Sea of Madness
Ithyk is infernal for "hungry". This is somewhat serendipitous with his reputation as a bloodthirsty gladiator.
Frenzied battle was instilled in him from the very start. He was raised amongst his own, a nomadic gnoll raiding tribe that had overstepped it’s bounds one too many times. The surrounding settlements of humans had banded together to eliminate the gnoll threat. By the sunset of the very day they were attacked the tribe was defeated, tortured, or enslaved. Most of the females were just as ferocious as the males and refused to submit, even unto death. The only ones that could be enslaved were the young pups. Ithyk was one of them. Ithyk was taken in by a green slave trader, both in experience and in complexion. Ithyk never knew him by any other name than Master.
Our gnoll hero was taught that he who placed the slave collar on him was his alpha. Slowly, he learned enough common to stop using the Infernal language he had known since he was conceived. His namesake came about from his mistreatment, “hungry” he would often chant. “Ithyk” was thought only to be child babble, but it was a name that stuck with no notion of the Vulgar language it was derived from.
Ithyk has changed ownership several times. Most notably, he was placed into the servitude of a Vassal who had fallen ill. He was a man of numerous underground dealings and was afraid of assassination. Used as a burly guard dog, Ithyk had perhaps saved his benefactor. When told to let no one but him pass, Ithyk did exactly that. An assassin was disguised as the lord’s daughter and went to ask Ithyk for passage. In a very efficient manner, Ithyk had managed to part the would be assassin’s skull before the question could be fully spoken. Ithyk liked being efficient.
Ithyk had only prolonged his life but a little, as the Vassal soon fell to illness. Ownership of Ithyk was given to his nephew, who had little use for such a, well, monster. The nephew had decided it was in his best interest to sell him to the colosseum where he fetched a fine 50 gold pieces.
Our gnoll found the experience to be quite congruent with his bloodthirst. Not only was he killing, but he was being praised by an entire colosseum full of people for it. He thrived by driving his axe into his foes. often times he had to be removed from the battle early for feasting on the fallen. Frequently, he was starved to make him meaner. Regardless, he became a fan favorite, seemingly heedless of his mortality he’d throw himself into battle.
In a group battle Ithyk and a stranger that looked as though he had cliffs in his family heritage stood against a mob of slaves all armed with swords. They had a good deal of bravado for their numbers. Their bravado would avail them not. Ithyk sped towards the mass of them instilled with white hot fury that brought him away from the world and into a realm of blood. As he was chopped at the limbs that grasped for him, he was becoming aware that this stranger was in the same world as him. The stranger spit blood from his maw in a black rage as he tore open the assailants. This man was kin to him, Ithyk thought as he now fought with renewed vigor and purpose. At the end, they stood atop the assembled cadavers. Ithyk said to the man-thing “We bleed together. We are brothers”.
And so they were, at night the stranger had whispered to him that freedom would be coming soon, many say that a “Patior” will free us.
“Is that the dark voice that whispers to me in my sleep?” Ithyk thought. Ithyk shook his head, he was not sure what freedom was, nor many concepts related to it. Life is what life is, the thought that it could be changed was strange to him. But still the stranger insisted, ultimately he could only agree, though he knew not with what.
Then the day came when Ithyk would be punished. The day when he was set against the stranger. He took one look at his opponent and dropped his weapon. The crowd was furious, as was Ithyk’s master. Still, he refused, and neither would kill the other. A third gladiator was sent in, a beast Ithyk had never seen before. The brothers took to the new foe with little hesitation. It was a fight that would brand Ithyk with many grand scars. But there were many more to be had after he found out how displeased his Alpha was.
Defiant twisted laughing echoed through the halls that night, chilling many of the prisoners to the bone.