The First Age of Man
Scholars have, by convention more than by actual proof, agreed that the First Age of Man lasted for approximately fourteen hundred years. It began with an ancient account of the return of Melandrea, the Sun, from a absence of nine generations. The great ice that covered the land began to recede, and the water and sunlight brought forth plants and animals that had remained dormant through the darkness. The Elven Histories tell of such a rebirth. Warm summers and mild winters blessed the land for more than a score of years. The elves, dwarves and humans came out of their hibernation. By dwarven tradition, Moradin marked the first sunset of the First Age on the stone archway of the gates to his underground hall deep in the Frostbrand Mountains. It is by a counting of those marks that the number of years of the First Age are known.
The most ancient of texts describe the civilization of man during the First Age beginning along the gentle shores and coastal rivers of what is now known as the Empire of Rembia, commonly referred to as the Western Empire. While it is clear that the elder races of elves and dwarves were established long before this time, evidence of ancient human civilizations before these humble beginnings at the start of the First Age is sparse.
That humankind first assembled in large numbers along these coasts is not inconceivable. Rich resources, vast plains filled with an abundance of game and plant life, numerous fresh-water rivers and streams, and a mild climate all contributed to the prosperity of this area. In those early days of the First Age, the great forest and its elven keepers provided protection in the west and south while the mountains to the north were home to the solitary, yet peaceful dwarves. In the east, the gentle Sapphire Sea protected the fertile lands from the ravages of the harsh Great Sea, creating a natural cradle for humanity.
Thus shielded, humankind flourished in rudimentary villages and towns where before only isolated families lived in the caves that dot the western shoreline of the Sapphire Sea. The earliest days were spent hunting, gathering food and water, and erecting crude stone huts along the rivers of the area. However, within the first two centuries of the First Age, the domestication of animals and the first vestiges of agricultural farming were seen. This was quickly followed by the creation of a commerce and transportation network that, by the end of the third century of the First Age, stretched along almost the entire edge of the Sapphire Sea.
The great elven forest in those days came within a fifty miles of the seashore, and the expansion of the human civilization was limited in the west and south by the boundaries of that forest and its guardian elves. So, the civilization, known today as Rembia, grew to the north and pushed into the fertile temperate lands between the Sapphire Sea and the Frostbrand Mountains. While fishing was a staple for the people of Rembia, the abundance of resources close to home limited the development of deep sea going vessels and exploration of other lands.
The Second Age of Man
By convention, the Second Age of Man lasted for approximately twelve hundred years beginning with the Plague of the Elder Times and ending with the arrival of Heaven's Fire.
In the west, the Second Age of Man began with the rebuilding of the monarchy of Isolde. The plague had killed hundreds of thousands of men, and it was thought that line of heirs to the throne were lost as well. But a claimant from a mountain monastery far to the north emerged. Tracing a lineage back seventy generations, discrepancies and small leaps of faith were discarded as the people heralded the arrival of Emperor Iorlande. Perhaps because of his mystical upbringing and perhaps because of the devastation of the plague, the Second Age of Man began as the time of religion. Iorlande and his people worshipped many gods including a pantheon of local deities which would multiply during the Second Age.
By the end of the third century, trading routes with the rest of the Realm had been re-established. Advances in farming produced bountiful harvests with increasing regularity. In the cities, music and the arts returned, craftsmen created wondrous items of beauty and power, and the magical arts flourished. While the edges of the Empire of Rembia were still at the mercy of the local barons and lords, the core of the civilization was rebuilt.
In the east, a similar phenomenon was occurring. Religions formed the base of the economy of Teufeldorf. Many of the great temples were built, a few of which are still standing today. Their vaults and crypts honeycombed the streets of Teufeldorf. In the Sands of Time, the great priestess Bast tricked death and gained status as a goddess along with an immortality often dreamt of by others. Shortly thereafter, the priest Set gained the same distinction. From these leaders, a powerful civilization flourished in the Valley of Gods deep within the Sands of Time.
During the first five centuries of the Second Age, the city of Teufeldorf became a trading center. Barbarians from the north braved traveling through orc-infested territory to peddle their prized furs at the bizarres of the city. The merchant class was so powerful that, during this time, they became the ruling class on all matters mundane. Only the high priests who called upon the powers of the gods were more influential in the governing of the city. Teufeldorf was a city that embraced all religions and welcomed trade with all nations.
The Third Age of Man
The accounting of time for the Third Age of Man began with the arrival of Heaven's Fire. After several score years of wintry darkness, the sun finally reappeared. Again, the races began to emerge from their burrows and hiding places. The forests found new life, and the plains saw regrowth. However, many of the civilizations of the Second Age were gone. The great people who had followed Bast and Set centuries ago could not be found. Neither could the fabled Valley of the Gods. They had disappeared.
In the west, the search began anew for a descendent of Isolde. Finding a bloodline that was pure after almost three thousand years took belief in the divine. And yet, the Empire of Rembia returned. A new emperor was crowned, Maximillan I, and the Celestial City began to rebuild from the rubble of its former glory. Rembia was never to regain its prominence, however. The Feudal Lords to the south garnered favorable trade status with the Tang Empire. The elves fought hard to keep the forests from being plundered for the wealth that was needed to rebuild Rembia. Belief in the emperor remained strong along the shores of the Sapphire Sea, but elsewhere new lords and leaders were beginning to take hold.
It was not until the mid-second century TA that Teufeldorf was again repopulated. Men fleeing from the now numerous orcs (it seems as if the years of disease had only helped to increase the number of orcs) stumbled upon the remains of Teufeldorf. With its strong defensive position, the men held on, and soon Teufeldorf became a refuge for the oppressed.