The Mad Legion

Drop for The Mad God and Queen Winter
The silence was unbearable and Mhirrah was anxious enough as it was. She spoke in a playful voice.
"I remember a story from when I was young. My mother told it to me. Would you like to hear?" Indifferent nods in agreement we're made and she began her tale.
"She called it...The mad god and queen winter. A Winter spirit warred with her three sisters. They warred to determine who would get to paint the world in their image. Each season changed erratically as another victory was gained, but one year winter came and never left. For an entire year it was cold and unforgiving. The people starved and and the Gods of Ozlith watched helplessly, but The Mad God had a plan.

The Mad God left to congratulate the queen and appeared before her in the guise of an Alfen painter. When he arrived, he asked if the war had finally been won. She nodded and he praised her.
"I shall paint a hundred paintings in your honor." And she replied.
"If you must but I have no enjoyment in this victory."
"What makes your achievement so sour, oh queen?"
"Seeking this power, elf, I destroyed my family. They came back and I imprisoned them in vaults of ice and snow. I miss them, but I will not release them for they will war with me again."
"Then I shall paint in their memory, as well as their defeat, to keep their memory in your sight. It will be as if they are here with you." She looked at him confused and soon her halls were covered in paintings depicting spring, she wandered her halls with nostalgia and one day the paintings were gone, replaced by paintings of summer. She dealt with it for as long as she could, until one day she raged and summoned the painter.
"Why do my halls celebrate my worst enemy?"
"I know not of what of you speak, my queen, your halls have shown autumn for many hours."

She leaped from her throne and walked her halls to find they indeed depicted the season of changing colors. She watched the painter from then on and saw he wouldn't paint, For all her sisters had their time. She blew an icy chill in her screams and summoned the painter forth.
"What is the meaning of this! Why do my halls not feature me?"
"But, gracious host, my queen. They sing praises to you in heaps. Why every window shows a painting if you just look through it. Your victory means you own the world."
"And why do my halls not show the same."
"This long winter fogs my brain. It leaves little to the imagination. I cannot paint what is already painted. to feature you would steal another artists work... your work, my queen." She fumed in frustration and walked to her dungeon. She called to summer her mortal enemy and made her a deal.
"Go melt the ice that paints the world, so I can enjoy my victory within my own halls. In three months time, back to your cell you will go." Summer did as she was told and enjoyed the freedom and the painter hung his winter paintings along the snow queens walls, but summer went back to her prison and winter took her hold, but as the paintings came and went winter still was missing. She knew what he would say but went to him again.
"Must I release all my sisters to experience my own victory?"
"Why, my queen, that's a capital idea! For the inspiration of winter cannot be gained if winter is all I see. It sours and goes bland. If you realize your sisters and share the world, your victory is still absolute." She went to her sisters spring and autumn. When summer gets back spring will be freed and when she returns it will be autumn. My halls will sing all of our praises for only then will I know I have won."

Mhirrah looked around and saw that all eyes were on her and the bard furiously jotted every word in her journal.
"I'm glad you all still believe me, you seem to be the only ones. This is how the people of Ozlith, my people, believed the seasons worked and for them it may have been true, I can't remember.
The mad god was never an antagonist to them. He was a jokester, a trickster always clad In Yellow, but like his siblings he loved his people and refused to see them die." She took a deep breath,
"His legion was a example of that. I'm not sure if I would make a good queen, but I will try. I was thrown out of my time for a reason, I hope I can live up to it...
     

The butchers were always on the battlefield, though allies gave them a wide birth. When in battle they often can't tell an enemy from a friend. I once saw a butcher make a kill and literally sit in the middle of the battle and carve symbols into the body of their prey. He was chanting and raving as he marked himself as well. He placed a cauldron on the ground and poured white wine from his drinking horn which smoked a yellow smoke that rose high above the fighting. Any who dared interrupt was inexplicably torn to shreds. The butcher refused to stop as if the battle wasn't even happening. When completed, he simply drank the wine and reattached the cauldron and continued the fight. It was so bizarre...
— The Journals of Mhirrah, Chosen of Mhirriah


When the seven gods of Ozlith ventured into the Domain of war, The Mad God was ecstatic. Chaos and insanity were his to command, and he latched to it on the fields of battle with fervor. He watched as the warriors on those endless fields plied their trade. He saw their skills and their discipline, but something was missing.

