In the March of Bissel
In 582 CY, the god Vatun appeared to his subjects among the barbarian tribes of the Thillonrian Peninsula. Ancient legend predicted that the return of Vatun, who had vanished centuries ago, would signal the birth of a barbarian empire in the north. Unfortunately, this particular “Vatun” was actually Iuz, whipping the northmen into a war frenzy.
The barbarians invaded the Hold of Stonefist, which allied with them after Iuz ensorcelled Sevvord Redbeard, the Master of the Hold The combined host then smashed through the Griffs and into the duchy of Tenh, which was swiftly overwhelmed. The barbarian alliance soon crumbled, but the damage was done; Tenh and Stonefist belonged to the Old One. Returning to his homeland, Iuz then conquered the Horned Society, Bandit Kingdoms, and Shield Lands in quick succession. Furyondy was invaded, and much of its northern territory was captured and laid waste. Iuz held the northern Flanaess in a death grip. Taking advantage of the chaos, Ivid V ordered the Great Kingdom’s armies to muster, with the intention of paying back his foes for centuries of impudence. The war that followed was staggering in scope and consequence.
Almor was utterly destroyed; Nyrond was invaded; Sunndi was conquered. The nobles of the Great Kingdom fell upon one another, terrified of their insane overking and eager to steal the lands of their neighbors. In the chaos, Medegia was despoiled and Rel Astra attacked by the Great Kingdom’s own military. Ivid attempted to ensure loyalty by having his generals and nobles assassinated and reanimated as intelligent undead (animuses), with all the abilities they possessed in life. He in turn was also assassinated, though the church of Hextor restored him to undead “life,” after which he became a true monster known as Ivid the Undying.
The madness of war bred more war. In 584, south of Greyhawk, a half-orc named Turrosh Mak united the vile nonhuman tribes of the Pomarj. Mak’s armies boiled north, conquering several of the cities of the independent Wild Coast, then capturing nearly half of the Principality of Ulek. The appeals of Prince Corond of Ulek to Yolande, the elven queen of Celene, fell upon uncaring ears. Celene closed its borders to even its most trusted allies, refusing to let elf blood fall in human wars.
This same year, decade-old paranoia regarding the Scarlet Brotherhood came true, as advisers in courts throughout the Flanaess were found to be Brotherhood agents. The Lordship of the Isles, Idee, Onnwal, and the Sea Princes fell under the influence of the Scarlet Sign, from treachery or invasion. Barbarians from Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle were used to secure captured lands. The Brotherhood was revealed as an evil, racist order dedicated to preserving the culture and purity of the ancient Suel Imperium, without regard to the lives of others.
For three years, the whole of the Flanaess flew banners of war. Nations fell as new empires were born. Demons and devils from the Outer Planes were summoned en masse by Iuz and Ivid V, and hundreds of thousands of mortals died. Finally, the battle-weary combatants gathered in Greyhawk to declare peace. Harvester 584 CY was to see the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk, fixing borders and mandating an end to hostilities.
On the Day of the Great Signing, however, Greyhawk suffered a great treachery: Rary, one of the Circle of Eight, destroyed his companions Tenser and Otiluke in a great magical battle, then fled. Many suspected that the former Archmage of Ket had hoped to hold the ambassadors hostage, perhaps capturing Greyhawk itself in the process. Instead, he and his cohort, Lord Robilar, went to the Bright Desert to form their own kingdom. Fearing further disruptions, the delegates hurriedly signed the Pact of Greyhawk. Ironically, because of the site of the treaty signing, the great conflicts soon became known as the Greyhawk Wars.