Chronicles of Neverael
The infamous Blackgate War began in the year 7047 and was, by all surviving accounts of the times, probably the most devastating war in the history of the known world. The war lasted all of six years and, during that time, destruction and wholesale slaughter on a level undreamed of became a daily event. There were no civilians in the Blackgate War – every man, woman, and child was a soldier and the things which came through the Blackgate were the enemy.
But what exactly were the Atlaneians fighting during the war? Accounts of the times provide only sketchy details – the horrors belched forth from the so-called Blackgate seem to vary. It is known, however, that one of the primary enemies faced during these times were a type of being called The Black Ones. It is now believed that these Black Ones were a form of demon – a malevolent spiritual entity of unknown origins and purpose whose sole desire is to gain entrance to the physical plane for nefarious purposes. Having gained control over a human vessel, a Black One then began to transform that vessel using unknown magicks into a more suitable instrument for itself – warping human flesh into something altogether monstrous and corrupt. But, the Black Ones’ most devastating effect was that which they had on the environment and the creatures living therein – they seemed to exude some sort of taint which infected the air, the soil, and even the water and everything living therein. This taint was a form of consuming corruption which warped and transformed everything touched by it into servants of the Blackgate. Entire communities would become tainted in this manner and, soon, would be marching right alongside the Black Ones and the other monsters that came through the Blackgate – a ragged horde of cannibalistic savages entirely enthralled by the will of the Black Ones. This is to say nothing of the woodland creatures transformed by the taint into abominations out of nightmare.
It is not known how exactly the Blackgate was discovered or, perhaps, made – nor where it led. Some other world long since devoured by darkness, perhaps? Or, maybe, in their desire to obtain greater and greater power for themselves the Atlaneians tapped into the realm from which human sin itself springs? No one really knows. No one was safe during the Blackgate War. Those who were tainted were killed without mercy – mercy was simply not an option. Whole swathes of land were scorched clean by powerful magickal engines of destruction – utterly destroying everything living there in the process. The primary battlefield of the War was what is now Thanelia and what was then known as the province of Daereth – called the Blacklands now. Every man, woman, and child capable of using magick or wielding a weapon was sent to fight – the enemy’s numbers seemed inexhaustible. More and more terrible things were belched forth by the wound in Neverael called the Blackgate – and there seemed no end in sight. Slowly, through sacrifice, determination, and unity the tide began to turn and the Taint began to recede. Finally, a stalemate was reached.
Knowing that this stalemate could not last – that the Black Ones would eventually overwhelm their forces – the Atlaneian genius called Angren Tethaeus (and his band of companions) devised a means to end the war. The Empire simply did not have the forces necessary to drive the Taint back through the Blackgate completely – but there was a way that the gate could be sealed and the Taint contained behind powerful wards. Angren and his companions would go deep into the Tainted lands and strike at the Blackgate itself in order to turn the enemy’s attention inward while a separate force consisting of the most talented mages of the era would use his designs for a ward system to trap the Taint within what was once Daereth.
Angren and the Lost Companions (as they came to be called) used something called “The Thorns” to circumvent the Taint and arrive deep within the heart of the Blacklands – where they began to wreak havoc on the enemy’s forces – inflicting insanely high death tolls. While the enemy turned it’s attentions inward, the mages selected to build the wards began their work. They tapped the artificial ley-lines which had been the basis of the magickal power network which linked the great cities of the Empire together and, using this in conjunction with pacts made with archetypes, primordials, and elementals (in addition to stranger beings) did something impossible – they raised from the earth a mountain range and an entire perimeter of ward focuses which, when activated, would cut the Blacklands off from the rest of the world forever.
When the Black Ones began to detect what was going on they redirected the Tainted forces toward breaking the wards before they could come online. Angren and the Lost Companions realized that they needed to buy more time or else all would be lost and so, made the ultimate sacrifice – they fought their way to the Blackgate itself and then passed through it – intending to strike at the heart of darkness itself. When the Lost Companions passed through the gate the Tainted forces were forced to divide their attention further, enabling the mages of Atlanei to complete their work and cause the wards to come online. A last communique was received from the only member of the Lost Companions to not enter the gate – Thessaly Olivaire – she said that she would now pass through the gate as instructed and that she, along with the other companions, would seal the gate. It had been unclear how, exactly, Angren intended to seal the gate – but now it became clear that he and his companions would make the ultimate sacrifice by sealing the gate from the inside. Thessaly must have passed through because the gate was, in short order, sealed. The threat of the Blackgate was concluded – for now.
The wake of the Blackgate War saw many changes – the establishment of the Eben Guard, the rise of the Church of the One, the fall of the Atlaneian Empire, and other developments. But those are, perhaps, best left to other forums of discussion.