Return to Midnight
Forces of Izrador
The Orcs, the first children of Izrador, are the descendents of those whose ancestors—starving in the harsh North after the Sundering— took the easy way out and bargained with the only god who would answer their prayers. They traded their children’s lives in return for their service. With that pledge they began their transformation into the odrendor, known commonly as Orcs.
From the time they are small children for the rest of their lives, every orc is subject the Sending of Izrador, whispers and nightmares in their dreams that fill them with the hate and fear that drives their race.
The orcs are largely a matriarchal theocracy, most tribes ruled by the Priestess Mother-Wives of Izrador. These priestesses hear Izrador’s voice the most clearly, and it grants them immense magical power. These high priestesses decide who else may join their ranks, which infants are perfect enough in form to serve Izrador, and which orcs are great enough to become the mothers and fathers of the next generation. The rift between the Mother-Wives and the Legates grows wider, as those whose ancestors served Izrador for untold years grow jealous of his new favorites.
Most males are sent south for the war as soon as they are old enough to honor Izrador with combat, returning only when they are broken with age to teach their skills to the next generation. Occasionally a male has the gift of visions or divine power, and are destined to represent the priestesses in the field as advisors to the Orcish generals.
Before a deformed orc babe is cast into the Pit for its siblings to destroy, it is tested using a holy piece of obsidian from the Scar at the north of the Vale. If this obsidian turns clear, the babe is one of those who must atone for the weakness of its deformity with a life of servitude, and is cast out of its home warren to live with the untouchable Gray Hand tribe. There it will study healing magics, and spend its life saving the lives of a race that considers it beneath notice.
The Legates and the Order of the Shadow
The Legates of Izrador are those priests blessed directly with his gifts, and those responsible for spreading his worship. They channel divine powers against his foes and spread his Black Mirrors that he might devour all the magics of the world.
Composed almost entirely of humans and led by Sunulael, they consider themselves to be the true inheritors of Izrador’s powers, and think of the orcs as cannon fodder that their master uses only as tools.
The Legates have an uneasy rivalry with the Sorcerers. Each black mirror they erect pushes the sorcerers further afield, and many within the Order of Shadow have begun to question their loyalty; for as Izrador consumes the magics of the world, the powers of the Sorcerers will dwindle and flicker out. Ardherin and Sunulael have a longstanding and well-known rivalry, each seeking to humiliate the other without directly defying their mutual master.
The Sorcerers under Ardherin exist in a precarious position: serving a master whose goals will eventually see them powerless. They are few in number, concentrated on the outskirts of Izrador’s domain, but those who survive in this role are powerful and hold great influence.
Journeymen mages travel from village to village seeking those children who show the gift of channeling before the Legates can add their blood to the Black Mirrors. Those with fey blood are the most sought for their gifts, but must be trained in secret until they are powerful enough to be indispensable, lest the Order discover them and end them.
Most major cities in Erenland have at least one Senior Sorcerer advising its leaders, growing fewer as one travels north. Head Mages run arcane schools in towers and keeps strung out between the magic-draining cities of occupied Erenland. Here the youngsters are taught to worship Izrador, to read, to use their powers, and to be wary of the Legates. After they have mastered the basics of spellcraft they either continue training new mages, join the armies on the edges of the Shadow’s domain, or serve one of the Archmages who toil in isolation on the edges of the known world.
Their role in Izrador’s plans is to extend his knowledge and reach within the world. While his Legates devote themselves to his vision, his Sorcerers expand it. They delve ancient tomes and forgotten mysteries, seeking any articles of power or pieces of information that might further ensure his victory.