Three thousand years ago, the War of Ancients wracked the world. Only a handful of dragons survived the conflict, which set the northern continent ablaze in a pyre of magical energy and tore the nighttime sky in half with a sickly purple rift where legends said two moons had been. Plant and animal life were devastated. Draconic survivors constructed the great floating cities and slumbered away, letting the wounded land beneath them shift and shudder.
Eighteen hundred years ago, stars fell from the sky carrying birds, beasts, plants and fungi – arks full of life that settled in the ashes of the War of Ancients. Green replaced black. And the last stars bore whole populations of forebearers, the ancestors of the races of humanity. They brought with them strange magic that fed them and clothed them. Their spears of fire and flying metal fists could bring down a dragon on the wing.
Fifteen hundred years ago, the magic of the forebearers failed them. Lacking the parts to empower the strange rituals of their devices they struggled to survive, let alone war. The dragons drove them back with ease. But then, peace. The depleted legions of the forebearers swore loyalty to dragonkind in exchange for mercy, protection and instruction in the new magic of the strange world.
One thousand years ago, the forebearers forgot where they had come from, their origin shrouded in myth and legend. Magic changed them, drove wedges between their differences. The races of humanity came into being, so separate and alien to one another that they could scarcely be counted the same species. Most worked peacefully with the dragons, laboring in a society where they would never reach the true heights of power, but could live a comfortable life from the arcane boons of their draconic overlords. Others fled to the forests and mountains, carving out their own existences in the wild.
Seven hundred years ago, the Winged Host made itself known to the races of humanity. Most welcomed their new protectors, though others turned away and continued to build their own cultures. The Host offered its new worshipers a new boon: divine magic, the refined nectar of the gods. Condor, Eagle, Dove, Falcon and Hawk established their own priesthoods. For the first time since their landing, the races of humanity had a unique advantage over the dragons.
Three hundred years ago, war wracked the land again. Condor, god of death, declared that now was the time for humanity to unite and overthrow the dragons. The great draconic overlords were pushed back. Many were slain. Humans took one of the great floating cities for their own. Every race was devastated by the fighting, and the priesthoods set up their rule to rebuild what had been lost.
Two hundred years ago, the presiding priesthoods had fallen into corruption and oppression. Sensing the weakness of humanity, the dragons marshaled for a war to annihilate them, but waited for the perfect opportunity. A prophet of Dove appeared, proclaiming that the dragons would be the end of humanity unless peace could be made. Condor oppressed all opposition, but even the god of death could not kill the message. In desperation, Condor sought to slay Dove through her prophet, but the resulting events created Phoenix – a goddess with Dove’s gentle heart but the strength and fire to see justice done. The Host and its priesthoods were cleansed, and Condor was cast out. Dragons re-entered human lands, not as conquerors but as allies.
Thirty years ago, a new rebellion stirred up dissent in the western lands. Elder dragons stirred for the first time since the War of Ancients, a portent that their enemies of old were behind the chaos. Fearing a repeat of ancient events, the dragons formed closer alliances with the races of humanity than ever, forging the Reconciliation – a branch of internal agents with broad-ranging powers akin to those the dragons wielded. Many were gifted with fragments of draconic souls. More humans than ever wield arcane magic in service to the land.
Now, peace has reigned for nearly a generation, but underneath the surface calm powerful forces are in motion. Corporations and collectives formed at the end of the War In Heaven have gained the power and capital needed to deal with draconic cartels as equals. The priesthood of the Winged Host has regained much of its lost reputation, and gains influence as its adherents heal, teach and preach. The Reconciliation’s agents seek out discord, internal and external, as they slowly peace together hints of what rent the world three thousand years ago. And in the midst of it all, simple folk in the Vale and carefree fey in the One Forest simply try to live their lives.
None can doubt that a time of change is upon the world, but as for the direction it will take… that depends on you.