Against the Worldwound
Sarkoris was a land of disparate clans, neighbors, allies, cousins, and enemies united by boldness, culture, and shared religious traditions rather than a single ruler. Among them walked the druids, who spread the mysteries of nature and the planes to an awed people. Alongside faith in divine powers spread faith in druidic magic, sorcery, worship of godlike visitors summoned from beyond, and the mysteries of witchcraft. Sarkorians came to see the divine in all things, and came to worship much more than gods, even as they learned to dread and distrust the mortal magic of wizards.
When the cult of Deskari rose among them, few recognized it as worshiping anything different from the countless other deities, demigods, and nature spirits revered across the lands. So insular were their communities that most Sarkorians didn’t even realize that the Lord of the Locust Host claimed sacrifices in villages all across the region, or that their prayers fueled the demon lord’s growing power. It wasn’t until the hero Aroden traveled to Sarkoris and, along with an alliance of the nation’s bravest clanlieges, crusaded against the demon that the danger was widely recognized.
Over years of pestilent skirmishes, the cult was driven from Sarkoris, along with a skittering avatar of Deskari himself, forced directly into the Lake of Mists and Veils. But with Aroden’s departure the union between the clans collapsed, and though the cult of Deskari was temporarily suppressed, the relationships between Sarkorian clans swiftly reverted to their former tenuousness.
History would not teach Sarkoris the same lesson twice, and in 4600 ar the nation’s fated destruction began to unfold. At the height of the High Cairns stood the Threshold, a fortress-tower raised by frost giant hands to scrape the heavens. Here the religious leaders of Sarkoris’s clans brought those who threatened their vision of divinity, yet who proved too valuable to silence permanently. At the highest point in the region, students of the arcane worked miracles beyond even Sarkoris’s miracle workers—but still they were slaves. And like so many slaves, eventually they rebelled. The nature of their rebellion remains unclear, but it began with the defiant god caller Opon, the cunning witch Areelu Vorlesh, and the wizard-scholar Wivver Noclan. Some hypothesize that the mages hoped to open windows to the planes, showing their people the true faces of many of those beings they worshiped. Others suggest they merely hoped to create multiple portals to baffle their captors after a mass prison break. Regardless of their plot, when first the spellcasters cracked reality, a voice whispered through, a voice that promised aid. Too late would they recognize that voice as belonging to the demon lord Deskari. Soon their plan commenced, and a multitude of portals opened within the Threshold, but rather than leading to multiple realms as intended, each tore open a connection between Sarkoris and Deskari’s Abyssal domain, the Rasping Rifts. Horrified, Opon and Wivver managed to undo their magic. They had nearly closed all the portals when Vorlesh betrayed them, casting both into the final closing portal and bracing it open a crack.
For the next 6 years, Vorlesh became Deskari’s emissary in Sarkoris, but without her betrayed allies, she could do little to fully reopen the gates. With her daily nurturing, however, the portal to the Abyss grew from a pinprick to a tome-sized tear, and in 4602 Vorlesh and a horde of tiny fiends overwhelmed the Threshold, slaying her captors and converting many prisoners into cultists of Deskari. By 4605, her influence had grown to encompass much of the High Cairns, but still support from beyond proved minor and her conquests went largely unnoticed.
This changed in 4606. With the death of Aroden and the upheaval throughout Golarion, an emboldened Deskari threw open the portal. The trickle of demonic energies became a tidal wave against which the scattered clans and reclusive druids of Sarkoris could not stand. Those who fought perished. Those who fled found little sympathy, perishing in the wild lands of the Realm of the Mammoth Lords and Numeria or falling before the spears of Ustalav’s paranoid defenders, or finding a measure of tolerance in Mendev—which too would find its borders gradually eaten away by the demon hordes. In a few short years, Sarkoris had been destroyed, its bones paving the path for a continuing invasion that threatens all of Golarion.