In the Beginning
As with any universe, galaxy, and solar system, Aereth’s universe had a beginning. Unlike our universe, the Allverse formed with an additional element – magic. It exploded into existence many billions of years ago. In time, a galaxy that would be known as Cleddyf Goleuni (Old Tongue, pronounced: claythif galāni) or the Sword of Light in the common tongue, formed. Soon afterward, a solar system formed and within it was a habitable surrounded by rings of magical energy. This was Aereth, although names would not be put to the planets and sun for a very long time.
The first sparks of life reemerged on Aereth nearly five billion years before the modern era. Although there were some extinction-level events, life managed to survive, diversify, and inhabit almost all of the lands and seas of Aereth.
See the Timekeeping on Aereth document for further details.
300 MYA (Dawn Age)
Three hundred million years ago, Aereth was a wet and watery world with only small landmasses where life could colonize. Deluges of rain fell almost daily. During this period, the oceans and seas were awash with life. However, only a few of Aereth’s creatures had managed to colonize the soggy land. The largest were herbivores that were about the size of small ponies. At this time, on the evolutionary family tree, dragons fell somewhere between four-legged mammal-like reptiles and flightless land and sea birds.
At the end of the Dawn Age, there was an uptick in global volcanism, including the eruption of several supervolcanoes. On two of Aereth’s largest land masses, there were massive basaltic eruptions that lasted for over a million years. As a result of the gasses and debris ejected into the atmosphere and the volcanic winters, 98% of all life perished. Some of the sea dragons, other small sea life, and the very smallest land dragons were all that survived.
260 MYA (Golden Age)
Earth had dinosaurs, Aereth had dragons! All kinds of dragons: large, small, flighted, flightless, herbivorous, carnivorous, land dragons, sea dragons…you get the picture. By this time, mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, and reptiles were also gaining a foothold. The continents were still on the move. Plants and trees were flourishing. Dragons once again diversified and were the dominant species on land, in rivers and lakes, and in the oceans.
Other cataclysms threatened the evolution of life on Aereth during this period. However, none rose to that of a major global extinction-level event.
The next extinction-level event, an asteroid strike, wiped out over 75% of all species on Aereth, including most of the draconidae. It would take a few million years for the planet to recover and for life to regain a foothold.
The supercontinent of Avalonia has split into various continents, subcontinents, and islands although the Avalonia craton still exists in the eastern region of Vendia. The current continents are: Uthuria, Bassilith (still hanging onto Vendia by a thread), Eirares, Iaphios, Xia, and Lemuria to the south.
This period of history heralded in the time when life exploded and diversified once again and the dragons began to organize into complex societies. Only four species of draconidae survived the last major extinction event with a large enough population to be able to recover their numbers and flourish. There were a few other survivors but their numbers would never recover completely and by modern times they would be extinct.
Draconis sapiens (modern): This was the largest and most intelligent of the species of draconidae to survive the extinction event. Draconis s. was already developing a much larger brain than its relatives and, consequently, was far more intelligent. It is very possible that the aftermath of the asteroid impact forced them into a social structure that led to their ultimate survival. Note: The ancient name for this species is Draconis pridd (p. preeth). Pridd is Welsh Gaelic for earth, land, soil.
Draconis weilgi (p. whale-gee): Also known as sea dragons, this branch of the draconidae family tree were already very intelligent with complex social structures before the asteroid impact. Note: weilgi means sea or deep in Welsh Gaelic.
Draconis loch (p. lock): Draconis l. is usually called the lake, river, or water dragon. They are smaller than the sea and land dragons and inhabit deep water lakes and rivers. Note: loch means lake in Scots and Irish Gaelic.
Wyvernis fí: Wyverns are the only reptilian branch of draconidae. After the mass extinction event, their population and diversity exploded. There are wyverns adapted to almost every terrestrial ecological niche. They become one of the most populous reptile species on Aereth. Note: fí means vicious in Irish Gaelic.
The terrestrial dragons have achieved an incredible level of intelligence and sentience. They settled in the volcanically active regions of the world, preferring to build their aeries high in the mountains. By now, the dragons were forming their aeries into vast colonies that would be known as sieges. They had a complex language and recorded their histories in the neverending dragonsongs. The dragons had the intellect and the language system to create a written language but chose not to.
The sea and freshwater dragons have also evolved complex languages and social groups. However, they have diverged so drastically from the great terrestrial dragons that little is shared beyond the dragonsongs.
