For nearly five million years, Aereth underwent several severe ice ages known as the Long Winter. This period of advancing and retreating glaciation was a direct result of the damage done by the Desolation Wars. Had there not been brief periods of warming, Aereth’s higher life forms would have perished. Although the massive arcane vaults built by the Forerunners held the Shadow at bay, small incursions happened during the monthly Shrouds (the eclipses) when the Veil Between the Worlds is at its thinnest. Life was pushed to the brink.
In time, the Long Winter let go of Aereth, and life began to flourish again. The ecosystems settled into their regional niches, even in Lemuria, with its great interior deserts and vibrant, green coastal regions. The Desolation Wars faded from conscious memory, and the Tuatha Dé Danann were reduced to being nothing more than the Gwerin’s pantheon of gods and goddesses.
The devastating events of the past were recorded in the ancient songs of the dragons, but who listens to dragons?
16 – 4 KYA
The events that occurred during this period were recorded under the Sedayin calendar. The exact number of years between each event or how long the periods on the Sedayin calendar lasted is not known.
Age of Wind (Sedayin Calendar)
The Sedayin lived and formed nations on Uthuria for at least a millennia before the events of Tarnalorne. They founded their capital of Sileaya high in the mountains of Uthuria, and most likely had contact with other races, but records no longer exist.
In a barren and forbidding region of Uthuria, the Sedayin discovered buildings seemingly made of slabs of stone. However, they could find no seams in the stone, the corners and edges appeared fused together in an unknown fashion. Although the stone slabs were massive, the actual footprint of the edifice was not huge. These “buildings” were covered in strange symbols and images, burned deep into the rock.
Sedayin scholars declared these places to be historical monuments left behind by the Forerunners, a mysterious group of advanced beings from Aereth’s distant past. They attempted to translate the enigmatic symbols and writing with little success. Finally, one scholar decided to try matching the symbols with those of other languages.
No one will know exactly how this group of scholars succeeded in penetrating into the interior of the building. As their leader uttered a series of ancient words, the runes faded from the building, and massive cracks appeared in the stone. Now freed from the prison formed by the wards set into their rock prison, dark things rose from the caverns that lay beneath the stone building. They killed the scholars and vanished into the wilds of Uthuria.
The Shade of Tarnalorne
While exploring an area known as Tarnalorne, the Sedayin find another of the strange buildings. Once again, they persisted in their efforts to translate and understand the writing on the stone slabs. Like before, they awaken that which was imprisoned by the Ancient’s wards. It was not Tar’garath, the Shadowed One, but more of Shadowborn. Upon escaping, they found and joined the Dark Hordes that had previously escaped into the wild.
The Dwarrow Awaken
The Forge of Storms stirs in the deeps under the mountains leading to the waking of the first Dwarrow. The first generation of Dwarrow to emerge from the stones is later known as “the Elders” and assume a natural if very loose leadership over the emerging race. For the first few centuries, the Dwarrow live fairly quietly side by side, working their own way through the stone, neither needing rulership nor wanting any.
High up in the Mountains of Mist, the first gryphons start to get sick and turn dark. Blackgryphons began attacking Sedayin settlements, tearing entire cities apart.
Several Dwarrow Elders vanish, and others become strange. The murder of one Elder leads to the clan wars, turning the separate Dwarrow clans against each other. This is the beginning of the War of the Wastes. This is the origin of the dwarven blood feud and other traditions surrounding their clan-wars.
Aelás Athelesar manages to unite the Sedayin escaping from the various fallen regions in the Sarmagenta Mountains. He successfully defeats an attack of Black Gryphons and Blackened Sedayin.
Helvar of the Dwarrow begins his search for the Elders, realizing that the events leading up to the War of the Wastes were manipulated by outside forces. He finally finds them and confronts a member of the Shadowborn, although he cannot save the Elders, as all of them were tainted. Unbeknownst to them, the Dwarrow had their first run-in with one of the Heptarchs, freed from Tarnalorne, as did the Sedayin.
A Sedayin seer predicts that the only way to rescue the Gryphons will be to find the beast at the edge of the world. Simultaneously, Helvar decides to hunt down the creature that he confronted in the deeps. He was determined to find out who or what was behind the events that led to the deaths of the Elders.
