Long ago a Daeva known as The Deceiver (Gazember, Matquara and many other names) came to the court of the Winter King and promised him pleasures and experiences beyond his imagination.
It is not known whether this event happened before or after the King’s estrangement from his wife, the Summer Queen. What is known is that the Queen distrusted Gazember and forbade her from speaking to the court. So instead the creature whispered in secret to those that would listen.
She built a following of elves that had already started on their path to the dark world and slowly, one by one, ensnared them.
By the time the King realised that his people were disappearing and banished Gazember, a sizeable stock of elves had been ensnared. In shadowy glades deep within the forest the Daeva conducted her foul experiments of cross breeding and magical mutation.
A short crusade followed, and the King led his army against the Daeva and her hellish creations. She fled, along with the few surviving and most resilient of her monsters, and took up residence in the dark spaces beneath the Forgesmoke Mountains.
It was roughly at this time that the elf King and Queen became estranged, but there were many causes behind that acrimonious split than just this one event. The King’s infidelities had become too frequent to ignore.
Many centuries passed and it was assumed that the Daeva had crawled away and died along with her beasts. But evil rumours became associated with those mountains. Sturdy dwarves told of creatures more cunning and terrible than any goblinoid, and expanded their caverns with caution. Even the stolid bugbears, single-minded hobgoblins and their pets, the goblins, shuddered in fear at what was breeding deep at the root of the mountains.
The vast forest to the north of the mountains changed as well, as if a toxin was spreading through the soil or air. It took on a new name of Gloomtangle and became the home of giant spiders, poisoned rivers, malevolent trees, and elves of a very unpleasant sort.
Then, in 1122, after a century of intermittent skirmishes with an unknown type of creature, The Orcs vomited out from the western spur of the mountain and surged down the Bathuran peninsula. Orcs: tortured and mutated elves, so twisted with pain and hate that they were ferocious, relentless, almost unstoppable. Rezana fell and with it the entire Western Empire collapsed. Loranto only survived because of its position upon the water: its navy keeping the horde at bay.
For 200 years the Orcs consolidated their position on the Bathuran peninsula, and spread throughout the Forgesmoke Mountains. This created a refugee crisis of not just humans and dwarfs. In 1443 Kalgroth Ironheart led an army of bugbears, hobgoblins and goblins out of the mountains along the Via Bathura to sack Parsantium. It seems likely that they had been displaced by the expanding Orcs. The goblinoids were defeated, but not before they had despoiled the area between the eastern Corsairs’ Sea and the Istra River.
Now, in 1545, the goblinoids pose only a minor threat as the few refugee tribes maraud on the edges of the mountains from which they were dispossessed, the forests were they dare not go, and the resurgent human lands to south and north. Instead the threat to Parsantium from the west comes from the growing presence of the Orcs. And questions have been asked, in private at least, what had the elves to do with this whole catastrophe? And can they be trusted now?