Sundering the Gods

Come Heavens or come Hells,
upon the Eve of Snows,
war will rage.

The Age of Warlords

Like the Age of God Wars before it, the Age of Warlords is full of mystery. What is known is that the sudden loss of memory and the tremendous power vacuum of the disappearance of the gods led to a period of absolute chaos. The Age is believed to have been around 500 years in length, with at least six additional instances of worldwide memory loss, as well as untold numbers of regional memory issues, that simply did not allow time for order to reign. In addition to the memory losses, it is apparent that there were massive fluctuations in the Elemental energies that allowed for wizard-kings to rise and fall with sanguine rapidity. One day battle fields could be alive with energies and the next victory and defeat could rely entirely upon spear and shield, with the most powerful sorcerer barely able to summon a spark. It has often been suggested that the fluctuations might have assisted in a form of insanity that drove the violence to extremes, but this is pure conjecture. 

The Age of Warlords with all of its power and memory fluctuations had the advantage of the repetition slowly becoming anticipated. The Life-Sculptors of the Êdân elves are the first known people to realize that these memory losses had occurred before by identifying trees they had been ritually working on for centuries and noting obvious and repetitive learning curves. The subtle "fingerprints" of the lifesculptors' art upon the growth rings of trees was proof that these events had been taking place for some time. At nearly the same time, the dwarves of what will later become known as the Eight Kingdoms, came to the same conclusion in their stone-works, and it is because of these two longer-lived and more stable cultures that some information from the Age of Warlords exists, as both peoples put the knowledge to use and started creating records of events less vulnerable than books and scrolls. For most other races, who had a Forgetting skip a generation or even two, they never really came to realize this truth, and the last Forgetting is for them the first.

For the Êdân the Forgettings are particularly dangerous, as for this people separation from the Mother Woods of Eleris for long periods can cause them to "Fade" from the height of their being, and have many of their powers greatly diminished. This leads almost immediately to an isolationist philosophy where the Êdân would but rarely leave their woods for fear of a Forgetting that might find them wandering long enough to Fade. This trend holds until the end of the Age of Stability, with most Êdân barely leaving their homeland for thousands of years.

It is fairly well known that both of these cultures have knowledge of this Age that they do not share, and obtaining information from either is a long and daunting process.

It is known amongst those who study such things that seismic events of staggering magnitudes always accompany or are the cause of the Forgettings (depending on who you ask) but these events are nothing when compared to the First Forgetting. During this Age it is learned that tracts of land large enough to be a continent have been lost, that mountains rose beyond the clouds while some hills became mountains and others became seas at the end of the God Wars, and to a lesser extent these shifts continued for the next 500 years. In some cases entire cities could disappear or be swallowed by the seas during these events even during the Age of Warlords.

The Age of Warlords was punctuated and identified by the rise and fall of wizard-kings, the so-called warlords, and tales and legends of these leaders are spread across much of the world. Ȥdjâng is a famous example from Southern Vandunêz, a young man who rose to prominence after a Forgetting to lead several peoples in a war that spread across the entire continent for three decades. Ȥdjâng, Lord of Twenty Wars, had conquered all peoples that lived on the plains and forests (there was no desert at the time) but this was not enough for Ȥdjâng. Whether it was greed or arrogance Ȥdjâng went against his advisors and attempted to take the underground lairs of the Kôlkân Dwarves. The Warlord wasn't a fool and developed a plan where he sent several small excursions into the tunnels to test the enemy's strength and found them weaker than expected. What Ȥdjâng didn't realize was that the dwarves were warring amongst themselves, and that his attacks only served to sway the underground war to uniting under the Warlord Îôkar the Molten. Still Ȥdjâng was not entirely foolish and with his great magical powers he managed to smoke the army of the dwarves out from their tunnels, but the army was far more numerous and better equipped than expected. The battle raged for ten days with tens of thousands wounded and dying on both sides as Ȥdjâng held back the dwarven forces with his magic while awaiting reinforcements from the east, which would surely have spelled the doom of the Kôlkân army. Unfortunately for Ȥdjâng an Elemental Flux swept across the entire continent and dampened all energies for a full day. This was adequate for the dwarves to overpower Ȥdjâng's army and slay the Warlord, ending his reign and dream. 

The Timetable

Due to the ability to read trees that have been life-sculpted historians have a relatively accurate idea of when major memory events occurred. Smaller, regional memory events are very difficult to pin down around the world, so there is no attempt to do so on this very basic timeline.

 

To Be Continued

Background Art by Jon Gibbons

© 2018 L. James Rice