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The greatest scourge ever to face the lands of the East, the False One conquered most of the kingdoms of the East and nearly plunged the entire world into a lasting darkness before he was exposed and destroyed at the Battle of Khaolir Summit and his taint extinguished from the world.
In the time of Legend, before the coming of the One God and the finding of the Stones of Power, there lived high in the Khaolir Mountains (some say near the present city of Minitirith) a wise and all-knowing Prophet who spoke of many things that have since come to pass. In his words can be found the fall of the Ancient Fortress-City of Tir, the splintering of the Great Empire of Aolinir, the discovery and mastery of Magic, the coming of the One God, and even the withering of the elves.
Most of all, however, he spoke of the ruin of all mortal men -- in the form of a child born of lies and blasphemy, demons and darkness, the one true son of Raizeth.
This young man would rise in the East, he said. All manner of twisted beast and dark creature would be called to his side as his great host, and would bow to him as master. Dark and unholy magics would be his to command, unseen by any before, and none would be able to stand against him in battle. He would destroy the civilized lands of the East, and eventually cover all the world in a darkness so vast that no light could pierce it. So great would be his evil that the very foundations of the world would break, and all things would fail.
Past that, the Prophet admitted, he could see nothing.
Over the long years, there have been a great many pretenders to the prophecy. Most amount to very little, and are ultimately destroyed. In the aftermath, the Church of the One God labels them False, and those who believe the prophecies breath a sigh of release that their doom has not yet come upon them. Most amount to very little...
What little is known about the early history of Nethaniel comes from as recently as 100 years ago, when the land of his birth and rise to power -- the once peaceful Kingdom of Gaolin -- was at last freed from the dark shadow it had lingered under for over 700 years. Some time after the capital was reclaimed, Scholars of the One God settled into researching what they could of the False Princes' origins. Most have now come to accept the fact that Nethaniel was truly cursed with the black blood of demons, and almost all place the blame on the feet of the Lady Julianne -- the boys mother.
Little more than a pretty noble girl of a bereft house, only accepted into the Royal Court due to her fair appearance, keen skills at seduction, and the promise of a male heir. The Lady Julianne grew quite used to the position and power, and indeed basked in it as had the six other wives that had come before her. She proved more apt at entertaining her King's attentions than some, yet as the months grew longer and the year began to come toward and end she could sense that she was loosing his interest...and that his temper was increasing. Despite his near impotence, the King demanded an heir -- and a male heir at that -- and he had already killed six women in athe attempt to find a woman "fertile" enough to provide one.
Then, on midwinter eve some 822 years ago, the Lady Julianne grew heavy with child. Nine months later, a son was born into the world, of no little likeness to his mother -- yet possessed, all the courtiers agreed, with a somewhat disturbing mien. Some suggested something close to the truth; that the child was not the Kings. These rumors grew more and more pronounced as the child grew older, for his appearance (while quite similar to that of his mother) was quite unlike that of the King. Indeed, he possessed dark gray eyes and shock black hair, a trait possessed by neither of the parents. When Nethaniel was 8 years old, his mother -- protesting all the way, and then falling into curses -- was hauled away, and executed. The boy was turned over to the Church of the One God, and the King promptly remarried. He had a child, a lad, later that same year.
Little is known of what happened between the period when Nethaniel was given over to the Church and the immediate years after. The Monestary where he was raised was later destroyed, all records destroyed, and all the priests that might have known something about this period long dead and forgotten. Thus, nothing is known about what happened to Nethaniel until his 17th year when he returned to the capital of Gaolin. He was reportedly a strong and somewhat disturbing youth, muscular and fit, with dark black eyes that seemed to flicker like a flame. Two others came with him, priests garbed in black (an uncommon but not unknown color among the One Gods' priests, which aroused only a little attention), and together the three found their way into the Palace. The King reportedly agreed to see his 'son', though on what pretext it is hard to imagine -- morbid curiosity, some remembered affection from the lad's youth, or a desire to utterly break the young bastards' aspirations.
Whatever his reasonings, it was not long lived. Within moments of their audience, the King was dead, his blood liberally pouring down Nethaniels' bastard sword. He proclaimed himself King, ruling in the stead of his Father and claiming all those lands belonging to him. Any that dared to oppose him were killed, either by his (surprisingly numerous) supporters or the fell magic that he seemingly called at will.
