The Beginning of the End
The first major naval skirmishes between the Great Kingdom and the powerful Nyrondese navy took place in Relmor Bay in CY 578. Some say the Nyrondese engineered these skirmishes, preparing for what they considered to be an inevitable war.
Certainly, Ivid V was making noises at court about reclaiming Aerdy’s great imperial heritage, and Nyrond was the first major power heading west. To be sure, the ruler of South Province coveted Onnwal and Irongate, even Idee—but these were small worries to Ivid.
He did have designs on Nyrond, but it may well be that the Nyrondese forced his hand. Both sides actually shied away from a major land war, but when Iuz’s puppets in Stonefist swarmed into Tenh with barbarian help in CY 582, something snapped within Ivid.
The reports of war, blood, and great conquests being made by the hated barbarians and barely-civilized Fists of the North excited and enraged the overking. Egged on by the priesthood of Hextor, Ivid entered the fray by storming into Nyrond and its ally Almor.
However, even before the Great Kingdom went to war, dangerous changes had occurred within its borders. It was an open secret that Ivid V had baatezu within his Companion Guard, and the forbidding figures of the Fiend-Knights of Doom struck fear into all. Their name itself was a flamboyant, excessively-stated mockery as were their uniforms. They wore gold visors to mock knights and warrior-priests of good deities such as Heironeous.
There was worse, of course. Ivid’s hateful court wizard, Xaene, creator of the fiend-knights, disappeared. It is believed he turned to lichdom, but his successor,
Karoolck, turned out to be an even darker and more dangerous mage than Xaene. Karoolck is known for his development of the fiend armors worn by elite soldiery within Ivid’s Companion Guard. The wizard’s rise corresponds closely with Ivid’s development of a slowly progressive wasting disease.
Ivid confronted important priesthoods in the Great Kingdom. He proclaimed the worship of “Baalzy,” an alleged power of prosperity and wealth. The name was but an alias for a powerful arch-fiend allied with Ivid (and, more importantly, with Karoolck).
Temple taxes were greatly increased, and when priests and worshipers tried to get around them by holding simple services of reverence in private homes, Ivid proclaimed a “worship tax” on such gatherings. Around the Great Kingdom, priests of non-evil deities were harassed, assassinated, and persecuted. An inevitable showdown followed.
The Patriarch of Pholtus in Rauxes, Emasstus Carcosa, pronounced heresy on Ivid, denouncing him openly as being insane and allied with fiends. He called upon the servants of all non-evil powers to ally and oppose the overking.
Perhaps the old patriarch-sage thought that by stopping short of openly inciting insurrection and overthrowing Ivid he might escape with his life—he did not. Ivid had him arrested for treason and subversion and organized the systematic looting of temples of Pholtus in all lands (though in Ahlissa and Medegia he was defied in this matter).
So, when the Greyhawk Wars came, there was foment enough within the Great Kingdom. Perhaps Ivid thought that a war against foreign states might take the heat out of the situation at home.