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Overview

A sorcerer par excellence and one of the most ancient and implacable enemies of mankind, the madman known as The Watcher (or Bahl'al) most recently fought as one of Balor's generals alongside the Fallen Lords, though his existence and misdeeds are chronicled as far back as the Age of Reason some two millennia prior. As reliable records do not exist before this period, It is quite possible that he arose in an even earlier age, plaguing humanity even as it struggled beneath the shadow of the Trow. In one of his earliest documented acts, he descended into the depths of the ruined Trow city of Si'anwon, drowned by the Callieach during the Axe Age, and there spent nine days without breath searching its halls. When he returned, he brought with him the Dream of Unlife, and with its knowledge became the first and arguable most powerful necromancer in the world of Myth. With this power, Bahl'al became one of the most persistent antagonists of the Cath Bruig Empire during its cultural renaissance, and though he was consistently repelled by its defenders, each loss only spurred him to create stronger and more numerous armies of undead. His greatest accomplishment in the Age of Reason by far was the downfall of Mazzarin, the first Avatara, whom he ensnared and defeated with multiple waves of Thrall. To this day Mazzarin is considered the most powerful archmage to have ever lived, and The Watcher's victory over him was one of the most prominent feats of the Dark in the First Era.

Bahl'al with Moagim

The Watcher's first collaboration with an incarnation of The Leveler came during the Wind Age, when he allied himself with Moagim the Faceless Terror against the Cath Bruig. While his involvement, to say nothing of the presence of the Myrkridia, led to a sudden and disastrous reversal of fortune for the human kingdoms, Moagim eventually lost his bid for conquest, and it came at great personal cost to The Watcher. As Moagim's war drew to a close, Bahl'al found himself challenged by an Avatara named Myrdred, and in the ensuing battle The Watcher was defeated. In order to ensure that he would never return to threaten mankind, he was imprisoned beneath the Cloudspine mountain range, bound by a powerful Confinement Dream, where he would remain for centuries.

In terms of personality, The Watcher is thought by most to be unstable even by the standards of others of his demented ilk, and his mental state could not have improved over the course of his many centuries of isolation below the Cloudspine. When not leading his vile armies, he tends to haunt the vast expanse of the Dire Marsh, and enormous morass fed by the poisoned Gjol River. These two facts have led to one of his more common nicknames, the Mad Goat of the Fens. Though his peculiar mannerisms precluded many relationships outside those of convenience, it was known that he carried a grudge against Myrdred (aka The Deceiver) after losing to him in the Wind Age.

The Great War (Myth: The Fallen Lords)

The Watcher, seen here turned to stone by bone fragments from his own severed arm.

After Balor released him from his centuries-long imprisonment at the beginning of the Sword Age, The Watcher served as one of his most loyal lieutenants throughout The Great War. Though Bahl'al agreed to serve Balor as payment for his freedom, it is likely he would have offered his services willingly given the chance, as he had long ago devoted himself to the destruction of human civilization. He fought the nations of the West with particular zeal during the length conflict, with the only deviation being a series of clashes between himself and The Deceiver. No doubt remembering that it was his fight with Myrdred which directly precipitated his incarceration below the Cloudspine, the tension between the two led to open warfare on several occasions. After many battles, The Watcher was eventually able to repay his nemesis in full, attacking him by surprise in the seventeenth year of the war and leaving him in a state of helpless stasis not unlike the one he endured years before.

In spite of his immense strength, The Watcher would become the third of Balor's generals (after Shiver and The Deceiver) to perish during the war. The means of his defeat was his own arm, which had been severed in order to escape his arcane prison. Though The Deceiver had sought it, the Legion that ultimately recovered The Watcher's arm, and Alric used it to create special bone-tipped arrows which could paralyze him. Springing their trap upon The Watcher deep within the Dire Marsh, Bahl'al was turned to stone and later shattered to pieces by a contingent of Berserks, putting a decisive end to the untold years of suffering he wrought upon the world.

Abilities

The Watcher's signature was an unparalleled mastery of the undead. He is credited as the first person to create Thrall from the corpses of the dead, and they are often called the Children of Bahl'al in recognition of his morbid ingenuity. His preference for necromancy notwithstanding, The Watcher's mind is a font for all manner of sorcerous knowledge, and as he demonstrated when he defeated the Avatara Mazzarin, he deserves mention as one of the greatest mages in history. Also of note is his surprising longevity. While many of the Fallen Lords have existed for centuries, Bahl'al has walked the world for several millennia, with his true age a mystery. Though it would stand to reason that the same Dream of Unlife that gave him license to raise the dead would also allowed him to unnaturally extend his own life, with his death in The Great War it may no longer be possible to confirm the source of his apparent immortality.

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