Birmwood is a small valley, overgrown with a thick forest with a small river flowing through. It is situated inbetween the Alterac Mountains to the west, the Darrowmere lake and Field to the north. Hinterlands to the east and Hillsbrad Foothills to the south. By all the sides, it is isolated by a mountain or numerous hills and therefore secure from attacks. It's only entry point is the path down from Alterac Mountains. Which, isn't always the safe way.
To understand what Birmwood is and what it means for the people. One has to travel back into the days of when the Human people started to settle upon the Alterac Mountains. For, Birmwood is a thick valley overgrown with a mighty forest, it gave the people wood, food and space to be. Back when the people dared to enter Birmwood, only by the outskirts, three Quel'Dorei brothers came to settle themselves in the forest. Where, they built a mighty tower, high and slim. None was able to enter, but them. Who used magic to trigger the earth to rise and form stairs.
.. as time passed. The second war came, and Birmwood was very much needed for the people to aquire lumber and many others things, necessery for the war effort. Near the end, a small band of Orcs tried to escape the human knights, who were after their heels. And near the pass to Birmwood, they engaged the knights in a bloody battle. The result was known to be the doom of the Orcs, but somehow. Mother nature interrupted and caused the Orcs to slip down into the valley. Closed and without a chance of escape, these surviving Orcs created their tribal community within the swampy regions of the valley. Slowly going back to their ancestral living.
But, the tale does not talk about the Elven brothers or the Orcs, but of a Knight Commander, by the name of Ulrich. After the second war, he and his men returned home to Lordaeron, and took the pass of the Alterac Mountains for a quicker entry. With a stop at the small village, Ulrich was the only one of his men who did not rest, but was rather interested in the small piece of land, bellow. In Birmwood. "What is that valley, peasant?" Ulrich asked the peasant who went past him, carrying water buckets. He stopped and turned around, staring at the man. "B-Birmwood sire." "Birmwood.. Birmwood" Ulrich kept repeating in his mind. The thought of it troubled him all the night, and before dawn. He left the camp for the valley. Where, people say. He found the most fairest of all the women. Ulrich later described her as.. "Her hair were as brown as the mighty trees, that cover the land. Her eyes as crystal blue as the river that flows throughout the land, and her skin as golden as the wheat that grows on the open."
The events following were known, as Ulrich returned to the King and asked for only one thing. No gold, but for the piece of land, known as Birmwood. After all, Ulrich was promised a land to hold, and now that he found Birmwood, there was no question about which it will be. He quickly then gathered the peasants of the surrounding villages and left in a hurry. Which sadly, was not good for all, for many a nobles held a grudge against him.. but later with that. In command of a moderate group of peasants, Ulrich entered Birmwood and started to build the first settlement, by the name of Birmwood. Which later, became the capital of the small valley. With him, came his trustworthy friend, the Captain Alexius and the priest of the Light, Archibald.
Time passed, and the settlement grew. In the middle, Ulrich built, with his own hands, of course with the peasants help, his keep. His home. Where he married the "Fairest of all" women. But, good times never last, for the third war was on the horizon. And since Gilneas closed their gates and reffused to assist Lordaeron, the eye turned towards Birmwood. The nobles, that held a grudge, were after all behind the actions that followed. As of first, Lordaeron tried to ask the peasants to join the war efforts. Giving the proposals. They declined. Second, they tried to force them with threats.. they declined. And here it was, that the nobles made a plan to attack Birmwood and kidnap the people by force. And since Ulrich was on an errand somewhere else in Birmwood, the attack was succsessful. But not for long. After Ulrich got wind of what happened, he gathered his best knights and marched upon the garrison holding them. Freeing his men and escaping, in the process. Closing Birmwood off for everyone, as he collapsed the rocky pass. Isolated and safe, Birmwood prospered when the other kingdoms were ruined. But, Birmwood was no kingdom. And it never became one, even after Ulrich declared himself the lord of these lands, to ensure safety.
That was the past, now begins the age, which planted the seed of corruption and hatred. The Golden Age.
The Scourge ravaged most of Lordaeron, but ignored Birmwood due to it's rather.. secret location. The trees were high and covered much. The people started to create their own law and lives. And the priest of Light, Archibald. Created a small chapel where he tutored the people how to read, type and about Light. The Captain, the trustworthy friend of Ulrich, Allexious. Made sure to create the local militia and trained the people himself to be prepared. All was well, but soon, a dark storm came across Birmwood which lasted for a week. The river flooded the nearby farms and lands, but the people endured. Yet it left a mark, as the priest, Archibald turned.. foul. His preachings in the chapel turned to violent acts of hatred against the nonhuman populace in Birmwood, which had equal rights as the other, human people.
The weak minded people believed him, and the racism against the nonhumans grew. Yet, in the same time, many of the people, asked themselves why they should hate someone they were good friends with.. because of what a man says. They asked themselves, if this is what Birmwood will become, and what are the sacrffices that were given to protect Birmwood from Lordaeron. In the days following, the priest afflicted members and the rest of the clear minded folk started to fight on the streets. The militia tried to hold them back, but the might of the people was simply too much. That was, until Ulrich caught Archibald and banished him, for never to return. He was put on a boat, and with the same symbol that he painted the chapel, with a flame. They burned him. But, the priest had his members and apprentices. Who formed.. theChapel of the Eternal Flame . But, that order was hidden and the people continued their lives onwards, yet the nonhuman and human relationship was never again that.. which it once was. And after the incident with the chapel, the people reffered to worshiping old, pagan gods. Most noticibly, the Goddess of Bounty and God of Labor.
