Beyond Bale Keep

Episode #10: The Mordanth of the Deepwere

**A Sacrifice is Made**

Ages ago, a great schism took place within the community of High Branch. Faced with the growing threat of humankind, its fecundity and avarice, the Elves there experimented with protective magics that turned dark. King Fireveldt’s brother, Deepriver, became a twisted vision of his old self. Now called The Mordanth, Deepriver set upon a nearby human establishment, wreaking wrongs darker than night and death. He then set his sights upon the throne of High Branch itself. After great loss of innocent life, Deepriver was overcome and captured.

The Elves abhorred taking the life of one of their own, no matter how changed he may be. Yet, something had to be done. The Mordanth was just too dangerous to contain by normal means. And so the denizens of High Branch instead used their most powerful spells to lock The Mordanth away. After which, they took a vow, en masse, to be ever neutral in their affairs, as it was the taking of sides that caused the calamity in the first place. They cast him through a Dimension Stone into the great underground of the Deepwere, an expanse of darkness and nightmare.

Years later, the extra-dimensional space was breached from without, and The Mordanth began using his Balicanths to overcome the barrier. Once one of the great pillars was weakened, all that was required was pure or innocent blood to break the barrier for good. The Balicanths brought to the Deepwere many victims, the latest of which included the king’s son, Starrisen, and two paladins, Eltron Goldstone and Dimitriy Xant. Ensorcelled and tied to great stone “X’s,” each was slowly drained of his life’s blood, which the Mordanth needed to destroy the imprisoning pillars, above.

Into this lair came Warren and Deyst. Having found their friend and the king’s son lashed there, the two play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the Mordanth, trying in vain to convince the creature they are his contacts from the outside. The subterfuge works long enough for them to activate the Moonstone given them by Easter. The stone keeps the hordes of Balicanths away, and thwarts the Mordanth’s magic. The intrepid adventurers make their way through the swirling, evil horde. The creatures bash themselves against the Moonstone barrier, weakening it little by little. Though across the acid lake, there is still the matter of the ascent through the Dimenson Stone, which is far, far above the party.

But Ethan Easter has returned. The party escapes, using the old mages spells and devices. Once outside, there remains the specter of the Balicanths opening the barrier. The only way to permanently close it is to sacrifice the life of one pure and good. Eltron Goldstone offers his soul to close the portal, leaving behind a cryptic mission for Xant. Easter and Warren call upon their ritualistic reserves to close the barrier. With a resounding flash of light, the portal is closed, the Balicancths banished. The king’s son is rescued and returned, the adventurers rewarded. Yet, there is work to be done, still. Friends to find and support, and another journey to be made.

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