Baalfr

The Baalfr are a group of five evil spirits most commonly known by the names Mabion, Nara, Kispin, Galachos and the Straw Divhi. Baalfr is an old Malorn word for creatures of darkness and fire, and the Baalfr are also sometimes known as damans, daemons, devils or evil spirits, with each individual Baalfr having a plethora of their own names as well. They were once the most powerful of the dreamspawn of the shadow world. Corrupting certain priests amongst the mortal world they began masquerading as divh, until the finally found a way to take form in the mortal world to wreck havoc. The Divhi Ghanda gave up a great deal of how power and fell into an eternal slumber to bind these creatures to the shadow world again, and now they can reach into the world only where they are invited and welcomed into a mortal body.

Origins


The Baalfr may be as old as the world itself, and few can really identify the origins of any of the dreamspawn, but what made the Baalfr the fearsome and cruel creatures that they now are, rather than mere mindless fancies and figments is the story of the warping of the shadow world itself. When the world was young the shadow world was a place of good and evil, the font of morality and immorality in the world, a place where the souls of the mortal were judged pure or sinful. Then the two worlds, the mortal realm and the shadow world, were more separate. Nexus and ley line were not features of the real world but for those places where the divh had pressed their influence into the world. The energy of the shadow world, and the souls that passed into the world, came from the energies of those raw elementals who dwelt there. But over time these energies began to leak together, and a place in between, ever expanding, demanding more and more of the energy of the elementals, growing ever closer to the real world began to evolve, and dark thoughts and evil deeds began to spread into the world of goodness, and it was a dark, confused time. So the five of the seven powerful spirits who kept check on the shadow world in the names of the divh were charged with keeping the divide. Infused with the power to be divh of the shadow world, these would one day become the Baalfr.

Escape

Before the other divh had come to understand the designs of their brother Daak he came to the Baalfr, and he whispered corrupting words to them. He asked them why they were set to toil, imprisoned within this lesser world, while the far inferior mortals were favoured with two. He revealed that it was he who was the corrupting influence touching the shadow world, and that if they would join him in his efforts he would join the two world together in places so that they might also walk between the worlds, and so corrupting were the words of Daak that the Baalfr agreed without question, and took for themselves forms crafted of the elements that they most favoured. And Daak gave these forms life, and cloaking his activities from the other divh he pushed the worlds together so that they touched, and pinned them together with holes that were neither one place nor the other, and told the Baalfr where these gates were, and the Baalfr took their forms that were everliving mortal bodies and went out into the world, tentatively at first, but then zealously. Meanwhile the warping was allowed to continue, and by the time the rest of the divh realized what was happening the worlds of good and evil within the shadow were one, reshaped by the minds, deeds and experiences of those mortal souls that passed into them.

Binding

And so, the Baalfr, free to pass into the world, did so with glee, finding that the fear and sin of mortals only made them stronger. But their brothers, the two spirits who were also charged with the upkeep of the shadow world - the spirit that ushered new souls into the world and the spirit that ushered old souls out of the world and judged them - were both horrified with the pact that the Baalfr had made, and the spirit of death came to them and waited by the gate they made ready to enter the world through, and told them that they would not pass. And he brought his power against them, and the Baalfr learned that, eternal and mighty as they were, their bodies were vulnerable. And so they called down all of their might against their brother, and killed him. And then they were free to enter the world, but henceforth souls that passed from the mortal world had no one to minster to them, and wandered, often becoming lost, in the infinite shadow. Going mad, losing their identities and joining the ranks of the faceless dreamspawn.

Learning of the vulnerability of the physical forms that bound them to the real world the Baalfr were afraid, for they knew that there were things in the world as great as they, and were certain that Daak would not again gift them with form. So they went forth into the world with stealth, making mortals do their bidding with the promises of great largesse and power to which only the Baalfr had access, and in this way each built around him a following in much the same way that the divhi of men had done before them. But this hiding was not to last, and slowly the followers of the Baalfr grew in number and the Baalfr, seeing how weak the mortals were, learned courage.

Now, the Baalfr had creatures of many races and cultures under their sway, but for the divhi of men; Haederas, Ghanda, Rallah and Irik, this was the first serious challenge to their dominion in the world, and they saw these Baalfr as a great challenge - one that would lead their chosen peoples to sin and ruin. And so they met in council, but so great had their differences become that the could not agree on a course of action, and so each went to fight his own battle against the encroachment of the Baalfr. Ghanda, wisest and most level-headed of his kin, was the only one of their number who continued to call for unity. The Baalfr, hearing of this council and fearing that Ghanda might unite the divhi against them yet, used the strength of their unity to focus their assault upon the Ghans, shaking the faith of the people of the gentle divh and stealing away his faithful. Every Ghan that turned was a twist of the dagger to Ghanda.

Eventually, when he could take no more, Ghanda challenged the Baalfr to meet him in battle on a great plateau north of his kingdom. Confident that they could not be slain the Baalfr flocked to be the first to taste the blood of a divhi. Ghanda had a plan, but it would cost him and his people dearly, and while it seems Rallah foresaw his plan and flew to be with him, even her divine haste could not reach the doomed Ghanda in time. What occurred on that plateau is unknown, but the result was that the mortal bodies of all five of the Baalfr were severed from their spirits, but so was that of Ghanda. The bodies of the Baalfr were destroyed but Ghanda's rests still in eternal sleep, hidden somewhere by those followers who survived the confrontation, who then themselves disappeared.

