Story of MalthusEdit
Among the weakest Fiends that exist, there are those called Scrap. These Fiends, humans, and Forsaken are those that are so terrible that they are not even branded. Among those are a couple that united out of love. It is a strange occurance for Fiends to procreate with humans out of feelings of attraction between them. This happenstance is how Malthus came to be. His mother and father both being Scrap, Malthus bares the same title. Malthus's mother eventually decides to leave for reasons never known to the young forsaken. Although he had no qualities of battle Malthus's father was quite intelligent, and thus made inventions. As a weak Fiend, Malthus's father eventually was driven from the Marquis. Malthus was taken by Cyn's forces to work as a slave. After years of work he managed to become a recruit. He heard nothing from his father for many, many years, and that suited him just fine. Then, two years ago a human adventurer named Hector killed the Warlord Cyn. Malthus was left without a master. He wondered as a vagrant for a time, and over time became more and more destitute. He sold his equipment and possessions to fulfill his lust with the succubi. One day a courier finds him: in it he gets a message from his estranged father. It reads:
“My dear Malthus,
I write to you now because I know my life has been marked for end. After I left, I traveled to the county Maclmore. I was immediately brought before the Count when I was discovered to be a Fiend. I told the Count here about my genius to build awful and awe inspiring creations. He spared my life, took all of my supplies and weapons, and told me I could live if I were to build him inventions and crafts that I had perfected while living in the Marquis. I was horrified at what he could possibly use Hellfire creations for, but I soon got to work. Amazingly, after years of experimentation and different procedures, many resulting in the death of multiple subjects the Count captured, we created an arsenal of Hellfire inventions, ranging from small flasks of literal Hellfire to catapult ammunition that could melt straight through stone walls. They were works of power and cruelty mixed in one. After we’d found out how to make the contraptions, the Count began producing multitudes of them, I don’t even know how many are in existence. I knew my breaths were numbered once the devices were made. By the time you receive this letter, I will most likely have perished. During my days here, though, I did create a legacy to be left behind for you, my beloved son. I know that I could never live up to what you wished your father to be, so therefore an ally and I built something that perhaps you can use in your life. It’s a sword. Its name is Blightmourne. It is a sword of great and awesome power, and perhaps will aid you against your foes. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this weapon, and I have hidden it in a place where only someone from my bloodline will find it. Just know it is in the last place you would look, but the first place you’d think to find it. There is one more thing you should know Malthus, being that I am no blacksmith, I had a comrade help me build the sword. He is a mortal named Hrothgar, and he is a master blacksmith. He lives in woods outside of Maclmore that are occupied by a witch, and has a great forge there. I was able to evade Maclmore’s sentries and get to him in order to have him craft the sword. I risked my life to have this sword made for you, and I ask that as a final wish from your father, you wield it in battle.
After spending the last of his money to get the message read to him, for his lack of reading, he decides to set off towards this human hold. He readies his poultry supplies. He wears ragged tan clothes, worn destroyed shoes. He owns nothing else to his name. After a long trip he makes it.
Of Shadow and HellEdit
Malthus finally walks into the town, now called Eastwood, to search for the smith mentioned in his father's letter. Walking through the woods, he encounters a small imp. It stares at him and he tries to continue on. He, breaking eye contact, unwittingly submits to the creature. It tries to get him to obey and he kicks it into the bushes. He then discovers a hut in the woods with a forge next to it. Convinced this is the place he knocks on the door. "We don’t care about any...." He hears a woman's voice and then the door opens. "Who the fuck are you?" She says in a harsh tone.
"I'm here to see Hrothgar; I apologize if I frightened you." Malthus says in an out-of-character way.
"Frightened me? I've seen tougher shits." She walks out and stands with a hand on her hip. "What is it you need me for?" Once Malthus finally gets a good look at her, he notices that she is impossibly attractive. The single most voluptuous woman he had ever laid his eyes on, even among the Fiend succubi.
"You're Hrothgar?" He says taken aback and tongue large in his mouth, "Well, my name is Malthus. My father was Riptear. He told me I could seek you out when I came here."
"Riptear... Riptear..." She says thinking aloud, "That's right the Fiend. He wanted me to give you your inheritance. Well I owed him one, so I'll go get it." She heads back into the hut. She returns with a package. "Debt paid." she throws the package to him.
"So, when my father mentioned you in the letter he sent me, he stated you as a man, not a beautiful woman." Malthus says without thinking. "I'm sure that my father wouldn't have mistaken you for a man." He says trying to probe information out of her.
"I was a man then." She says as if it is a normal thing.
"Uh... care to explain?" Malthus says.
"No, not really" Hrothgar returns.
After being scolded about being in other people's business, Malthus opens the package. The package contains a map, some sort of metal fragment, a hood, and two days rations. The metal is chrome, and blackish. It seems deliberately made, a piece of some greater craft. Upon examining the map Malthus recognizes the area as that of Eastwood. Although he cannot read, he is able to see that the first piece must be at the X mark. The same X mark that is set on top of the hold's castle, Castle Eastwood.
