his belt. Convenient!
When I brought it back to Eachthigrn he stomped on it, touched it with his horn and told me to eat a little of it everyday until it was all gone, to prepare me for what is coming…
Shit is nasty, but it’s working. Already I feel stronger, and I swear I’m getting bigger. At least parts of me. Hopefully it does more than make my dick bigger. Even I can’t fuck every problem away…

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The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 6, Part: 4 (EXCERPTS)

We entered the Emperor’s castle through the foundation and found his throne room. It was there that we were confronted with the Emperor’s elite guard, a fire mage, and the Emperor’s captain. They made it clear that they would stop us at all costs. We made it clear that they were no match for us. While they put up a good fight, we defeated them all.

On our way up the tower we could hear the battle raging outside. Madmartigan decided to wave our banner from one of the windows and we could immediately hear our allies’ cheers below.

At the top of the stairs we were finally face-to-face with the Emperor. He stood battle ready, wearing a pitch-black suit of armor and wielding a silver sword in one hand, and the Scepter of Ephelomon in the other. Surrounding the Emperor was a group of warrior githyanki women. And perched nearby was the Red Dragon Exarch of Tiamat.

The Emperor threatened us and lost his temper when we laughed. The dragon encouraged us to join Tiamat, which we found just as hilarious. As we were talking though I had time to study the scepter. I came to the sudden realization that the scepter was no longer exerting any power over the dragon. I told Vraxanault, knowing the dragon would attack the Emperor with as much fervor as it would attack us.

I rushed at the Emperor and his warriors. I slashed my through all of them. When I stopped to make another attack on the Emperor, all the women were dead. I was expecting more from his entourage, but I guess he was grasping at straws at this point. The rest of the team and I focused our attention on the Emperor and before he could even launch a proper counterattack we defeated him.

The dragon was the only remaining foe standing between us and victory. The dragon’s scaled glowed red with heat, and it bellowed in rage. Our fight raged all over the top of the tower. The huge monster was a vicious opponent, but we were finally able to defeat it.

Several hours later the last of the fighting ended. Gith assumed control of the city. She met with the elder red dragons that the Emperor had enslaved and she freed them. The dragons left without attacking, but they did warn that if they should find githyanki again, they would not be so peaceful.

Gith met with us and thanked us for all of our aid. The infighting among her people would end and they would stand united. Madmartigan gave her the scepter and she promised us that we would always have a safe place to rest in the walls of her city.

With the war over the Coalition was disbanded so that the rebuilding effort could begin. Everyone had so much work to do in the months ahead to repair the damage from the war.

Some of the others are eager to return home for a rest. I see no opportunity for rest, though. As the cities of the Vale are rebuilt there will be those who wish to capitalize on the situation. I will continue to protect the innocent from those that decide to prey on them.

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The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 6, Part: 3 (EXCERPTS)

Leaving a long trail of fallen enemies behind us, we walked into the Separatists’ camp. Tensions were high as we walked inside the barricade and the githyanki did not know what to make of us. But Talanee, the monk, was with the Separatists and vouched for us.
Gith, who had still been unconscious, finally awoke during this conversation. She identified herself and the Separatists agreed to unite with the Coalition to fight the Emperor’s forces.

We were able to alert the Coalition, and they sent Fariex, along with some other members of the Coalition. They informed us that the battle was going poorly for the Coalition on some of the other fronts. We needed to act quickly. Gith told us that she wanted to free the githyanki from the Emperor’s rule and reunite them with the githzerai.

We agreed to assassinate the Emperor while the Separatists and the Coalition engaged the Emperor’s forces. They would try to spare as many of them as possible so that Gith would still have a people to lead when the fighting was over. After we finished planning everything, Fariex teleported us into the Lich Queen’s former citadel.

After the Emperor defeated the Lich Queen he built his castle on top of the ruins of her destroyed fortress. We would use the ruins to get into his castle from below. We appeared in what had been the Lich Queen’s grand hall. The hall was not empty, though. Wights and a dracolich were lying in wait. They were serving the Lich Queen’s reanimated remains. I have never seen an undead similar to what the Lich Queen had become. She was nothing more than a disembodied spine. It was one of the more disturbing things I’ve seen since we began our adventures. Her voice echoed throughout the room as she told us to retreat. We stood our ground and braced ourselves for the fight.

