Girl Genius
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Girl Genius

"I, Martellus von Blitzengaard, by the grace of God and the voice of Europa, am the newly-ascended Storm King."

Martellus von Blitzengaard, or Tweedle, as Tarvek refers to him, is Tarvek's cousin and, according to the Knights of Jove (not to mention Tweedle himself), the current leading candidate for the title of Storm King.[1] (However, Orotine, Muse of Geometries, maintains Martellus is a distant third, at best.[2])

Story[]

Working as part of The Storm King conspiracy and summoned by The Abbess of the Red Cathedral, Tweedle makes his first appearance during the Siege of Mechanicsburg as the controller inside the lead clank of The Real Knights of Jove before it is destroyed by one of the Dreen. He is likely mentioned before this moment by both Tarvek and Capitaine Dalistache, the latter of whom who may be allied with the Knights of Jove. Shortly after the Siege is broken, he kidnaps Agatha from the Red Cathedral and drags her, along with the unwelcome additions of Krosp and Violetta, through the Monolith portal to his headquarters The Refuge of Storms. Due to the fact that this transfer happens at the exact same moment that Mechanicsburg is sealed inside Klaus's time-bubble, the normally instantaneous trip takes two and a half years. In the process of kidnapping Agatha, Martellus throws a Nullabist knife at Tarvek, penetrating Tarvek's chest. According to Martellus, the knife would normally liquify its target in thirty minutes or so, but due to Tarvek being inside the time-bubble he survives and is eventually extracted and cured by Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.

Upon reappearing in the Refuge, Tweedle cuts a bloody swath through the resident members of his family and their Smoke Knights to reclaim control of the fortress. His life is saved by Agatha when she sleep-makes a replacement prosthetic for his left hand after the appendage is poisoned by The Blonde Question. This device has already been destroyed and rebuilt at least once, and gives him the ability to absorb and reflect energy attacks aimed at him, though it also almost gets him killed when he later confronts The Beast and its powers of extreme magnetism. In return, he tinkers with Agatha's body chemistry (and his own) so that she requires regular physical contact with him to avoid dying; she is, however, able to copy his role to the Wasp eater that also came with them through the portal.

During Agatha's subsequent escape from the Refuge, he hunts her (and traitorous members of his family) using teams of sparkhounds he personally bred, fighting Gil and his forces in the process before being unwillingly carried away from the battle by his own minions in one of the (barely) surviving Knights. Following this encounter, he continues to attempt to hunt down Agatha and claim her as his bride, while ruthlessly striving to solidify his claim as the Storm King and found a new empire. This latter task is being complicated by ongoing negotiations with Gil, his having to deal with unhelpful "advisers" foisted on him by The Council, the theft of the notebook and key of Van Rijn by Margarella Selnikov, and of course the rise across Europa of a new version of The Other.

He tracks Agatha and Co. to the Corbettite Depot Fortress of St. Szpac and thanks to recognition from the relevant Pope and the presence of his uncle, a Bishop, forces the resident monks to officially (if very unwillingly) recognize his claim to the Storm King title. He makes a very unwelcome advance towards Agatha, prompting her in turn to make very clear her displeasure; he seems to learn something of a lesson from this (significantly, he acknowledges not to touch her) and assists Agatha and the Monks in halting The Beast's rampage. When Gil belatedly arrives with his forces there is a rather tense multi-sided confrontation over what turns out to be drugged cake. Tweedle casually shakes off the drugging attempt, but to the Corbettites' amazement he suddenly and mysteriously falls over, and becomes an unwelcome tag-along as Agatha sets off on a stealthy underground train journey to Paris.

Arriving in the city, he is promptly dragged away by his sister Xerxsephnia von Blitzengaard to meet with their formidable Grandmother. He is delighted to learn that a masquerade ball has been "suggested" by Paris's ruling family the Voltaires, and immediately begins work on his elaborate costume and entrance display. Unfortunately (for Tweedle at least), this effort is interrupted, first by the original Storm King's sword Archimedes' Lever springing to electrified life, and then during the actual ball, the arrival of numerous (mostly) uninvited guests: The Queen of the Dawn, Agatha (it appears that she may have accepted his hand out of the clank, but perhaps only his metal one), a swarm of Geisters, and finally Andronicus Valois himself, freed from his underground temporal prison. Tweedle dons armor and joins in the fight against the last, attempting despite Agatha's warning to use the Lever against its original owner. He is moderately successful at this, at one point using it to grimly put down several of his own knights who have been zombified by the king's other weapon, The Platonic Solid, but eventually Andronicus reclaims the Lever. In the end, the undead king is dispatched with the help of Simon Voltaire, Agatha, and some handy Jagers. Tweedle delivers the final blow with a more tractable replacement sword, reducing Andronicus to dust. Tweedle then literally claims the man's crown, and, thanks to Grandmother's preparations, leads an extravagant parade celebrating his claiming of the Lightning Throne through the darkened streets of Paris.