The mammal-like reptilian wyverns have exploded into dozens of species and populate almost every land niche that exists. They bring new meaning to the terms cunning and vicious.
It should be noted that although the dragons knew of the existence of the Shadowborn and of the influence of the Dark Ley, it did not overly trouble them. The dragons had to periodically fend off incursions by the Dark Hordes, but these were not well organized and were easily defeated.
Tuatha Dé Danann
Note: Modern scholars would not know details regarding the Tuatha Dé Danann. There are no artifacts or writings from their time. Their name is only known as the Gwerin’s pantheon of gods and goddesses.
Fleeing from a cataclysm in another realm, the Tuatha Dé Danann open portals that bring them to Aereth. With great effort because of the difference in languages, they request sanctuary from Ydholth, the Black, Empress of Dragons. The Empress agrees, and the Tuatha Dé Danann settles primarily on Uthuria. Despite a stern warning to not meddle in the arcane, the Tuatha Dé Danann resume their use and experimentation with magic.
8 MYA (Age of Awakening)
Naming of Names
The most powerful druids of the Tuatha Dé Danann perform the Naming of Names ritual to learn the names of the Allverse. In their beliefs, names have great power. Learning the names of the Allverse would give them control, thus more power. The ritual backfires horribly, and they awaken Tar’garath, the Goddess of Chaos and Shadows. As the druids writhed in the agony of dark, supernatural fires, Erais, the Arcane Light, appeared in the form of a great ice dragon. In one breath, it cooled the fires. The frozen forms of the druids shattered, beginning another series of events.
Erais, the Arcane Light, is an omniscient being so knew what would be wrought from the Tuatha Dé Danann’s tampering with their magical powers. It therefore bequeathed several gifts to Aereth.
Gwerin: From the blood and bones of a recently slain dragon, earth, wind, fire, and water, the Arcane Light created a race of bipedal beings. In face and form, they resembled the Tuatha Dé Danann. The blood and bones of the dragon gave them the ability to hear and understand the mindspeech of the dragons and their dragonsongs. It also allowed the formation of psychic links and an extended lifespan to match that of the dragons. The Gwerin were charged with helping the dragons protect the world against the minions of Tar’garath. With their draconic heritage, the Gwerin became warriors that could work in concert with the great dragons.
Dragons: The Arcane Light gave the dragons the gift of shapeshifting to the form of the Gwerin they had a link with. They were also gifted with the ability to shift to smaller forms of themselves.
Sedayin: The Sedayin (p. suh-day-in) were created from the basic elements of Aereth. The Arcane Light then instilled in them a deep and abiding connection to the very heart of the world. They are an elemental species, bound to the life force of Aereth. The Sedayin disappeared into the mists, refusing to ally with the dragons or Gwerin.
Wyr: Erais gathered the elements of Aereth together and asked the Four Winds to bring the breath of as many mammals and birds as possible. All of this was cast out before the Light and a name was named, Wyr. These efforts brought forth a great warrior race that shared a human-like form and an animal form. Erais asked that they help rid the world of the Dark Hordes, and their leader agreed.
7.5 – 7 MYA (The Desolation Wars)
For the next 500,000 years, Aereth suffered through massive conflicts between the Arcane Light and the Shadows. During this period, three factions would be formed: Lightborn, Grayborn, and Shadowborn. The Shadowed One found Aereth a fertile ground for the creation of her Dark Hordes. There were many creatures to corrupt and twist into service. Tar’garath birthed these dark monsters and instilled a sliver of itself within them. The Dark Horde and the Shadowborn were loosed on Aereth via portals from the Dark Realm to wreak havoc and destruction. No sooner had one incursion been stopped when another one would begin.
Arguments and disagreements broke out amongst the various factions of the Tuatha Dé Danann. In some cases, they went to war with one another. Some even turned on the Gwerin and the dragons. This made it easier for Tar’garath to use her influence. Where the Darkness had never been able to get a strong foothold before, now it flourished. Dark creatures slipped through the Veil Between Worlds. Many of the Tuatha Dé Danann and fallen Gwerin were resurrected as the Shadowborn.
Out of this chaos, the Morrighan was created. The dragons and Gwerin joined forces in a mounted unit. Between the natural warrior abilities of the Gwerin, the dragon’s ability to close dark portals, and destroy the Dark Hordes with their fire, the arcane powers of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the efforts of the Wyr, the Shadows were finally driven into the deep and dark recesses of the world.
