Age of Strife
The History of Solum by Ages
The Age of Mist: Named thusly for the foggy nature of the history. Not much is known of the age of mist, not even it’s true length. The world was born, gods roamed the earth as men, magic was plentiful and supposedly 1000 years came and went without a word of it being recorded. What is known is that a great number of magical artifacts were created (by man or by god), and the age ended with the first great Ogre War.
The Age of Heroes: The first great Ogre War came out of naivety of the people’s of Solum. Ogres had been a problem, but nobody thought they would, or even could, band together. The results were devastating to the people of Solum. Eventually the civilized races of the world banded together, stopping the onslaught. Great heroes were forged in the war, heroes that inspired others, fought for their beliefs, and died in glory. Civilizations started crafting states of law, started working together to build great things. In a time before empires, the dominate forces in the world were bands of heroes that roamed the lands bringing their sense of justice and right wherever they went. Ogres invaded again, more heroes rose from seemingly nowhere, and the age ended with the first great alliance that formed the Ferrin Empire.
The Age of Might: The Ferrin Empire did not live to see it’s 200th birthday, but it set the precedent that law comes first and all people, save kings and high priests, are subject to it. Great magics that once wandered free were chained and focused. Kingdoms were erected and destroyed without pause, giving the Age of Might the nickname, “The Age of War”. Wizards worked in tandem to forge powerful weapons and relics. Fueled by a desire for expansion, for growth, for conquest, humans spread across the land, forever cementing themselves as the most populous race. The products of the age were the great cities of the world, mighty magic items that could only be made with the combined forces of magic, and the crossing of the great desert creating a band of civilization that sweeps from shore to shore of the continent.
The Age of Iron: As wise rules came to power the wars slowed, ending the in the Treaty of Ferrus, and beginning the Age of Iron. Named after a human wizard of the black robes who is said to have appeared in each of the great kingdoms all at once who brokered the peace, the treaty put an end to the fires of destruction that ruled the last 900 years. Ironically, wizards were blamed for the destruction caused during last age, and magic suffered. The 7 great towers constructed during the age of might became the centers of magic as distrust of Arcane Magic grew. People born with the gift were discouraged from exploring it. Mages accepted fewer and fewer apprentices. Ignorant people who saw no difference between arcane and divine magic harassed, attacked and killed clerics as well. Divine Magic, which was already uncommon grew rare as people looked less to the gods for help and more to their fellow man. Near the end of the Age of Iron a powerful cleric named Oris brought the goddess Voraci into the world. War raged for decades with no rest. Near to a century after the Vale War started, it ended abruptly.
The Age of Prosperity: Vowing to never let Voraci or any other force overwhelm the world again, the free people (elves, humans, dwarves, halflings and gnomes) of the world created a network of alliances to preserve the peace. The people thrived. Populations boomed for all but the elves as peace ruled for more than a quarter millenia. As generations of humans came and went, the lessons from the Vale War were slowly forgotten. Empires that had expanded to swallow their neighbors found themselves with only big fish left in the pond. Tensions rose. The elven population was only just starting it’s recovery, with most elves alive remembering the horrors of the Vale War first hand. They pleaded with the humans. They begged. They turned to the dwarves for help. Elf and Dwarf together sent envoys to the great powers in the world in hopes humanity would see the path they were on. Wise kings and emperors listened, but not all men are wise, and after 300 years of peace war broke out again. It was small and lasted for only a few months. When the war ended with dignity and surprisingly few civilian casualties other kings and nobles took interest. Bit by bit small conflicts popped up. Alliances were selectively broken or allowed to expire. Elves and Dwarves stuck together, cautioning humanity against their greed, but with no enemy to fight and nobody to remember the suffering of the Vale War, humanity wouldn’t be slowed. Wise kings eventually die and brash new leaders took their places.
The ensuing war was terrible. It lasted only 3 short years, but the destruction was on a whole new scale. Any evidence of how the war began was lost, but the treachery of elves and dwarves was burned into human memory. The world was divided into 7 great human empires before the war, which formed three great alliances. A last alliance of dwarves and elves covered the continent and was used to great skill.
The first year of the war saw humanity decimated. Great empires created great wizards who rained fires down on cities from hundreds of miles away. People died in great numbers; one in ten did not make it to see the second year.
The second year was worse. Dragons who had formerly made alliances with various empires denounced the slaughter and refused to help. Emperors who were great only in name began to demand the heads of dragons. Armies clashed. Dragons rebelled. Cities crumbled. Divine Magic fought Arcane Magic. Elves and Dwarves refused to honor ancient alliances and instead joined the war on a 5th side in the third year.
The third year of the war was the worst. So terrible was the damage that few records survived. By the end of the war, fully 2/3rds of humanity lay dead. Elves and Dwarves sacked the cities of man for all they were worth. Dragons, metallic and chromatic alike, laid claim to lands once ruled by mighty empires.
The Age of Strife: We are now in the Age of Strife. The war never ended, it just stopped when all the armies were depleted, when the leaders were dead, and when there was nobody left to kill. Humanity hangs by a thread. Without great empires to hold the darkness at bay, beasts and monsters of legend have returned. Soldiers who returned only to find their village gone took to crime or starved. Arcane Magic is universally despised. Wizards are killed on sight when possible. Divine magic is rare and treated as a resource. Clerics gifted with magic from their gods are fought over by kings and bandits alike. Travelers are distrusted, life is precious, and a man is only as good as his word. Thieves are hung. Liars have their tongues cut out. Murderers are put to the wheel. Law exists, but often there’s no money or manpower to enforce them. Injustices are great and many. The strong rule in this world where might makes right.
28 years after The Great War ends, four figures stand outside a tavern in the rain. They don’t know it yet, but their actions will shape the world around them.