Grelz was a duchy inhabited by a people closely related to those of Unkerlant, but different in various cultural traits and speaking significantly different dialect. Grelz was located in southern Unkerlant, giving it harsh winters due to its close proximity to the south pole. Once ruled by Algarvian merchant princes and bandit chiefs, Grelz had been incorporated within Unkerlant for centuries. While Grelzers thought of themselves as being different from other Unkerlanters, the Grelzers had no active separatist tendencies.

During the Derlavaian War, Algarve conquered Grelz and briefly occupied it. In order to shore up the occupation, King Mezentio of Algarve proclaimed the (re)creation of the Kingdom of Grelz, installing his cousin Raniero as the new King. The capital of the new Kingdom was Herborn.

The reaction of the inhabitants, mainly peasants, was mixed. Some of them joined the new Grelzer Army, formed by the Algarvians to serve as an auxiliary to their own forces, fighting hard against first Grelzer guerrillas and later Unkerlanter soldiers. Others responded to the harsh Algarvian rule by forming anti-Algarvian guerrilla bands, operating in the forests and offering formidable resistance to the Algarvian occupiers. Garivald, a Grelzer peasant and talented composer, became the leader of one of these bands following his rescue from Algarvian captivity.

As long as the Algarvian occupation lasted, King Swemmel of Unkerlant actively supported and armed the Grelzer resistance and praised its members as heroes. However, once the Unkerlanter Army had regained control of Grelz, extinguishing the "Kingdom" and capturing Raniero (who was subsequently boiled alive), Swemmel's Inspectors turned on the leaders of these bands, ensuring that they would not oppose Unkerlanter rule as well.

Literary Comment[]

Grelz's history and role in the Darkness series is modeled on that of Ukraine during World War II.