Scholars divide the history of Yaril into four ages.
The First Age
Known as the Elder Age, the First Age was marked by the rise and then fall of the powerful Elder Race. Taking up their homeland in what would become Koros and Shattersea, legends say they ruled of cities the size of kingdoms. What remains still speaks to the beauty of their works. They created races like the Yavana to serve them, and remade nature with powerful magic.
Then, their war came. Nothing is known of what occurred, but its aftermath is terrible. A great portion of the earth was laid to waste, lands shattered and sunk into the ocean, cities blasted and burnt by powerful magic. To this day, the Ruined Lands roam with monstrous creations, hideous warrior-things created by the Elder Race.
The Second Age
Known by some as the Age of Aftermath or the Mythic Age, but by others as the Age of Slaughter, the Second Age began as the last light of the Elder Race began. The first evidence of other races building for themselves is found – The Yavana and Ilavana built their towers and cities, the first states of men arose, the dwarves emerged from the Dark beneath, the elves made themselves known in their forests, as well as the hobgoblins and other dark races. But the world was mostly unconquered and wild. In the sacred places, the mysterious Marilina appeared, creating place of immense beauty before disappearing wordlessly before the end of the age.
Two great events, both marked by cataclysms and death, mark this age. First, the dragons appeared. Some conquered, others pillaged and some simply killed. Said to have descended from the sky, the First Dragons were more powerful than their later kin. The metallic dragons ruled cities, built great civilizations, while their chromatic cousins laid waste, gathered hordes of wealth and ruled with terror over barbaric lands. Great dwarfholds were destroyed, as well as mighty cities. While their lines still flourish, the First Dragons are said to have fallen into a great slumber – “some went beneath the earth, others became the mountains and the forests, and others disappeared into the air.”
But the coming of the dragons was nothing compared to the reign of terror that was the Narathi. Whether demons from the Dark or creations of the Elder Races, these terrible magi, few in number but hideously powerful, ruled from the Land of Narath. They sought to remake the world underneath their tyranny, enslaving all. Necromancers of no equal, they created great necropolises out of once great cities, making armies of the dead to enslave the living. Only by the acts of heroes and the magic of the Yavana, who sacrificed much to defeat this scourge, were the Narathi defeated. Either by powerful magic or some folly of the Narathi’s creation, the Land of Narath sunk beneath the Deepsea, leaving only slivers like Death’s Hand Island.
The Third Age
Called the Dawn Age, the great magics of the previous ages seemed to fade. The Yavana began to decline, diminished by their efforts against the Narathi, and the Ilavana became more a race of warriors and slavers than great sorcerers. The Marilina had disappeared. It was a dawn of the rule of less magical races.
The Southern Kingdoms began to emerge as powerful nations of Men, while the Ice Lords of Lothgeir challenge their dominance. Fitful wars begin between confederations of the Southern Kingdoms and the Lothgeiran lords. The Southern Kingdoms win most, but lose others, each unable to decisively defeat the other.
The dwarves of the Rampart Mountains cement bonds between them and men, with traders who set up outposts in the North. The Free City of Rathay becomes a great trading port, fueling the rise of the Mancalian’s empire of merchants rather than soldiers, while dwarves travel to the Dragon’s Spire Mountains. These pioneering dwarves lay claim to what would become Hollowmount, and humans seeking dwarven wealth found the isolated city of Lostvale and build the Dwarf Road.
Towards the end of the Third Age, great tragedies struck. The Harrowing of Hollowmount, a destruction of the only great dwarfhold in the south by an invasion from the Dark, comes and scatters the dwarven peoples, forcing them to seek shelter in the hills and cities of the Southern Kingdoms. The kingdom of Lothgeir becomes the target of the designs of an ambitious Narathilim named Rashaban, and the Plague of Madness destroys their nation but not before Rashaban is defeated and his stronghold on the Island of Phantoms destroyed.
By the end of the Third Age, the Southern Kingdoms are ascendant. And powerful times attract ambitious men.
The Fourth Age
While not completed, the scholars are beginning to name this time, the Age of Conquest. The House of Thorne, rulers of a powerful kingdom in the South, set their ambitions even higher. Eramus the Conqueror, destined to be the first emperor, set out on a campaign of conquest that will last his entire life. But by the end, the whole of the Southern Kingdoms are united under a single throne. The Empire was founded.
His son, Andrecus, succeeds him, and sets his eyes on the wealth of the Rampart Mountains, hitherto controlled by the Mancalian merchants. Setting out with a great fleet, he launches the conquest of Snowreach, looking to mimic the noble system of the Empire there. However, in his absence, rebellion rises, seeking to test the new rule of the Emperor.
The centuries are marked by a growing separation between Snowreach and the Empire, until quietly, the noble houses of Snowreach begin intermarrying with the Iceborn, as well as the settlers that Andrecus brought with him. Within a few centuries, there is no trace of the Empire’s rule in Snowreach. While the Empire consumed with its own troubles and uprisings, Snowreach formed into a loose confederation of city-states and principalities, nominally united under the High King of the North. The High King is elected by the princes and lords of that realm. But in time, the position becomes one of necessity rather than consistency, elected during times of crisis rather than allowed to sit the throne permanently. The Iceborn taste for independence lives in Northmen blood.
Meanwhile, the politics of the Empire became more and more Byzantine. While uprisings and rebellions occurred, the High Houses of the Empire remained united. The Emperor ruled, and the Grand Council of Nobles advised him and ruled on matters of succession. But vicious politics and assassinations began to occur. The Empire became a powder keg of ambition, as the Imperial House intermarried and potential heirs became more plentiful. All it needed was a match.
An imperial courtesan named Namia had a bastard son by Emperor Laton the Fourth. Convinced that her bastard son could seize the throne, she poisoned the Emperor. Quickly discovered, both she and her son was put to death. But the question of succession remained. Many suspected that agents of various houses convinced Namia to assassinate the Emperor to put forth their own heirs. Accusations flew, the Council divided then disintegrated. Civil war came, and a dozen would-be emperors called forth armies to settle the matter with a sword.
It has been seven years, and the War of the Throne still rages in the Empire. As armies and pretenders are defeated, new ones seem to rise in their place. The countryside burns, and there is no end in sight.