Since the Spring Campaign, resentment existed between the houses of Albrecht and Creed. Although Vann Creed had been since as something of a moderate despite his initial grievance with the Albrechts, the shame that his family knew was never entirely forgotten and was passed from father to his children. One of those children, Rance Creed, became the chief proponent for the Dread War.
Following the Queen's War and the loss of House Vine as an ally, the House of Creed was in a precarious position. The balance of power had for centuries been that the Dread, Grasp, and Umbra were always allied, while the northern houses of Pendleton and Albrecht remained nominally allied. After naming the bastard Danyl Graves as the Lord of Gravestone and with the fall of the Grasp, Rance Creed found himself surrounded by potential enemies.
Following King Varian Wrynn's call to arms, the Royal Army and its queen left to Pandaria and entrusted the protection of Blackmarsh to its local lords. This shortsightedness proved a boon to Rance Creed, whose army though incapable of defeating the Royal Army in open combat, could overwhelm those left behind.
The war began officially with the Battle of Brunshire, but in truth Rance Creed had for some time been at war with the Albrechts. Utilizing bandits to harass the Black Road, he continued to undermine their ability to protect the viscounty while at the same time showing that the Dread was for the most part a stable and safe location. His efforts were partially thwarted, however, when the queen's paternal uncle, Jothaem Albrecht was named viscount and began to systematically eradicate the bandits and brigands.
It was at this time that Mathylda Vine, the last of the House of Vine, came to Lord Creed with a proposition. In exchange for his support, she would grant him an army that would be able to overthrow the Albrecht claim to Blackmarsh and Lordaeron. Mathylda, having witnessed her family's death at the hands of Commander Chilling, believed that humanity was inherently flawed and would need to be forced to evolve if ever they were to escape their weakness. Shortly after seducing Lord Creed, she in many ways became the manipulator.
But fortune shone upon Rance Creed again, or so he believed, as the recently wed viscount was taken ill and died soon after fathering a child upon his young wife, Edevyn Lichter. While planning to kill the woman so that another Albrecht would not be born, Edevyn was shipped away to Pandaria. In transit, an attempt was made on her life and soon thereafter several more.
In Blackmarsh, with the Queen away and the Royal Army preoccupied, Lord Creed began his war at long last in full. What followed was a series of battles that nearly brought the entirety of Blackmarsh to its end.
Alerted of potential conflict in Brunshire, Lord Asuryan Caernough and several champions of Lordaeron mounted a defense against a much larger Creed army. Initially expecting to encounter untrained soldiers, they were met with a professional army. The resultant battle was costly for both sides and led to the first defeat of the Royal Army against the House of Creed.
Following their retreat from Brunshire, the Royal Army was besieged at Thorn's Hill by Braxton Hughes. The Lord of Thorn's Hill, Dirk Thorne, was convinced to assist the Queen's men against his nephew and provided them with arbalests. The Royal Army defeated both Braxton Hughes' army; however, Rance Creed arrived with his personal forces and introduced the Dreadborn into combat for the first time. The Royal Army was routed and several commanders captured, including Lord Caernough. Thoroughly defeated, they fled to Dawnholde. Lord Thorne was killed by his nephew upon surrendering the castle.
Though hardly a battle, the uprising in Lianna prevented Lord Marcel from joining with Quinton Ridgewell at Dawnholde. Loyalists to the queen, who had been emboldened by the fairness they were treated with during their past rebellion, sacrificed their lives in a massacre to slow the enemy and purchase for the Royal Army more time to prepare.
For a week's time, the Royal Army was allowed to recover while the enemy prepared to assault Dawnholde. Dawnholde's purpose was to repel an attack from Dreadholme on Dawnhaven; however, the numerical superiority of the Creed army was enough to negate whatever advantage the defense may have presented. Led by [[Quinton Ridgewell], the Dreadborn host attacked the city stronghold. What followed was a brutal engagement that saw the Royal Army forced against the wall. It was at this time that the vanguard units of Queen Madelynne's army returned and lifted the siege, killing Quinton and preparing the survivors for the final battles to come.
Although it had been erroneously believed that Queen Madelynne underestimated the Creed threat, in truth she and the army had abandoned Pandaria in favor of returning to the aid of her champions. Moving with the entirety of the army had taken time and allies from the Houses of Andro and Sunwhisper were gathered along the way, as well as past acquaintances from Stormwind and Arathor. Eventually the might of the Royal Army was presented to Dreadholme, relatively undefended as it was. Madelynne commanded the siege while waiting for her vanguard to return with news of her champions.
While the tide had turned against him, Lord Creed was not yet defeated. He brought his army down from Thorn's Hill toward the siege. Madelynne, relying on the expertise of her tested commanders, sent Nikephoros Coldsorrow and Jeremaes Edrickton at the head of a small host to check his advance while her champions fought through Dreadholme to slay Mathylda Vine. Lord Marcel was slain in the field and Rance Creed captured. It was revealed during the fighting that the woman believed to be Ashana Creed was in fact Mathylda Vine's succubus.
Concurrent with the Battle of Diremarsh, the Invasion of Dreadholme marked the end of the Dread War. Accompanied by the Dawnguard, the Queen's Men rushed the castle and fought their way through the defenders until eventually encountering Mathylda Vine and the risen Eshkandar Anushirvan. Mathylda was defeated and the war brought to its end as the Dreadborn lost their power.
The Dread War brought to an end the disagreements between several of Blackmarsh's prominent houses. By weakening many of the lords that took place in it, it also permitted Madelynne I to make one of her most controversial proclamations to date -- the Crown's Burden.