Following the prophecy, Aelás Athelesar encounters Helvar in the Mountains of Frost. Despite their initial misunderstandings and problems with communicating, the two fighters finally realized that they were hunting the same “darkness” that was harming and overtaking their people. Helvar had doubts about what could be learned at the edge of the world. However, he was not willing to leave Aelás to face it alone.
These events became known as the Second Joining. It signified the second alliance of the Sedayin with another race. The mixed-up language that was developed between Aelás and Helvar would late become the basis for the dwarven trade language.
“Upon an island at the edge of the world, there lives a creature, that is not horse, hawk, or bear but a little of them all.”
After many adventures, Aelás and Helvár arrived on a large island in the northern oceans. There, they encountered a species of people, capable of shifting into various animal forms. That race also told them that their kind was living in many places in the world, from the sleeping ice to the deserts of the southern continents. They also referred to Tarnalorne as one of the places where “the old evil sleeps.”
These shapeshifters who called themselves the Wyr also claimed that one of the best ways to fight the darkness was fire, especially the “Fire of the Great Drakes.” Yet, they had another offer of help for Aelás and Helvar. Leading them to the heart of their islands, they showed them a powerful, living tree with silvery leaves. They gifted each of them with a nut from this tree and advised them to plant the nut in the heart of their homelands so that the trees would grow there.
The Planting of the Tree
Aelás returned home and planted the nut as instructed. Aided by the songs of the tree-singers, the nut germinated, and the tree grew rapidly. The influence of the Shadowborn could not survive within the tree’s influence, which was vast. The tree’s aura cured the gryphons.
Contrary to the advice he had been given, Helvar never planted the tree. Instead, he kept the nut hidden and turned to what he understood better: fire. He discovered the dwarven fire and that it could burn out infestations if utilized properly. Much like Aelás, he found himself in the position to lead his people after the crisis.
The planting of the tree begins an era of watchful peace for both races, as well as an era of beginning cooperation between them. It also opened trade relations with the Wyr.
Age of Dusk (Sedayin Calendar)
During the Age of Dusk, several other civilizations grew in Uthuria, the Rigante building their northern Empire, and the Tarvanni exploring the deep south. Historical records of those races are incomplete, as much was destroyed with the fall of Uthuria, but what remains indicates that several races and nations existed and thrived on the continent.
Throughout the rest of the world, Shadowborn incursions became more frequent and stronger. The dragons and Morrighan were invited into other lands to build sieges and help protect against further incursions. Siege Azdiel was built high in a volcanic chain of mountains on Uthuria. However, the dragons merely keep watch, choosing to remain aloof from the Sedayin and other Uthurian races.
The Battles of the Rifts
The Sedayin first encountered the Rachmani, a lizard-like species in the deep volcanic rifts along the southern coast. Soon, hostilities broke out, leading to a war with the lizard-men. The dwarrow did aid the Sedayin in the lizard war, providing weapons and warriors. Before the final defeat of the Rachmani, their remaining shamans and witch-doctors came together for one last surge against the Sedayin. The Rachmani shamans took their own lives in a blood sacrifice ritual to awaken Maelstrom, a dark demon of the sea, thus releasing another of the Dark Horde that the Forerunners had locked away.
The Battles of the Rifts and the awakening of Maelstrom broke many of the sealed vaults created by the Forerunners. These events also further destabilized and damaged the ancient Forerunner portals. Groups of Travelers found themselves stranded on Uthuria, where they were encountered by the Sea-Folk. They are likely the ancestors of the Vanir.
The Sea of Sorrows
The awakening of Maelstrom released one of its most powerful minions, a terrible dark sea creature that began a rampage along Uthuria’s coasts. After losing several battles against it, the Sedayin retreated to form a new plan. As it was hard to bring fire to bear against the creature, they needed something else. Maelstrom also extended its dark influence to the giant Kraken. Normally creatures of the deep sea and ocean abysses, they now rose from their lairs attacking ships and coastal areas around the world.
Ultimately, it fell to the Sea-Folk to defeat the Black Storm unleashed by Maelstrom, but it came at a terrible price. Several thousand of the Sea-Folk let go of their physical existence, allowing their fea to merge into the seas. This created a terrible arcane storm that literally tore the creature apart. This weakened Maelstrom, and its influence on the Kraken and other sea creatures faded. Those in other lands that had been fighting these beasts did not understand why suddenly everything returned to normal.