He evidently assists in clearing agents of The Other from Paris, but following this, the city's new Master, Colette Voltaire, pointedly denies his sovereignty over her domains, and orders that he and the rest of his family leave as she seals the city's gates.

When Seffie subsequently smuggles Tarvek away to England, Tweedle sends in pursuit his minion Jaron and a pack of The Knights of the Hunt; this attempt is thwarted and Tarvek makes it to Londinium in more or less one piece. Soon after, Martellus falls ill due to his chemical modifications to his own body and Agatha's, and he can only recover with the help of the Heterodyne's living touch. As a result, Seffie has to quickly smuggle the Sparky medical container holding his unconscious body into England and then the dome of the Queen's Society, where she has Agatha spirited away from her entourage just long enough to physically touch and revive him. (It is shown without comment during this sequence that he has grafted on what appears to be a fully biological replacement for his lost hand.) Tarvek and Gil, also present, greet his arrival on the scene in a fairly appropriate manner, ie, a matched set of punches to the face. After that, they do allow him to assist with the chaotic extraction of the copy of Lucrezia from Agatha's head; along with technical advice, that chemical link allows him to physically incapacitate Lu even as she rampages into full second-stage Sparkhood. He also whips up a potion that gets Ognian back on his feet after being shot, though there may be a price to be paid there at some point. He flees the dome along with everyone else when the structure's self-destruct device gets activated.

The protagonists then finally being given a moment to reflect and recover, he is confronted by Krosp and surrenders to the furry king the Swartzwalder leadership symbol: the coin-like Shiny Thing. He also glomps onto the submarine's resident female cat, and being given a lab to work in by Hadrian Rakethorn, he proceeds to upgrade "Rita" in a manner similar to Krosp, planning to use her as a substitute for Agatha's touch in the same way that she uses her wasp-eater. (He may have other plans for the cat as well, but to date they remain unstated.)

Word comes that the Polar Ice Lords have launched a massive invasion of Europa. Queen Albia sends Gil and Tarvek back in command of an armada to deal with the threat, and Tweedle stows away on their airship with Rita, intending to reconnect with his followers on the Continent and again pursue his claim to the throne. And yes, help deal with the invasion, probably.

What Kind of Madboy[]

Personality[]

Tweedle's default method for dealing with problems is a brutal and direct application of force, and he disdainfully treats underlings as disposable pawns. Nevertheless, while he is not as smart as Tarvek, he is intelligent (and capable of recognizing useful intelligence in others, especially when they display cunning and guile), has no lack of physical courage, and is likely a spark of prominence though to date we have only seen a brief glimpse of him in his Madness Place, when analyzing the aforementioned Lever. He sometimes dreams of giving everything up and opening a designer pet shop in Paris

Except for Xerxsephnia (and possibly Grandmama), he displays a healthy and foresighted dislike and distrust towards members of his family. This is especially true of Tarvek, who technically is ahead of him in line for the throne, and whom Martellus has repeatedly tried to kill.

Martellus's Spark[]

An affinity for animal constructs, inherited from his former mentor Dimitri Vapnoople. He has displayed a sharp insight in this particular field, but as discussed above his success rate with his other efforts is somewhat mixed.

Creations[]

Physical Abilities[]

Physically imposing, he is much larger than Tarvek or even Gil, and is able to soak up an enormous amount of physical punishment; he takes several blows to the head from Agatha without flinching, and shrugs off the stabby attentions of Bangladesh DuPree. (Though if enough force and expertise is applied, he can be temporarily rendered unconscious.) Additionally, he has undergone family training which renders him immune to at least some knock-out drugs.

Possibly relevant outside information[]

“Martellus” is Latin for “hammer”. It was the cognomen given to Charles, leader of the Franks, after his defeat of the Umayyad Caliphate in AD 732 at the Battle of Tours, in modern-day France; he was thereafter known as Charles Martel.

The meaning of his last or family name is, approximately "Lightning Farmer".

References

  1. Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 3013: 'Lightningnettle: How old is Tweedle? Is he a Mongfish special ala Zola's remark about them fiddling with the Storm King Line? Is Tarvek? Was Leopold?
    Kaja: Yes Leopold was, but he's dead. Tweedle is older than Tarvek and he's of the family line.'
  2. Orotine introduces herself to Krosp and in panel six says "...as a claimant to the Lightning Crown, Prince Martellus is a distant third, at best."
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