In the first year of his reign, the False One underwent significant changes in appearance and spent much of his time isolated from all others. Only the black robed priests that served him (which grew increasingly common, and seemed strange and alien to the eyes of others) have any accurate idea of his transformations, but it is certain that his skin developed a spotted black complexion, short horns sprouted from his forehead, and large bat-like wings of glossy black grew (painfully, by most accounts) from his back. On the few occasions he was seen, he was heavily robed and hidden away in the shadows, but some accounts surface of his eyes -- which quickly transformed into burning orbs of black flame after the murder of his father.
The Kingdom of Gaolin underwent changes of its own during that period. Much of the nobility and the clergy were summarily but slowly killed, and the common folk underwent hardships of their own as maruading bands of fell creatures became increasingly common. Goblins, Orcs, and even Ogres became increasingly common in the land and the efforts of the King's Armies to stop this development seemed woefully insufficient. Occasionally these beasts even wandered into other kingdoms, causing even more mayhem, but there was little that could be done. Those forces that attempted to pursue the beasts into Gaolin returned battered and beaten -- it quickly became obvious to all that Gaolin was being overrun.
The growing influence of the False One was not unopposed, and various nobles across the land began to gather arms and oppose the 'King'. A few such groups even managed to group together and last some time, but most of these groups were 'destroyed by beastial maruaders,' which was regarded by the King's courtiers as 'a sad but unavoidable fate, when one forsakes the protection of the King.' It gradually became obvious that the 'new King' was not merely a powerful usurper, but something more dire, and some nobles made contact with Julee. Some plans were even written up to put a minor duke who had fled the land on the throne, after a quick invasion of the tormented land, but those plans never had a chance to reach fruition.
One year after Nethaniel rose to power, a great serpentine form flew over the lands of the East, inexorably toward the land of Gaolin. It's like had seldom been seen in the world since the time of Myth, and only a few even recognized the dire omen that cast it's long shadow overhead; a Dragon. "Kinthar", it would eventually come to be known, came to be quietly nestled in the middle of the great plaza outside of the palace. There it remained, undisturbed, until that night when it was visited by the King -- now a hideous creature in his own right.
The next afternoon, the capital of Gaolin was overrun with goblins and orcs. Many died, and not a single church of the One God remained standing after the purge was complete. What was left of the city was little but a ruin by the time the forces of the False One were done with it, and from that starting point his rapidly growing hordes went throughout all of Gaolin -- destroying those who might oppose them, and merely those who found themselves in the way of the great host. The violence and pointless bloodshed was miserable, and the host rampaged through the heartlands of Gaolin for nearly a week before the force from Julee arrived. Nethaniel had been waiting for them.
The battle was short-lived; the forces from Julee and of their pretender-King were quickly crushed, falling overwhelmingly to the talons and firey breath of the red-scaled beast "Kinthar". What little of Gaolin breathed a small sigh of relief, as the army of their King then drove like a knife toward the Heart of Julee. This relief was premature, however, for more than enough monsters and dark priests remained behind to make short work of the rest of the King's land.
The city of Kalin burned, and the countryside of Julee suffered from unimaginable bouts of rapine and slaughter as the horde pushed its way through the land. The host spent little time there, however, marching straight into the lands of Ambyrl and razing the city of Tirith to the ground. The False One's next move was toward the city of Minitirith, but his advance was "halted" by a small ragtag force of men and Dwarves that defended the pass. The holy power of the Clerics of the One God were able to hold off the fell Dragon, but most historials believe that it was ultimately the amusement of the False One that led to his 'withdrawl' from the battle -- back into the city of Ambyrl. Battered and beaten, the defenders of the Holy City retreated back to their own walls and stood their ground, letting the self-proclaimed Ruiner of All settle himself into the fertile lands of Ambyrl.
The Dark Empire (as it was called) lasted for five years. The Elves managed to hold out the forces of the False One at a cost they've never quite explained, but most of the rest of the East faired exceptionally poorly. While the host of the False One never actually conquered the lands of Tomarl or Oaerl, his minions (and the great dragon himself) roared unopposed across their lands. Not a city was left unrazed, and many citizens were forced out of their homes and spent years living in caves like beasts to escape from the maruading creatures that seemed to roam all over the East in ever-increasing numbers.