He walked onto the field and tapped a warriors shoulder. The warrior lost all control and began cleaving violently with unnatural strength, cutting himself by accident numerous times. He did so until he started to enjoy it and found the more he did so, the stronger he became.

The warrior made feral swings, never flinching at the many wounds he sustained until the warrior stood among hundreds of bodies bleeding to death in the end. The Mad God was elated. He continued this process, teaching into the minds of the soldiers and showing them more than they should ever see, he mastered this process, for the god of yellow was a god of art long before he was a god of war.

The First Butcher

When he returned he took his followers and created a mighty legion. The Centurions of the mad legion, who called themselves butchers, were insane and lost to all reason in almost every way.

They embraced the slaughter and collected trophies from their kills. Their god loved them so, and they did in kind for their rituals were performed in the heat of battle surrounded by their enemies. Unlike the other legions, the butchers rarely wore armor and when they did it was often very light. The did this to ensure other could see their skin, the branding of their homeland forever sealing their pact to their patron.

Enlightenment Through Self Destruction

A butcher would often resort to self-mutilation, scarification, or in some cases tattooing. These marks were more than a scare tactic to make them look even more imposing. The designs themselves were given to them by the mad god. These eldritch markings would have numerous effects of the bearer and the viewer. This form of body modification, later known as Ozlithian Branding, allowed them to withstand damage no other could. It allowed them to reach into the minds of their prey, and show them horrible visions before the kill. The butchers viewed themselves as enlightened and believed that enlightenment could only be obtained through their so called metamorphosis.


Style

The fighting styles of the mad legion were frantic and reflected their insanity. While a gladius was used often, the butchers often used clubs and axes as the wounds made by them were far more brutal and violent especially when coupled with serrated edges. While butcher's chose weapons and armor themselves They never fought with shields, embracing the pain. This is thought to be the source of Rage which is used prominently in Mhirriah where the The Highland Berzerkers in the east utilize a similar fighting style as well as the same Ozlithian brands as the mad legion.

Outfitting

The butchers often used whatever they desired for equipment. One universal thing was the use of Ozolithian brands. The butchers employed knives and needles initially to carve their ritualistic symbols into their flesh and the flesh of a worthy foe. They often carried drinking horns and small cauldron on their side for the purposes of performing their rituals.

The Butchers preferred serrated blades no matter what it was on. They also carried ritualistic daggers that could only cut their flesh and the flesh of worthy foes. Some were even seen with a branding iron bearing the image of the Ozlithian brand they had to earn, as most markings on their body serve as a form of rank.


 
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by FlipbookStudios

Rank

No known hierarchy exists for the mad legion despite their markings. Each butcher seemed to operate independently of the others, even down to chosen weapons and armor. This leads many to believe their ranks are more personal, referencing their personal descent into madness.

Joining



Those who wished to join the mad legion must already be a little insane. The mad God will take them and mold them, pushing them well over the edge. He bombards the senses and carefully shapes the insanity within the butcher's mind until they are ready to receive their first brand. A butcher is a hunter, and will hunt until his dying breath. his every thought is bent on the violence he is driven to perform.

The Mad God always enforced less than ethical practices, however these practices seldom left the fields of battle. The Mad god, while once a god of art, became a god of chaos in war, and as such he drove his legion insane to ensure that chaos was there. The butchers receive no training, only the rage their madness brings.

They are thrown onto battlefields and for each kill they claim, the more marks they are allowed to receive. their rituals on the field of battle are rites of passage, a declaration that they have earned this power and are willing to pay the price of sanity to do so.



