A World UnitedEdit
Rise of NerathEdit
The Last WarEdit
The mighty human empire of Nerath once spanned hundreds of thousands of square miles. Within its borders, culture and learning flourished, including the study of magic. Wizards and artificers began to advance in the study of constructs, especially homunculi and other responsive creatures.More than three centuries ago, King Eothyr III opened imperial coffers to the Society of Imperial Artificers, an organization of learned arcanists honored by, but independent of, the king. He set their goal as an adaptive artificial being—one that didn’t imprison another creature, such as an immortal spirit or elemental being, as the spark for sentience. This new being had to be autonomously capable of its tasks and able to learn.Eothyr’s son, Elidyr ascended to the throne upon his father’s death, before the artificers had succeeded at their work. Rumblings of unrest among savages within the empire led Elidyr to turn the work in the direction of war. He wanted a soldier, not just a utopian construct.Soon after, the Society of Imperial Artificers completed the first creation forge, along with the rituals that led to the birth of the first warforged. But Elidyr’s desires split the society along ideological lines. Some of its visionaries wanted the constructs Eothyr had envisioned. Renegade artificers split from the society, taking with them copies of the techniques used to create warforged.However, Elidyr’s preparations for war turned out to be precognitive. Nerath soon found itself in a massive campaign against savage humanoids and demons. The king allowed nobles to eschew battlefield duty if they could pay for warforged to be built to take their place. Nerath’s treasury financed even more artificial soldiers. All over the empire, even turncoat artificers used their creation forges to build warforged for the war effort.Never numerous, warforged still played a significant role in the hostilities. With them, Nerath emerged victorious. Decapitated by the deaths of its king, its heirs, and some of its most influential leaders, the empire crumbled quickly into factional war and territorial squabbling. Creation forges were sometimes turned to the service of petty nobles, among other, stranger uses. Surviving warforged were conscripted into new armies, enslaved, or left to their own devices.After a few decades, regional wars subsided as trade dwindled and local nobles consolidated power. Nerath ultimately disintegrated into independent states separated by vast swaths of wilderness.
Fall of NerathEdit
During the height of the last human empire, Nerath, a mortal gnoll known as the White Ruin came to power in his tribe after butchering the chieftain and all his sons in one horrific combat. With the warriors cowed, the gnoll champion swiftly turned to the other tribes stalking the forests and hills, seeking them out, one by one, to challenge their chieftains. Those who fought him died, and those who didn’t vowed their service, cementing their alliance with the blood of their firstborn sons. Not long after, the White Ruin accumulated a horde of gnolls, hyenas, goblins, orcs, and dread demons summoned from the Abyss, and in the name Yeenoghu, turned hungry eyes to the lands of humans. At this time, King Elidyr, a wise and just monarch, ruled the lands of Nerath. When word reached him of the approaching storm, he gathered his glittering knights and allies to meet the demonic host. His forces, although numerous, could not compare to the ravenous beasts under Yeenoghu’s banners. Elidyr struck and fell back a dozen times, each loss finding his diminishing army deeper in his own lands, and the gnolls scouring the earth of castle, town, and city. His numerous forays bled the host, racking up appalling numbers of dead, but nothing Elidyr did could halt the tide’s progress.It wasn’t until the Battle of Nine Sons, when much of Nerath drowned in its own blood, that Elidyr finally triumphed over the invaders. He and his sons, each bold knights and great champions in their own right, formed a wedge and rode their magnificent charges through the unruly ranks, driving deep to reach its monstrous heart. As they rode, their armies hit the horde from both sides, sacrificing themselves for one final attempt to halt the enemy’s progress. Elidyr and his sons fought through the press, each taking grievous wounds and vanishing in the sea of blades, claws, and teeth, until only the king remained, dripping with the blood of his eldest and most beloved son. It was then that the White Ruin sought out this courageous warrior and challenged him to single conflict.For nine days and nights, while the armies fought around them, Elidyr and the White Ruin fought, hacking and chopping at each other, neither willing to surrender. On and on they battled until the dawn of the tenth day, when the roiling dark clouds broke and the light of the gods shone down upon the embattled forces. The White Ruin, unaccustomed to the wholesome power of the enraged gods, shielded his eyes, giving Elidyr the chance he needed to drive home his shining sword in the black heart of the terrible monster. Just as he struggled to withdraw the blade, the White Ruin loosed a tremendous screech and was pulled, along with the noble king, into the Abyss.The victory won at the cost of a king and his sons proved bitter, for the destruction the kingdom suffered was too much and its people were too scattered to rebuild. In time, Nerath crumbled like the gnoll host, until it too passed into history. Some whisper, though, that Elidyr is not dead and lives on, fighting Yeenoghu in the Abyss. They feel that one day he will defeat the Beast of Butchery and return to the mortal world, bringing with him a new age of justice and peace as he drives back the darkness overtaking the world.
- Dragon 364 (wizards of the Coast 2008)