The Rebuilding of Hiltmarch
Scattered and leaderless, the races of the material plane retreated against the onslaught of the orcs, while the demons followed behind, corrupting the land. Battles were fought, more ground was lost, and the cycle repeated itself for centuries. Cities were raised to the ground, thousands of years of history lost, and much of the old teachings were buried under tons of stone and sorrow.
The refugees of the war had no home, no direction and no hope. Only one major city remained, the underground dwarven fortress of Comanthor. The city could not take in the refugees, which at this point was comprised of all races, from humans to halflings, elves to orcs, kobolds to giants. Upon scouting the area, the refugees were able to take sanctuary in the ruins of the ancient city of Hiltmarch.
Hiltmarch had been abandoned for centuries, long preceeding the devil invasion of the material plane. Avoided at all costs because it was believed to be haunted. Treasure seekers were driven mad by the strange goings on. The sounds of footsteps where there was no one, shadows on the wall, voices heard through the hallways. But at this point, those fleeing the war had no where else to go, and needing to seek shelter from an oncoming storm, hid in the halls of the castle of Hiltmarch.
During the time in Hiltmarch, a young human, by the name of Adam Jorimsbane was walking through the halls, attempting to find the source of the beings that haunted the city. Upon rounding a corner he found himself looking down a tall, arched hallway with curious humanoid statues along the walls, all with their gaze fixed upon him. As he walked down the hallway he could only feel as if he was being watched. Ending the corridor at a large oaken door, he turned to see his feelings justified. The statues had gaze had never left him. One of them stepped off its pedastal and slowly approached him. Fearing for his life he stumbled backwards through the door which opened with no resistance.
When he opened his eyes he saw a sight he could not believe. Dozens more of these statue men, standing there, and behind them, what seemed to be a giant nexus of arcane energy. The statues, as it turned out, were called the Warforged, a race of sentient constructs built by the original creators of Hiltmarch. In that room was the Grand Forge. A large device capable of assembling these constructs. With this device, the forces of the Realm would have an army to fight for them. Using materials mined from Comanthor, and lumber harvested from Kyren’s Forest to the north, there was finally hope again.
Around this time other things began to happen. Divine magic, which had completely disappeared for hundreds of years, began to come back. In addition to the new army, and the power of the divines return, new courage came about.
Upon seeing the devastation to the lands, the Bloodpact Orcs began to realize they were fighing on the wrong side of this war. No amount of gain could justify this amount of destruction. They sent a messenger to Hiltmarch, who was not very well recieved to say the least. Unknown to the orcs, the forces of the realm had begun assembling an army, enhanced by runes and the best training there could be. After a time, and scouting reports from the frontlines, it became clear that the orcs were indeed slowing their march, and in some areas turning back.
Because of their bloodpact, the orcs were the only beings who could survive on the corrupted lands without succumbing to the corruption. Since they were the front-line soldiers, with very few of the more powerful hellspawn in their midst, they were able to force a “retreat” of the forces under the guise of concentrating power for a final push. In the end, they were able to force the entire line back to the Eld desert, and then proceeded to hold the line of demons back giving the rest of the realm the one thing they needed in order to make all the plans work, time to build and train the warforged army.
With the armies of the damned held at bay, and the army of the realm assembled, all that was left was the task of marching the army of warforged to the sands for the final battle. The only problem was that the damned were not aware of the warforged existence, and any demons left in the corrupted lands between Hiltmarch and the desert would surely notify their masters. A plan was conceived to send an adventuring party ahead of the forces in order to clear away any stragglers, who were then to meet up with the orcs and hold the line until the army was at the devil’s doorstep. The existence of this party was a highly guarded secret, and their identities were never known, with the exception of one man, now the King Adam Jorimsbane. To everyone else, they were only known as the Party of Hope.
Once the Party of Hope rendezvoused with the orcs, they did as instructed, and held the line until the armies of the realms arrived, and in one large push, the army of 2000 orcs, 50,000 warforged, and 20,000 humans, elves, dwarves, goblins, kobolds, giants as well as other races, made the final pushback against the forces of the lower realms, forcing them back through the gate and eventually destroying it. During the final push, Adam Jorimsbane met his fate at the end of a Balor’s sword, after having managed to destroy more than one man’s share of hellspawn that day. Taking with him the identities of the Party of Hope, their names would never be known, and they could never receive the rewards promised to them.
After the battle, the surviving forces of the realms returned to Hiltmarch. The loss of many was felt by all. But it was decided that it was time to rebuild, and led by the new king, Gregory Jorimsbane, established a council, one that had representatives from all races willing to participate in order to decide on the best course of action for rebuilding the land.
It was the decision of the council that the Great Forge would need to be turned off if any peace was to be lasting, and the surviving warforged would be granted the freedom to chose how to live their lives.
The Bloodpact Orcs realize that because of their demonic taint, they are unable to survive long on non corrupted lands. A decision is made by them to not join the council, and in an effort to atone for all that they did, vow to hunt down any remaining hellspawn that roam the corrupted lands.