Westmarch is a kingdom that thrives on commerce and maritime trade. It operates as a monarchy, with the monarch being supported by noble houses. The Sons of Rakkis were the original dynasty, while the kingdom is currently ruled by the Justinian Dynasty. While founded in the name of Zakarum, faith has waned of late, and Westmarch is now a forward-looking civilization. In the opinion of Deckard Cain, Westmarch (at least prior to the coming of the Reapers) was one of the healthiest, most vibrant kingdoms left in Sanctuary.
The kingdom's southeast is sparsely populated. Its lowlands are quite fertile, and are the envy of the Western Kingdoms. The lowlands were originally the heart of the land before the coming of the Sons of Rakkis.
The people of Westmarch are considered to be a "proud" people (at least in the mind of Zayl)—most of them are suspicious of the Priests of Rathma. Its society can be divided between the commoners and nobility.
The Creation of WestmarchEdit
"Westmarch originally grew from the efforts of the great general Rakkis to spread his religion beyond the realms of the east. Seized by the superstitions of the Zakarum faith, he drove his paladins relentlessly across the barbaric western lands, subduing the uncivilized tribes he found there. Ulimately, he became king of them all."— The History of Westmarch (excerpt)(src)
In what would be called the Gulf of Westmarch resided nine warring clans, residing along its southern edge. During this period were cultists who worshipped the demon Astrogha. This state of affairs came to an end in the 11th century, with the coming of Rakkis. Rakkis, tasked with bringing the Zakarum faith to the West, knew that moving against the clans in force would unify them into a combined front. Instead, he lived among them, learning their language and culture. All the while, he subtly spread the Zakarum faith to anyone who would listen. Through an arranged marriage, Rakkis bound himself by blood to the Ortal Clan, which was the third largest in the region. Using this standing as leverage, he brought four of the lesser clans under his banner.
Allegiances secured, Rakkis launched his combined forces against the Hathlan Clan, the largest and most hostile tribe in the region. The battles that followed were bloody, and the stench of decaying corpses were carried along the winds as far as Khanduras. However, at the Battle of Dyre River, Rakkis's forces dismantled the remnants of the Hathlan and slew the clan's leader. The Hathlan, in addition to the clans that had abstained from taking sides, submitted themselves to Rakkis's rule, declaring him to be their one true king.
The Sons of Rakkis also rooted out Astrogha's followers.
A New KingdomEdit
"Despite his superstitious views, Rakkis ruled as a just and fair king who was much loved by his people. He was succeeded by his son Korsikk who attempted to eradicate the barbarian tribes of the north. The line of Rakkis was broken when Korsikk's son, Korelan, died with no heirs."— The History of Westmarch (excerpt)(src)
The subsequent years saw Westmarch flourish. New roads, cities, churches, and infrastructure sprung up throughout the land, and due to plentiful access to the sea, the nation quickly became a formidable naval and mercantile power. Rakkis ruled with a strong but fair hand, and gained the admiration of his people. However, the Zakarum Church maintained a large amount of influence within the country, even as rulers came to the throne that were more interested in power than faith. It was a state of affairs that would last well into the 13th century.
Rakkis was succeeded by his son, Korsikk, who continued his father's rule and turned Westmarch into a bastion of the Zakarum faith. He continued his father's wars against the northern tribes by constructing Bastion's Keep. After years of military disasters, the frustrated king led a large army out of the fortress and into the north to conquer the Barbarians once and for all. None of them returned. Bastion's Keep itself remained manned however, standing vigilant against any tribal incursion.
Korelan, grandson of Rakkis, would be the last of the original line of kings, for when he died, he left behind no heirs. The crown passed to Justinian I, beginning the Justinian Dynasty, through "a somewhat convoluted interpretation of Zakarum scripture." Seen as usurpers by many, the Justinians suffered nearly constant challenges to their rule.
The Return of ZakarumEdit
In the 12th century, Khanduras was settled by Eastern pilgrims. Westmarch proved to be a strong ally, and the two regions engaged in trade. However, brigands based in Khanduras often crossed the border into Westmarch for plunder. During this time, Westmarch priests preached the Zakarum faith in Khanduras, regardless of whether their dogma was wanted or not. It is known that Westmarch launched some crusades in this century.
As part of the Zakarum Reformation, the kingdom received missionaries from Kehjistan in the mid-12th century. In the mid-12th century, turning the Time of Troubles, the Order of Paladins pledged their allegiance to Westmarch, distancing themselves from the Hand of Zakarum.
During the reign of Justinian III, an insurrection broke out in the outlying region of Cartolus. Led by a woman known only as Tyrra, who claimed to be descended from the Sons of Rakkis, Westmarch was consumed by civil war. While the rebels managed to gain control of the capital, Tyrra succumbed to plague. Seizing the opportunity, Cornelius was able to crush the insurrection and become the new king.
War, and a New KingEdit
The peace between Westmarch and Khanduras was shattered when King Leoric of Khanduras (under the influence of Diablo) declared war against Westmarch, sending his army against the western kingdom. Westmarch had the advantage of numbers and defensive positions however, and the Royal Army of Khanduras was easily repelled. At around the same time, King Cornelius pulled the country's navy back into port, spooked by the sighting of a demon at Tauruk's Port. Dissent grew among cities that had previously relied on the navy for protection, pirates grew more bold, and northern cities no longer curried as much favor with the kingdom.
Two years after the war, Justinian IV came to power. Subsequently, with the revelations of the corruption that had plagued Zakarum, it completely eroded any influence the church had over civil affairs within the country. Faith in the church diminished within the populace as well.
Westmarch citizens were abducted by Phantoms as part of Malthael's plan to gauge the defenses of Sanctuary. The kingdom was attacked by the Reapers shortly afterwards. Its capital was successfully defended however (albeit with heavy losses, including its king), and the Nephalem was/were able to defeat the fallen angel.
- In the original Diablo manual, Westmarch was described as a "northern kingdom." By Diablo II, it was depicted as being located in the west of Sanctuary.
- In the same manual, it is established that the Zakarum faith did not reach Westmarch until after the end of the Horadrim. This has been retconned in more recent lore, which establishes that Zakarum was brought to the region through Rakkis, who operated before the end of the Horadrim.
- The kingdom's appearance and culture are reminiscent of medieval Europe. From a development perspective, time was taken to ensure that Westmarch's culture was distinct from other cultures such as that of Kehjistan.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Book of Cain
- ↑ Turn of a Card
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Moon of the Spider
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Diablo III, Act V
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Diablo Manual
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Diablo II Manual
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Storm of Light
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 The Black Road
- ↑ Turn of a Card
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Book of Tyrael
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Diablo III, The History of Westmarch
- ↑ Diablo III, The History of Bastion's Keep
- ↑ Legacy of Blood
- ↑ 2013-10-24, Blizzplanet Interview – Micky Neilson & Matt Burns Discuss Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-10-26