The Lich Queen was a terrible opponent. Magic gems were fused into her vertebrae and provided her with powerful abilities. As we fought her the gems began exploding, and we could see the magic in them get absorbed into the spine each time, and each time we could see the Lich Queen’s strength renewed as chips in bone knit and fractures vanished. The wights were also fearsome foes as they fought for their queen. Of all things, the dracolich was the one we spent little time engaging for most of the battle. Aside from a few hits from Madmartigan and myself, the dracolich just seemed like less of a threat than the others.

When we had finally defeated the wights and the Lich Queen, we were able to focus our full attention on the dracolich, bringing it to a fast end. We just had one of the more difficult battles we’ve faced for some time, and we haven’t even entered the Emperor’s castle yet. I think the legend of Madmartigan’s Men, and Ithyk, will be getting its most exciting chapter yet after today is done.

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Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Pages 23 & 24
Beauty Boner

We finally reached the less-evil Gith hold in the city, but not before we carved our way through serious amounts of bad guys. I believe the term “metric fuck ton” was thrown out by Kage at one point.
Dispaeter sent his aspect (I guess…) to reclaim Gith. I warned him about going up against us, but of course he ignored and I choked him to death with my damned deadly hands while The Men took care of his cronies.
After that the gith let us in.
Ice bitch unfroze and started barking orders immediately. Soon after the coalition showed up, including my main man the dragon. That guy rules.
After some talk of storming the General’s stronghold we finally were dismissed. Same plan as always, big distraction out front, Madmartigan’s Men & Ithyk sneaking in the back door, leaving everyone sore. Story of my life.
When I finally laid my head down I immediately fell asleep. Eachthigern was there waiting for me in his glade, with Kickass and a whole squad of majestic fucking unicorns. He told me that I’ve done well as his knight, cleansing the evil fey, blah blah blah. I tuned him out because two of the unicorns starting getting busy and it was just about the most beautiful thing mine eyes have ever had the pleasure to behold. I actually cried a single tear of joy, in celebration of all the wonder in the world.
Eachthigern bit me to get my attention. I think my beauty boner gave me away.
He told me, again, that I wasn’t going to be able to just summon Kickass anymore, but the entire Joy (apparently that’s what you call a herd of Unicorns) to trample my enemies and heal The Men! Fucking sweeeeeeeeeet!
Then they all surrounded me and started prancing in joy, but the dream turned dark and the unicorns turned into riders on wolves, biting at me as I chopped them down with my sword. I turned to see The Men retreat over a bridge and then drop it as I literally held the wolves at bay. I woke up just as one of the rides stabbed me in the side, a fresh stitch of pain where the sword had been. Not sure what the fuck that was about.

This morning we met, discussed strategy and then my dragon pal teleported us all into the Generals secret evil guy hideout. We came upon the former queen, now just a floating spine and a spooky shadow, along with some lackeys and a scary ass zombie dragon. I used my zip line to drop myself right in front of that bad Larry, and Rocky yelled to tear out its throat, so I did and this oozey sack of cold goo came with it.
They put up possibly the best fight we’ve seen yet, but in the end Madmartigan’s Men (& Ithyk) marched on while they lay dead.
Totally took that dragon’s skull.

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The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 6, Part: 2 (EXCERPTS)

We fought our way towards the area where the Separatists had barricaded themselves. As we approached the wall we were met by some of the Emperor’s more experienced soldiers. They tried to threaten and demoralize us, but their words lacked any sting. Tired of dragging out the inevitable, we rushed into battle. The soldiers were more seasoned than many of the githyanki we had fought along the way, but they still fell before the might of Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk.

During the battle with the Emperor’s soldiers, some of the Separatists had gathered atop the barricade to watch the fight. As they continued to watch us while we walked towards them, they had a great view of an even more dramatic show.

We were still a few dozen feet from the barricade when there was an explosive flash of light. As our eyes refocused we were standing before several devils who were accompanied by angels in the service of Tiamat. The devils were Lord Dispater’s personal guard. Dispater sent an aspect of himself to collect Gith and punish us for taking her from his tower. The Separatists atop the barricade did not hide their shock and fear of Dispater’s entourage, but we are Madmartgan’s Men, and while some of us may have felt a bit more reticence than we have in a long time, we all stood strong.

