Lead by Undying Emperor the Necocrocy of the Bleak empire exalts the undead as true owners of the world. With its ruler an immortal lich, and much of the populace animated as zombies, the land of Crowlech became known as the Bleak Empire as it's armies began to expand. The Empire has fought in countless raids against the living on Corrlus who fight a seemingly endless tide of death.
Yes I know an empire is a group of states under centralized rule. And once I have defeated the Holy Order I will expand my claim across all of the world! I claim the name of Emperor because it is the only title fit for me. Feed him to the ghouls, I care not for his petulance. -Emperor Bleak
To conquer in the name of their dark emperor and rule over the dead world.
The Bleak Empire controls much of the Crowlech mountains which hold a number of iron veins. Thanks to this their fortress atop the mountain is supplied with near endless amounts of metals for weapons and fortifications.
Upon fleeing Forbuho
the various undead were at odds with each other. The vampires needed blood, the ghouls and other such hungry dead needed corpses, and everyone needed to keep the ship afloat. When beasts they had taken were drained dry by the vampires the ghouls ate their corpses. When no beasts were left what few living Svartálfar were fed upon till only the best sailors remained drained but alive. Many of the undead believed the vampires would slay the ghouls and attempt to preserve the last of their numbers while the ghouls would plan on consuming the vampires. In the end nothing was done as land had finally been spotted, the undead landed on Corrlus and each went the separate ways as too many predators among the population would stand out. A number of undead lead by the lich Bleak went further inland to find a more remote location to build their base.
With the peasant populace revolting and armed conflicts appearing across the country it was easy enough for the undead to pass themselves off as a human with the right illusions or as wounded soldiers returning from battle. Few had time to pay attention to travelers and back then the undead were a rarity. Regardless near scenes of battle, Bleak passed himself off as a wondering healer who could take a man on the brink of death and bring him back to the fight. In truth the lich has quietly killed those close to death and raised them as zombies tainted with Bleak's greatest creation, a supernatural disease he called the blight. No matter if the dead were destroyed or lived it spread the blight to both man and environment creating more undead. Those slain while tainted arose as undead while those already dead could return as mindless corpses should the land be significantly blighted. Leaving before any suspicion fell upon him or his knight the lich created pockets of undead that terrorized the countryside.
Eventually the lich Bleak found himself in the Crolech mountains, famous for having never been successfully invaded, the Duke Crolech had gathered as much food as possible to wait out the oncoming fights and the rumors of undead. Instead the lich infiltrated their castle and went about unleashing his blight, refined from the various experiments Bleak had committed it spread across the entire fortress as every living being fell within days unable withstand the magical plague. Then almost to the man the duchy returned to unlife as various undead. Bleak had created the capitol of his empire. Needing stronger allies the lich began to work on improving the quality of his mindless minions and forcibly recruiting any peddler, pilgrim, or traveler who was foolish enough to wonder into Crolech.
By the time Bleak had fashioned himself emperor, the King of Corrlus has been deposed and the continent had split into warring factions. The as the former nobility of Corrlus fled the theocratic state
with the survivors and the last of their loyal armed forces fleeing to the Crowlech mountains hoping to ally with the Duke Crolech. Instead they where set upon by the undead and taken for experimentation by the lich, none survived but each noble and many of the knights rose as intelligent undead all who swore fealty to the Lich Bleak. Now armed with skilled warriors and generals for his army the lich sent shadows and spies to learn of the living beyond the mountains. Refugees and messengers flocked to Crolech only to be taken and reanimated as needed, now Emperor Bleak waited for the armies to gather only to learn of the God's themselves working against his undead. Fearful that the paladins and priests could bestow true death to the undead the lich bolstered his armies planning to create an immeasurable army of darkness. Across the continent graveyards were desecrated and battlefields looted for forgotten corpses, by the time the Holy Order of the Saint Rose stood as the final victor it was believed Duke Crolech had refused to leave his mountains till a single victor stood. Again messengers and spies were slain as the Order planned to lay siege to the mountains and for a year the combined armed forces of Corrlus stood trying to starve the kingdom. When finally a force of one hundred elite soldiers entered the Crowlech mountains to learn of what had happened to the former dutchy most of the soldiers were killed including Bitas Kondu, the countries greatest general. Yet some of the soldiers survived and now the truth had been revealed Emperor Bleak sent messengers to announce his reign over all and commanded all living to die and serve him. Taking the now undead general Kondu along side a sizable number of soldiers out of the Crolech mountains the assembled army of undead began to lay waste to the unprepared living soldiers. Were it not for the Sovereign Rand Dulchant
and his wife sacrificing their lives to create a miracle the lich would have succeeded in destroying the any opposition. Instead with their sacrifice the Sovereign cleansed almost a third of the Bleak forces and sanctified the battleground. The Bleak empire was forced to retreat back to the mountains were their stalemate has stood for almost a hundred years. The undead cannot easily leave nor can they be routed, instead the two armies plan and plot various ways to turn the tides of this seemingly endless war.