Most of the Sea-Folk’s fea involved dissolved into the raging seas, returning to whence they came in death. Yet, confronted with powers so much greater than themselves, a few hundred of that fea did not die. They washed ashore in new, alien bodies, mortal human-like forms, that now housed their souls, unable to strip away those bodies as easily, as they had done with their previous Sedayin form.
This might have led to a mass suicide among the cursed survivors, had it not been for the early Vanir, who were not shy to approach those tossed upon their shores, and who ultimately took those survivors in. The merging of these two populations is most likely the root of arcane talent in the Vanir.
The Sedayin discovered Kan’Jarai about three centuries after the events of the Sea of Sorrows. The edifices were the largest of the Forerunner vaults ever discovered and promised all kinds of knowledge and hidden things. When the Sedayin began exploring Kan’Jarai, the dragons and Gwerin of Siege Azdiel approached them to warn them away from the vaults. Empress Xorayss warned them, that by now they ought to know what evil hid in such places and that they must leave this one alone.
The Sedayin were taken aback by yet another talking lizard race and, even worse, that the dragons tried to tell them what to do. They had grown quite confident in handling the dark things that came from the ancient places, and they had won their previous wars with Shadowborn. Hence they did not heed the warning and delved deeper into Kan’Jarai. Their deeds freed the remaining slivers of the Shadowed One. Tar’garath, the Goddess of Chaos and Shadows, freed from her many prisons, unleashed her wrath upon the world.
The Shadowed One did not attack the Sedayin that had freed her; in fact, she let most of them escape unscathed, except for a few that she seduced to her side. Then her first strike was directly against the one opponent she had to fear: the dragons of Aereth.
There was only one dragon Siege on Uthuria: Siege Azdiel. This Siege fell to the Shadowborn in one fell swoop. No more than a dozen dragons escaped the attack alive. The surviving dragons fled to other Bassilith. Those that were captured by the Shadowhorde suffered a darker fate. Tar’garath changed them into a creature known as the drakhmar, a dragon whose anam (spirit) was torn from it, leaving its physical form on Aereth while its soul is trapped in Affwys, the in-between.
With the Fall of the dragons, the Shadowed One began her long war against Uthuria, though it took its time to assemble its forces.
Within a decade after the fall of Siege Azdiel, the presence of the Goddess of Shadows begins to be felt. In the North, the expanding Bangrha-Ice (accursed ice) destroys the culture of the Rigante; the rest are slain by dark creatures. No Rigante survives the massacre, but their bodies will soon see dark use as members of the Endless Host.
The Rigante’s brother race, the Arcadians, soon falls under the shadow’s wing.
In the Battle of the Black Swamps, the Sedayin managed to push the dark creatures back into the icy North.
The Dark Island, Ys – ancient seat of the Goddess of Shadows, is alleged to be alive again and held by dark things. Reports of this are brought by Sea-Folk ships to the Sedayin. They had learned of it from the Wyr, who lived much closer to the island, a warning that the darkness is on the move.
In a dark ritual held in the mountains north of the Inland Sea, the Tar’garath bestows the earthly stewardship of her realm and minions on Lord Baara, formerly of the Morrighan and Lord-Paladin of Siege Azdiel. In turn, he uses his new powers to bestow seven generals – later known as the Heptarchs – with greater and more terrible powers than they held previously.
The first strike by the Endless Host, the Heptarchs’ army, is against Summerland. To their immense horror, the Sedayin realize that the creatures making up those armies are not all alive. The dead Rigante, now awakened to a dark undead existence, form the bulk of the Endless Host. Those that fall into the hands of this enemy soon suffer the same horrific fate as the Rigante.
After six major battles, Summerland falls to the storm of the Endless Host. The surviving Elcarain flee, and with the support of the Dwarrow, they make it to the Saramaganta Mountains. The Dwarrow, having fallen under attack themselves, come to assist the Sedayin retreating from Summerland, sheltering some of the fleeing Firnfolk in their mountain fortresses.
The Wyr brings massive amounts of fighters to support the Sedayin on the mainland. While there is initial mistrust, the Dwarrow gladly accept the new allies and smooth things over with the Sedayin.
