The Chosen Five
In the beginning, the Primordials raised the world out of Elemental Chaos. They were set to plunge it back in when the Gods intervened. The Gods warred with the Primordials across all of existence and eventually emerged victorious. Most of the Primordials were killed or imprisoned. Only a few managed to secret themselves away.
Then … an age ago, two mighty empires ruled. The first empire was Arkhosia, land of the Dragonborn. The other was The Empire of Bael Turath. These twin great empires of glory and power initially formed an alliance based on mutual respect. But, over time, they grew distant. Finally, after many years of mistrust they grew to hate each other and finally went to war; more on that story later.
The Emperor, for whom the Empire was named, rose to power at an early age when his father, Bael Baset, was assassinated. Among his accomplishments, he created the noble caste system and presided over one of the greatest empires that humankind has ever seen. Like most powerful empires, however, it did not last forever. Once there were no more enemies to fight, senseless feuds mixed with opulence and blindness marked the beginning of the end for this mighty empire. One of the noble houses, House Ki’Malar, decided that the empire would be better off under their leadership. They knew that Emperor Bael Turath was very powerful and had most of the other noble houses on his side; so, they could not oppose him directly. They decided that they would convince the others that he was not strong enough to protect the empire from a serious threat.
Mianos, the Elder of House Ki’Malar, spoke with the other four prime members of the house; and together, they forged a pact with Lord Orcus. They offered up the souls of everyone in their house in exchange for leadership of the new empire. Lord Orcus taught them a brutal, blood-filled ritual that, when completed, would tear open a rift to the Abyss. House Ki’Malar conducted the ritual in secret and created what is now known as the Shadowfell. For years, demons poured forth from the Shadowfell and besieged Bael Turath. In the beginning, the Empire was able to hold off the demons. But the onslaught was relentless. Finally, with his empire crumbling, Bael Turath called upon Asmodeus for assistance. Unfortunately, it would not come without a heavy price. To undo the pact with Lord Orcus, Asmodeus needed an even bigger sacrifice. He asked for the souls of everyone in the Empire and for their descendants’ souls as well. Bael Turath paused for a moment but decided that, if he did nothing, the demons would slaughter everyone anyway. He decided that, if he were going to go out, that he’d do so on his own terms. He agreed and called upon the other houses to participate in the ritual. House Barikdral, House Kahlir, and House Zolfura all agreed to conduct the ritual. House Ki’Malar, however, was openly defiant and called upon the other remaining houses to revolt. Civil War ensued and the empire nearly fell into ruin. Just before the end, Bael Turath and the three remaining ruling houses were finally able to complete the ritual for Asmodeus and the tide of battle turned. With the devils on their side, they forced the demons and the leaders of House Ki’Malar through the Shadowfell and sealed it.
With the devils’ help, the Empire began to regain its former strength. By now, however, Arkhosia took note that their former ally was now tainted by evil. Even their appearance had been changed as a result. They knew that, if allowed to regain their power; Bael Turath would eventually turn on them. The war that erupted when these two fearsome powers careened into each other engulfed the entire world. Dragonborn surged into the borders of Bael Turath by the thousands, and the wings of their masters darkened the sky. The devils responded in kind. Hellfire that could sizzle adamantine to slag rained on their foes, ending thousand-year lives in the blink of a succubus’ eye. The tainted ones turned the hearts of their foes black with corruption, sparking ancient feuds among the Dragonborn. When it was all over, the magic worked on both sides was so dire that it tore reality and dreams. Ultimately, both empires were destroyed.
Mianos, and the other four leaders of House Ki’Malar, have since changed their names to represent their new roles under Lord Orcus. Malice, Corruption, Frenzy, Chaos, and Desolation, otherwise known as the Chosen Five of Lord Orcus, still hope to return to this world and, like a Phoenix, resurrect the ashes of their past.