Ages of the World
Prehistory covered the time from the creation of the world to the end of the Dawn War, about 25,000 years before the Cataclysm (BC). This article covers the time between the end of the Dawn War and the present. All times until the 3rd Age are approximate.
- 1 The Fallow Time (~25k BC)
- 2 The 1st Age--The Tyrants at War (~20k BC)
- 3 The 2nd Age--The Age of Wizardry (~10k BC)
- 4 The 1st Interregnum--Dawn of Primal Power (~4k BC)
- 5 The 3rd Age--The Age of Gods and Men (2504 BC)
- 6 The 2nd Interregnum and The Cataclysm War (600 BC - 205 AC)
- 7 The Fourth Age
The Fallow Time (~25k BC)
For the first few thousand years, Quartus was quiet. The ancestors of the current races struggled with the loss of most of their power and numbers. As time went on, two races rose to power, creating civilizations and enslaving (or ignoring) the other races cowering around their crude huts and fires. These two were the Titans and Wyrm.
The Titans are covered in Titans. In short, they were Order-aspected humanoids, covered in runes and wielding runic power. There were also Lesser Titans, those about the size of a human who dug and tunneled and built for their larger brethren. Claiming to be "uplifting" the lesser races, they enslaved them with runes and forced them to do tasks that the Greater Titans were ill-suited for or unwilling to sully themselves with, like farming.
Note: In light of recent discoveries, this description may not be entirely true.
Wyrm is the name given to all the scaled folk, the ancestors of current dragons. Elemental in nature, they wielded raw sorcery in the spoken word and their will imposed their power onto reality. Unlike the Titans, they were more solitary and individually powerful. They tended to be worshiped as gods by the lesser races, demanding tribute.
The other land-bound races (the Lightborn and the Proteans) were unable to compete with the larger races. Lacking power to match either the runes or elemental sorcery, they were enslaved and crushed underfoot.
The 1st Age--The Tyrants at War (~20k BC)
The war was inevitable from the first meeting of the Tyrant races. Neither would budge or give place for the other; their habits of life were incompatible. For nearly ten thousand years this war raged--titans destroyed wyrm, wyrm obliterated titan. And the lesser races (including the Lesser Titans) suffered.
- First Titan-Wyrm War (~20k BC)
- The event that most scholars accept as the start of the Age of Tyrants. No one knows who started it or when, but the titans lost. Badly.
- Proteans become goblinoids (~15k BC)
- Under titan influence, the worst of the effects of their curse were softened and the three-fold race came to be.
- Lightborn become aelvar, cysgoroesi split off (~14k BC)
- Those of the lightborn who remained on the Mortal were shaped by the titans into overseers, ruling over the goblinoids in service of the distant masters. Escaping and finding shelter in Shadow, the cysgoroesi date from this era as a people.
- Dawn of bardic magic (between 14k BC and 10k BC)
- Leviathan teaches mortals to sing the Words of Creation.
- Second Titan-Wyrm War (~12k BC - 10k BC)
- Records from an ancient titan stronghold depict this war as a multi-thousand-year stalemate with occasional flashes of violence. Definitely started by the Conclave; not all titans were involved. Nor were all wyrm.
- Creation of the Orb of All Might and beginning of the dwarves (10654 BC)
- In an effort to win the war, the Conclave, led by Isskap and manipulated by Broken Order, created the Orb of All Might. It was empowered by draining the runic essence from the legions of "lesser" titans (roughly half the population), diminishing them into the ancestors of the modern dwarves.
- Last Titan-Wyrm War (~10k BC)
- The Conclave activated the Orb of All Might, intending to enslave wyrm forever. As predicted by Perkunos and Tatsuryuu, it backfired and shattered. The Conclave enters stasis and is corrupted by Isskap, who remains free and flees to the elemental plane of Water. The abortion of a war ends when the remaining titan and wyrm join forces to create the Titanwalls and use the Eyes of Qa'desh to split off the continent of Oelfra from the primal mega-continent. A few titans and wyrm, now jazuu and dragons, remain on the eastern continent.
Scions of the lightborn, descended from the servants of the Primordial of Light, the aelvar maintained their grace and connection to the Astral plane. Long-lived and intelligent, they were the overseers and palace servants to the Titans. They chafed under this rune-bound fist--why should the sons of Earth rule over the sons and daughters of Light?
Twisted and cursed, the proteans were the servants of Change, locked into the Material Plane by decree of the Dreamer. They retained some of the mutability of their past, but their intellect was reduced to slightly above that of animals. They formed the brute labor of the Titan empire. Did they dream of freedom? Who knows.