The devils and Tiamat’s angels were a lot more to handle than the Emperor’s guard. I flew into the group and started dashing between them. I started pummeling them as quickly as I possibly could. Ithyk, Tzolek, and Madmartigan rushed the front line while I darted around the back of the group. Kage and Verne were helping us maintain control of the fight and soon we started taking down devils and angels one by one. After several heated moments, no one stood between us and the barricade.

One thing is for sure, the Separatists will definitely listen to whatever we have to say after seeing that fight.

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Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Page 22
YEEEEE-HAAAAA

We found Gith, all frozen in glass, and made it back to the ships. Max the devil was waiting for us and broke her out, distributed some presents and sent us on our way.
We flew into the heart of the battle between the Separatists and the Coalition, dogged by Gith ships and dragons. Kage was at the helm, doing fine, but I got a sudden inspiration so I pushed him out of the way, took control (like I do) and smashed that big ship right into a whole fucking squad of ugly Gith shit heads.
A bunch rushed out to meet us while they started bombarding us with big explody weapons. The kid ran up and started breaking them so I followed suit, smashing through them while the men (and Ithyk) killed the troops. I kept an eye on them over my shoulder, throwing them thumbs ups as they totally destroyed everything that moved.
It’s what we do and we’re damn good at it.

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The Way of the Bat: Justice Tempered in Darkness – Chapter 6, Part: 1 (EXCERPTS)

The Iron Tower’s prison was a twisting maze, rife with tall towers and jagged spikes. We dispatched a small patrol of devils and continued our search for Gith’s cell. We quickly realized such a search could take years. We decided to try and find the warden, hoping he would know the location of the cell. After questioning a few inmates, we found the warden.
While the warden didn’t know where Gith was, he did know of a hidden cell that he was ordered to stay away from. We destroyed the warden, and his guard, and found the hidden room. Inside the room was Gith, frozen inside of magical glass. We grabbed her and teleported away using the magic that the devil had given us.

When we returned to our ships, we found them both fully repaired. The devil freed Gith from the glass case. She was alive, but very weak. She fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.

The devil told us that the githyanki army was fighting both the Separatists and the Coalition, but the two forces had not yet been able to join together to fight the githyanki forces. If we were able to bring Gith to the Coalition, then the Separatists would almost assuredly join the Coalition.

We boarded both the ships and left the foul, hellish plane. Our githyanki captive was able to help us get the ships to Tu’narath. The city was huge and there seemed to be fighting everywhere.

The Separatists were cornered in the middle of the city. We decided to help them first.
There were a few githyanki ships that started following us and trying to take us down. We tried to outmaneuver them, taking the ships down closer to the buildings and weaving around obstacles, while returning fire when they were in range. We finally reached the center of the city and Madmartigan brought his ship right down on a large group of githyanki fighters. It was the kind of entrance that Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk are becoming legendary for.

We got off the ships and were greeted by Red Dragon Knights and other githyanki troops. They thought that their guns would help them, but I rushed in behind the forward troops and began working on disabling the guns. Madmartigan quickly followed and so I dove back into the fray fighting the troops. Ithyk, Verne, Tzolek and Kage plowed in from the front. Tzolek whipped himself up into a frenzy and started smashing through a bunch of the githyanki foot soldiers while I focused on the ones I thought were in charge.

In the end, they ended up like everyone else who has been foolish enough to stand against Madmartigan’s Men and Ithyk.

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Madmartigan's Journal, Book Two, Page 21
The detail's in the devil

This place is a prison. These people aren’t my friends. Except for my friends, who are. My friends.
Sorry, feeling a bit turned around because of the epic fucking scope of this prison. We managed to find the warden, a big ugly mother with a scorpion tail. The men & I (and Ithyk) laid him and his goons to waste after Verne pried some little secret right out of his brain.
That guy creeps me out sometimes…
Oh, wait, I have nothing to be worried about concerning Verne. Why did I ever think I did.
Wait… What?

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