Shadow of the Firstborn
The defining event in the history of Rohir is a disaster known as the Day of Fire, where a war culminated in the release of a huge amount of magical energy that obliterated most of the known world. This event marks the start of the modern calendar, which currently sits at 523 ME (Modern Era).
Though no written histories survive from before the Day of Fire, historians from Minar and Gilaven have made a concerted effort to compile oral histories so that the disasters of the past will never be repeated. While many detailed treatises have been written on the Seven Ages of Rohir, what follows is a summary of what most people would have learnt growing up.
The First Age – The Age of Strife
Life began in the world of Rohir with the Dragons, the Firstborn, and the Giants. Though nobody knows where these species came from, it is known that they were not created by the five Elder Gods (whose names have been lost to time). All three races warred constantly with each other, earning rewards from the Elder Gods for any victories, and punishment for any defeat. With their enormous size, the Dragons and the Giants held the advantage over the Firstborn, but the cunning of the smaller race allowed them to hold their own. This state of affairs could have continued for an eternity if not for the curiosity of one Firstborn scientist.
She is known only as Tommak, and she had been experimenting with different weapons in an attempt to create something that could bring down a Dragon or Giant without a huge loss of life. In her search for a power source, Tommak inadvertently breached the barrier between realms and created a rift to the Arcane Weave. Suddenly, arcane energy began flowing into Rohir, and many Firstborn began to exhibit magical powers. Tommak sought out her fellow mages and put together a force that decimated both the Dragons and the giants. All the while, the rift remained open, creating more magi with every passing day.
Side Note: 'Tommak's Rift' occupies a similar spot in language to 'Pandora's Box.'
The Second Age – Magic invades Rohir
Tommak’s magi succeeded in driving the Giants and Dragons back into the mountains, but when she returned home, she found that everything had changed. The weave had not discriminated when creating new magi; farmers and servants were suddenly finding themselves far more powerful than their masters, and things were rapidly spiraling out of control. The nobles started demanding that Tommak act to restore the ‘natural order,’ but Tommak knew that there was no way to control the process. In an attempt to salvage the situation, she took her closest disciples and entered the rift. Though she was never heard from again, the rift was closed, ensuring that Rohir had all the arcane energy it was ever going to get.
The Firstborn were soon involved in a civil war, forgetting their ancient enemies: the Giants. With the Firstborn occupied and the Dragons licking their wounds in the mountains, the Giants quickly began rebuilding their forces. They also made many sacrifices were to the Elder Gods in exchange for powers that could be used against the new Firstborn Magi. When the Giants came out of their homelands in force, they caught both the Firstborn and the Dragons completely by surprise, and wiped most of them out.
The survivors quickly realised two things – Firstly, both the Firstborn and the Dragons were long lived species that had few children, while the giants bred much more quickly. Second – With the Giants now wielding power from the Elder Gods, magic counted for very little if there were no troops to protect the spellcasters. For the first time since the creation of the world, the Firstborn and the Dragons set aside their differences and decided to form an alliance against the Giants.
The Third Age – Birth of the Younger Races
Working together, Firstborn and Dragon scientists combined the essence of the two races, creating the first of the Younger Races: the Elves and the Dragonborn.The plan worked even better than expected, many of the Elves and Dragonborn had the ability to channel arcane energies – which made them very effective in battle. They also reproduced with amazing (to the long lived Firstborn and Dragons) speed. The alliance could now easily create armies that they could use to defend their homeland, and that is exactly what they did.
Soon there were so many Elves and Dragonborn that the leaders of the alliance decided to split them into four castes:
The Stewards – The scholars and de facto leaders of the younger races, the scholars took over much of the administration of the new alliance. Their ranks were filled by a group of Elves (who would later be called High Elves), as well as the Golden Dragonborn.
The Engineers - The scientists and tinkerers of the alliance, the Engineers designed and built most of the weapons of war, as well as building the many new cities that were required to house the younger races. Their ranks were filled by a group of Elves (who would later be called Dark Elves), as well as the Copper Dragonborn.
The Pathfinders – These troops served as the scouts and spies of the alliance. Their ranks were filled by a group of Elves (who would later be called Wood Elves), as well as the White and Silver Dragonborn
The Vanguard – the shock troopers of the alliance, these troops bore the brunt of war against the Giants. Their ranks were filled entirely by Dragonborn (Bronze, Brass, Black, Green, Red, Blue).
