In Episode 1 you take on the role of Elric, a disgraced noble from the kingdom of Tortha. His family has been slain, and he’s out for revenge against those responsible, namely the self-proclaimed King of Hysperia Gareth.
Illyria was originally made up of six separate kingdoms: Vasena, Tortha, Hysperia, Kourmar, Feylanor, and Nycenia.
King Rendall of Hysperia, believing himself the ruler mentioned in an ancient prophesy that would rule over the whole of Illyria, invaded Tortha, crushing it to his will. Seeing the ruthlessness of the Hypserian armies, Nycenia and Feylanor were quick to ally themselves with the stronger power. With these four kingdoms in his hand, Rendall named himself Emperor.
Vasena, seeing the threat Hypseria posed, used its magic to block its borders from all external encroachment. Kourmar alone battled the Hysperian Empire to a standstill, with help from the fey and other magical creatures.
Rendall allowed the kingdoms to reign as they had before: Benton as king of Tortha, Marle as king of Nycenia, and Tonnil as queen of Feylanor. There was an uneasy peace for a time, until Rendall was found dead.
Rendall was poisoned by his son, Gareth, who believed his father had failed to unite all of Illyria under the Hysperian Empire. Convinced he was the destined ruler, Gareth claimed the mantle of Emperor.
Furious at Tortha for defying the prophecy, Gareth spread rumors that Tortha assassins had slain his father. In response to the supposed threat, Gareth then deposed King Benton and replaced him with Donnald Greyvon, the leader of the Purifiers, a religious faction that aims to purge anything not human. Greyvon was then given the task of sending his Purifiers to weaken the Kourmarian army.
Gareth also decided to weaken Tortha further by rezoning one of Tortha’s cities, Eriez, to Feylanor’s rule, in order to help strengthen Feylanor against the neighboring Kourmar. Elric, lord of Eriez, was deposed. Despite the removal of his lordship, the people still sought his leadership. Tonnil requested help from Gareth to rectify the situation. Seeing no other choice, Gareth sent assassins from Nycenia to kill Elric and his family. Elric escaped, and, fearing Elric’s pull with the people of his city and the possible response from Tortha, Gareth claimed Elric committed parricide and put a bounty on his head. Elric fled Eriez, heading north to the Torthan capital, hoping to reclaim his title and get vengeance on whoever killed his family.