Abridged History of the 10th Age
News of Arunë
Lo! It is the end of the year 510, and the civil war in the Empire rages on. Mercenaries have been summoned from the Goblin Lands, and chests of silver and gold go to the dark Overking to pay for his troops. Hob knights and goblin archers filter down into the Serpent Baronies and make war on the rebellious lords of the Empire, all at the behest of the emperor’s paymasters. The war has dragged on, with the rebels under the Lord of Amvor gaining ground in Colona and the Coast of Scythes.
The Black Wolf, Lucanus of Martel, has been named the Grandmaster of the Order of Miles following the death of Haerus at the Battle of Tabor Bridge. The Knights have followed the Black Wolf for the past six months, and word of his dark blade, Smoke, has run through the lines of the rebel foe. He has been seen on the frontlines with Smoke in hand, hewing through the banners of the rebellion.
At the same time, the Young Serpent, Hydrophis Schoolman, has gathered his clan of exiles and cast-outs, the slaves freed by silver paid to the Overking. He has named them the Schola renewed, and taken up residence in the ruin of the old school. As of last week, the Young Serpent has issued the promise of a lordship and land for any who slays one of the fled Magearchs and returns a stolen fragment of the Schola’s library.
Quintis, the Beauclerc, has not been seen in Miles for four years. The healers have refused to follow the army of the emperor, though they have been working day and night to heal those who returned to the city.
The Imperial Tagmata has been battered and torn by the war and now stands badly depleted. Likewise the Escurae Varani, who have fallen in many battles. There are those who wonder at the emperor’s power to keep the empire together. Indeed, there are many in the kingdoms surrounding the empire who are beginning to make plans against the hour when its final shattering is at hand. There are even nobles in the capital who believe the Overking is waiting for his moment to strike and destroy the empire, as soon as its weaknesses are made clear.
Swords and Sorcery
The world, the place the elves call Arunë, is old. Older than the imagination of most of the learned sages from every race. All know that it’s creation can be traced back to the First Age and that nine Ages intervene between then and now. How long that time is, none can truly say. Accurate records become useless before the period known as the Bleeding Plague that came at the beginning of the Ninth Age. Scholarly reports were destroyed en masse as libraries and private collections were turned over to the madness and chaos of the Plague.
The Bleeding Plague
On both sides of the Trade Sea, at the end of the Eighth Age, a great renaissance of Elven culture and civilization was underway. It was at the height of this renaissance (called the Elithä in the language of the northern elves) that the Bleeding Plague struck.
Ruinous to the Elven cultures, and highly contagious amongst that long-lived people, many cities and large states were depopulated by the Plague. Soon enough, it spread to the other demi-human races and to men. It was most virulent amongst the Elves where it originated, however. This led many cities (left adrift as their larger governments crumbled around them) to bar their gates and let no newcomers in. Magical wards were erected to obscure the surrounding countryside. The last living Elves entered a long period of seclusion.
When the ravages of the Bleeding Plague finally died down and the Elves re-emerged, it was to a changed world. Mass hysteria and violence had wiped away many old regimes, and it took the inhabitants of Arunë decades to establish working social organizations.
The Ninth Age
After the Bleeding Plague, historians began the recording of the Ninth Age. This was an age of rebirth, of slow resurgence after the shattering events of the disease had run their course. Chief amongst the changes of this Age was the arrival of a powerful Planes-walking wizard named Crisby who had returned from a long jaunt away from this world. When he returned, he brought with him news that Ozmiandre Griswald, the hero of the Eigth Age, was dead.
However, as part of his efforts to rebuild the world, Crisby founded the Grand Conclave of Wizards in the north. This brought together many disparate magical traditions, unspoken and unwritten since the Third Age. In so doing, he formalized many of the relationships of powerful wizards that had threatened the existence and peaceful living of various communities. Notable for it’s refusal to join the Conclave was the old kingdom of Teral which was eventually destroyed by a magical war during the Tenth Age.
Other institutions were founded and maintained as well, but most did not last into the Tenth Age. Crisby’s Grand Conclave did.
The Tenth Age
The modern age of the world, marked by the death of the last true-royal Thyrnessian monarch with bloodline traceable back to the Milenean kingdoms of the Third Age. It has been five hundred years since the passage of the Tenth Age, and since then many things have changed. Teral has fallen, the Dominions of Ishtria have conquered many of their neighbors, and at long last adventuring has been reborn in the minds of the common people, leading farmer’s sons and daughters to take up swords and hunt for treasure in the depths of ancient ruins.