The North was rich with magic, the lands and people saturated in it. Fickle, temperamental, the magic refused all attempts to tame it. At best, it could be said that some few men wrestled the forces into something of a stalemate: Robert the Bald; the Wizards of the Wood, Pete and then Sildonis. It is said that Jallapierie simply asked the magic nicely if it would cooperate.
In the frozen wastes even further north, the beast men saw the magic used by men and coveted it, yet their own chaotic nature would not allow them to master it.
And beyond the north, beyond the world itself, others saw the same magic, and craved it just as did the beast men. On some fateful, starless night, the two desires crossed somewhere in the misty realms of the Ethereal plane, where Dreams and Nightmares walk, and in the Dreaming was forged a pact: The beast men would have their power, in exchange for bodies, physical vessels for the churning, formless hordes of the Dark Beyond.
And in the dark of the next new moon, the beast man shamans gathered, and made their sacrifices: blood and the dying breath of of men of the North, flakes of the black rock on which their Castle would one day be built, water from the lake called Hope, fire, from the wooded home of the fey along the lake’s shore.
Thus were brought into the world the beings that would come to be known as demons: parasites, drawing on the lifeblood of a host, and the magic inherent in the land. When the parasite grew strong enough, it changed the very form of its host, taking it over completely. Some say the beings drove their hosts to insanity. Others insist that what men call ‘insanity’ is the normal thinking of demonkind.
To the men of the North, it was only one thing: Evil. The magic men used to build, demons only used to destroy. Magics men would use to heal and to help were turned against them. Where men would make light in the darkness, demons made only deeper darkness, their flames bringing blindness and devastation.
It would be nearly a thousand years before demons grew weary of the chaotic blood of the beast men and leapt to feast upon a new host, the savage mountain tribes under the thumb of an ambitious priestess…
Rob’s blog and website chronicles a bit of a darker take on the Mystara presented in the D&D Gazetteers. Thorn's Chronicle is posted semi-regularly on the Mystara board of The Piazza.