"I did not choose the life of a thief. I did what I did to protect myself and my family."
The close of the Third Age marked the Great Severance of Nations, and during this damaging time for the realm, the lands of Ithanica had become plagued with poverty and suffering. The crop of the annual harvest was exported to fund the war against the East. The people were starving, for the nobles had begun to withhold large portions of the food supply from their human allies. The peasants were left to their scraps, forced to eat the remains from the great feasts of the elite. They ate like beasts, tearing each other apart with no regard for kinship or chivalry.
Beggars who wished to survive the harsh winters and provide for their families were forced into thievery. Life grew increasingly difficult for the thieves, as the realm began to notice their missing goods and produce. Rules were made, and laws were enacted. Theft became a crime punishable by death. Thieves who were caught were to be given a choice: exile to the northern Outlands, or public execution. Many chose exile in hope of finding a fresh start, but life was not easy in the cold of the South. Hoards of thieves were packed into ships and cast away to live out their lives in isolation. Many took their own lives upon the ships. The few who withstood the terrible conditions had lost the will to live, condemned to a life not worth living.
Many years passed of this adversity, and in that time the hoards of thieves who had arrived at the islands had accomplished little. One day however, a man dressed fully in black appeared on the massive glacier. This man was not lost and defeated like the others, but proud and indignant.
"We are free men! We have tasted their world and spit it at their boots! We will not be slaves to their war!"
The man, Rufius Black, would shout these claims against the Vaelari to rally his brethren, eventually overpowering the stationed guards. A few mere days after his arrival, work began on one of the most fortified fortresses in the world to date; this would become the Keep of Black.
After the conclusion of the Great Severance of Nations and start of the Fourth Age, the thieves of the North were once more granted access to the "civil" world. With heads held high, they refused this offer, becoming mercenaries and vagabonds for hire. Their current purpose is unknown.