The 2nd Age--The Age of Wizardry (~10k BC)
The Tyrants' War came to an abrupt end with the First Wish. A nameless aelvar used the power of the Cosmic Forge, locked in the Eternal Library, to write "Sound and shape combine to upset the tyrant's power." Runic power (power in shape and writing) and sorcery (spoken words of power) were merged and reshaped to be accessible to mortals--this combined power is the basis of wizardry.
With this wish and the fall of the Tyrants, the aelvar took the reigns of civilization. They built empires, tamed the wilderness, and enslaved all the lesser races that they could. Theirs was an empire built on wizardry--any aelvar who could not wield the arcane power was stripped of rank and title and banished into the wilderness. By 8,000 BC these outcasts had rejected the tie to the Astral Plane and had begun searching for a power that could match the arcane power of aelvar wizardry, taking the name of Wood Elves. That search took four thousand years.
- First Wish (~9500 BC)
- After the cracking of the continent, the First Wish brings power back to mortals in the form of wizardry.
- Aelvar empires formed (~9k BC)
- The aelvar dominate the goblinoids and dwarves throughout the eastern continent. Dwarves mostly retreat into the mountains but pay token tribute to the empires.
- Goroesi created (~6500 BC)
- Just as the titans molded the lightborn into the aelvar to serve as overseers, the aelvar wizard-lords molded some of their "lesser" kin (those who could not wield the full fires of arcana) into overseers and artisans. Giving them dark skin to set them apart, they formed the goroesi.
- Puun Ihmisia first noted as separate people (~5k BC)
- Those aelvar who completely lacked the talent for arcana (or who rejected arcane power) were driven to the fringes of the empire and treated as worse than the goblinoids. They banded together and changed over time, becoming the ancestors of the modern ihmisi.
The 1st Interregnum--Dawn of Primal Power (~4k BC)
The interval after Moon's Fall and before the Third Wish is known as the First Interregnum by scholars.
- Second Wish (~4k BC) and Moon's Fall
- The ihmisi turned to the natural spirits that pervade the landscape, the spirits of rock and tree, of river and storm, of animals and forest fires. Forging an understanding with these spirits was a long and arduous process, with limited success. The thoughts and desires of the primal spirits were simply too alien to those of the elves. Then came the breakthrough. Remembering the First Wish, a band of wood elves slipped into the Eternal Library through the city that encircled it. The guards were lax--after all, what could those powerless fools do? The aelvar in their hubris had forgotten that the Cosmic Forge did not require wizardry--merely a soul willing to sacrifice everything to cause change.
That band gave their own souls to make the Second Wish--"The spirits of all things heed our call and will strike bargains." The nascent druids quickly forged pacts with the greatest spirit they could find--the Third Moon. They brought that ill-omened sphere down on the center of aelvar power, creating the circular ring of mountains and craters that still exists in south-central Noefra. Evidence uncovered in 212 AC points to awakener influence in this decision, which explains how they were able to command the moon. Shards of that moon still dot the landscape, mostly north and east.
- Disappearance of the Goroesi (at Moon's Fall)
- The goroesi, whose major population centers were in and around the aelvar capital, disappear from history at this point.
- Second Sundering (~4k BC)
- After Moon's Fall, the largest group of survivors of the aelvar empire used the Eyes of Qa'desh to split off Soefra from the continent now known as Noefra.
- Creation of humans and orcs (~3500 BC)
- Meddling by both remaining groups of elves created two races from hobgoblin stock--humans and orcs. Born to be soldiers, pawns in the endless fighting between those bitter enemies, they quickly grew to outnumber their masters.
- War of Blood (2550 BC)
- The being known as the Red Fang, once an orc, now hosting a demon, led forces (mainly orcs, but of all races) in an expansionary war of terror and bloodshed starting from central Noefra. The remaining peoples banded together, but were pushed to the coasts.
The 3rd Age--The Age of Gods and Men (2504 BC)
Only fragmentary written evidence exists of the time before the end of the 1st Interregnum. The 3rd Age marks the dawn of comprehensive written history.
- Third Wish and the end to the War of Blood (2504 BC)
- After nearly 50 years of this reign of terror, the First Heroes arose. Fighting through occupied territory to the Great Library, the Forgotten One raised the Cosmic Forge and uttered the Third Wish: "Faith brings power". With that, mankind unlocked the connection with the divine. The newly-arisen gods, once merely ascended spirits, devils, and elemental forces, claimed their clerics, including the remainder of the Heroes. Those heroes struck at the Red Fang, managing to seal him away in the abyss and bring the War of Blood to an end.
