An outcast from one savage wilderness journeying to another, Nod-hagoth is a half-orc of a brutish and nasty bloodline. Hailing from stony highlands and foggy moors, the Bone Ash clan was once feared throughout the region, for they had augmented their natural bloodthirsty combat skills with fell magic.
The shamans of the Bone Ash clan, once devoted to Gruumsh and his fearsome eye, sought a new path to power. And so they forged a pact with an unclean spirit known as The Storm Upon the Mountain. For six generations the Bone Ash ruled the highlands and the moors below, subjugating the other clans beneath the boots of the Storm Coven and the hellish power of The Storm Upon the Mountain. For the Storm was of fire and ash and black flames in a swirling vortex. And in the center was the Eye, and within that facade of calm stood a great and mighty demon.
But Gruumsh was a jealous and rageful god, and he would tolerate only one Eye in the prayers of his people. So he granted mighty strength to the foes of the Bone Ash clan, and answered the prayers of their greatest rivals. The Bone Ash clan was crushed and thrown down, and the The Storm Upon the Mountain passed from the land.
Remnants of the Bone Ash clan lived, and slowly, over long decades, came together once more. The demon lore, once thought purged from the highlands, was pieced back together by a cabal of jaded shamans and spiritwalkers. They sought out the forbidden rituals and bindings they would need to once again bring the ferocity of The Storm Upon the Mountain against the enemies of their clan. They gathered in secret, at the ancient high place that still bore the signs of the last calling of fire, to forge a pact.
The rite called for thirteen mystics to bind themselves in service. Led by the Crone, a half-orc shaman of impossible age, they labored for days in preparation. They labored so hard, in fact, that one of their number could not complete his tasks and instead fell over dead. But the ritual was clear; it was to be thirteen or none. And so Nod, then a young half-orc, part apprentice, but mostly slave, in service to the Crone, was called forth. His mind was quick and cunning, and he could stand where the other shaman had fallen.
The ritual itself was a brutal affair. Blood was spilled. Flesh consumed. Bones burned and faces and bodies painted in ash. Mostly importantly, oaths were spoken. But things were not as they seemed.
Fully half their number were devoted to returning the might of The Storm Upon the Mountain to the Bone Ash clan. But the others plotted and schemed amongst themselves, for they were loyal to other masters, or to none. They sought to slip the bindings yet grasp the power of The Storm. So they came to the ritual armed with the blessings of Gruumsh, that they might escape the chains that come with a pact with Hell. And just in case that didn’t work, they brought dozens of bloodthirsty warriors.
Nod, standing in that thirteenth spot, lacked the robes and bone charms of the other shamans, and so passed beneath the notice of the first wave of murderers to come among the ritual. In a daze amongst the sulphurous winds and burning flesh, it was hard to say when the ritual ended and when the slaughter began, but after a time it was clear to Nod that something had gone wrong. Curses were spoken, hellfire brandished. The Crone’s own warriors appeared and soon the calling of fire had been answered in blood.
Nod escaped into the night, but first he saw the Six, the betrayers of the Bone Ash, come together and slaughter the five who had intended to swear to The Storm Upon the Mountain. The Crone herself was nowhere to be seen; she would not be so easy to kill. She would have her revenge. But Nod would not be here to see it. He intended upon gaining his freedom.
And so he stole away from the highlands, and passed beyond the moors. He made his way to (somewhat) more civilized lands. But he could not escape the pact. For he had sworn his oaths and bound himself, and his calls were heard. At night, Nod dreamed of a great swirling storm of fire upon a mountain made of shards of obsidian. These were dreams of pain and anguish, but upon waking Nod knew them for what they were: lessons.
The powers of a warlock came to him, over time, after painful lessons of flame and scorched flesh. The passage of years brought control and soon fed his hunger for more.
When she came to him, in his dreams, for the first time, the Crone was not angry that he had left. The Six were enemy enough for her, and Nod was young and had little power of his own. And after all, they were both bound to The Storm Upon the Mountain. No, what the Crone came to tell him was that two of the Six had left the highlands and passed beyond the moors. These two were not Gruumshites, like the others, but power-hungry and treacherous none the less. That made them more dangerous than the others, in some ways. These two had gone to seek power and dominance over a new frontier. But they had befouled the ritual of The Storm Upon the Mountain, and for that, they must be punished. And so the Crone set before Nod the first of the great tasks The Storm required of him. It was the price he was to pay for his newfound and growing powers. He was to hunt these Two, to extract his master’s revenge, and deliver unto him their souls.
Chasing rumor and whispers, Nod found himself journeying to Anterloch, camouflaged as a half-orc mystic in service to the Hammer. The mission of the Hammerites made little sense to him, for he had never known a trace of civilization. To him, the law was a boot on his neck, and he despised the idea. But he was grateful for the company, and despite the fiendish pact he had made, he was a friendly enough travel companion. He had no great evil in his heart, just a desire for the power to do as he willed. And here, on a new frontier, it was his will that would crush the Two, and any other enemies who showed themselves. There was the Anvil, and the Hammer, and now… now there was the Flame.