The Ages of Mithrysmire
The world is demented. Every form of life learns malice and turns toward war.
All the sentient races of the world were born in the shadowed epochs of prehistory. While some sprang quickly to dominion upon earth and sea, others lay dormant through the centuries and came to their fullness only in later ages.
The first races to stride the earth were the children of the elementals. The elementals chose to dwell apart in planes linked to their natures, for they foresaw the Doom of Mithrysmire. But their children dwelt upon the land and were called the Firstborn of Mithrysmire. They were peoples composed of rock, earth and vegetation. These races did not choose dominion but dwelt peacefully in the mountains, forests and valleys of the world.
In the early First Age there arose two more sentient races, the kitinars and vodars. These races of insects and fishes multiplied more quickly than the Firstborn, but did not make war upon them, for there was as yet no drive to dominate, and room enough for all existed in the wide expanses of Mithrysmire.
The Doom of Mithrysmire was fulfilled in the latter third of the First Age, for then the amphibian and saurian races arose, and these were not content merely to exist. The amphibians were the first race to seek dominion and prey upon the earlier races. Yet thought the blood they spilled and the toll of lives they took in their wars upon the insects and fishmen were great, the amphibians were a small race, vulnerable when young and lacking a true lust for dominion.
To the saurians thus fell the first and greatest dominion of the earth. Proud, rapacious, cunning and skilled in arms, the saurians subdued and enslaved the amphibians, waged war of extermination against the kitinars and vodars, and feared not even to assail the Firstborn. During the long centuries of wars the fiercest and most cunning of the saurians, the drakars, discovered the power of magic and exalted in its use. Drakar mages reached even unto the elemental planes and summoned forth the elementals to war against their children, the Firstborn. Great than was the grief of the elementals, but they could not break the magic that bound them.
As the ten thousand years of the First Age passed away and the Second Age began, the saurians expanded over all the earth under the fell command of the drakars. Only in remote and hidden lands did the other races survive, for they were hunted without mercy. The ranars and other amphibians survived as a race of thralls to the saurians. Only at sea did a race survive in large numbers, for the fishmen were joined by a more potent race that had evolved in the course of time from a branch of their kin. These were the akwars, or mermen, and they contested the rule of the saurians and survived. For although the saurians held mastery on land, they could not conquer the seas and suffered grievous losses at each attempt until they quit the attempt all together.
The dominion of the saurians lasted nearly two full ages, but as the Second Age ended new races arose to strive for dominion: the garkar races and the manar races. These races fought the saurians and each other and suffered greatly, but nonetheless thrived and multiplied, for these races were young and strong even as the saurians declined. The drakar blood had grown weak, and lesser saurians, such as the ganars and gatars, were less suited for dominion.
The manar races contributed to the third part of the Doom of Mithrysmire, for they discovered the power of faith and called upon new powers they named gods to aid them in their strife. Thereafter, the races were divided and set at odds anew and the race of men was even divided within itself, so that some men chose to align with the positive forces of the universe and some chose the negative forces.
As the Fourth Age was born thirty thousand years of history had passed, and strife, magic and faith had been born into the world to fulfill the Doom of Mithrysmire. Even before the Third Age had ended the saurians had lost dominion and declined, and the new races had become sundered into many groups. From the garkar line there sprang the many kinds of goblins, hobgoblins, ogres and trolls. The manar line split into the races of elves, men and dwarves, and even these groups had their offshoots.
Many forms of life arose or were summoned to Mithrysmire during the centuries of strife. Small races of beastmen created from animal stock sprang up as a result of magical experimentation during the long fight against saurian dominance. Other planes were probed, opening gates to invasion by the wraiths, hellspawn and demonspawn. New races sprang up from forgotten ancestries and found their places in the world, the dead were reanimated, and wights arose from the catastrophe that created the Negat Wastes. Even as new life arose it was caught up in the death and doom of a world torn by incessant conflict.
The Fourth Age was a time of war among all the races and none alone could win mastery, so that in time alliances were made and from these arose nations in which diverse races united to face all others. And the rise of nations fulfilled the Doom of Mithrysmire beyond all expectations so that the Fifth Age promised to be a greater time of strife than any seen before.
Now is the time to raise banners high,
Now is the time to sharpen blades,
Now is the time to carry flame to the enemy,
Let all who ask be told that war has come forever.
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