The story of man is difficult and complicated. But it is an important one. As it frames the world that now is…
The fable begins a long time ago, in a time of darkness. Human tribes walked the land in all colours and shades. They warred and loved, brawled and embraced. Small kingdoms rose and fell overnight. The baying darkness gnawed at them eternally. Man lived in small encampments, fending off the creatures of evil nightly.
In time, a small kingdom rose. It started off as a wandering tribe. Its power grew conquest after conquest. It settled in a green and verdant valley. By trees and tarns, they made their tents. Their tents became houses and as their power expanded, and as more tribes fell beneath their might, the houses went from wood to stone and the fort became a castle. Many tribes were conquered by force, others through diplomacy and trade, some through marriage. An idea weaved into the mind of the masses… If man was to survive, all must be united into a singular body.
Eventually the tribes of man were one. And after conquest, it was time for peace. This large tribe lead women and man to an age of prosperity. Fields were cultivated, woodland nurtured, rivers fished. Boats were made, and horses were tamed. These advances permitted man to go out and explore wonderful world about them. They came into contact with elves, dwarves, gnomes and the strange races alike. They made peace with most, and those they couldn’t, left to their own devices.
Some scholars detest this next theory. The theory that states man learnt much of the world from these different races. It is said, that man spread east, west, south and north. They traded what they could from these different folks. But what they learnt made them richer than gold ever could.
From dwarves they learnt how to forge. To yield iron and turn it to steel, to make buildings as strong as the mountains themselves.
From elves they learnt how to weave magic. To manipulate the world around them and to attune to the spirits of nature.
From halflings they learnt hospitality and grace. To be modest and kind, to embrace all before, and shun only those who can’t be saved. And learnt, of course, fine cooking.
Some even say they learnt fighting from Orcs. Although this is strongly, once again, contested.
The age of man was at hand and prosperity was king…
Then man found a new enemy. One which had been watching afar for time unkempt, yet was closer to home then man could ever have known. They saw the spread of man, as one might see an infestation of mice. They thought they to be the children of gods. Now rodents plagued their birth right. Man had to be shown whose world they trampled across.
One autumn morning, something was seen on the horizon. An enormous thing. A great thing. A thing of dread. Terror seized the hearts of the civilians as a great red dragon emerged from the sky and set civilisation aflame. The dragon’s name was Attoraxe. It set the fields alight and burnt buildings to ash. A son of Tiamat, the dragon made his home among the broken ruins of the castle and laughed as its brethren fell upon the land to feast.
It was a time of horror, a time of darkness and fire. Towns would disappear overnight, swathes of the population were imprisoned and tortured. Toyed with like the dolls of infants. Nothing could sate the scaled being’s voracious appetites. Dragon kin swarmed through streets and city alike, gargling with ecstatic delight. It was hopeless. All was lost.
No one knows how long this time was, even the records of the elves are unclear. But generations rose and fell under the dictatorship of the scaled monsters.
Man wanted not to yield to this awful foe. But how could they possibly win? How could they possibly free themselves from the dragon’s terrible grip? The odds seemed stacked against them, the powers that be too great to ever defeat.
But a man rose up. From where he came, none is sure, but rise he did. His name was Allabrand. With destrier and lance he sailed through the country side, beseeching all to join his cause. And the people did. With eagerness and fury. With delightful spite. A small resistance began to burgeon. A guerrilla warfare that started deep in the countryside and soon spread into the hearts of every town and city.
Warfare with the dragons began anew, as fiery and destructive as ever before. But Allabrand drew man to his cause, and with bow and spear, spell and sword; man went to war. Thousands and thousands died. And it seemed certain the revolution would fail. Destined, that mankind would fall.
But Allabrand made one final assault on the capital. It was a terrible thing as thousands of horsemen rode to their demise. Yet they caused the distraction he needed as an evil army of dragons smothered the men like a winter night blanket.
With but his destrier Gandor and his lance Qass, Allabrand stormed through the broken cobble way of the city and dove into the heart of the castle, the lair of Attoraxe. He emerged through a broken tunnel, debris eschew and wreckage omnipresent. He saw his great foe.
The nemeses stared long and hard at one another. The dragon drew in a great breath and Allabrand kicked Gandor into motion. He raced around the castle top as infernal fire chased his every step. The dragon whipped out with his tail and though the horse narrowly avoided evisceration, the tip just caught Allabrand’s chest. Blood splattered on the moving floor. But the man would not give up and with steely determination he veered his mount towards the foe. Moving his steed atop an outcrop of rock, he galloped up, fire consuming both sides of the slab. With a mighty battle roar, man and horse jumped from the pinnacle and flew down towards the beast. The lance pierced the creature's chest and struck him dead. Attoraxe hit the floor like a titan.
A sigh of relief ushered from Allabrand. He looked over the beautiful landscape of his country and people. He stroked Gandor’s head and raised his face to the sky. The sun kissed it. He slid from his saddle, a smile on his face. So died the First King. So ended the Age of Dragons.
With Attoraxe dead, the dragons soon pounced on one another, eager for leadership. As they fought and battled in the skies, man organised a merciless cull. And with one fell swoop, an amazing terrible grinding swoop, they cleared the beasts from coast to coast.
Now man could begin to build again and ever would they be vigilant of the wrath of the dragon.
Allabrand was named king and his children would rule.
Yet disquiet quickly spread…………………….
Four sons did Allabrand bore. Four routes the unity of man would fracture. Each son attempted to help each other rule, yet each son quarrelled with one another. They couldn’t agree how to rule the kingdom. For they all saw differently how the Age of Wyrms came about. They all feared that the path of their brothers would beckon similar tragedy. Back and forth did they debate and bicker. Each jostling brother had friends and allies. These allies went out to the streets of Allabright. They stood high upon podiums and spread the vision of their leader. Huge followings began to amass and the brothers were revered like the gods themselves. However, their seemed an impenetrable barrier between the sons of Allabrand, and a slow fear begun to churn in the streets of the capital. Their philosophies meant it was impossible to build an empire together. The tensions simmered and then boiled; violence, an imminent threat. The brothers saw this inevitable conclusion and, though Krukal reluctant, went their separate ways on a great exodus.
Oltor, the oldest brother, saw the Age of Dragons as a sign from the gods. Man’s lack of faith had caused this to happen. Their disloyalty to the gods, whom had bore life into man, had meant divine punishment. With hordes of his followers he went north and east, over the mountains to found The Valley of Gods. More commonly known as Yulan.
Fandel, the second oldest, saw the Age of Dragons as a sign of man’s arrogance. They had tried to impose themselves on a world which didn’t need their imposition. And drawn the dragon’s attention. Man should be left to his own devices, and fend only for himself and his family. Wealth, power and prestige should be secondary to enjoying life. With that he took his followers south east and founded Free State or The Free Fiefdoms.
Krukal, the second youngest, saw the Age of Dragons as a sign of man’s weakness. They had grown from nothing to greatness and instead of plundering from the other races as they should have, they talked and bartered, wasted time signing treaties when they should have been growing stronger and more powerful. He took his devoted east and constructed a militaristic dictatorship. The Supremacy. Otherwise known as Kruxland.
The youngest, Aldwyn, saw the Age of Dragons as a sign of the evil of the world. Man had not deserved the fate that had befell him, and it was only through bravery, valour and comradeship, did he throw off the shackles of slavery and defeat his oppressor. Aldwyn and his followers didn’t move anywhere. They decided to nurture the land of their forefathers. The Western Monarchs, The Monarchy, or... named after the brother's mother… Daesynia.
So began AW. The Annihilation of Wyrms. And the time of Man.