The History of Nerath
The History of Nerath is a long bloody one. The continent was originally built upon two smaller nations: Bael Turath in the north and the Arkhosian Empire in the arid south. The history of how Nerath became the land it is today has to do with when the two empires, both grand examples of their own civilizations, began to expand into the central area of the continent: Erthain.
Erthain was originally claimed by the nation of Bael Turath, a human kingdom that controlled the majority of Nerath. However when the dragonborn empire of Arkhosia began it’s campaign of northward conquest, seeking to claim the greener lands for themselves, the forces of Bael Turath were no match for the brutal & efficient tactics and superior fighting of the dragonborn and their allied warrior races (goliath, minotaurs, etc). The forces of Bael Turath were driven back into Anduris, the northern half of their kingdom, and thought all was lost.
However, in their darkest hour, the nobles of Bael Turath approached their king with a dire plan. They proposed a ritual to form a pact with the devils of the Nine Hells for the power to drive back the dragonborn forces of Arkhosia. The deal came with a harsh price, the souls of all of Erthain were damned. Desperate and out of options, the nobles agreed and the powers of the Nine Hells were unleashed amongst the plains of Erthain. The citizens and soldiers, common and noble, who hailed from or still dwelt Erthain were blessed with the powers of the devils themselves and became the first tieflings.
Renewed with this power, the people of Bael Turath fought back. They brought forth devils and demons, learned to reinforce their ranks with the dead, and slaughtered without mercy. However the damage they dealt to their foes would ultimately be done equally to the lands and Erthain would erode over the centuries from a series of lush plains and farmlands to a rotten hollow marshland, forever tainted by the evil that was used to win the war.
But the war was not won. The dragonborn and other warrior races of Arkhosia and the Bael Turath humans, tieflings and their allies had wrought so much destruction that their people and their empires would never be able to recover. It was a noble man from Anduris who proposed a treaty and offered his own families wealth to lay the groundwork for the remnants of both sides to combine their efforts to forge a new united country, this noble man would became Emperor Trias Nerath I of the Nerathi Empire.
The Empire of Nerath was a success, so much so that it would forever brand the united lands it was built on with its name. For nearly a millennia, the entire continent of Nerath experienced untold prosperity. Enough food and wealth for all to enjoy, but there was trouble brewing in Erthain. The land that housed the majority of the farmland and crops for both the lands to the north and south of it became barren and unable to grow anything. Slowly the land became to crumble and rot, the water began to rush inland from the sea and slowly but surely Erthain became the marshland it is today.
The native Erthish tieflings began to flee to the north and south, reporting something dark and wicked growing in the depths of the marsh. The Empire of Nerath responded without hesitation. Emperor Oeryn Nerath called for a gathering of his most loyal knights to be joined, from all races they came, a legion of nine hundred and ninety nine souls. Together they performed an ancient ritual to be bound to each other by blood, blessed by the Gods, and sworn to an oath to defeat this darkness and all darkness that followed it. They Knights of Oeryn were born.
They rode through the lands of Erthain and culling the darkness, fighting back demons and devils, and ridding it of monsters and fiends. The Knights ultimately found the heart of the darkness that infested the lands: an ancient demon known as Yeenoghu and its ilk of demon bred gnolls had taken up residence in a hole that had rotted through the planar walls by the remnants of the evil magic used in the war over 1000 years before. The Emperor led the attack himself and while ultimately the Knights succeeded in driving Yeenoghu back into the depths of the Abyss, Emperor Oeryn Nerath perished in the fight. The Knights retreated back to the north to deliver the body of their fallen monarch, and while the demon lord was beaten back, it was not killed and Erthain remained tainted by the stench of evil that haunts it to this day.
Worse yet, the Nerathi Empire was left without a ruler. Arguments about the future gave way to fights and fights fell into threats of war. The southern end of the Empire was left clueless to the events happening up north as none wished the brave Erthain to send word back and forth. They became desperate and worried without word of any success in the swamps against the Demon Lord. The north began to tear itself apart with threats of civil war, until history repeated itself and a brave soul stepped up with the charisma and strength to reunite the north at the brink of it tearing itself apart: Renor Brelan.
The Brelani Empire began its own shaky rule over the north lands. However, as the south became more and more frustrated with being left out of the loop, they sent their bravest and strongest northward though the marshes to see what had happened. In the end, the found a new empire beginning to be built and were informed that because of the troubles in Erthain, they would no longer be able to send aid southward. The warriors returned with this news that enraged the people of the south, plunging the land into chaos for nearly half a millennia before the found of Arkosh.
The Brelani Empire eventually stabilized, grew and prospered for 500 years. When for unknown reasons to the majority of the Empire, the capital fell. The descendants of the original Knights of Oeryn fought to hold the capital and according to legend they too fell. On that dark day, the imperial city of Onsingerion, fell into darkness and the Rot began to eat away at the very earth of Anduris. For 400 years the Rot has slowly spread across the land, as local governments rise and fell in an attempt to re-stabilize the land and its people. Some tried to fight the creatures that now controlled the dead wastelands beyond the Rot, but they were no Knights and were quick to perish.
Now Nerath faces its darkest trial, and Anduris takes center stage as the darkness teeters on victory. What will happen now?