“Like all good fairy tales this one begins with a war between light and darkness. And like those storied conflicts of yore, evil was thwarted by a small band of heroes who were able to strike down their dread foe at the very height of her power. But unlike those other songs of valor and victory, this one does not have a happy ending. For the Black Queen knew of the strike planned against her, and in her final moments channeled the energy of her violent destruction to breach the wall separating life from death, light from dark, and good from evil. Now gather close good folk as I sing to you of the end of the world and the coming of the Drift.”
—Melissa Silverstrings, Traveling Minstrel
Two hundred years ago the Church of Light declared war upon the Black Queen Morgan, a powerful and secretive Lich. Church Prophets had glimpsed a future in which the Black Queen would ascend to godhood and overthrow the divine order, throwing the planes into chaos. Secure in the righteousness of their cause and bolstered by legions of faithful, the Church launched The Grand Crusade, a campaign of purification against the lands and peoples ruled by Queen Morgan. The Black Queen was ready for them.
The war was devastating. Every member of the Faith that was struck down served as a recruit into the Black Queen’s army, turning against their former comrades. The divine prayers of the Church faltered as necromantic plagues ravaged the armies of the Light. Towards the end of the third decade of the war it was apparent to the Church Hierarchy that something drastic had to be done.
In secret a small group of champions were assembled. Outfitted with mystical artifacts of terrible power and blessed by the holiest of the Church’s clerics, these warriors were sent to destroy Black Queen Morgan. Better had they failed. For Morgan had been anticipating this turn of events. In secret she prepared for her own demise, winding magical contingencies throughout the fiber of her being. When the Church assassins arrived she tore the substance of her own life asunder. In that instant, she used the energy released by her own demise to siphon the magic from the artifacts carried by her slayers and open a crack between this reality and the next. The resulting blast leveled the Black Queen’s fortress and tore the earth asunder for leagues in every direction. Fire and ash rained down as far away as the Starlit Sea, and people went mad with terror.
Time passed and the black rains ceased. In the euphoria of victory few noticed the subtle signs of a growing problem: poor harvests, disappearances and the waning ability of the Church to heal the sick and injured. By the time the first Driftmists appeared the Church was too weak to do anything but gather their faithful close and hope that it was just a temporary imbalance as nature struggled to right herself.