Caer Darrow has always been a little different from the rest of Lordaeron, but few people know how much. Population from the capital has always seen it as part of the generalized “eastern lands” – strange realms with strange accents and strange habits that only marginally count as Lordaeronians. Most of them did not realize that the genesis of Caer Darrow and those eastern lands was completely separate. Five thousand years ago, when the human civilization was beginning to form, most of the continent of Lordaeron was populated by a disparate selection of tribes of greatly varying languages and cultures. Only when the Arathi united humanity and began to unify language, religion and law most of the human lands fell in line. But one small piece retained its unique, isolated culture – and that was Caer Darrow.
Under the Arathi, Caer Darrow remained an important pagan cult center, worshiping gods that were vastly different from the Titan-based Arathi pantheon that is commonly understood as “human gods” these days. These Darrovian gods originated in an era predating written language, thus their true origins cannot be traced properly, but based on some evidence we believe they are based on semi-legendary figures from distant past, not long after the exodus from Northrend. As they were ancestors of the later inhabitants of Caer Darrow and encouraged many practices frowned upon by the Arathi, such as necromancy, they are believed to either be loa, or a loa-like deified human spirits. The cult remained very popular on the island until very late into the Arathi Era, when the Empire adopted the Light worship and banned worship of “pagan idols”. The cult center was destroyed and many of the former cultists began studying magic in a newly-found university, often called “the Scholomance”, although it had little in common (except location) with the current dungeon.
When the Arathi Empire splintered, Caer Darrow was one of the first to become de facto independent. Although it didn’t formally declare its own kingdom until two decades later, it cut off from the politics of Strom very soon after Thoradin IV’s death. After centuries under Arathi rule forbidding worship of the old idols, most of the island was already converted to Light worship and as such, their old beliefs did not return. However, Darrovians remained a little “strange” and separate from the mainstream Arathi-derived cultures that began to flourish in the wake of Empire’s fall. Even the Kingdom of Stratholme – whose culture was often lumped together with Caer Darrow by uneducated westerners – was Arathi-derived, while Caer Darrow remained firm in the pre-Arathi roots.
Kings of Caer Darrow ruled from the Arathi fort now known by the same name, but that is where their acceptance of their old overlords ended for a long time. The kingdom was small in territory, but it made good use of its merchants, earning much gold, as well as its fleets which they used to conquer certain towns along the lakes and rivers near their lands. The language of Caer Darrow is now extinct but its traces can be found in traditional Darrovian names used to this day – such as “Alexi Barov”. In that language, Caer Darrow was called just “Darrov” (hence “Darrovian”), and the more common name is an Arathi word for “fort” combined with an arathized corruption of the native name.
The kingdom remained independent until the era of Lordaeronian expansion. By the time Lordaeron’s power grew, Caer Darrow has suffered heavy losses from the Wildhammer Dwarves of the Hinterlands as well as from the fleets of Kul Tiras, whose interests clashed with Caer Darrow in Baradin Bay. King Halford II Menethil wanted a piece of fabled Darrovian riches and blackmailed the last king of Caer Darrow, Vladimir III the Impaler, threatening him to burn his kingdom down if he doesn’t hand over a large amount of their mercantile income. The Impaler refused, prompting a Lordaeronian invasion. For nearly a decade, the island was unsuccessfully besieged, as Vladimir III continued raids on Lordaeronian lands, impaling hundreds of soldiers and civilians alike. However, Halford II finally took his main fleet and sailed it around the continent and up the Thondroril, finally defeating Caer Darrow and conquering it.
With the kingdom’s destruction, Caer Darrow began to slowly integrate into the greater culture of Lordaeron. It never fully integrated, leaving names or architecture that reminded the locals of their past age of glory, but by the time the Scourge hit, inhabitants of the islands no longer spoke Darrovian and considered themselves Lordaeronian. Artifacts of the past age remained piled up in private collections and are only now either being rediscovered, or rotting somewhere under blighted lands. If the Plaguelands are ever completely reclaimed from the Scourge’s blight, hopefully more about the island’s ancient past will resurface.