The Witches of the Forests of Ded were one of the most successful multi-species and multi-racial organizations of Aels, incorporating without any problem, all sorts of hybrids in their ranks, as long they were female and magically inclined, or had extensive knowledge of plants, venoms, poisons or healing. Only the orcs would be discriminated against, maybe due to an ancestral but lost law, being limited in their role to servants, helpers and slaves, but never full members of the sisterhood.
The first historical records that speak about the witches of Ded were from the Kanov tribe of the Kordor, during the wars of the Kanovs and Humans in Polforia around the VI Century after the Appearance of Humanity. In the stories of the Kordor, the witches of Ded were only nightmare material, and their historical origins have been lost, without any accurate historical records.
No one knew of their origins for sure, and one could only speculate. A supposition was that they were originally remnants of a primitive Sylvan elf population, who were expelled from their lands by the Kordor, being forced to move deeper and deeper into the forests of Ded, and that somehow, their druidic and shamanistic religion changed, to become something darker and with a lust for blood.
Due to their infamous actions among the kordor, and other Kanov and human kingdoms, soon it was known the forest of the witches of Ded to be an enchanted, damned unholy place of nightmares.
War With the Dark LegionEdit
When the Demons of the Dark Legion of Demons arrived in Polforia and settled in Dol-Nur, it ignited war with the Kordor Kanovs. The Dark Legion also sought to absorb peoples of the southern slopes of Dol-Nur as vassals, which was long resisted by nomadic peoples like Orcs, or the Loranor and Sylvan elf peoples of Ded. The Dark Legion was annoying and worrisome enough that when their old enemies, the Kordor needed an alliance against the Dark Legion, the Witches agreed.
In the Campaign of the Forest of the Ghosts, the Dark Legion sent several armies deep into the forests to crush the Kordor Kanovs and to finally force the Witches to surrender. However, with the Kanovs possessing a full army fighting a guerrilla war, with some help from elven archers, rangers and the curses of the elves' witch rulers, the Dark Legion lost large numbers of troops. The campaign was essentially a stalemate in that the demons had failed to overcome the kanovs in an adverse environment and with elven aid. They also took note as the Witches of the Forest were indeed dangerous spellcasters. This alliance of old enemies handed the Dark Legion their first major military setback in Polforia.
Members of the Dark LegionEdit
From their forests, the witches would terrorize their enemies, and despite their elected mystery and isolation, when the demons decided to treat with the Witches with 'honey rather than vinegar', particularly in offering aid against their ancestral enemies, the witches became converts to the Confederation of Free Peoples. as the demons officially styled themselves as.
Becoming allies of the demons and the dark legion, they began worshipping them as gods... but as they accepted the demons' rule and allowing them into their ranks, their organization changed, becoming less mysterious. They began to actively expand their nation and the numbers of their elves and the witches at the behest of the Dark Legion.
War with BrûmEdit
As the Sisterhood of Witches expanded under the banners of the Dark Legion, in their expansion, the Witches of Ded were to face another expanding dark kingdom of the Dark Legion: the Dustlands of Brûm, guided by the dragongod king, Barûm.
Ded and Brûm fought, but against the legions of the Black dragons of Brûm, the witches were only numbered in the hundreds, their armies consisting of archers and light infantry, and they were sent back to their enchanted forests. And so, they began to raise armies of their slaves and servants, hiring Kanov mercenaries as heavy infantry, and breeding in the caverns and hideouts of the forests an army of grey orcs, Ozcura Orcs, to serve as additional infantry forces and orderlies.
With their army ready, the Sisterhood will try to oppose the expansion of Brûm, but they were only capable of keeping them at bay at the limits of their forests...
Annexation to Dol-NurEdit
Weakened, and losing ground to the Black dragons of Brûm, to stop the bloody war between two valued states of the Dark Legion of Demons, the demon lords will determine that the Sisterhood of the witches of Ded would be annexed to the Black Tower of Dol-Nur, becoming the demon lord of the fortress the title of Witch King of Dol-Nur, and by losing much of their self-determination, the witches disappeared as a key political force in central Polforia.
As Subjects to the Dark LegionEdit
For a long time, the Dark Legion would expect the witches to be the principal source of mortal magic users called upon for wars or various projects. But the witches were reluctant to commit members to the Dark Legion for long durations, and could be stubborn and uncooperative. As the largest, ready source of Blood elf sorceresses, the witches were valuable, and they knew it. But they also knew that their fearsome reputation and mystique was also part of why they were effective and hung onto that aspect. But as the Dark Legion wanted more and more out of them, and demanded that they train many more girls, hoping to turn the Forests of Ded into a sort of Dark Legion magic academy, much of the mystique fell away. Many demons such as succubae, vampires and werewolves would be sent to become Witches.
It was long suspected that the most powerful, most terrible of their curses and spells and ceremonies were kept secret and only taught to the indigenous elven women. Even centuries later, after demons had joined and had long lived there, that the succubae, vampires and others had become inculcated and 'seduced' to the witches so as to conspire to always keep the best teachings to themselves, and to give witches seen as 'Dark Legion trainees' less impressive training wrapped in mysterious training that was largely 'hocus pocus nonsense'. But, even after centuries, no clear answer emerged, but the Dark Legion was ever frustrated and dissatisfied with the witches as teachers of magic.