The full extent of the False One's hosts has never quite been guessed, and few of the survivors of the battles that fought his minions left reliable records as to their nature. Strange beasts never before (and seldom since) seen were often reported, however, fell creatures much worse than a simple goblin. Floating bloated balls that writhed with dozens of eyes, tall slimy tentacled creatures that spoke with powerful voices inside ones mind and were rumored to feast upon brains, all manner of demon seemingly conjured up from the pit, and even odd dark-skinned elves that delighted in torture and dark magics. The full extent of his mastery over the dark creatures will likely never be known, nor will how such creatures were summoned or created, for most such beasts have long since been defeated or fled into the dark places of the world.
All hope seemed extinguished -- most thought that, at last, the prophecy had come true and the final days were indeed upon them. Yet if most gave up hope, there were those who did not...
There were many heroes in these dark times, and much that was only legend emerged from the shadows. Lost spells of powerful magic were unleashed, ancient artifacts of terrible power were uncovered, and feats of utter powere were performed that still defy reason. Even the dead were risen, during these dark times, a feat that has only rarely succeeded in the times since. There are still tales of Minrath of Marsomber, a daring captain of the Navy of Ambyrl, that smuggled women, children, nobles and priests out of the kingdom for the entire rule of the Dark Empire. Others speak of the beloved union of the the Fire and the Rune, a barbarian warlord from the lands of Oaerl and his Druidess wife, who fought side-by-side in numerous battles against the dark one's minions and kept the secrets of their people away from the False One's hands. Few can mention the amazing feats of that legendary time without mentioning Antonitias Beliai, the Elven Archmage who killed the Dragon Kinthar by transforming himself into a great Gold Dragon of Legend with a lost and forgotten spell -- dying in the process, but allowing the Knight-Sergeant of Julee, Tiran of Kirth, to land the killing blow upon the reptillian beast.
Yet though these feats were great, it is to the company of Saint Thea of Minitirith that one looks to truely understand the story of the fall of the False One. A young Orphan girl born at the same time as the False One, Saint Thea was found to have been touched by Ramma upon her 14th year but found herself stifled and uncomfortable within the Church. A full month before the usurpation of Nethaniel, she cast off her robes and took to wandering like a mendicant upon the lands of the East, when chance and rumor brought her to the land of Gaolin when the great red dragon settled down upon the plaza. She stood watch over the beast, unobserved by some divine providence, and witnessed the meeting between Dragon and Demon-child. She fled, before the rise of the sun, taking with her a young girl named Maria who she met that very morning. Yet she did not flee unobserved, having attracted the attention of a group of Orcs in her flight -- she overcame them, leaving them dazed and blinded in her wake, but in that way was her presence and escape relayed to the False One.
The next five years of Saint Thea's life were hunted and haunted, as the minions of the Dark One hunted her across the whole of the East. She travelled, fleeing ahead of them and seeking both freedom and answers, gaining more companions as she did so. In Julee, she gained the companionship of the great Knight -- Tiran of Kirth -- who saved her life from a fell demon of the Abyss. So touched was the paladin by this girl that he disobeyed his sacred vows, fleeing his home of Julee to protect her, viewing her safety as more important than the lives of his fellows or even his people. In Ambyrl, she met a knappish pickpocket named Devin who in time became her husband and gave her two children before her death, who found himself hopelessly in love and trailing behind the holy woman as much out of these feelings as concern for her well-being.
They travelled with others from time to time, and most of the heroes of the time had kind words and experiences to share about their shared endeavors with the Saint, but the heart and soul of the company was in those four. Alas, much of their travels have been lost to time, little more than a myth. It is known, however, that they travelled deep into the forgotten caverns between the Khaolir Mountains (with a certain Elvish Archmage) and there discovered the secret of the Prophecy...and the true nature of the False One.
They emerged from the Mountain and back into the sun just as the one who proclaimed himself the Doom of the World was marching on the city of Minitirith, the Saint Thea having with her a strange crystalline staff in her hands that seemed to burn like white fire. The accounts of what came after are many, and suffice it to say that the Holy City did not fall and the Host of the False One was pushed back. Nethaniel fled the battle soon after the death of his Dragon, unable to bear the light of the Saint or her great power.
A month after, a great host of Men, Dwarves, and Elves gathered in Minitirith and marched toward Gaolin to put a final end to this False Doom of Man. They fought through a great host of beasts, suffering terribly at the hands of fell terrors, yet the Saint Thea stood firm and the men of the East remained strong beside her. They went into the capital of Gaolin, stormed the palace, and there in the Great Hall it ended.
Upon her return, Saint Thea's words were these: "This one was false, and now he is dead. Do not despair; there is much rebuilding to do, but Ramma is with us."