A quick overview
When the land was first formed, the gods together decided that they needed caretakers to watch over the creation. Naming themselves the Amity, they joined their powers together. From this decision came the four races of elves to tend the high places and the low, the forests and the seas, and the dwarves to guard the foundations of the world.
For a time, all was well with the plans of the creators. But as is usual where the pantheons are involved, additions were made to the hosts of mortals. Darker creations appeared in the Land to deny their opposites, to destroy; The Goblin races, dark copies of the Dwarves, and the Orcish races created to oppose the Elves.
Conflict was born!
Over time through cross-breeding or accident of birth and magic, other races came into being…unplanned mixed breeds such as the gnolls, the kobolds, the giants, the gnomes. Many races grew out of the magic contained within the Land. As this process accelerated, the guardian races fought to extend the creation, to preserve the original designs of their creators, and to survive. The destructionist races fought merely to thwart the guardians plans.
Then one day, to the surprise of the inhabitants of the Land, a new race appeared throughout the kingdoms full-grown, from another place or time. The original inhabitants tried to help or hinder the humans, as their own natures demanded. This time of arrival later became designated Year 0, the year of Change. These new creatures called themselves Human and none of the then-existing races understood them; they made and broke alliances almost at random, bred more quickly than any other race, learned anything they could, and fought with anyone and everyone, especially themselves.
Like prior races, over time the humans interacted with the magic of the Land and created mixed breeds of their own. The most successful of these were the Halflings, the only true mixing of the human with the guardian races. But the humans soon spread far beyond their arrival places, and far past the possibility of the older races control. They began competing for power and control throughout the Land, which they arrogantly renamed ‘Thuria’.
Within 10 centuries of their arrival in the Land, War was inevitable.
Constant strife buried and consumed the Land and every living creature dwelling there.
Warriors of every race vied for dominance, and the elder races fortified their homelands for the first time.
Battles of politics and hatred and revenge raged back and forth across all the kingdoms of the Land.
Everyone lost. Not even names are remembered.
But through this unremembered slaughter, the First Age created the foundations of the modern-day realms.
The Dales, Salama, the Tosari, the Sylvan…
the Elfhomes of the Iftslancer, the Taurdel, the Ivaneth, and the Ataan…
the Iron Mountain and Blue Mountain Dwarrowdelves.
More and more, the inhabitants of the land discovered ways to tame and use the natural forces that infuse the Land. Some reached beyond the natural, bringing outsiders and demons across the walls of reality.
Arcane powers were discovered and the first Wizards appeared.
Over time some skilled beings, the Magi, rose to achieve powers that rival those of the Creation, and far surpassing in potency the simple talents of the guardian races and most of the mortals. Unstoppable, their arrogant schemes threatened to break the Land completely.
This could not be allowed and the Amity themselves returned to the Material plane to deal with the Magi.
The battles almost caused the destruction they were meant to stop. Some of the Magi became gods or demigods in their own right. Others were crushed from existence.
Soon, the Magi were gone, leaving behind only the ashes of their schemes and their ruined places of power, and the true gods again left the Land.
Where before only the guardian races knew the truth of the Gods, now it was obvious to everyone. Unable to deny the evidence of the ending of the Second Age, the humans begin to propitiate the higher gods. Worship became the counter to Magic.
Priests arose in the Land.
As time passed, the priests began to war with each other, taking control of the common beings. None of the realms were spared. Where once the power of the individual was feared, now it became the power of the masses, and the high priests declared themselves Kings of Men. More and more, these priest-kings dominated the inhabitants of the Land, throwing them at each other without heed for justice or the needs of their patrons, or even simple survival. The Darker Powers, secretly feeding ever greater power to these rulers, revelled in the destruction which consumed the Land.
But as before, the Amity intervened to preserve their Creation. They returned, and the power of the Priest-Kings was no more. Once again, as before, the true gods left their creation behind.
Out of the chaos and despair of the previous Age, The Rainbow Mage created the modern Empire and the Imperial Council to represent each race and realm. In time, all the realms of the North joined but the southern realms refused.
Unwilling to allow any group dominion over them, the southern tribes make common cause with the destructionist races. Powers and Magics not seen in centuries reappear, and again war enfolded the Land.
This time it had no end. The Earth itself began to groan under the losses which followed, and unlike prior Ages, the Gods did not come to end the strife. The years continued to tick by as the lands died slowly. The conflicts raged for centuries, splitting the Land, destroying entire realms, crushing any hope of peace, and unlike prior Ages, the Amity did not come to end the strife.
Finally, centuries later a descendant of the last living king of Hram discovered the Why of it…the greater gods had been refused direct access to the Prime Plains by a pact of death and sacrifice! The God with Many Faces had given up divinity and incarnated itselves directly into mortality, attempting to avoid the spiral of death and war which had thrice threatened the Land.
He had spent the many long years working to bring peace the lands and races, only to fail as his various incarnations were destroyed. Worst of all, some of these demigods and many powerful heroes lost their lives and powers to a multidimensional demon of great power, raising his strength to unstoppable levels.
Joining with the 4 surviving incarnations, the Hramite and various other mighty heroes engaged this demon-god and its minions. They kept it busy long enough for the Amity to emprison it, nearly causing the destruction of the world themselves. One of the moons of the Land was pulled from the sky, sacrificed to crush and bury the demon-god in a prison of magic, faith and stone wrapped across several planes.
The chaos ending the prior Age destroyed the very foundations of the world. Few mortals survived the ice and smoke which covered the Land for years, and even decades later those left struggle to survive in a depleted world.
Worse, not all the demon-god’s power was gone. Discorporated but not destroyed, the leftover taint became known as the Malice to the scraps and remnants of the mortals races which survived. They avoid it always, if they can.
But as the clouds receded, so too did the Malice, leaving behind remnants of corruption. Nature was different, some things forever changed; some disrupted, some corrupted, some diminished but still in existance.
Under clear skies, new societies were quickly born. Once-enemies cooperated to build new homes and recover what they could from the ruins of the old. And life continued in the new Age.