First War of the PowerEdit
During the First War of the Power the witches played a role that was first concealed, but ultimately key role in the Fall of the Amazons of Priva. Throughout the twenty years of war, the witches were sent all over the continent of Aels and the numbers would suffer greatly due to attrition, especially in the later battles with the High elves of the Empire of Whide Axis. In direct battles with High elf master wizards, the witches would be found wanting in terms of spells and power.
Speculation: Given the sensitivity of magic users in calling upon the magic of an environment, and favoring their 'home environment', it might be that the witches were at their most powerful within Ded rather than a number of battlefields?
Interlude of IndependenceEdit
With the Fall of Dol-Nur in 2223 a.a.H., and that the allies chose not to pursue the Blood elf people of Ded into their home forests, the Witches became a de-facto independent state again, and were generally committed to isolationism due to their great losses. However, they were now a multi-racial country with Ded now having Ozcura Orcs and demons living amongst the elven base population.
The recovered nation of Brûm would again plague the Forests of Ded circa 2400 a.a.H. This would lead the Witches to once again bend the knee to the also recovering State of Dol-Nur and its Witch King of Dol-Nur.
Freeing the Demon Princes?Edit
The Witches may have played an important role in the campaign of the Witch King in freeing of the captive Soul Stones of those of the Seven Demon Princes and the large number of Bazrrods who had been defeated, disincarnated and imprisoned by the allies during the First War of the Power, and were imprisoned in Mount Satanmet on Demonatch Island.
Second War of the PowerEdit
Once again, the Witches of the Forests of Ded were heavily called upon in the Second War of the Power, doubtlessly they suffered again due to attrition.
Speculation: It is possible that some significant number might have perished in the course of the Campaign of Sargos which ended as a disaster for the Dark Legion?
Replaced by ZaghälEdit
The Dark Legion simply needed more elven magic users, and the Witches of the Forests of Ded were ultimately seen as both a non-renewable resource and also deficient compared to some other elven sorcerous traditions. The Dark Legion set about to create the Dark Elf city of Zaghäl, combining Drow and the foreign, extra-continental Hake magic users in both blood and tradition. Hence, the Forests of Ded was given up as a magic academy in favor of the new city of Zaghäl. Albeit, it is known that the Witches of the Forests of Ded sent some of their members to Zaghäl as teachers, and that they might have contributed in other ways?
But, with the founding of Zaghäl, and the breeding of Drow/Hake hybrid magic users, combined with the Drow and Hake's own, more ancient and learned (and superior) magic techniques, and also a newly fearsomely established reputation (and with blunders of their own), the importance and reputation of the Witches of Ded would greatly wane. Even so, they would remain as an important source of Blood elf sorceresses, certainly for Dol-Nur.
Despite being just an arm of Dol-Nur, the Witch King would seem to suffer the same decline as his Witches. Even so, in the War of the Four Black Kings, Dol Nur would triumph over Zaghäl. However, the Witch King would fail in his bid to become the 2nd in command of the Dark Legion to Anutkahook and his un-magical Nutks.
Speculation: It might be that the Witches might have played a key role in countering their new, young replacements? However, the effort might have been the end of the Witches as a fighting force?
While the primitive organization of the Witches of Ded is still unknown, once under the influence of the demons what seemed to be a very anarchic community, became organized into an organized sisterhood with ranks and classes, developing into an actual vassal state of the demons, to meet the requirements of the Dark Legion of supplies and warriors.
The Sisterhood became then ruled by a council of the witches, who elected the first among the equals to rule them for a year, becoming the Witch of the Forest, but answering to the council.
The witches seems to have been originally only Sylvan elfs, but as soon as the invasion of the Kordor and other humans and kanovs, they seemed to slowly accept into their ranks members from other species and races, pure and hybrid: And once they accepted the various demons: vampires, nigromancers, succubae and werewolves and other demons of all kinds, the composition of the group became even more heterogeneous.
All the witches, with the later exception of the later Witch King, were only female, and they were known for their rites that involved the sacrifices, or of their mates in some cases after conception, or infanticide, killing their male children. Stories and myths mix, telling some tales about their cannibalism, lust and terrible powers, speaking about stolen children, eating babies and more, as they used fear as one of their main weapons.
Aside from fear, the witches were said to be fierce spellcasters, using with profusion poisons and potions, being meleé combat not unknown for them, being one of their characteristic weapons some long blades used in their hands as claws.
Originally, the Witches didn't have any settlement, aside from the caves and huts dispersed in the enchanted forests, but once under the demonic rule, towers, temples and fortress will be built by their slaves and servants.
Joining the SisterhoodEdit
The Sisterhood of the Witches of Ded was originally only composed of the witches, and to become so, the magically adept women who wanted to enter were to endure a series of difficult and dangerous dark and unknown tests: but as the sisterhood needed to expand due the requirements of the demons and the Dark Legion, the process and composition changed. Stealing children from their families, adopting orphans and slaves sent to them by the demons, they shaped them to become members of the order: but the demands of the demons always seemed to claim more and more trained magic users, and (their numbers never seemed to increase. ?)