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After all this talk about hin Immortals, I checked the Ballad of Nob Nar, in Gaz 8 and found out about Baron Ulsthag and his evil actions ended by Nob Nar in AC 612. The Ballad tells how the Baron killed his daughter, so that she wouldn't marry Nob Nar and how he was killed by the Hin Hero afterwards, who took the body of Navrilstar to lay at the Shire. I'd even speculate that Nob took the Path of Immortality as a way to restore his beloved to life. He would have restored her to life in his own Homeplane, where they would be living now.

The Curse of Halag

by André Martins

Baron Ulsthag act of murdering his own daughter did not go unpunished. When he was killed a few moments later and the body of fair Navrilstar taken to the Shires, the actions of the Baron turned him into an undead creature. He blames hin for his torment and hate them with passion. The shadow of his evil has fallen over Halag since his death and Ulsthag has been constantly plotting their downfall.

And so it was that the baronial throne of Halag became cursed by him. Whenever a new Baron claims it, Ulsthag starts to slowly corrupt the new Baron, driving him crazy over a decade till he can possess the Baron's body and prepare his armies against the Shires.

Halag has been destroyed a few times by the Sheriffs and till 30 years ago, there was no Baron there, much to Ulsthag disappointment, as the nature of his curse allows him to act only upon people who claim his old position (or more). A simple mayor is beyond his reach. Some months before, the last Baron of Halag had been killed in the Battle of the Blackflame, while commanding, under disguise, an orc invasion against the Shires.

Along with the Duke, came his cousin Ludwig. Stefan knew him as a good men, who had saved him from many troubles and who was known as a charitable and noble soul. In fact, Stephen had come to realise he had much to learn from Ludwig, who, although young, was already wise and kind.

So it was that Ludwig was appointed Baron in the west, as he seemed the right person to be neighbour to the Shires. He already had many friends among the little people and the granting of the title to him was greeted with enthusiasm. The hin prepared a great banquet in Halag and his first years as Baron was prosperous and happy.

However, with a new Baron in Halag, Ulsthag had the opportunity he had been waiting for. Ludwig was a problem, as he wasn't easy to influence, but the undead had time and knew what he was doing. Among Halag treasure, there was a necklace, with a flower hanging from it. Its petals were made of gold and the centre was a huge ruby. The object was clearly magical and had the ability to grant small wishes to its wearer, but it also make the wearer weaker and his soul and mind less resistant with each use.

Ulsthag, with the help of a young wizard who had found out about him and with whom he had made a deal, Bargle, set out to cause troubles in the land. So, for three years the crops were lost, to plagues, drought and flood. Halag people would starve if not for the hin help. The Baron knew he had to do something and, despite his counsellors warnings about the nature of the necklace, he donned and used it.

The next year, crops were abundant and a great party was celebrated. The warehouses were full and all were happy, but a great fire hit the city, destroying the warehouse's area and all the supplies. The Baron once more used his necklace to feed his people through the winter and when spring came, his looks had changed. He was thinner and there was something darker in his voice and his eyes, but that was all his subjects noticed. That and the fact he now used the necklace constantly.

When a mysterious plague started killing people in the summer (it was AC 977), the Baron once more decided to use the powers of the necklace. He had to save his people, even though he felt that doing it once more would have a great cost on him. He planned to abdicate once the problems were over and pass the throne to someone stronger and wiser than he had become, someone who didn't share the terrible nightmares that assailed him every night. He felt himself failing and he knew he should abdicate before darkness took him. His only daughter was still too young, only 5 years old, and his wife wasn't prepared to rule, but she would have to learn it. She was pregnant again, but Ludwig knew his sanity wouldn't last another year. He felt it deep inside him there was something terribly wrong, he just wished he was strong enough to hold on still the plague had disappeared.

But he wasn't that strong. One night, at the start of the autumn, he managed to get a grip on himself as he was about to crush his pregnant wife with his sword. That was the act Ulsthag had been waiting for, what would allow him to take complete control of the Baron's body, moulding him after his own crime by killing his own daughter in her mother's womb, but there was still some last remains of the wisdom and strength Ludwig once had.

With that last grip on sanity, he sent his wife and daughter away, with his most trusted friend, to live in Luln, where his madness could not reach them. He would only stop the plague and then abdicate and lock himself in prison, until a cure for his mental state could be found. Till then, they had to be kept safe.

He never got the strength to abdicate. Instead, the end of the plague cost him the last of his sanity and, although, Ulsthag couldn't take his body, the horror appeared before the mad Baron and planted paranoid thoughts in his mind, until Ludwig hated the hin.

With the Baron under his power, Ulsthag started building once again his power base and he appeared to the humanoid tribe leaders and told them they could once more ally with Halag throne. This time, Ulsthag would be more careful. He realised Ludwig forces were no match for the Shires, but Karameikos were. So, his first plot would be to take control of the Duchy. This would take time, but he had all the time in the world. And Stephen knew Ludwig's heart was a noble one, so he had the perfect disguise to plot his evil.

In Luln, Ludwig's wife died in childbirth, but the child, a beautiful girl, survived. Ludwig counsellor, Anton, raised Yolanda and her elder sister, Sascia, as his own daughters and never told them about their real father. He wrote down the whole story in a letter, locked among his personal stuff, in case he dies before he can tell the girls the truth. But, with the Baron gone mad, he is not sure they should ever come to know it and he is considering burning the letter.

Now, when and if Baron Ludwig is defeated, the next Baron will have the same fate upon him. Only when the creature is destroyed there will finally be peace among Halag and the Shires. However, Ulsthag has no body at all and can't be destroyed by any physical means, as he exists only inside the mind of anyone in a leadership position in Halag (be them a powerful wizard, the baron or the leaders of tribes). The truth must first be found out, then a blessing ceremony must be done in Halag, presided by a hin Master or a cleric of Nob Nar, where the spirit of Navrilstar must be invoked to put her father to rest.