Grasp of Orcus
The Nerath Empire was once a powerful human-dominated realm, spanning much of the world and including many other races among its citizens and allies. It was at the height of its power about 2000 years ago. Eventually, its power was shattered in a war with the dragonborn-ruled Empire of Arkhosia, which has also suffered great political decline.
Since that time, and particularly in the last two centuries, the Empire has crumbled, to the point where it has no real control over most lands that are ostensibly within its borders. Indeed, a child born in the Nentir Vale might live his entire life and die without ever hearing about the empire that supposedly rules his region.
The Empire does still exist, but only as a shadow its former glory. In the old days, the Empire gave the world great feats of magic, science and art that have yet to be duplicated, and many people outside its borders longed to be within. Now, only the people living in and around its capital city care to identify themselves as citizens.
Ramassule was a court wizard in the Empire at the height of its power.