Thousands of years ago, the undead first plagued the face of Aerynth, and the lands of Men and Elves were plunged into the conflict dimly remembered as the War of Shadows. The men of Ardan fought the new blight, founding the order of Nightstalkers and devising the techniques used by the Undead Hunters to this day. But the Elves of the Deathless Empire found a different solution. Much as they had with Chaos, Elvish visionaries sought to tame this new power, to bind and control it.
Elvish archmagi saw death-based magic (and its potential control of limitless undead legions) as a potential key to ultimate power. Thirteen Elvish Priests and Wizards banded together to unravel the mystery of undeath and peer into the Void. The called themselves the "Moraenarth," the Black Thorns, and from their experiments was born "Ghorreghul," the death sorcery Humans call Necromancy. As the War of Shadows raged, the Thirteen learned to call angry spirits, infuse them into dead flesh, and command their new creations. They also learned of the existence of the Void, and how to tap its deadly power. Many of the arts Assassins draw upon began in the workshops of the Thirteen, though few now remember it.
A priestess of Saedron in the Elvish court uttered a dark prophecy that Necromancy would destroy the world. The Empire declared Necromancy a forbidden science, and hunted down those who mastered it. The Thirteen fled their refuge and became renegades, turning on their kin. Legends tell that the ringleaders of the order ritually slew themselves rather than be captured by the authorities, but that they had made a grim pact with death, ensuring that they would return in some future age.
That time has come. The Shades, the Void's pale children, gathered together to create the Brotherhood of the Shroud. They sought out the tombs of the Moraenarth and reawakened them. The Thirteen, reborn, revived their dark art, and for the first time in thousands of years new Necromancers are learning the secrets of death magic. In addition to raising small hordes of mindless undead minions, Necromancers can lash their enemies with the unholy power of Oblivion, wreak dreadful curses, and cast spells of fear and shadow. Some are wide-eyed zealots who seek to join Ithriana's legions and bring about the final doom of Aerynth, while others are sheer pragmatists who seek to preserve themselves by making pacts with the new shadow, or simply embrace a new path to power. Sages and loremasters of every race look upon the rebirth of Necromancy with horror, fearing that the mere use of necromantic power will strengthen Oblivion's foothold in Aerynth, bringing the world ever closer to total destruction.