|Birth||c. 6540 BR|
Immorese history records Cinot as the first great Menite Priest-King and his city Icthier as the first human civilisation. In reality Cinot was only a student of the Heretic, and much that is credited to Cinot should be cast at the feet of the Heretic instead. He founded the grand city of Acrennia, and he soon expanded civilisation to the north and west.
As his legend grew, the Heretic, looking at his supremacy, he realised all mortals have within them a touch of divine power: his might had not been bestowed upon him by Menoth but rather that the god had simply kindled that which was always there within. He saw Menoth's gifts as a gilded cage meant to distract humanity from the truth that they are all enslaved in death. Moreover, he saw that Menoth was not a just god: Menoth did not punish the wicked or rewarded the selfless; instead the god rewarded only obedience, punished only defiance. From that point forward the Heretic refused to wield his power in the god’s name, bending it instead to his own purposes, knowing himself to be his Creator’s equal if not his superior. He harnessed his own divine might and stoked the spark of godhood within him to a roaring flame.
The Heretic's message spread, and in time he sparked the fires of a rebellion, joined by those who want to return to their old lives free of Menoth's demands. The Heretic's army burnt down many villages he himself founded and marched on the city of Icthier. He was joined by two other Defiers, the Child and the Wanderer as they prepare to destroy Menoth's bastion. Menoth could not stand for this rebellion: he smote Acrennia with an earthquake and poisoned the land; he burnt the Heretic's lieutenants to ashes; bound his army to burning brass; and reserved the cruellest punishment to the Defiers. One by one the Defiers were cast down, still alive, into Urcaen where the Devourer Wurm would torment them for eternity. As he fell, the Heretic spat a proclamation at his Creator, a prophecy against the rotten fruits of Menoth’s work. The five Defiers vowed to return to Caen someday, knowing that the power of their own souls would eventually free them from their prison.
The name of the Heretic and his deeds would eventually be stricken from all history records. To the swampies of northern Cygnar, he becomes known as Father Stoneface, while to the Kossites of Khador he is gyordi listoy, or The Proud-Faced One.
When the Defiers arrived in Urcaen, they fall prey to the hungry spirits of that place. Even the Defiers’ own thoughts betrayed them: their nightmares had solidity and will, birthed whole and hungry from their minds. For unnumbered years, they suffered at the claws, teeth, and blades of their tormentors. In his nightmares, the Heretic saw the masked face of the Creator glaring at him and remembered when he had rended his own skin in supplication.
The Heretic saw that of all of them, the Dreamer suffered the least from the nightmares and cast her out. Watching Dolly, a monstrous companion created by the Dreamer for the Child ripping the nightmares apart, the rest of the Defiers saw opportunity. One by one, the Defiers confronted their nightmares when they were most vulnerable, learned to control the spirit world around them and shackle their own nightmares and force them to yield.
Eventually, the wayward souls barred from the gods' afterlives drew the attention of the Defiers, especially the Heretic. Seizing and examining these souls, the Defiers confirmed the truth of the conclusions they had drawn at the outset of their rebellion: mortals had been marred by the foul fruits that thrived in Menoth’s civilisation. The Defiers saw fit to pass judgment on the souls which saw themselves as wretched beings having lived their lives at the expense of others. They gave these spirits new and grotesque bodies and minds: these became the first grymkin.
The Defiers later discovered that grymkin were not firmly bound to Urcaen. Each time a new soul crossed from Caen to Urcaen, its passage left a temporary pinprick in the barrier between worlds which grymkin can pass through. The Heretic studied these passages with a scholar’s eye. Each grymkin became a way for the Defiers to change the world, seeking those souls that had been marked by the same corruption that defined their own shaping.
In 611 AR, Zevanna Agha, looking at the Defiers and the grymkin as a weapon against the spread of infernalism on Caen, uses the insane noblewoman Karianna Rose as a conduit to speak to the Defiers and conspirate with the Strangelight Workshop to crack open a gateway to hell through which the Defiers could return to Caen at long last. They emerge with a burning need to fulfill the promise they had made so long ago. To show their gratitude for loosing them from Urcaen, the Defiers give the Old Witch authority over a host of grymkin and nightmares.
The Heretic views himself to be singular and special, the inheritor of power to rival Menoth’s own. He sees the world as flawed and ill-made and must reshape it into a new form and shatter the chains of bondage. The Heretic despises the faith of Menoth most of all and wishes to see its choirs made mute and its temples ground to dust.