     
When I met the butchers to gain their blessing they took me to an old battlefield. One told me it was the first place the butchers ever fought. I took a step forward and blood came from the ground. He knelt before me and took out his knife, cauldron and horn. He placed the knife on top and picked up his ax. I was not ready for that fight.. Despite how unprepared I was, I held my own quite well.
The butcher gestured to the wine of his ritual and I drank the wine. What I saw I couldn't even explain. I don't even want to. It was horrible. Death, pain, images of bloody war. It was as if I bore witness to every kill a butcher has ever made. When I awoke, I felt a agonizing sting in my arm.
He had carved my first brand into me, and stood above me with a red hot iron. When it touched my shoulder, I knew my trial was complete. Strangely, the branding wasn't the worst part... I didn't feel a thing.



Cover image: by manzanedo

Comments

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12 Dec, 2018 05:32

This legion sounds interesting, like the classic lore for the berserkers, and also the classic lore of Spartans, and they fuse together really well.   In the training section, what kind of "insane" does the Mad God expect to see in applicants to this legion? This section seems the least detailed (and the most interesting to me), as what would be the steps taken to be trained, if I were to want to apply? What kinds of madness are unacceptable, if any?

12 Dec, 2018 05:40

Hmmm...thanks for the input, i appreciate it. I thought id leave it vague but i do think more detail as to how this insanity works and what it allows and doesn't allow. While insane they are devout and most of their thoughts deal with their god. I shall rectify! thanks so much.

12 Dec, 2018 05:54

Happy to help, your article otherwise feels really, really full and if it were part of a game setting, other than the training aspect, I'd be up and rolling up a character to be a part of this legion.

12 Dec, 2018 05:59

That makes me feel awesome in ways i cant describe. thanks so much. I love the attention the legions are getting so far and it is a game setting my group was playing but it was hilariously under developed., while the legions are "long gone" they play a key role and can be joined. once i found world anvil i decided when i run Expedition Demeter again ill be using it actively, so hearing that means so much, thank you! =)

12 Dec, 2018 06:38

For some reason, I really enjoyed this article much more than I did the Alabaster legion. Perhaps its the immediacy of the insanity that gives them more of a defined sense in people's emotion?   Now, thrusting blades were preferred in many earlier societies as a deeper cut would be more difficult to recover from than a larger slashing wound. Perhaps the mad legion enjoys rusty or dirty blades that would easily cause infection to drive things to the next level?   What do you mean by "a little insane" for potential recruits? This term has been weakened in common parlance down to a child acting up. It might be cool to have this defined a touch - does the mad god want people with violent insanity, or is quiet depression also a vehicle he can use to mold recruits?

12 Dec, 2018 06:49

Poo excellent points. I'm glad you like it, and i do plan on revising the alabaster legion, trying to find a spoiler-free way to do so. Regardless i agree insanity can mean a lot of things nowadays but yes, your questions then i shall revise.   Ok so their rituals actually seek to preserve, rusty blades and dirty blades would interfere with this. Insanity can come in many forms but the mad legion would rather use sterilized steel than dirty or rusted steel. They don't seek to cause maximum harm, they want maximum carnage. The bloodier and more brutal a fight, the more it feeds them rage. The serration makes that easier. Brutality is key and recovering isn't something you wanna do with them lol . Any state of mind that affects your ability to think clearly could be enough so depression could work but likely your journey in the legion would be a little weird. The mad god just needs the door to your brain to be left ajar. Thanks so much man I'm glad you liked it.

12 Dec, 2018 10:49

" them a wide birth. " - berth   The idea is an interesting one (and remind me a bit of the Madcaps) and the divine aspect certainly fits. It might help if you gave a name to the voice in the quote, giving them some sort of personality and agency, that tells us of the world through their eyes. You do so at the end, but giving contextualizing it with the name and situation in each box might help (and boost your word count!). :)   It's a little clear how they recruited or grew. The first part seem to suggest they were all chosen by the mad god, while the quotes show some sort of initiation process. How did that work? How do you decide you want to join a gang of crazies? Or do they forcibly recruit people? :)   Keep on world-embering! :D

12 Dec, 2018 12:54

Ohhhh well that would work better. So mirrah is a character in the campaign. I'll b doing her article soon thanks for like and comment

12 Dec, 2018 12:56

Mirrah is from ozlith but is around in modern day. Which is y its different. Mad god is dead in modern day

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