Candles in the Dark
Candles in the Dark
Legends speak of the time before. The time before the light of the world had all but been blown out.
According to legend, many were the empires and kingdoms that spread across the lands. Hobgoblin, elves, dwarves, men, and others all had mighty kingdoms in the world. According to legend, they ruled much of the world, bringing it under their control.
That is, before they all died.
Legends is nearly all we have, and little fact. What we do recall, is that before the Rise of Man, humans were little more than barbarians themselves. The elder races considered men little better than orcs or goblins.
But two forces found humans of exceeding interest. The infernal powers of hell, and the dragons who thought themselves masters of our realm. Each meddled in the makeup of man, turning them into servants more suited to their liking.
Thus, the races of Dragonborn and Tiefling was born. Thus was born the twin empires of Arkhosia and Bael Turath. Between the two, they divided the world, bringing any who resisted them to their knees, until, inevitably, the two came against each other, and destroyed each other with fires the world has yet to witness since.
With the fall of Arkhosia and Bael Turath, humans realized they had their chance, and they struggled their way out of the darkness of barbarism. They rose across the land, until finally the kingdom of Nerath was born, the first mighty empire built by men, without the meddling of outside forces.
For a time, an era of enlightenment and justice ruled. For a time, peace and safety was known. But it was not meant to be.
Legends do not recount what happened precisely to Nerath. All we know is, the golden age of man came to an end, and Nerath fell… Nerath burned.
With the fall of Nerath, an age of darkness, ignorance, and death came to the world. Countless times, Men have attempted to rebuild a kingdom of their former glory, but the monstrous and bloodthirsty predators of the land would not have it. Each time a promising kingdom would take shape, it would be destroyed, often by marauders, monsters and the like; and sometimes by other kingdoms of men, having lost their ability to trust and work with outsiders, or simply giving in to their greed and lust for power.
The other races, once allies of Men, have fared little better. The Dwarves, caring for little beyond their mines, toil endlessly, only pausing to repel their former Giant masters, and the same Orcs and Goblins that likewise plague the Eladrin and Elves; meanwhile, those fey creatures likewise are engaged not only by the Orcs and Goblins, but also Formorians, Drow, and other evils.
Our allies, thus, cannot help us, and have themselves been betrayed so often they have come to distrust outsiders themselves, even of their own races.
Libraries have burned. Books are exceedingly rare, and much of our histories and lore of the world has been lost, perhaps forever. If but one kingdom, whether of humans or not, could survive long enough to erect a new civilization, perhaps we could recover all we have lost.
As it is, though, I sometimes wonder if our entire race is lost, and if we are going to flutter out and fade away… like candles in the dark.