The Horned Society
The Horned Society is a secret society of Oerth devoted to evil. The name can also be applied to a former independent nation of the Flanaess, previously part of Iuz’s kingdom, which has since been reclaimed by Iuz. As part of the Empire of Iuz, the former Horned Society lands are now known as the Horned Lands.
The leaders of the Horned Society are known as Hierarchs. There were thirteen Hierarchs when the Society ruled its own lands. All but two of the Heirarchs, Andrade Mirrius and Nezmajen, were slain by Iuz’s forces during his coup on the night of the Blood Moon Festival. The current exact number of Hierarchs is uncertain.
Most scholars believe the Hierarchs of the Horned Society were opportunistic bandits who took over Molag and its surrounding territories after the imprisonment of Iuz in 505 CY, only to be driven out in 583 after the Old One had sufficiently rebuilt his strength.
Others, more ominously, speculate that the Horned Society is actually descended from a group that predates the Great Migrations. Certain old druids speak of the “Horned Ones,” cultists who stalked the night and preyed upon the ancient Flan. It is possible that the modern Horned Society is a descendant of these ancient Horned Ones, though it is also possible they are simply exploiting old legends to make themselves seem even more frightening than their deeds alone would merit.
The Horned Society in its modern form first came to prominence in 513 CY, a few years after the disappearance of Iuz. They seized the city of Molag, which had once been Iuz’s summer capital, and consolidated the territories around them. Hobgoblins, orcs, and other evil humanoids flocked to their banner. Openly, members worship Hextor, but it is rumored that The Horned Society dedicated itself to the worship of dark beings from the Lower Planes, paying particular veneration to Nerull, Anthraxus the Decayed, and the Lords of the Nine.
The Horned Society was made up of thirteen leaders known as the Hierarchs (also known as the Dread and Awful Presences), including powerful fighters, clerics, wizards, and thieves. The philosophy that bound them together was rulership through fear and might. The Hierarchs ruled in veiled seclusion, hiding their identities from their followers. Rumors had it they were fiends in human form.
The Horned Society quickly came into conflict with the Shield Lands.
In 579 CY, the Horned Society allied themselves with the Bandit Kingdoms realms Warfields and Wormhall. With their hobgoblin and mercenary armies supported by yugoloths and demodands, this unified host swarmed the Shield Lands, laying waste to villages and farmsteads instead of the strongholds. Though thousands of Shield Landers gathered at Axeport to halt their invasion, their line was broken and their bodies devoured by inhuman beasts. By 581, all of the Shield Lands except for Critwall had fallen, with the bandits of Warfields and Wormhall joined by bandit troops from neighboring realms. The victors carved up the Shield Lands, dividing it into holdings ruled by bandits, goblinoids, and agents of the Horned Society.
In 583 CY, in the month of Coldeven, at the height of the Blood Moon Festival, demonic forces sent by Iuz slew all of the Hierarchs in Molag and quietly took control of the nation in the name of the Old One. In less than a fortnight, the Hierarchs were mere legend and Iuz had absolute control over the nation.
The Horned Society, however, may have survived. They must have known that the return of Iuz would spell their doom, and planned for that eventuality. Andrade Mirrius and Nezmajen were not in Molag at the time.
Rumors since 586 CY have placed the Horned Society’s new headquarters on the coast of the Pomarj, in the Bone March, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. While most people no longer fear them, believing Iuz to be the true threat, a few believe the Horned Society may now, with unknown numbers dispersed to an unknown number of nations, be more dangerous than ever.