In ages past, the Archangel Yaerius visited a young ascetic named Akarat and revealed to him
the tenets of what was to become the religion of Zakarum. These teachings stressed the necessity
of resisting all things evil, and embracing, with total devotion, the Light. The angel appointed
Akarat to be the prophet of these new teachings, and bade him take the word to the people of
all lands. This new religion spoke directly to the common man, and the people of Kurast embraced
it. They sent disciples throughout Kehjistan to spread the word. Popular religious leaders
soon sprung up, endorsed by the new church, and within half a century Zakarum was the dominant
order of faith and binding political force in the East.
During the mid-twelfth century, after the Church of Zakarum had gained prominence in the East,
the Church decreed that the visions of Akarat would be spread throughout the known world in
order to redeem the masses. Thus, the Church selected a group of its most charismatic and devoted
priests and sent them on a mission to proselytize the people of the West.
Unfortunately, the Church had not prepared these men for the rigors of travel nor the hazards
of the world. The priests who survived their missions recounted tales of harsh weather, inadequate
supplies, attacks from bandits and even encounters with horrible monsters. To ensure the success
of future missions, the Church set about training holy warriors, Paladins, to accompany and
safeguard their missionaries. In practice, these "Protectors of the Word" proved to be more
successful at converting the native peoples than the Priests that they were assigned to defend.
Impressing the locals with daring deeds, powerful weapons, and martial prowess was far more
convincing than the condemnations of a soft-spoken monk. However, once the Word had been spread
to every major city of the West, the "Protectors of the Word" faded from public view.
Some decades later, Paladins were again called into service. During the height of the Time of
Troubles, the Church commenced a second campaign of conversion. This time, however, the inconvincible
were deemed evil. The Zakarum Inquisition spread through the lands like a tempest, laying waste
to all suspected of demonic possession or corruption. Leading this crusade was a new generation
of Paladins, known as the "Hand of Zakarum." These cavaliers of righteousness swept through
the lands, expunging the taint of demonic contamination wherever they found it.
In the midst of this bloody crusade, a rebellion arose within the ranks of the Paladins of Zakarum.
The rebels condemned the methods of the Inquisition, proclaiming that the new Order of Paladins
should protect the innocent, and that the evil corruption was rooted in their forebear's failure.
They resolved to fight the true source of corruption, the Three Prime Evils - Diablo, Baal
and Mephisto. And so, these rebellious Paladins left their Zakarum brethren and ventured west.
It was in the west that these rebellious knights traveled and spread the Zakarum relegion as
it was meant to be done by Akarat. Several libraries and abbeys were built in Khanduras and
Westmarch, the two predominant kingdoms in the West.