Spoiler: Martyr in Writhing Tatters (Weasel Guy)
Yes. I killed him exactly as you say I did. Horrific, and slow, and torturous. But he deserved it, you know? He broke trust, broke his word, and so I broke him. He might have struggled, and pleaded, but I could see in his eyes that he knew it was right, that he was guilty and stained. And I could see more- I could see that he saw me with the same contempt, same hate, saw my own stains, his blood grinding and wetting my hands! And so I knew, I was guilty, just as he was. And you, you're guilty too. Everything I did lurks your eyes too, the same hunger in your mouths and bellies, coiling there like a monster. That's why am I here, right? So kill me. Do it slowly, horribly, just like the mob outside demands! And when you revel, rejoice at my blood, I will return as I am destined to, and I feed on your flesh just as you feed upon mine.
-Confession of a madman before his execution
An icon born of madness, atrocity, and violence, the Martyr in Writhing Tatters stirs in the wake of horrible deeds perpetrated by sentient beings, writhing with vengeful agony and insatiable bloodlust. His cults are many, his worshipers often propitiating him accidentally without true awareness of the darkness that their actions give rise to. Others, mad butchers, self-loathing nihilists, and hateful inquisitors, work in the Martyr's name in the hopes of ending their suffering, spreading violence, or punishing the world for the sins they perceive in it. And as they rise, carnivorous and scavenging vermin breed and issue from the dark depths of the world to feed upon the dead and dying and spread diseases to afflict those who survive.
The story of the Martyr in Writhing Tatters is surprisingly well spread, a grim myth that has been repeated and told over and over again, changing each time it is told. It is not taken as truth except by children, and there are so many versions and alterations that even though the story is known the widely available tales are less than worthless, frequently so distant that they can scarcely be connected to the Martyr at all. Distorted legends of serial killers, swarming rats, murderous revenants rising from their graves, and cannibalistic cults are common, and yet they all only hint at the real story behind the monstrosity. Only a handful of ancient books repeat accounts of the real story, and these dusty tomes are considered of little consequence, records of small villages in older times that have no link to the events and cults of today.
A well traveled scholar or storyteller might pick similarities between the tales told, garnering a general idea of the original story. Countless of these myths speak of a single village, a condemned and sinful man, and a widening circle of bloodshed that eventually engulfed the village before it was burnt to the ground by neighboring settlements. Small carnivorous animals frequently show up in the story, sometimes carrying off the man before he can be killed, sometimes overrunning the execution grounds and devouring villagers so he can escape, or other times they serve as the torturous method of execution. (Knowledge [local] DC 25)
Though the exact nature of his crime has been lost to time, stories hold that the condemned man had committed heinous acts that transgressed the ways and sensibilities of his community, terrible blasphemies that could not be permitted, that had to be stamped out with such rigor as to remove any hint that might taint the village. Appalled and enraged, the village leveled the most gruesome sentence of execution they could devise at the man and did their best to carry it out. However, he died prematurely, and the accusations thrown between authorities and rising mobs grew heated and then descended into violence. (DC 30)
A more obscure but thorough account mentions that after the first day of torturous execution had been completed, the man was left half dead upon the implements to await the next day. Bloodied and battered, bound so that he could not move, he was set upon by predatory scavengers that swarmed him and devoured him whole. Robbed of the spectacle they desired, the accusations thrown by the villagers were as much excuse as legitimate, mere pretense to justify bloodshed they sought. After over a dozen individuals were sentenced and executed the entire village seemed to collapse under its own bloodlust, turning upon each other with equal parts revelry and contempt. (DC 35)
While neighboring villages did eventually stamp out the chaotic violence and burnt the cursed place to the ground, there were survivors- and some who participated in the cull felt a hint of the same madness stirring within them. Quietly they went about satisfying their cravings, inevitably drawing others into their vile acts and spreading the hunger that afflicted them. They gathered and spread like a disease, and in time their compulsions empowered an incarnation of their desires to rise, a presence sinister and sentient. Battered and blood, clothed in the creatures that bit and devoured his flesh, the Martyr in Writhing Tatters awoke as a being that could unify these aimless sufferers into a cult with a maddened purpose. (DC 40)
Still weak and formless but growing in power and thirst, the Martyr urges those infected with his madness to spread his disease and the violence that shaped him, gathering power from the atrocities they commit and their growing numbers. For now the Martyr is only a shadow, but he is growing, and if action is not taken he will rise to the strength he seeks and become fully manifest. (DC 45)
The most apparent goal of the Martyr in Writhing Tatters is to spread bloodlust, sadism, and masochism. While is name is largely unknown, his more visible cult subtly (and sometimes obviously) seeks to make executions into public spectacles, to spread torture and systematized violence. They also catalyze the formation of vengeful mobs, start illegal brawling rings. The more demented of his followers are serial killers that rampage until finally put down, sometimes infecting their executioners in the process. (Knowledge [Religion] DC 30)
Self-loathing and admission of guilt and hate feature prominently within the Martyr's cult, and his cultists are rarely long lived because of it. With the way his madness spreads and the odd mentality of his followers, the line between victim, criminal, and executioners becomes distorted and blurred, a fact which the cultists acknowledge and run with, painting all with the same brush of guilt and sin. (DC 35)
The Martyr seeks to cleanse the world of the guilt he perceives within it and of the very madness he spreads. When his followers perish he reincarnates them as verminous mammals to serve penance by devouring the dead, removing all signs and stains of the deeds they and their fellows have performed. And in the end, he seeks to see the world without sapient life at all, utterly purged of their influence. (DC 45)
Sign: Predatory Urges
Small carnivorous animals such as badgers, weasels, and wolverines become increasingly common. At first they are largely normal and harmless, but as time passes they grow more rabid and aggressive, growing in size. Worse yet, even people seem to become more hateful and violent, lashing out without reason and snapping far more easily.
Faint: There is a 10% chance each week of encountering an unusually large group of these animals, which are easily provoked into aggressive behavior. In addition, once per day all intelligent creatures must make a DC 5 will save or have its starting attitude reduced by one step until they deal damage to a living creature.
Moderate: As faint, but the encounter rate rises to once per day, and the animals are often advanced. The will save is DC 10, and if a creature's starting attitude is hostile it immediately attacks the nearest creature until it deals damage.
Strong: As moderate, but the encounter rate rises to once every four hours, and the animals are generally dire. The will save is DC 15, and if a creature's starting attitude becomes hostile it must attack the nearest creature until it kills them, or is killed, at which point their starting attitude reverts to normal.
Overwhelming: As strong, but the encounter rate rises to once per hour, and the animals are generally advanced fiendish dire versions. The will save is DC 20, and starting attitude drops by two steps on a failed save.