The Emperor rules over all dedicating his empire to his own glory. Below him society is based on the class of undead, the greater the monster you have been raised as the higher position you may hold. The lower cast is the mindless undead who make up the majority of the the empire but have no drive to do anything save what they are told and will do so tirelessly till they fall to dust. Then under the mindless undead are the living who are more chattel than considered people. As slaves the majority of living are bred and used for whatever resources the undead wish before they are expired and raised as mindless undead.
I would replace them all with mindless soldiers if I could but no zombie can fight a battle, you point them towards the enemy and hope they kill more. I need the others because they can think, reason, and figure out how to win this war. I can dominate their will but then they will be little better than the mindless. No until I can guarantee absolute loyalty I must be more powerful and the only thing preventing their final death.- Emperor Bleak, talking to his familiar.
The Emperor Lich walks thin line between crafting and supporting the intelligent and powerful undead and setting up a rival to power. Several factions of undead have arisen out of the forces Bleak has gathered and the only thing holding everything together is the fact that the burgeoning empire works better with Bleak then without the lich.
Of the factions the undead have split their allegiance to four groups each led by one of Bleak's generals.
are led by the mummy Istin Verez and are comprised of most of the svartálfar that followed Bleak from Forbuho. They either were a part of the Svartálfar Courts of the Dead
back when they were led by the undead or were part of the resistance forces that opposed the rule of the living.
are mostly made up of former members of the Corrlus nobility that were deposed by the Holy Order. They lash out in anger and they do not care that the empire succeeds only that the Holy Order of the Rose fails. Cote Fontanel considered himself next in line after King Corrlus and his extended family were killed, now he leads the nihilist faction as a wight.
were once part of the Holy Order and now believe themselves to be damned. Those that did not kill themselves outright believes that should all the world become undead then the Saint herself would either be forced to accept their existence or cleanse them of their taint. The Redemmer forces are led by their general even in death, Bitas Kondu
the death knight. While Bitas might not fully believe the Saint will accept or cleanse the undead they only know war and must focus their efforts on the ongoing conflict.
The rest of those who work within the Lich's court consider themselves Opportunists
. Made up of the spies, messengers, and peddlers that were unlucky enough to walk into Crowlech these undead seek power and position within the new empire. Utilizing every scrap of cunning they have they will lie, cheat, steal, and kill their way to the top only stopping when they cannot find a way higher. While not as powerful or numberous as the other factions the Opportunists play politics better than the soldiers or the nobles. Their current leader is the revenant Tuco Reecher, former court courtier and spy.
We want our forces to win but they should do so because of us. If one of the other factions shows they do not need us then we might become the next test subjects for our Emperor's ongoing experiments. Now either get me information on the Order's movements next month or bring me someone who can. -Tuco Reecher
Demography and Population
79% Mindless undead
11% Living (slaves)
10% Advanced undead
The Empire has thus far been only able to capture the Crowlech mountains, having once been the ancestral lands of the Crowlech Dutchy the lich lord Bleak killed every living being within the capitol of Crowlech and colonized the land with undead.
The military forces of the Empire are near endless as for every fallen enemy an undead soldier arises. Skeletal foot troops and zombified cavalry march towards the living in a seemingly relentless tide. Above the mindless undead are ghosts, ghouls, and other such semi-sentient undead that make up the heavy infantry. Advanced and elite undead like vampires and wights are set as senior officers to command the vast undead armies with others specifically set to man the various siege weapons.
There are at least ten thousand undead upon the mountain. They do not eat, they do not sleep, they wait for us to fight and die so they may add our own to their number. Before it was just skeletons and zombies but now there are more intelligent beings among their number, we must not let them expand for it the Holy Order falls so too will the world. -Garrek Potentate of Arms for the Holy Order of the Rose
The empire is at war with all living countries though in truth they are only in conflict with the Holy Order of Saint Rose
at this time. The rest of the world is mostly unaware of the threat or believe it to be insignificant to more local issues.