The Baalfr live on, but never to return to the mortal world in their mighty bodies. Still, they know the ways of the mortal now, and hunger for their lost power again, still working to sow sin in the mortal heart, they have found they can whisper to sleepers, and contact the mortal realm by subtle and devious means. And sometimes, when a mortal willingly welcomes them into the world, and provides them with a new body - his own or some other's - they can again walk the waking world. Never as mighty as they once were, always in hiding, for even a mere mortal could slay them given the opportunity. And so they skulk, craven, in the hidden recesses of the mortal world. Biding their time, and searching for a new way to return to their age of sin and corruption.

Aetherial


Should a mortal be unfortunate enough to meet one of the Baalfr in the shadow world he will find the creature in total control over the world around him, able to see his fears and his sins as clearly as his face, and usually happy to use these things against him, to torment the mortal, break his mind and eventually claim his soul. While they can be tricked, and know only the darkest parts of the mortal mind, they certainly cannot be overcome by force. The Baalfr seldom manifest themselves, but should they choose to they can often be hidden from within their shadowy realm. However a mortal must give himself over to them by choice, and while they might kill those who do not, they prize the corruption of a soul, and this will usually be their last resort, when the game of tormenting and torturing the poor creature is done.

In the mortal realm the Baalfr must be more subtle. They are forbade from going anywhere uninvited, even into the mortal realm. And once there they must be held in the world by a talisman, a specially prepared vessel that houses their soul in the mortal world. Sometimes this is a vessel, a willing person who has given over their own body to possession, but other times it is a physical item out of which they can slip a portion of themselves into other vessels, such as the recently dead, or animals or other soulless bodies. A Baalfr can be many things in many places at once, but his anchor must always be relatively close, so that he relies on mortal followers even when he is manifest in the world.

Of course, once in the world the Baalfr are not without powers. They know magic beyond most mortal secrets, and not only can they pass on this knowledge, but they can gift those who take on a piece of their essence with the fortitude to withstand the otherwise impossible power that these magiks unleash - power enough to tear a normal mortal's mind and body asunder. Of course, this magic comes at a price, usually unbreakable oaths of servitude bound by spells of their devising, and sins so wicked as to corrupt the souls and break the minds of their followers.

Cults


Cults range from dabblers, seeking to reach greater power and not knowing with what they deal, to raving madmen with the power to command the very cosmos, but without the sanity to use it. Maddness and damnation through acts so vile that no mortal could withstand the thought of them are the way of the cults of the Baalfr, but more than that, secrecy is central. Cults are universally hidden, for the Baalfr have become craven and cowardly. Cultists must be willing to give up their lives before they give up the secrets of their order. And when they fail to uphold this compact their masters always have a way to reach them, and a punishment beyond the means of mortal justice or retribution. The secrets even extend to the Baalfr themselves, who don't share with their followers that the betrayers share the same grim fate as those who follow faithfully. Only continuing to live is proof against such a fate, and no Baalfr will allow a servant who continues to be of great value succumb to anything so trivial as age or sickness. However the moment that servant fails, as mortals inevitably do, he is treated no better than the dabbler who tried to repent his allegiance, or the foe who gave his soul to sin to save another. All face the same horrible eternity in a world of nightmares manifest.

The Five Baalfr


Mabion
Mabion is the great planner, a malevolent intelligence, and also the forger. It is often said that he expends captured solus, burning them forever in a great forge from which he creates more and more horrific worlds of crumbling iron and rust and decay. Mabion is the mediator of the Baalfr, not a leader, but the one whose wisdom the others turn to should they come to a dispute. He reaches into the mortal realm least, choosing only those souls he most wants and plucking them like a connoisseur.

Galachos
Galachos is raw rage, foaming madness and berserker fury. Often associated with images of sexual violence, Galachos is mighty, mindless and angry. A creature of pure blunt force. He will gladly grant unparallelled might to his followers, but these gifts are capricious, and usually turn on their wielders, not when Galachos is displeased, but rather when his insane and broken mind loses those threads of who his followers are and why he wants them. His boons are great, but always maddeningly fleeting.

Nara
Nara is the sibilant and silken tongued keeper of lies. The great healer, he reaches out to the sick, the needy, the unfortunate, and offers them succour in return for the gift of their servitude. He is confident that the services he asks will lead to damnation. He is sparing in his gifts, keeping his loyal followers always hungry for more. Nara is the most hidden and secret of all of the Baalfr. More willing to pose as something he is not, more willing to lie to gain promises from mortals.

Kispin
Kispin is utter chaos personified. He is a raging wildfire. Unconstrained, mischievous and flighty. While he lacks the maddened rage of Galachos, he is equally chaotic, often losing interest in a follower and abandoning them in a moment of need for the sheer glee of it. His magic always carries the risk that the might of the Baalfr shielding the magician will simply dissipate like smoke. Kispin delights in widespread destruction, from the toppling of a line of dominoes to the sacking of a city, he cares less for cruelty than for swift and sudden destruction.

The Straw Divhi
The most elusive and mysterious of the Baalfr, the Straw Divhi uses this mystery to draw curious followers into his cults. Masquerading often as a spirit of nature and fertility, the boons he offers are often mundane, but freely given. The Straw Divh takes a light touch, preferring mortals to choose damnation without his coaxing, granting small boons without even a hint that there might be more and then waiting for those special few who will wonder what more they might gain, and then rewarding them greatly. He is one of the most widely followed of the Baalfr, and also one of the most openly venerated. Even the most watchful usually overlook his following as something benign.