Vechnyy Uzhas

Plague of Nightmares

During the first year of Balor's Court, Dischordia caught a glimpse of the chthonic, primordial horror of the Nightmare Lands. Aitu, the Crimson Weaver, spread a plague of nightmares throughout Dischordia, infecting gentry and nobles alike. As the plague progressed, the infected turned into tentacled horrors and raced towards the waters of the icy north. Spreading originally from the Wolves of the North, many blamed Solomon Greyheart of House Scathach for sending couriers infected with the plague to the other domains, though some believe the responsibility lay with Floki of House Aesin. It threatened to devastate the populations of Dischordia, until the New Faith, whose priests had been placed into many domains in Dischordia and were keenly aware of the spreading nightmares, came to court prepared with a solution: the hope that faith provides. The ritual the New Faith devised, combined with a tangible symbol of hope in the form of Appalachian gems, proved to be a panacea against the fear spread by the Nightmare Plague. The two domains formed a partnership to craft dreamcatchers designed to protect Dischordia from the nightmares which spread the plague. Though they prevented Dischordia from being overrun by horrors from the darkest dreams, the dreamcatchers were little better than bandaids empowered by raw belief in their effectiveness. With the plague under control, Dischordia mounted a full-scale war against the Crimson Weaver's stronghold in Greenland to destroy Aitu and his generals. Though victorious in that war, the nightmares were never truly defeated. In a world that inspires such terror, ruled by monsters and death, the Nightmare Lands proved far more resilient.

Court of Nightmares

Shokar, the Immolator of Pompeii, remained bound and imprisoned for centuries after he was captured during the War of Nightmares, until the War of Aether. The Aether's attacks over two decades of war weakened the wards which held him prisoner, until they finally failed as the war came to an end. No longer magically bound, he escaped his prison and made his way home, leaving a trail of fire and destruction in his wake. His return marked a resurgence of the Nightmare Plague but, to the chagrin of those who remembered the first outbreak, the dreamcatchers failed to contain it. Many domains resorted to purging the infected, but a few held hope that a new cure could be found.

Appalachia tried an unorthodox gambit, when they invited the Nightmare Lands to send an ambassador to one of their courts. Many of the other domains questioned the wisdom of inviting one of their greatest enemies to court, and their fears were validated when the Nightmare ambassador claimed thousands more would be infected with the nightmare plague and be lost. However, very soon after that threat was made, Nightmare Lands became a domain of Dischordia. On the highest Unseelie holiday of Samhain, Aitu, lord of the Nightmare Lands, swore fealty to High King Balor.