After humbly borrowing a weapon from the smith, he pays a visit to the local church. Malthus is all his ambition, needs a place to sleep. He knocks on the great wooden door. After a brief moment the door opens and a tired old man is rubbing his eyes. "Do you have any idea what time it is?" He says then looks up at Malthus, especially at the markings on his skin and the color of his eyes. Recognition fills his face.
"Hello. I was hoping to find somewhere to sleep for the night. Could I earn a keep here?" Malthus asks.
"You are not human." The old priest says.
"No... I am not. Yet my need for shelter remains. Can you help me?"
"What are you? And what are your intentions?" The man seems weary of Malthus.
"I'm a traveler, and my intentions are to sleep. I'd prefer it to remain at that, if you'd have me." Malthus says trying to avoid the question.
"I’m afraid you'll have to give me more than that." He says sighing. "I know a devil-man when I see one." The priest says out loud.
"Well, apparently you know what I am already, and my intentions are just to survive. I'm attempting to find an inheritance my father left behind for me, other than that, I simply will go where life calls me to go." Malthus says in a cryptic way.
"And what inheritance is that? Your kind does tend to favor war." The priest says still clearly suspicious of the forsaken man.
"He told me of a sword he left behind for me." Malthus shows him the fragment "This is a piece of it. Another piece is supposed to be in this city." The priest looks at the shard.
"This...I have seen this before. Your father leaves you a weapon, tell me truth what are your plans for this weapon once you receive it?"
"I take you as a wise man. What does any man do when given a weapon? I do not plan to kill mindlessly like most of my people may, if that's what you fear" Malthus says.
"I don’t ask for cryptic answers devil. Answer me straight; what will you do with such a weapon. And I answer nothing until you answer me." His gaze bores into Malthus as if he knows what he will say already.
"My intentions are to kill. The sword will be soaked in the blood of anyone who aims to oppose me. Is that straight enough for you? I will run it through the heart of warriors who stand in my path to power like a hot knife through lard. Those are my intentions, human. I mean neither you nor anyone in this city harm, I just ask for a place to sleep." Malthus says defiantly.
"If you intend to become a warmonger, then I can offer you no asylum." The priest begins to shut the door, but Malthus catches the door with his foot.
"I answered your question. Now answer mine." Malthus demands.
The priest looks at the forsaken in the eyes and warns, "Leave this town immediately and I will not tell the guards of this incident. You will get no aid from me, monster." Grudgingly, Malthus releases the door and leaves the churchyard. He then sleeps in the gutter for the next day. Malthus then heads back to Hrothgar, where he asks her for a favor.
"I'm going to need a weapon. Could you help me with that?" He asks.
"Sure, but you are gonna have to pay like everyone else." She then laughs out loud.
"And what do you mean by that? I have a feeling you don't mean coin." Malthus says
"I mean in materials! It’s hard to come by out here. Or food, I always could go for some fine food and good ale."
"What kind of materials do you need?"
"What are you looking to make?"
"Well most materials in this area you would have to buy. You could try to raiding that old watch tower; they used it as a base, so it may have supplies. Be warned though, some bandits moved in there. Likely there is a bounty for them if you want to earn money while you are at it."
Thus the dreadnaught headed to the bounty board. There, he meets a man named Dante. They briefly converse, and then decide to team up against these bandits for the sake of money and practice. When they read the bounty they decide to try and enlist any other adventurers to assist them. Inside the tavern they see a lone warrior clad in make-shift heavy armor. Although the warrior never speaks they convince him to come with them on the bounty. Seeming especially interested in Malthus, the warrior agrees. They head toward the old watchtower. As soon as the three are out of town the warrior grabs Malthus and throws him down. He removes his sword and places it at Malthus' throat. The warrior removes his helmet and a woman's face is shown. She might have been pretty at one time, but at this moment she is so completely covered in burns she is easily considered ugly. Her face is so burnt that one eye seems to be closed permanently.
"Who do you identify as?" She demands. Despite her damaged visage, Malthus recognizes her as a forsaken like himself.
"I identify as a Forsaken. I'm not allied to either race. Nor am I bound to any warlord. And you? Who do you identify as?" He says staring her in the face.
"Anything, but true Fiend is a betrayal. You do not even have the right to challenge." She moves away from Malthus. "I was hoping for more." She glares at him for a moment.
"You were hoping for more? What exactly was it you were hoping for devil-daughter?" Malthus says feeling some insult.
"Someone powerful enough to be worth my time." She begins walking away, putting her helmet back on.
"Do not mistake my heritage for lack of power you pretender!" Malthus says feeling the sting of the last sentence.
As she walks she says, "I only care about the opinion of powerful people." Her voice now muffled by her helmet. She begins walking away from the two.
"I may accept that I am not full-blooded Fiend, as your delusional mind may think you are, but I know you are not stronger than me you mortal!" Malthus shouts at her with all the venom he can muster. She, clearly not caring about his words, continues walking. Malthus follows her shouting insults, "Fight me like the man you look like you ugly dog!"
She sheaths her weapon to add more effect to her uncaring for Malthus' insults. As she walks she turns her head and says in her muffled voice
"You are very good at insults. Most get over this use of only words when they are children. You clearly are a human."
