The Fourth Age, as we are presently in (the year of 830 AS to be exact), is known to the Men of The North as The Age of Spring. Though the Elves acknowledge this new age, the Elven calendar still follows The Third Age, in which the year is 1600 AT.
The Third Age, or The Age of Trials as it was known, was marked by a long period of war between the Men of The North, who had still not adopted a form of centralized government. This age also saw a period of decline amongst the Dwarves, whose once-rich mines began to slowly deplete, and a general recession of the Elves from politics. The Seven Kingdoms of Men to the south had already been in place for hundreds of years, but the north was still ruled largely by barbarian tribes and warlords.
The Third Age came to an official close when the tribes of the north united and slayed the last of the frost giants. Though many Men still believe the frost giants to be dead, both the Elves and Dwarves know that they were merely driven back and are in fact laying in wait. The Age of Spring has been marked by a decidedly warmer climate, with much of the permafrost in the north melting; a fact many Men point to as proof of the frost giants defeat.
Though the tribes united, it would be some two hundred years before a government would be established. In 243 The Niebelheim Empire was established under the rule of the charismatic & loved Emperor Ostroacer, a former barbarian king of the north. Ostroacer was said to have been a half-elf, as his rule lasted more than eighty years (longer than the average lifespan of Men) and his children were equally long-lived.
Though Ostroacer’s line still exists, they no longer sit on the throne of Niebelheim. Instead, Emperor Sigmund IV rules over the empire, which over the course of the past six hundred years has stretched to the edges of Elven society. Niebelheim has even grown to include some Elven and Dwarven cities within its boundaries.
Though still powerful & mighty, some say that the Niebelheim’s fate is linked directly to The Fourth Age and, as its inevitable close draws nearer, so too does Niebelheim’s.