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Balthazar

by Purazon

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The Dark One; Evil itself; the Nemesis. The dark Demon Lord Balthazar has many names. But what is he, and who is he? Many rumours seem to surround the dark Lord, but few facts are actually known.

What is known beyond a doubt is that his name still strikes fear in the hearts of those that have faced him, or who have heard tales about his deeds. Emitting fear is his greatest weapon.

It is said that the first signs of his presence begin with the wind. Even in warm surroundings suddenly a chilling harsh gust of wind will blow, raising the hairs on the back of everyoneís neck. This sudden chill will normally be followed by an unnatural and unexpected Darkness.

If one should be caught by this Darkness it is often too late since it is rumoured that the unnatural Dark is radiating from the Evil Oneís cloak of shadows. Soon one will hear the deep hollow laughter of the Demon Lord, sending a cold shiver down oneís spine. As if imagination plays tricks on oneís eyes, it would suddenly appear as if one can distinguish a tall hulking dark form in the darkness itself. However, due to the Darkness, it is very hard to actually describe Balthazar, besides the fact that he is tall and cloaked in Darkness. It is even not known if he has horns, or if it is a helm of sorts on his head.

It is known his powers do not lie only in his physical force. He has been known to evaporate adventurers just by pointing a finger, and to be able to teleport people to dangerous locations. However, his attacks are not always so straightforward. He has been known to use ruses in an attempt to cripple Valorn where it will really hurt. As an example, at a particular time Balthazar appeared on Dundee square, taunting and ridiculing Valornís adventurers. As Valornís Defenders flocked to Dundee, the Great Temple of Branishor was under attack by a demon horde. Thank the Gods that at least someone had stayed to guard the temple. And thatís how Lydhen became known as the Temple Guardian.

Another tactic the Dark One seems to use is to lure adventurers into his portals leading to an impossible combat with certain doom without means to retreat. On the other hand, he seems to use these portals only to toy with adventurers; since it is known that he has the power to teleport anyone he chooses as a victim to any location: In most cases, a deadly maze within his fortress.

However, despite his obvious immense powers, something must be holding him back. Otherwise one would quickly find Valorn destroyed and turned into a mirror image of the Demon Realm. It is said that the Council of Ryndall was able to restrict his powers. However he can still roam the towns and wilds of Valorn. To this day the Council has been silent on the matter.

The dark symbol-covered stone fortress of the Dark Lord lies in the area past the Verthedge Forest, beyond the bridge, known as the Dead Zone. One who is unfortunate or courageous enough to dwell there is confronted with a sight of pure horror; a sight that causes even the most battle-hardened adventurers to lose heart and to despair for the fate of Valorn: Mutilated bodies of old warriors, in various states of decay, their souls forever tortured by dark magics preventing their soul to return to a life monument nor to Coryís realm.

The fortress is seemingly inaccessible, but there are those who have set foot in Balthazarís maze, his labyrinth, abducted by the evil magics of the Demon Lord himself. JKD, Mylor Clearspring, Islander, Von Gmyrek - those are but a few names of the adventurers that suffered that fate. It has been said that echoes of the Evil Oneís sadistic and taunting laughter keeps resonating through the maze; seemingly coming from every direction and disorientating any adventurer trapped in there. While Balthazar sends demon after demon after demon at the adventurers who are attempting to find an escape from the eerie blue corridors of the maze, it is probably the maze itself, with its twisted and turning passages crossing each other and seemingly all spinning themselves to a dead end, that is the bane of even the most experienced adventurer.

The maze is not all that is hidden in, or under, that terrible black fortress. It is said that there is also a Room of Torture where the walls, ceiling and floor itself seem to be made up by always moving snakes and worms of all varieties. It is not known if anyone has ever escaped this room: But if not, ... where do the rumours come from?

The army of the Demon Lord consists entirely of Demons. By nature, demons enjoy threatening the weak by taunting them, scaring them, toying with them and almost driving their victims insane. However, as far as one can tell by scraps of texts recorded in history, they only become violent if they feel threatened themselves. It has become apparent that Balthazar has found a way to make sure the demons do his bidding so that his armies will attack where, when and how he wishes. The Evil Oneís ability to command these demons makes the war he wages against us relentless. Their loyalty and obedience is unwavering and they are the ideal force to realize his cruel intentions. There seems to be no task that these demons wonít do and their endless numbers seem to mean that Balthazar doesnít need to look for alliances and reinforcements elsewhere. On many occasions this army has been led by the cunning demon general Altimos. Luckily JKD has been able to slay this cunning demon, who had commanded several coŲrdinated attacks on the towns of Valorn. It would be a great setback for the adventurers of Valorn if Balthazar would ever be able to create a portal to the Demon plane that would summon back this sly and wily demon general.

As to the connection of the Dark One with the massive demon plane known as NíRolav; some people think it is the source of his power, while others think Balthazar has used his powers to create it himself. To know the exact relationship between them might be an answer as to how to defeat the Demon Lord. All that is known is that Balthazar seemed to be shocked when he saw the first adventurers enter that twisted and perverted place. He is supposed to have shouted "How dare you enter my realm!"

As far as the origin of Balthazar and his powers are concerned we know nothing but rumours. It is assumed that he was once a mortal man, but that he has lived for a couple of thousand years, and that he even existed in a time prior to the Golden Age. Though it is certain that his resurgence meant the end of the Golden Age, about 400 years ago, it is not known that he caused any disturbance during the Golden Age itself.

Maybe some truth can be found in an ancient Kimaldian legend, which one can find in this tome

Whether the man called James in the above mentioned ancient legend has become the evil Balthazar over time or whether he perished by Balthazarís hand on another plane are two theories that came from this legend. Whether either of them is true is not known. But fact is that the knowledge that supposedly is written in the Dark Grimoire shows great similarities with the powers that Balthazar possesses.

However he attained them, it remains undisputed that the Demon Lords powers are immense. So if one feels a chilling and harsh gust of wind, one should be urged to show caution.


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Sources
Balthazar attacks Branishor
About Balthazar's presence
About the Dark Grimoire
Ben's comment: Balthazar dates from before Golden Age
About Balthazar's size
About Demons
Shakl Kull and Balthazar's labyrinth
Mylor Clearspring and Balthazar's labyrinth
Jasmyn Shayde and Balthazar's Labyrinth
First encounter with Balthazar in N'Rolav
There are no gods in N'Rolav
More about N'Rolav
Even more about N'rolav
Discovery of the Dead Zone