Maleskari was the Demon Lord of Death and Undeath, an especially powerful Ordainer who resembled an enormous armored skeleton. He wore a skeletal face mask which was identical to his own face. One of the most powerful Demon Lords known to exist in I.C.E. Age history, other demons often swore fealty to him without question, or possibly even impersonated him. He was a master of necromancy. Maleskari was reintroduced into Elanthian history for Bonespear Tower, which he supposedly rules, though the green blur witnesses reported bears no resemblance to him. The tower would presumably become his body if he was fully manifested. The tower door cryptically asks, "Who's he?"
Many adventurers came to believe one of the three "soul-stealing blades" had Maleskari trapped inside, but it was actually a slayer demon of the Black Hel who claimed to serve him. The blade was found on the coast of southwest Jaiman, and sold at auction by Rowena Dekdarion, niece of the Master of Defenses for the College of Karilon. The "dark saw-toothed scimitar" was initially owned by the legendary cleric Maruko Ashimine of House Phoenix. It passed through the hands of Thalior, Harcourt, and Kree.
In the Rolemaster bestiaries Maleskari is one of the three named Demon Lords, and called the most powerful known demon other than Sith, who is the Lord of Darkness and all but unheard of on the mortal planes. He appears as a "giant skeleton" wearing full plate without encumbrance, brandishing a huge iron staff, and wearing face mask that resembles a skull. He is the lord of a dark city called Necrophia on his home plane, where he is surrounded by a vast legion of undead servants. He is rumored to have a half-mortal son who is a necromancer that plans to usurp him one day. This is telling because Bonespear was apparently attempting to usurp him.
Maleskari possesses a Terrorite demon lieutenant, who are essentially winged snakes that often serve Ordainers, as well as Demon Scourge retainers who ride nightmares. Within 100 feet of him people are subjected to a sheer fear effect, and within 10 feet they are wracked with pain. This is a kind of power that is typical of Ordainers, who will immolate themselves in fire or ice and blast it out from themselves. He similarly has the power to "ordain" people, killing them instantly by touching them.
His face mask will fly off and strike victims, killing them instantly if they fail the warding roll. The staff inflicts impact and cold critical damage, taking half the spirit points of the target if they fail the warding. It is swung twice in the same attack. The staff will also reflect spells and casts a black fireball that does both heat and cold damage. He knows a vast range of "evil mage" spells including demonic summoning, as well as necromancy spells. He is immune to cold, non-magical weapons, and undead draining powers.
Maleskari is bound within Bonespear Tower, unable to manifest himself or move freely. The implicit idea is that the bone of the tower would reform as his body, and that the tower shakes because he is attempting to break free of the warding surrounding it. This is an anti-magical barrier that suppresses spellcraft, but magic is still possible within the tower. Bonespear struggles with him for control, which is probably why the undead will sometimes freeze up, becoming immobile and calmed for no other obvious reason. It would be like attempting to summon and control a demi-god to make him obey. The best that Bonespear is able to manage is to basically interfere with the demon and keep it distracted.
He has command over the undead of the tower, including eidolon and dybbuks and waern, and when he was less bound was able to conjure forth massive pyrothags. His elemental power has been demonstrated by manifesting bursts of flames and summoning ice spirits. The summoning circle at the top of the tower was presumably an attempt to both bring him into this plane and control him from within his own body. The explosion of flames from its failure is typical of Ordainer self-immolation and the consequences of control failure in demonic summoning from the archaic lore. Bonespear believes it might be possible to imprison Maleskari permanently in a sword from his vault.
Bonespear has been heard arguing with a servant of Maleskari within the tower. This is most likely the huge misshapen greenish monstrosity that was locked up in the tower, which was seen flying around when the roof exploded and the hillock was blasted allowing a path up to the ruined courtyard. This servant has the apparent ability to produce highly corrosive acid, having melted the metal door from which food was presumably dropped to it. It was bound and kept unable to manifest by Bonespear as well.
Behind the Scenes
Bonespear Tower includes a number of subtle I.C.E. Age references, such as Maleskari and the eidolon, which is a ghost from Greek mythology but also the archaic precursor of Idolone. The courtyard includes a memorial marker to GM Kygar, who passed away in 1998, whose character race was a Dwarf. He was the principal designer of The Broken Lands, the Lysierian Hills, Teras Isle, among other things, and was the lead designer and product manager of Modus Operandi. Foggy Valley right outside the Bonespear Tower area originally had giant fog beetles likely for the same reason. The height difference on the door writing could reflect a recurring number. What it probably represents is the writing of something the height of an Ordainer, responded with writing at the height of a Dwarf. This would be alluding to the immortality premise behind The Broken Lands, which involved the malevolent transmogrification of lifeforms, and possibly the transference of spirit ("spirit born of death") into demonic avatars as a form of high necromancy.
