…as scribed by Sonran, the wandering sage.
Lo, I have traveled the width and breath of the land during this, the fourth age of Tai’eres. Now, as my body ages, but with my mind still sharp, I place my knowledge to parchment for all to peruse and take wisdom from.
In that this is now the fourth age of our enduring land, perhaps it would be best to provide a glimpse of what came before.
The fist age of Tai’eres was rather unremarkable from all accounts. From whence we sprang, no one truly knows. Some say nebulous beings called the Creators placed us upon the land while others state their belief that humanity just is, and was born either from nothing or from the land around us. However, by all accounts, humanity was quite tribal and squabbled over the smallest of issues. None of that really matters now, as this time of chaos and disharmony was quelled with the arrival of the As’kali in their vessels of crystal.
The second age of Tai’eres began as the invaders from the sky descended with their strange devices and even stranger beasts. They herded humans like we would the Hara-beasts of the Surati plains. The As’kali gathered us into groups, and they educated us in some of their ways. Through their rule we learned the concepts of government and of coin. The As’kali tutelage also brought advancements in metalworking and some industry processes that we were many years away from discovering on our own. Despite their benevolence, the As’kali were exploiters at their very hearts. With their organization of us came the subsequent siphoning of our land of its resources, most notably salt, gold, and a silvery-black metal sometimes called CurseIron due to the proclivity of those who mined it to deteriorate and die faster than what was normal for the time. It was during the end of this age that an alliance of former slaves and fugitives gathered together to fight the As’kali and drive them from Tai’eres. These fugitives had discovered an unusual byproduct of the crystalline substance so prevalent among the invaders; the ability to absorb energies from the land and focus it into spectacular effects. In short, Shard-magic was born.
Banded together, Mardok, Garatek, Vankilar, Harmekai, and Zanibasque, marshaled resistance and waged war against the As’kali. Zanibasque, with his eye of diamond, peered into the past, present, and future of the land. Harmekai, with his glove enchanted, spewed forth energies powered by land and spirits. Vankilar, with his shard-encrusted crown, gathered peoples near and far to throw off the chains of their captors and fight. Garatek, with his pen of truth, scribed tales of the future, and thus they were so. Finally, Mardok, with his axe of curseiron, shattered the crystal sky fortress of the As’kali, and began the Rain of Shards. The resulting downpour of fragments laid waste to the land and all those at the battle, save five. There, each impaled with pieces of the destroyed As’kali vessel, stood Mardok, Vankilar, Zanibasque, Harmekai, and Garatek. The battle was over… the war was won… and the five allies each ascended skyward, one by one, left their mortal bodies behind, and became the Walking Gods.
So began the third age of Tai’eres. With the As’kali gone, humanity was left to fend for itself. Out of comfort and simplicity, each region organized itself around the provinces that the invaders had formed. There were those who took up the nomad’s life, that of Mardok and his people, the Memok’qwai. They moved within the heart of the land guarding the wastes created by the first shardfall, proclaiming themselves guardians of said region, from then until Tai’eres is no more. Beyond that, only the human agents of the As’kali remained separate, forming the mountain tribe known as the Daskari.
As other nations traded freely amongst each other and humanity enjoyed peace and prosperity they had never freely known before now, the Daskari retreated to their mountain strongholds, unaware that they would almost lead to men’s undoing. For deep within the mountains, chambers of young As’kali slept, waiting for the right opportunity to reveal themselves. That opportunity came with a young, Daskari shardcaster named Ren’sap Xeristhon. Ren’sap uncovered a birth chamber of As’kali larva, and fell prey to their mind-warping abilities. With their help, Xeristhon devised a plot that would lead to the return of the As’kali. As’kali have no concept of gods, however, and were unprepared for the intervention of Garatek, and the rest of the Walking Gods. The Walking Gods now lacked physical form, so each chose an avatar to fight this new menace…