3000 years ago, a man of the village of Daralet named Ilservian Palacost, could endure no more the abuses of the village's elders. His firstborn son) had nothing to eat and was on the brink of death. 
During the invasion of the town of Daralet by Yalaini soldiers, Iservian's son, Avoren Palacost, was deprived of access to food or water, resulting in his death, and the subsequent unfocused aggression of his father
Ilservian was run out of town, though not before he vowed to find the edge of the darkness that hung over the eaves of the earth.
He did not depart alone. His closest friends accompanied him. Elithra the mage, Ler Rhan the scribe, Omadin the farmer, Ferah the warrior and Isin Dule the friend of Ilservian since childhood. A small group of sympathizers also joined them. 
They wandered far into the endless frigid mud of the wastelands, vainly seeking light. At last Ilservian called to the darkness in anger. But there was no answer. Ilservian pressed on, growing weaker, shouting his fury and anguish into the wind and rain. And then, something answered. 
Four hundred years later, Ilservian returned, transformed by some dark power into Bael'Zharon the Hopeslayer. This was called the Empyrean Shadow War. He led an army of shadow that brought death and madness in its wake. No force could stop it as it consumed armies and whole villages down to the last man, woman and child.
While investigating the events, whole armies disappeared, and Lord Atlan was reported being ripped apart. 
The trap set for the Hopeslayer burst into six fragments, but the Empire was only able to recover five. The last piece was never seen again by living eyes. That should have been the end of the tale, save for the Gelidites.
Thousands of years later, after the Olthoi drove the Empyrean off of the planet,during a digging by the Gelidites, a young mage named Frisirth found a beautiful, sparkling crystal. The locals called it “Great Work”. A human expedition slaughtered the Gelidites, and destroyed their “Great Work.” As the malignant crystal shattered, darkness swallowed the center of the room, and a faint, eager chuckle was heard. 
Isparians were unwittingly duped into freeing Bael'Zharon from his crystal prison. Some sought to prevent the last piece of the prison -- the Shard of the Herald -- from being destroyed, but they were defeated. An Isparian monarch named Vidorian, who had sworn allegiance to the Hopeslayer, accompanied two of Bael'Zharon's generals and assaulted the defenders below the Ithaenc Cathedral. They broke through the defensive lines and shattered the crystal. Thus in Portal Year 11 began the Fourth Sending of Darkness. The Shadows attacked from all sides, the Hopeslayer roamed the land, and the rivers ran red. 
In the month of Frostfell, P.Y. 11, a desperate alliance formed between Asheron, the Virindi, the undead Dericost, a rogue follower of Bael'Zharon named Isin Dule, and the Isparians. Bael'Zharon was driven off of this plane of existence... but he was not destroyed.