[Ruined Courtyard] A small simple marker has been placed here, and it sits within a tiny garden that stands out amidst the decay of the courtyard. A few timeless roses bloom within the patch of soil, eternal in their grace. There is something clearly magical about this spot. >look marker It is made of simple fel wood. There appears to be something written on it. >read marker In the Common language, it reads: In loving memory of Kygar Illustari, whose vision fills this tower. The spectral image of a dwarven mage fades into view before you. The grim dwarf looks you straight in the eye and while his lips do not move at all, you know that he has just told you to turn back and leave this place, never to return...clearly not as a threat, but as a dire warning. Shedding a single tear, the mage turns from you as he slowly fades away.
The mutual presence of pyrothags with fire sprites and fog beetles on Teras Isle is probably not a coincidence, being implicitly related to the beast in the Glaes Caverns. Similar to other such areas, the tower was exposed to powerful corrosive acid, as evidenced by a melted door. Maleskari was an ice oriented Ordainer, who had the ability to immolate themselves in flames or cold, exploding the blast out from themselves in an unnatural wind. When a demon is summoned without being controlled or mastered fast enough in Rolemaster there is an "impact" backlash on the summoner scaled by the power of the demon. It is impossible under ordinary conditions to control an Ordainer.
The Bonespear Tower story brought the premise of binding demonic (or even gods) into weapons back with the idea that a badly warped "huge misshapen sword" was the key to Bonespear trapping Maleskari again in a more harmless way. The slayer demon scimitar from the I.C.E. Age had claimed to serve Maleskari. However, it was implicitly a servant of the dark goddess Orgiana, which gives it an unusual relationship with Ordainers. It is worth noting that the lost village of "Velaskar" from the Shadow Valley story, which was next to a dormant Terrorite demon, is strikingly similar to Maleskari with the suffix becoming an Iruaric pluralization. It is speculative but not implausible to point out that Bandur Etrevion represented himself symbolically, with the point of ascension, as a demon lord of undeath and would have ruled over ruined Velaskar before the conquest of Lorgalis.
[Mine Tunnels] The walls are covered with silvery glowing moss, each patch shaped into a strange symbol. The absence of glowing moss along the ground is almost as distracting, as the effect of glow above and black dirt below feels odd, as if there were no ground to stand on here. Obvious exits: northeast >look symbol The symbol looks a little like a skeleton key, the top semi-circular with three dots for eyes and nose, below them a row of markings forming a mouth and a long jagged stroke downward representing the teeth of the key.
[The Rift] Mountains rise on either side of you, black peaks reaching for an angry red sky. The ground beneath your feet is broken and rocky, making you stumble uncomfortably. On the western side of the path stands a skeleton at least thirty feet tall. His bony hands clutch a staff from which hangs a lantern, filled with odd stones that glow in the dim light. The ripped remains of a black robe hang from the bones, fluttering in a slight breeze. Obvious exits: east, south, west
(3) Easter Eggs
There is a recurring pattern to the surrounding creatures about Foggy Valley. These are transformed hybrids of men with other living beings, which was to a large extent the theme of Uthex Kathiasas. Vesperti were elf-bat hybrids designed to be anti-magical, like the dark vorteces, with later lore establishing their plane shifting talents. Their creator "Vespertinae" contains the Iruaric suffix for "past" and is the feminine plural of the Latin adjective "vespertinus, -a, -um," meaning "vespers [evening prayers]" or "evening." "Vesperti" probably derives from the Latin word "vespertilio"--which means "bat." Pra'eda is Latin for game taken in a hunt, or the plunder and spoils of war, and are wolf-men things. The Shan are also wolf-men, Gaelic for "wise", or Chinese for "mountain" (or "hill" next to the hillock.) Waern are undead canines with green eyes, an old Scottish word for defense of a fortification. They also contain the Iruaric word for "thirsty", loosely meaning "one who acts as the thirst for souls" as a composite glyph, though this is probably coincidental. Dybbuks are soul transference possession spirits in Jewish mythology, which is paralleled by the temporal premise of The Broken Lands. The inscription at the top of the tower door is a mezuzah, which ward off dybbuks and roots the humanoid mezics, who are most likely Maleskari cultists.
Bonespear said his students scattered and would try to help the demon unless they had come to their senses like him. Their cult presumably performed all of the unnecessary surgeries, and built the tower of bone to summon Maleskari, with Bonespear betraying them but coming to regret his folly. Fenghai are likely an allusion (if only by name) to the chimerical so-called "Chinese phoenix" fenghuang, the female analog of a dragon, which parallels the "spirit born of death" premise of The Broken Lands. It might also play off the "feng shui" of harmonizing things with their surroundings, involving the "qi" concept, which is relevant because of the ki-lin (the kappas being another eastern borrow.) In terms of their actual appearance they might refer to Native American "little people" myths who made rock art, where the story behind Shadow Valley had involved reference to Native Americans. They might also refer to the idea that faeries were "little people" still living in the stone age that was taken up by Lovecraft circle writers. Bonespear Tower is obviously based on "The Colossus of Ylourgne" by Clark Ashton Smith, whose Averoigne stories clearly influenced the design of Castle Anwyn. This is in addition to horrific miscegenation and demonic cults making human sacrifices for forbidden knowledge. But various aspects of the tower can be taken as reminiscent of Ghostbusters.