Many shrines were made, and the worshiping of these gods was rather welcomed by the people. Who sought simple guidance and explenations, and not the truth. Now that Ulrich has seen what has happened with Lordaeron, it was his oath, to protect it.. and so, he and his best knights set out on a great crusade. They joined the Argent Dawn and tried to repel the Scourge forces. In the meantime, his wife would rule over the lands. But, now many would accept that, and many would say that her rule weakens Birmwood. And because of that, the "Council of Nobles" was created.
Lead by 3 nobles. The greatest being Echevy Godsond, tried to support the queen by aiding her in her rule. Yet, not all was good, and the Chapel of the Eternal Flame again put their hands in the matter. For they corrupted an ambitious, young noble, by the name of Bartley. Into writing a letter and delivering it to the queen. In it, it would say that her husband has fallen in battle. And with Bartley's long conversation he acomplished to murder the queen. For, she begun suicade and hanged herself. The rule over the land, then fell upon the Council. In which, Echevy protested against Bartley, and the end was near. For Bartley stabbed Echevy and ensured he is the sole leader. In the meantime, news reaches Ulrich, that his wife perished. And without hesitation, he broke his sacred oath and with his army returned to Birmwood. It took him three days to reach Birmwood, in which the nephew of Echevy, Parcival Godsond and his friend, Raike. Uncovered the plot behind the murder and killed Bartley. Or so they thought. But, bad things never stop, at the day the burial found place, Ogres invaded Birmwood and Ulrich was forced to abandon the sacred ritual to help defend his land. Unknown, that in this battle, he shall swing his sword for the last time.
The Ogres attacked Birmwood from the pass in Alterac. And it was their action which opened Birmwood to the rest of the world. The battle took place near that pass, as the remains of it are visible even now. Nevertheless, Ulrich's army charged upon the Ogres in a great clash, and the battle took place for a whole day, until he himself joined the fray. But, what can one man do.. the Ogre Warlord joined the fray as well, and the two clashed in a great duel. But, the eye of the warrior overpowered Ulrich, and the Ogre slammed his weak, frail body against the rocks. Breaking his ribs and leaving him lie there. Captain Allexious quickly rushed in to help his lord, but could not do much, and was forced to accept the bitter truth of defeat.
Yet, only the Captain heard the last words of the lord, and he sadly did not return to share or uphold them, as he took the sword of Ulrich and chased after the Warlord. Therefore, leaving Birmwood heirless and open for taking. Which.. the Chapel of the Eternal Flame long sought to.
Now, begun the Age of the Flame. Where the Chapel of the Eternal Flame reveals its plot to conquer all Birmwood and extermine those who oppose them. Where the Elven brothers, scattered. Create a magical college from where they strike at the Chapel, and when the Rebels, are erracted to take the fight against the Chapel.
The land lies in shock, and the Ogres ravage much of the land, but are in the end stopped by the Orcs, who take some of them in their care taking. But, this part does not talk about them, but about the Chapel. Who soon enter the capital in force, and take control over the land in a storm. The nonhumans are driven out, slain, burned and rapped by the people. The once beautiful land now turns into a living nightmare. The roads are dotted by the hanging nonhumans, many villages are burning and the Chapel banner flies high. It almost seems, as if nothing can stop the onslaught of the Chapel, until the youngest brother of the 3 Elves, creates the magical college. Where he welcomes all of his kin. A disguise, for a rebel group, who use the chapel as their hideout from where they attack.
The Chapel soon turns their eyes and forces against the chapel, leaving the nonhuman hunt to the people alone. And therefore, giving the Dwarves the time to escape into the mountains, where they create their little settlement and survive. The long war between the College and the Chapel takes place for three years. And the end seemed soo close, but then. The 13, mysterious human mages arrive. Who create a magical barrier around the College, and throw the Chapel away easily. In the meantime, the human populace forms themselves, some of course, into the Rebels. And attack the convoys and strategical positions in a guerrila warfare. The rebels and the College make certain, that the Chapel cannot proceed to claim all, but near the end of the age, the Chapel sends the Inquisitor Amolious to deal with the College, once and for all. He travels with a force of armed knights against the College and slaughters many of the inhabitants. In the summoning room, where the mages prepare to explode the College and destroy the Chapel, once and for all. The Inquisitor intrrupts and causes a mighty explosion, which is reffered to only as.. "The Magical Explosion ."
The explosion tears Birmwood apart, ripping away the very "life" of it. It turns the water ill and summons forth new beings of evil, spirits and specters. The explosion changes Birmwood, drasticly. For the very, green ground is now gray with rock. The Chapel loses the capital, as the Captain returns, mysterious as it is. And the rebels withdraw. Now, with the College destroyed, the Magical explosion and the Shattering. Birmwood becomes cursed. Even worse then Tirisfal, as the land is not plagued, it's cursed.