Game of Realms
Realm & Rulership
As the first century of the Age of Strife draws to its close, another strange, new race has emerged onto the face of Aerynth. Often called the Tainted Ones, most who are learned call them Nephilim, the name they use among themselves. The ongoing strife and confusion of this new age has left even the wisest Sages and Wizards unsure of their origins, but one thing is certain: the Nephilim are here.
Tall and graceful, the Nephilim are obviously kin to Humanity. Their skin ranges from gold to deep blue, and the Nephilim might be the most beautiful of all the Manlike races if not for some disturbing differences. Parts of their bodies are covered in serpent-like scales, and cruel horns sprout from their brows. Most shocking of all, batlike wings sprout from their shoulders, letting the Tainted Ones fly like an Aracoix. Nephilim are renowned for their strange beauty, uncanny strength, their cruelty, and their aptitude with magic.
The most frightful of their powers is their ability to alter their appearance, donning a magical guise indistinguishable from an ordinary Human. Master spies and infiltrators, none can say how long the Nephilim have worked on Aerynth in secret. Perhaps only the Dark Lords themselves know precisely how many there are.
Some say that the Nephilim are the result of magical experiments, similar to the rites that created the Minotaurs in the Age of Days. Others believe that the Nephilim are the offspring of Humans and summoned Demons, hybrids who work to spread torment and Chaos through the ravaged lands of Aerynth. Still others claim that the Tainted Ones are not Human at all, but Demons born of Chaos, the first wave of a new invasion. Whatever the case, the Nephilim have emerged into the Age of Strife as staunch supporters of the Dark Lords of Chaos, devoted to the destruction of Aerynth as it once was.
Little is known with any certainty of the Tainted ones, for indeed their presence on Aerynth has only recently been revealed. When the broken lands of Maelstrom were somehow reflected across every fragment of Aerynth, the Tainted Ones simply appeared. Many, it seems, had been living among the Sons of Men in disguise for decades, and threw off their sorcerous masks to celebrate the Rise of Chaos. In the year since, the defenders of law and light have come to know them all too well.
Nephilim are cursed with natures as primordial and mutable as the stuff of Chaos from which they sprang. Their moods shift as quickly as a dancing flame, from lunatic mirth to blasphemous rage in a single heartbeat. Some are little more than savage killers, lashing out with inhuman fury at all the works of the Gods. Others are clever and cunning, as subtle in their machinations as the most jaded Elf. All of them share a limitless disgust for convention, tradition, and the morality born of the various creeds of Aerynth: many have made it their life's mission to poison and corrupt as many of the "law-bound sheep" as they can. Temptation and deception are their weapons, and the Tainted Ones do their work very well, drawing the faithful away from the light through greed, lust, or fear. Those who cannot be tempted or tricked into betraying all they believe are driven mad.
The Nephilim look upon all the races of Aerynth with a sneering, mocking arrogance. Only the Minotaurs, staunch servants of Chaos, are held in any esteem. Even the Elves are seen as thin-blooded, spoiled children of lesser gods who aspire to true evil but are doomed to fail. The only gods they venerate are the Dark Lords of Chaos, and the Nephilim live to spread their worship to every corner of Aerynth. In the wake of Maelstrom's appearance, dozens of cults devoted to Chaos have sprung up like weeds across all the fragments, despite the best efforts of Church and Temple. Almost all of them are led by a small coven of Tainted ones, doing the divine work of their masters. Nephilim have also teemed to the shores of Maelstrom itself, where they work side by side with the demonic troops of the Dark lords. As befits their nature, many Nephilim seem to wander without any purpose, joining mercenary groups or fledgling states without any apparent agenda. Whether they are vagabonds or agents of the Pit remains to be seen.
Rumor has it that other cadres of Nephilim, still hidden in Human guises, have infiltrated the Holy Church, Malorn's Temple, and even the Conclave of Wizards, rooting through libraries and ancient archives for the secret spell that will let them fling wide the Chaos Gate, admitting their dark overlords to Aerynth for the second scourge.