Once again, the Giants found themselves being forced back into the mountains, and once again, they turned to the Elder Gods for help. Entire tribes were sacrificed in the continual blood magic rituals that eventually birthed the third younger race – Orcs. These heavily built warriors were easily able to go up against the Vanguard of the alliance, but the giants still found themselves losing ground to the magic wielded by the Firstborn and Dragons, as well as their Stewards. The Giants knew they needed something else to tip the balance back in their favour.
The order went out to all Giant and Orc forces – capture as many enemies as possible, from all races. Using the dark powers of the Elder Gods, as well as arcane magic torn from prisoners, the Giants combined the essence of all known races – Giant, Firstborn, Dragon, Elf, Dragonborn, and Orc – into a single form. When the pale skinny creature emerged shivering from the blood pools, the Giants thought that they had erred. That misconception was quickly remedied when the creature immediately began hurling magic at its creators. The last of the younger races had arrived – Humans – and it was clear they would be difficult to control.
The Fourth Age – The Rebellion
The Giants quickly bred their new forces, and brought them to the battlefield. War on a scale never before seen engulfed all of Rohir. Entire cities and regions were razed as the battlefront moved back and forth. The high casualties forced the Elder races to step back from their frontline role, lest they be wiped out entirely. Instead, they focused on researching new ways to tip the balance in their favour. New devices and magics were being developed every day, only heightening the carnage. Meanwhile, the younger races continued fighting their master's war.
With more and more responsibility being placed in the hands of the younger races, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a betrayal. A human warleader – Aethas - had grown more and more alarmed over the ever increasing casualties, as well as the harsh treatment of humans and orcs at the hands of their giant masters. When his daughter was killed in a meaningless skirmish, Aethas decided that he could no longer stand idle. Over the course of several years, he worked himself into the upper echelons of the army command structure, recruiting like minded orc and human officers to his cause along the way. When he was at last given command over an entire army, he instead marched them away from the conflict into unoccupied territory and created the Kingdom of Enneth (named for his daughter). Aethas then sent word to both armies, declaring Enneth's neutrality and encouraging the other younger races to come and join him in forging their own destiny.
At first, the leadership of the Giant and Alliance armies dismissed Aethas' rebellion, assuming that the fledgling kingdom would wipe itself out eventually without guidance. This complacency soon turned to panic however as huge sections of both armies deserted, hoping for a better life. Though no official treaty or agreement was signed, the two major powers decided to stop fighting each other, and put down this rebellion before it got too out of hand.
The Fifth Age – Destruction of the Known World
Aethas knew that the great powers would not leave him alone for long, so quickly set about constructing defensive fortifications, as well as tasking magi with the creation of new defensive spells and devices. The preparation paid off, and the attackers were soon forced to retreat, with more troops deserting all the time. Unfortunately, not all deserters were genuine in their desire to join Enneth, and the plans for all of Aethas' carefully prepared defences were soon in the hands of his enemies. Once again, bloody war engulfed the continent, and Aethas himself was slain in one vicious battle. His son took up the banner, but he didn't have his father's restraint – he ordered the magi to develop a weapon that would win the war, no matter the cost. One group of magi focused on researching rifts. After all, if Tommak had found magic through rift research, what else might there be to find?
Soon, the magi of Enneth started summoning all manner of strange creatures to fight in their war, and the tide started turning – but reality itself was starting to tear. Things only got worse when the magi loyal to the Firstborn Alliance began their own research. Earthquakes started becoming more common, and rifts that spewed forth horrific creatures began to appear in random locations. Many magi on both sides started to sound warnings, but the war was the number one priority. Everything came to a head at the battle of Val'Aran.
Val'Aran was a Firstborn city that had been captured by Enneth's forces, led by the current King. As a centre of research, it was of great value to the Firstborn, in addition to being located in a strategically important mountain pass. The Firstborn brought an enormous army to retake the city, and the battle raged for several weeks without changing the strategic situation at all. Finally, a large relief army arrived for the Firstborn, one day in advance of Enneth's reinforcements. That night, the Firstborn managed to fight their way into the city, and both sides started resorting to more and more powerful magics to try and tip the balance in their favour. Nobody knows for sure which side cast the final spell, but magi from hundreds of miles away felt a rift being opened into a realm of pure power – they also felt the huge explosion the rift caused. A massive crater formed, exposing the molten underground – when the sea rushed in, huge explosions started obliterating more and more of the land. This was The Day of Fire.
The Sixth Age – Surviving the Aftermath
When the explosions finally subsided, most of known society had been obliterated. The survivors found themselves on the outskirts of a new sea, pulsing with magic, and it looked like it would keep on growing as the unstable land crumbled away, bit by bit.
The Seventh Age – Society is Rebuilt