Wrath of the Righteous
To date, four crusades have been launched against the demons of the Worldwound. While all four have had varying degrees of success and failure, none have yet driven the armies of Deskari, Lord of the Locust Host, from Golarion.
Dates: 4622 AR – 4630 AR
Although a fair number of holy warriors came to Sarkoris’ aid in the first several years after the Worldwound opened in 4606 AR, the repercussions of Aroden’s death significantly delayed the church of Iomedae’s ability to respond to the growing crisis. By the time the First Crusade reached Mendev, the demons had long since seized control of central Sarkoris, and had claimed significant potions of Mendev as well.
The First Crusade bolstered the defenders of Sarkoris and Mendev, boosting both their numbers and morale, and the sudden increase in the enemy’s strength caught the demonic horde unprepared, causing them to retreat back to the Northmounds. With Mendev and southern Sarkoris thus liberated, the crusaders remained in the region to help rebuild—an offer Mendev welcomed gratefully, but one that the disparate and proud clans of Sarkoris accepted more reluctantly. In any event, for the next few years the demons seemed content to focus their wrath upon Sarkoris’ Northmounds, battling primarily with the surviving Sarkorian clans desperately attempting to reclaim their family lands, while Mendev remained relatively unmolested.
Dates: 4638 AR – 4645 AR
When a second wave of demons erupted from the Worldwound in 4636 AR, the crusaders had settled into their new homes in Mendev. They again took up arms against the demons, expecting a short series of fights and boasting that this time they would drive the host back to the very edges of the Worldwound itself. But their expectations did not come to fruition. This time, the demons pouring from the Worldwound were not only more numerous—they were better prepared. Rather than the haphazard, chaotic, self-indulgent mob the crusaders previously encountered, the marauding demons were now legions driven by powerful commanders. Under their commanders’ direction, the demons orchestrated strike forces, teleported behind enemy lines, drove their enemies toward their advancing ranks, and then crushed their opponents between them. The armies of the marilith Aponavicius captured the crusader city of Drezen using such tactics, forcing the church of Iomedae to finally call for the Second Crusade.
Even with the influx of troops from the Second Crusade, however, it quickly became apparent the demons were going to win. Fortunately for Mendev, the demons aimed the bulk of their devastating attack westward and southward. The impeding loss prompted the leaders of the Mendevian Crusaders to make a fateful decision—they pulled their support from Sarkoris, allowing the demon army to descend on what remained of that land, and instead concentrated their efforts on erecting wardstones along the West Sellen and Moutray rivers. The price of their actions proved steep, but, as the wardstones flared to life, the menhirs contained the demons within lost Sarkoris and saved tens of thousands from grisly deaths. Yet despite this success, the near-total loss of Sarkoris is generally regarded as the final capstone on a disastrous crusade.
Dates: 4665 AR – 4668 AR
Now contained within Sarkoris by a combination of the wardstones, increased pressure from the Mammoth Lords, and the distraction of an entire nation to plunder, the demons continued to press against the borders but seemed largely content to revel in their captured realm. Meanwhile, as the years passed, the Mendevian crusaders grew more and more corrupt—in part due to the subtle machinations of the cult of Baphomet, which had successfully infiltrated numerous companies and faiths throughout Mendev, but also because the resource-strained church of Iomedae had increasingly accepted less trustworthy members into its war effort. The church launched the Third Crusade primarily as an attempt to galvanise the crusaders, but as its focus increasingly turned towards self-destructive witch hunts and internal squabbling, the crusade collapsed under its own corrupt weight. Ultimately, the Third Crusade accomplished very little within the Worldwound—apart from delighting and entertaining Sarkoris’ demonic masters.
Dates: 4692 AR – 4707 AR
After decades of Abyssal rule, a dangerous new addition to the demon armies arrived in the form of Khorramzadeh the Storm King. Scholars of the war are divided as to whether or not the Storm King had been ruling from Iz all along, or if he was but the latest arrival in the region. Regardless, the Storm King’s first assault on the border resulted in no less catastrophic an event than the cracking of the Kenabres wardstone. The ferocity of this attack caught the crusaders off guard, but in the end the wardstone held. In response, the church of Iomedae called for the Fourth Crusade. This crusade proved the be the longest and most gruelling of the crusades yet, lasting 15 years and ending more as a result of wartime exhaustion than anything else. The demons lost very little, and in the years since this crusade’s whimpering conclusion, morale along the Worldwound’s borders has reached an all-time low.