Arcane magic reached its zenith nearly two millienia ago with the sorcerer-kings of Lux. Many dark secrets are buried beneath the sands of that desert, marked only by the occasional tower top that the windstorms briefly reveal. A little over a thousand years ago, The Sembrian high priest Cerephas became the first priest to assume the title “Solaris” and rule the empire. Cerephas the Chosen (as he came to be called) received his holy vision from Sol, the now deposed god of light. As a result, he enacted a new, strict set of laws. As time passed, decree after decree came down from successive rulers until exclusive worship of Sol became mandatory. Those who didn’t accept Sol as the only true God were denied citizenship, exiled from the kingdom. Eventually, “heretics” were simply executed. As the diety Sol himself grew more and more insane, he granted his holy armies great power in their cleansing campaigns to spread his laws to every corner of the land. As the empire grew, arcane magic was deemed heretical. The great arcane schools were forced into secrecy and hunted relentlessly by the Sembrians. Much knowledge was lost as powerful magical tomes and artifacts were confiscated and either destroyed or locked away in containment vaults until a safe means of disposing of them could be found. The Sembrians were never able to completely eradicate the mages as many small groups survived in hiding or fled far from civilized lands, even going so far as to hide on other planes of existence. As the father of the gods grew reckless in his insane jealousy, the last Solaris declared war on the elves who refused to turn from the worship of their own pantheon. Celandine, god of elves and leader of the eleven gods was furious at this. A secret council was called, and the gods of all alignments agreed to depose Sol.
As the gods fought in heaven, the land of the elves was torn with war. No longer able to fight both the empire and the monstrous hordes, the elves drew all their forces up onto the Sembrian front. Then, a strange thing happened. The vast monstrous armies descended and attacked the Sembrians on another front. The Empire’s army was crushed. The horde continued on the road to Sembria itself. This set off a chain of events leading to several armies converging on Sembria. As Sol was banished by an alliance of his offspring, a bright star fell from the sky and smashed into the empire’s capitol. A series of natural disasters took place throughout the world. The last, great empire of men was no more.

This time was known as the Days of Despair. There was a power vacuum left by the fallen empire. This was quickly filled by a resurgence of the monstrous races. They came in hordes, joined by races of evil men who had lived uncivilized for countless centuries hidden in the trackless primordial wilderness. The hordes came in, overwhelming the fractured and unprepared provinces of the old empire. Much more knowledge was lost as cities were looted, pillaged, and burnt to the ground. But the worst of the horrors was yet to come. A highly contagious plague spread rapidly through the land. It was known as the weeping plague. The clash and cries of the battlefield and besieged cities were silenced as the disease took its toll on all the races. Most of civilization was brought to its knees during those dark days, leaving the hollow shells of fortresses, charred remains of great cities, and crumbling, overgrown roads as a reminder of past glory.

Now, four centuries later, men
have rebuilt some of their cities and crowned new kings. Some trade has even started between these small new kingdoms. Borders are constantly redrawn as warlords and noblemen vie for land. But just as the scale of the nations has been reduced, so too has the scale of their conflicts. Life is still brutal for many, but these days, there are glimmers of hope. Small points of light grow amidst the darkness.

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II Lwitherspoon Lwitherspoon