Malthus, feeling the humiliation splatter upon him, finally declared a challenge. Acting like a true Fiend for once, Malthus shouts "Fine. No insults. Just fighting. I challenge you here and now."
She stops. "I don’t see you as worthy, but I am not without tact. You will become mine if you lose. What is it you want of me?" Malthus knows that she speaks in truth, as most Fiends do not believe in afterlife. Even after his shameful behavior she is challenging him for his loyalty, not his life. It is a great compliment.
Moved by her ability to show respect even after his display, Malthus says "I demand the same. You will be mine if you lose." She nods, and readies herself with sword and shield. Malthus gets in a defensive position and waits. She slowly moves toward him at a slow pace. Dante watches this entire encounter.
She swings at Malthus and he ducks underneath it. He moves toward her back, but she keeps him in front of her. Malthus tries to tackle her near her side, but is not fast enough to gain momentum before she swings, cutting deeply into his left arm. He grabs her to tries and tackle her anyway, but cannot shift her. Incredible pain jolts throughout Malthus' body. She throws him to the ground. He tries to get up ignoring the blood spilling from his arm, and she stabs at him. He rolls to the side and gets to his feet. Malthus grabs her from the side and forces his arm to operate, lifting her. She kicks him fiercely as he does it, but he toughs through it. Malthus tries to drop her on her head, but she is too heavy. She lands on the flat of her back, and Malthus jumps on her chest to hold her in place. He uses the weight of her armor and his leg strength to hold her down and wrenches the sword from her hand. She punches him once and almost hits him with her shield but is eventually incapacitated.
She raises her hand, "I yield." Malthus lets her up.
His arm was terribly damaged in the fight and it is put into a sling and bandage. The woman tells that her name is Xena. The three rest for a moment and then continue toward the watchtower. Malthus now has Xena as his underling.
Once they arrive at the tower, but not within direct sight. Malthus then turns to the others and plans, "Xena, you make a distraction and we'll sneak around to the back, and grab the supplies we need."
"You are not going to go up and kill them? Taking what you wish?" Xena says disgusted.
"I don't have the strength or the arms right now. You and I can cause a distraction, and Dante can go in if you'd prefer that."
"It is not a matter of what I prefer." She says in a condemning tone.
"Then we'll do it my way. Make a distraction and leave the rest up to us." Malthus says.
She mumbles something under her breath, and heads toward the tower sword drawn. She calls out "Cowards! I’ve come for your heads!" The tower starts shaking and people lean out to see her. The other two begin moving through the bushes; Dante gets caught in some briars, falls to the left, and lands behind a guy pissing. The guy turns and notices this. He furiously tries to get his pants up. Malthus continues on, oblivious. He gets to the rear of the tower. Dante runs at the man and bites into own hand. The man kicks at Dante, but the Warlock is able to conjure a blade made of blood form his hand. He stabs the bandit in the head, slicing it almost in two. Dante then takes his position in the briars and watches the situation. Xena is fighting multiple at a time in front of the watchtower.
Malthus, getting closer to the tower itself, hear from the front "Who the hell are you? Coming alone is foolish. Lay down everything you own and walk away, that's right..." You hear slashing and a man yelling out, "Fuck! Get her lads."
Xena is now in battle. Malthus then takes a bronze axe form a table and searches around. He checks inside and then tries to climb a ladder leading to the perch. As Malthus climbs the ladder one of the two men up there turns and sees him half-way up.
"Oi! We got another one!" And he aims a bow at Malthus, quickly knocking an arrow. At this moment, Dante sneaks up to the back of the outpost and sees Malthus attempt to jump. Malthus unfortunately breaks the ladder and slips, and the man firing hits his mark. Dante fires the blood arrow and it passes the archer's face by a couple feet. It does nothing to aid Malthus. Malthus takes the arrow into his left arm, sticking out of his sling. Dante, still incognito, hides and waits. He feels light headed from the loss of blood. Malthus falls from the ladder and lands with a dull "THUD" on the ground. The archer fires again and Malthus rolls backward to avoid it. He then dives and rolls into the sleeping room. Dante continues hiding, and Malthus readies himself. Xena holds her own at first, but is losing steam from the constant attacks. She kills two but is getting beat down. The archer calls out for a bit and two guys walk up to the sleeping room.
"This one's wounded!" they say with glee and runs at Malthus. Dante shoots another blood arrow and gets one of the two's attention. Malthus throws a sleeping bag over the one that walks in, and brutally hacks him to death with the axe. He then hears more coming. Xena seems to be captured, and he is worried about the archer. Thinking quickly he runs out, turns, and throws the axe at the archer. It misses, but so does the archer. Malthus makes his daring escape into the trees and begins moving back to town. Dante hides in the bushes with a blood blade ready and when the man walks past he stabs it into his neck, the man tries to fight back, but the predator is too quick. After looting the two he slew, he also leaves for the town. The two leave Xena to a bandit-filled fate and meet back up at the tavern in Eastwood. Malthus and Dante both are quite weakened from the encounter. Even still they head back for round two.