- Foundation of Divina Lux (2480 BC)
- The only surviving Hero, Aerlan Godspeaker, founded a city dedicated to the gods and their worship.
- The God Wars (2435-2103 BC)
- AKA the Wars of Unification. Basically a big mess as people scrambled for power.
- Unification Treaty, Twin Empires (1 Spring Dawning, 2103 BC)
- The two powers that coalesced out of the God Wars, one in the east and one in the west, forged a peace treaty to end the wars. Thus were born Tibor Imperia and Quan Pei, the Western and Eastern empires.
- Western Golden Age (1203 BC - 997 BC)
- Under the Biblia dynasty, Tibor Imperia experiences an age of rapid progress in magic and technology surpassing that of the aelvar empire (although structured along different lines). This ends when the last Biblia emperor is assassinated by greedy nobles.
- Rot sets in (997-807 BC)
- Under the Aurum dynasty, research into previously-forbidden soul technology ramps up and the empire decays. Weak emperors, demonic influence, and complacency.
- Creation of the dragonborn (840 BC - 800 BC)
- Under Grand Sapentium Iorda, the dragonborn race is created by fusing draconic souls into unborn children conceived in rape.
- War of Souls (801 BC - 599 BC)
- After the unveiling of the dragonborn, the few remaining traditional provinces rebelled. A terrorist group sacrificed themselves to detonate a concept bomb in the imperial capital, destroying it utterly. Civil war takes over. Concept bombs and other taboo weaponry are used liberally. By the end of it, there is no more empire and the technology gained during that golden age is in ruins.
- First reported halfling sighting (648 BC)
- Born out of the twisting energies unleashed during the War of Souls, the halflings got their start in central Noefra at this time.
The 2nd Interregnum and The Cataclysm War (600 BC - 205 AC)
The period after the War of Souls but before the Fourth Wish is known as the Second Interregnum.
- Formation of the western successor kingdoms (559 BC)
- A peace treaty formed five major nations and a host of smaller ones: the Kingdom of the Plains (covering the modern Sea of Grass), the Flower Kingdom (whose lands now lie under the Sea of Dreams), Nocthia (occupying most of the Nocthian Caldera, with the rest occupied by Old Wyrmhold), Imperial Meztli (covering the western edge of the continent), and the Fanged Kingdom (who were a semi-independent vassal state under Tibor Imperia).
- Departure of the lords of the Fanged Kingdom and formation of the Stone Throne (303 BC)
- The gwerin masters abruptly vanished, seeking godhood. They left behind the Queen Ascendant and their servitor peoples.
- Destruction of Bolor Hold (48 BC)
- Betrayed by other dwarven clans, one of the main clans of the Giant Spine Mountains was destroyed by raiders. The survivors were scattered.
- Cataclysm War begins (1 BC)
- As is well known, the Nameless was liberated from his abyssal prison by a sorcerer who had locked himself away from the War of Souls in a time-warped bubble. Raising an army of monsters (including orcs, giants, and goblins, as well as undead, fiends, and demons and evil-hearted humans and others), this conjoined Evil swept across the land and the armies of Order were hard-pressed. As a last ditch effort, they sent teams of adventurers after every powerful artifact known to the Eternal Library. One team succeeded, but instead of bringing the Left Eye of Qa'desh back to the Army of Order, they used it themselves. Their wish was not recorded, but the after-effects were evident to everyone. The Eye exploded, consuming all free anima (and all life) within several hundred miles. In the after-shock, magic failed and the Great Mechanism teetered on the edge of ruin. The gods used the Teeth of Mercy and the Cosmic Forge to sacrifice themselves to a two-fold purpose: First, maintain the mechanism. The Four (gods of the Empire) were chosen to fuse with the Mechanism to give it direction and all available anima went into maintaining and supporting the planes, rebuilding them into the current order. Incorporate the Nameless into the planes as Free Will--the ability of all races to choose their path. This was recorded as the Fourth Wish--"All must choose their own destiny."
As a result, no magical power functioned--not primal (the spirits were hiding and broken), not arcane (the anima patterns were disrupted), nor divine (no gods existed to hear the call of faith). This state of affairs lasted for 50 years, during which 80% of all intelligent life perished (either in the cataclysmic upheavals attendant to the Eye's destruction or of hunger and wild beasts) and the races retreated behind the highest walls they could find.
The Fourth Age
Starting around 200 AC, the world broke out of its fear and began to open up. It is currently the year 250 AC by western reckoning, and it is a time of growth, exploration, conflict, and hope.