After the Sundering, which occurred some four and half thousand years before the present day, Black magic seeped into the land – into the very soil – and corrupted it and everything which grew upon it. It did not take long for changes to begin to occur, warping the plant and animal life and causing weird and bizarre mutations to occur. When men came upon the land some one and a half thousand years ago, they had little idea what had occurred there, or why the place was so odd. But, at that time the land was merely in its infancy of corruption by Black magics, and thus humankind settled there.
They farmed tainted and dead lands with corrupted plants and animals, and as generations passed changes among those people began to take hold. They changed from humans into a more aggressive, war like race. The change not only affected their minds but their bodies too. The race also altered physically, becoming gaunt and skeletal, but still possessing great strength within their thin limbs. Males became much stronger and more physically powerful; mighty warriors who were more than a match for most other races. For females, the changes became quite different, and they became more attuned to the magics surrounding them and began to become better able to form them into spells and sorceries.
Their hair grew long and straight and was white or black. Their sunken eyes deadly red. Their skin cracked and grey. They became as much of a race of demons as those that spawn in Chkarthamoré.
The ghreal race rapidly expanded across their desolate land, building cities and creating a network of roads with which to connect them. They stayed along the costs, fearing to go inland to the terrible woods and even worse things they found inhabiting them.
Their architecture and technologies were vastly in advance in comparison to the humans of the time. By the Runic year of -2000, the ghreal had developed a great empire on the shores of their land. Only the centre of ghreal was not colonised, as it was far too wild and dangerous a place to venture to. And it remains so to this day.
Year 204: The Destruction of Magador
In the Runish year of 204, the ghreal empress, Lythia, sent a huge army across the Sour Straight led by Rheyf Warscythe, her lover. Its mission was quite simply the complete annihilation of Magador and the extermination and slavery of its population.
Magador, a recently formed and developing country was in no condition to fight of a determined ghreal invasion. Nevertheless, the Magadorians proved to be a more determined foe than Rheyf had expected, and it took the invasion several weeks just to break through The Shadowcasters; the range of mountains on Magador's southern shoreline, and sack the fortress of Khallan.
Once through, the armies of the ghreal were free to sweep into Magador itself. Over the next three years a bitter campaign was fought; many battles were won and thousands of slaves were taken back to Ghrea to work in the mine and fuel the war machine.
The Magadorians lost battle after battle and were gradually beaten further and further back until the only major pocket of resistance which remained was that of the capital city, Rhustor.
Surrounded on all sides by a vast army of ghreal which was already celebrating victory, Magador would have fallen and been erased from existence if not for a new foe appearing on the horizon.
The country of Oun, having seen what was happening across their southern boarders, were not so foolish to think that the ghreal would leave them alone once Magador was destroyed. They brought the fight to the enemy, sending a huge army south to smash into the ghreal as they besieged Rhustor.
Grimly, Rheyf set his forces on this new enemy and, though this new set of humans were far more skilled and disciplined than those he had just been fighting, his armies would have eventually defeated them if not for events which then occurred back in Ghrea.
Year 207: Lythia and Ba'thory
Lythia had not been born an only child. She had a twin sister, Ba'thory, who had been born seconds after she had. Since it had been Lythia who was the eldest, it was she who had to rule ghreal as empress.
Ba’thory had always been jealous of her sister’s dominance as she had been robbed of the throne by a few mere moments.
She saw the invasion of Magador the perfect diversion to do away with her sister and instil herself upon the throne of Ghrea.
Her mad plan was to kill her sister, and then fake her own death, using her sister’s body as though it was hers. Thus, she could then take on the guise of her sister, forsaking her own name and becoming Lythia, ruler of ghreal.
With that power, she could do away with Rheyf as she saw fit, and would be free to choose her own general for her armies.
Ba'thory successfully lured Lythia into her private chambers on some false guise. Unsuspecting of Ba'thory's deceitful intentions, she enabled herself to be drugged via a drink her sister offered her.
Once she had fallen unconscious, Ba'thory swirfly undressed and changed clothes with her sister. She then wrapped a noose around Lythia's neck and threw her body out of the window where her neck snapped and she was killed.
Adopting Lythia's name, Ba'thory wailed from the window in false grief of her dead, suicidal sister. The guards suspected nothing, thinking Ba'thory had actually killed herself.
Ba'thory ruled Ghrea under the guise of Lythia for only half a day.
She had underestimated her sister, however, and hours after Lythia had been cut down and whilst her body lay in the morgue, awaiting burial, she arose.
The ghreal had access to some of the finest Black Arc mages upon the whole of Iiosia. Lythia had ordered them, in secret, to cast a spell upon her which would let her cheat death, but once, and arise if she was ever slain.
This was the beginning of the civil war of the ghreal. When two Lythias appeared and both claimed to be empress, divisions were split between the ghreal as to which was real and which was actually Ba'thory.
With no way to provide real proof, the land degenerated into civil war over which of the twins was the real empress.
Upon hearing this, Rheyf pulled his armies back from Magador immediately. Fearing his lover in danger, he abandoned his conquest of Magador just as victory against both Magador and the bulk of Oun's forces was a hair's breadth away; saving Magador, and indeed most of human-kind, its annihilation.
The ghreal civil war lasted for almost a decade, and it did more damage to the empire than any other war could have done. Blood ran in the streets of the cities as the ghreal battled each other, each fighting for which sister they, their family, or their commanding officer felt was the true empress.
Rheyf was not fooled. Once he met with Lythia, he knew that his lover had been usurped by her treacherous sister. He lead his army against those who fought against her, which just added to the bloodshed that blighted the land.
The two twins were forced into a confrontation eight years later, when both realised that the war was becoming too costly for the ghreal to the point where it may never recover if it were to continue. Rheyf had been killed in battle along with many thousands of ghreal. Entire cities were left abandoned. The ghreal had almost made themselves extinct.
The two met atop the Rafus Dominum and duelled for the right to rule Ghrea unopposed. The duel was as mighty a fight as any that has ever been seen, and lasted for almost a day as Black magics flew across the top of the tower as the two fought one another.
When all fell silent, one of the sisters descended the tower and was announced empress. She claimed that she was Lythia, but there is still doubt as who which sister it actually was which triumphed. Ultimately, it mattered not, as the ghreal had an empress and the civil war had ended.
Lythia took a husband soon after, and bore child swiftly. It was a good thing, since she died just years after the end of the war. She, like the ghreal themselves, was irreparably damaged by its events.
Since then, the ghreal have begun to slowly rebuild their empire. Many cities were left abandoned after the civil war since they simply did not have enough people alive within them to keep them going. Over the next few decades, the ghreal focused on reclaiming their homeland from the ravages they themselves had inflicted.
Year 683: Present Day
Having all but wiped themselves out, the ghreal have been slowly repopulating and strengthening their empire. Though their former strength is lost and the ghreal still no longer have forces capable of invading and destroying whole countries in just a few years, the ghreal are still a potent and dangerous threat.
The ghreal themselves are widely feared throughout the other lands of Iiosia, and are thought of as devils and demons, with the very mention of their name sending shudders down many a man's spine.
The ghreal continue to harass southern Magador and also have a strong naval presence and often disrupt shipping within The Whitewater Sea. It is believed to have a large naval base hidden along the northern fringes of The Ashen Woods, though nothing has been found.