The World at War
There are massive incursions by the Shadowborn, the Shadowhorde, and the Endless Host all over the world. Dragons that fall to the drakhmar in battle become drakhmar. If captured by other Shadowborn, their eyes are removed, severing their anam’s connection to the Ley, and causing them to change into drakhmar. Huge numbers of dragons were lost along with their Morrighan, who is resurrected as Shadowborn. The dragons and their allies in other lands are unable to come to the aid of those in Uthuria.
Battle of Chyrasimare
The Sedayin achieve their first serious victory against the Heptarchy in the Battle of Chyrasimare. They managed to destroy one Heptarch and some of his forces. Two Heptarchs take part of their troops and move north where they vanish into the Banghra-Ice that covers the land. The four remaining Heptarchs combine their armies into one mighty Endless Host and march on the Sedayin heartlands. The Endless Host eradicates smaller settles. In the deeps, the Dwarrow comes under pressure from Dark Creatures. Some of them are forced to take to the surface.
Battle of the Clouds
A huge battle between the Endless Host and the Gryphon riders is fought in the clouds above the mountains. It is a short-lived victory for the Sedayin, who destroys another Heptarch.
Fall of Simyala
The Sedayin Capital falls to the Endless Host and is razed. The Endless Host cruelly hunts any surviving Sedayin, using these captives for dark rituals.
King Askír brings his Dwarrow to the surface to assist fleeing Sedayin in escaping the Endless Host, having already lost much of their underground holdings.
Battle of Bassilith
Mounted on drakhmar and led by a drakhmar empress, the Shadowhorde besiege Bassilith. This battle is eventually won by the dragons and their allies, but they suffer extreme losses.
The Burning of Alteia
As more and more survivors amass in Alteia, one of the Heptarchs uses a traitor to smuggle him in. He desecrates the Temple of the Tree by calling forth the Black Fire, and Alteia burned with all living souls inside it, including the Heptarch. The tree that protected the lands burns in the fires of Alteia.
The Dwarrow, using their skill with fire, battled the black flame and rescued some of the survivors, but many were lost.
The Year of Fire
Firnyalion Frostwing of the Sedayin uses his own person and one of the last sacred relics of his people to lure the Heptarchs into a trap, killing one of them. This left only one Heptarch active. The Black Marshall, as he was known, remains in the field. Firnyalion Frostwing leads his people back to the mountains and defeats the Black Marshall in the ruins of Simyala.
Upon killing the Black Marshall, he finds himself confronted with a dark form – a creature of moving liquid shape emerging from all the slaughtered corpses in the field. Forced into a final battle beyond all hope, Firnyalion finds himself fighting side by side with Askír, the Dwarrow King. Combining the power of Firnyalion’s magic with Askír’s magical weapon, they manage to slay a creature they had no hope of killing – and thus caused a catastrophe.
As the Shadowed One’s vessel died, its fire spilled onto the land, which ignited the Ley Lines. The continent shook, great rifts opened in the ground, the golden fire of the Arcane Light, and the black fire of Tar’garath ravaged the forests. Uthuria was slowly but surely torn apart. The destruction of Uthuria had other consequences. Massive earthquakes were felt all over the world. Volcanoes, including several supervolcanoes, erupted simultaneously. Mega-tsunamis washed over the land. Entire civilizations were washed off the face of Aereth in the wake of these disasters.
Sedayin and Dwarrow fled the dying continent, even with all Sea-Folk and Vanir Ships combined, their hope of survival was slim. Working against time, the Dwarrow create several stone portals to help evacuate the survivors. The Wyr retreat from the burning islands west towards another island, later known as the Amber Islands.
When land and sea settled again, all that remained of Uthuria were a few mountainous islands, the remnants of its tallest mountains. Amongst the places that survived was Siege Azdiel and its rulers, the drakhmar Empress Xorayss and Baara, the Lord of Shadows.
4 – 0 KYA (The Great Ice)
Once again, Aereth was plunged into an ice age that would last for the next two thousand years. Those that survived the Fall of Uthuria found that the Shadowed One had retained a stronger foothold. Incursions by the Shadowhorde happened more frequently. During the ebb and flow of the ice, the dragons established more sieges to make aiding the other races easier.
Gradually, the ice retreated giving the world a chance to recover. The climate stabilized and the world moved on. However, the balance between the Ley and Dark Ley was forever affected.