The Sundering of Tar’garath
In a final bid to end the war and save Aereth, the Tuatha Dé Danann called upon all of their powers to open portals and hold them open while their allies drove the Shadowborn and Dark Horde into them. As each place was cleared, the Tuatha Dé Danann used the a piece of the shattered remains of the Druids to raise a massive, square stone vault to seal the portal. Powerful spells of protection, called Wards, were layered over the vaults ensuring that the dark things could not escape. Using the power of the Naming of Names, Tar’garath’s being was split into slivers and locked away too. These vaults were physically located on the continent of Uthuria.
Raising the Cylchs
The remaining pieces of the shattered druids were taken up and scattered all over the world by the Anemoi, the Four Winds. As each piece struck the ground, seafloor, or the earth beneath freshwater rivers and lakes, great earthquakes were felt all over Aereth. The quakes heralded the raising of the great stone circles known as cylchs. The massive upright stones of the circles are set so deep into the earth, they cannot be dug up or moved.
When they had done all that they could, the remnants of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann opened arcane gates and withdrew from Aereth. When they had gone, the majority of the other races withdrew from Uthuria.
With the exodus of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Arcane Light brought forth another race to serve as another layer of security for the future. They were formed from the heartstones of Aereth. These small, yet powerful people were the Stoneborn, the Dwarrow. They were left sleeping in the deep places of the earth, set to awaken should Tar’garath once again bring forth her minions to ravage the land.
7 – 2 MYA (The Long Winter)
In the aftermath of the Desolation Wars, Aereth lay cold and dark. Much of the world’s surface was ice-covered. Those that remained after the wars fought for their own survival. Exasperating the problem was the fact that Aereth was experiencing a long period of rampant volcanism that was likely brought on by renewed continental rifting and the vast arcane powers unleashed during the wars. Fortunately, despite the wild swings in climate, life on Aereth continued to thrive.
This period also saw the rise of Aereth’s megafauna and megaflora. Some of the species of plants and animals were simply giant versions of those that already existed. However, several unique species evolved during this time, as well. One such giant plant is the Cadaver Nightsbane. This plant sports a flower that is nearly five-feet across and emits the smell of rotting flesh. It is a carnivorous plant that uses its stench to attract scavengers to it. Larger ones simply carry the plant’s spores with them while the smaller ones are consumed. Unlike on Earth, this era of gigantism never ends. Giant terror birds and sabercats roam the land along with their more normal-sized kith and kin.
Murians (Indigenous Humans)
By this point in time, Lemuria, Aereth’s largest continent, had come to rest where it would remain until the modern era. Aereth’s southern polar region extends to within a few hundred miles of Lemuria. The interior of the continent has become harsh and dry with narrow strips of green along its coasts. On this backwater continent, a small lemur-like primate had been steadily evolving and diversifying. The largest of them started standing upright and using rudimentary tools. These animals already had strong social and familial bonds. At this point, they still spent part of their time in the trees, only descending to the ground to move to another area of their range. These gentle creatures were the ancestors of the Murians and would not remain gentle for long!
Although spared from the worst ravages of the Long Winter after the Desolation Wars, the southern continent did see a great deal of fighting. The Murians would retain a racial or genetic memory of these events that would stay with them to the modern era. This is likely why many Murian cultures evolved a fear and distrust of dragons and magic in general.
As the Long Winter epoch ended, the Murians would begin their expansion to other lands. Although possessing shorter lifespans than the other races, they increased their populations far more rapidly. By modern times, the population numbers of Murians would far outstrip that of the other races.
Travelers (Earth Humans)
Unknown by the races that remained on Aereth was the fact that the powerful arcane energies unleashed during the Shadow Wars had left transient portals. These portals would occasionally connect to a world in another universe allowing its humans to cross to Aereth. These crossings were accidental. The portals could not and still cannot be opened on purpose. Most of Earth’s humans did not survive. They could not cope with the massive megafauna that roamed the world. The few that did make it were usually incorporated into the tribes of the primitive Murians.
It is also possible that Travelers are the reason that so many Murian cultures semi-parallel those on Earth. They brought with them their beliefs, including their fears of magic and dragons for those arriving from Earth’s past, which were shared with the Murians.