The First Age of Erâth lasted for many years, and for much of it the world was prosperous. For the first time since the dawn of memory, the race of men was at peace with itself, and with the other races of Erâth, and with the world itself. Although there were many disparate countries, they worked together for the betterment of the world, and so the world was bettered, and grew fast and high.
But, like many things, it was not to last. As the race of men came to learn more of the other races of power, their singular abilities and their command over the world, they began to wonder more at how they fit into this image of the world, governed by seven great powers. After all, it was clear how the other races of power were connected to their respective powers, but for men it was not so certain: were they the race of eternity, or not?
As the race of men began to grow stronger and live longer, they started to consider that perhaps if only they could discover the fountain of youth, create an elixir of life, then they could be eternal indeed. The greatest minds of the world met and counseled and worked together in Viura Râ, aiming to make the city’s namesake a reality. Soon they had learned much of the body and the mind, and could stave off death—but not inevitably. Yet the men and women of Viura Râ nonetheless made great advancements for their race, and not all the world was satisfied.
Elsewhere than the Eternal City, the great leaders of men began to be concerned with the goings-on of the folk of Viura Râ. They saw little of the wonders and magic that were created there, and so they called those people selfish and belittling. The people of Viura Râ said in turn that they were only trying to help all the men and women of the world.
But the countries of Erâth grew ever more concerned, and labeled Viura Râ as dangerous. Some countries felt this more vehemently than others, while some deigned to protect Viura Râ, and said they would retaliate should any measures be taken against them. Mistrust was thus sowed throughout Erâth, and the populations of men, once united, were now divided against each other.
The Duithèn, meanwhile, had been increasingly marginalized by the advances of men in the world, and were bitter and resentful. But the feelings of mistrust and anger were their domain, and with these thoughts men welcomed the race of Darkness back amongst them unwittingly, and soon there were lands that were entirely given over to Darkness—Aélûr, in particular, became a land of shadow and cloud, and terrible warlords rose to power there.
The people of Aélûr saw, far across the world, the brightness of Viura Râ, and hated it terribly. The people of Cathaï joined with them in this anger, while the folk of Thaeìn remained quiet, hoping the tide of Darkness would pass them by. But it did not, and soon the greatest countries of the world were looking to each other, and preparing for war.
The men of Erâth had long had weapons capable of destroying the lives of others, but for many ages these weapons remained in the hands of soldiers, and were useful only to kill other soldiers. The earliest battles of Erâth were fought with sword and bow and spear, but these were soon superseded by worse things—devices of death that could kill swiftly and from a distance.
As the countries of Erâth sought to rectify what they saw as the great injustices of the world, they ceased discussion and treaty, and began to threaten instead. As one country devised new instruments of death, another would retaliate with their own devices, and the world began to fall into a place of darkness, and of fear.
At first no one country dared attack another, for their weapons were of equal nature, though different in execution. But in secret, some places in Erâth began to devise great and terrible weapons, ones that could decimate entire towns at once, and the threat of war came now on the general population of Erâth, and not just on their soldiers.
The countries of Cathaï had long been renowned throughout Erâth for their mastery of potions and medicines, but they soon turned their efforts to elixirs of death instead. They gained command over the winds, and the power to send clouds of poison across great distances was soon theirs. This was a terror to the world, for these noxious mists could not be defeated, could not be cast aside, and could not be avoided. The fortune of many was that Cathaï was separated from the other countries of Erâth by great stretches of sea, and so for a time, at least, these dangers were a threat on the horizon, but never a true reality.
Elsewhere, the countries of Aélûr looked to the command of fire as their great threat and terror. Aélûr was one of the first lands to fall into Darkness, and in their shadows they conjured smoke and flame, and found they were able to cast it into the sky, only for it to rain down upon their enemies from above. This flame was as dragons’ breath, cascading in a deluge of searing heat upon their enemies, and was able to demolish whole cities from the sky.
Unlike Cathaï, Aélûr was very close to the lands of Thaeìn, separated by a narrow stretch of water which was spanned by a vast bridge, and so the threat of Aélûr became very real to the people of Thaeìn, for they could see the smoke and flame always simmering on the horizon. Unease settled over these lands, and they began to fear for their lives daily, for it was uncertain when or why Aélûr might decide to visit their wrath upon them.
At first, however, these great weapons of Cathaï and Aélûr were not trained on the other lands of Erâth, but in fact upon themselves. The countries of these lands were often as much at war with themselves as they were with the rest of the world, and until they could be united under one banner, the threat they posed to the world at large was not immediate.
In Cathaï, there was fierce threatening among the houses and leaders of the land. Each would claim that they were superior in strength and might, and promise to devastate the others should they be attacked themselves. However, no one country dared make the first move, for fear of retaliation, and so for many years a stalemate was achieved in Cathaï, with no one arising as the victor.
But when the greater world saw the dangers of these countries, they banned trade and travel. Cathaï, a smaller land than some in Erâth, had need of such things, and so the fighting began to escalate—first in the streets, then in the fields, and finally at sea, as well. Eventually great battle was upon the land, and their poisons rained down upon each other, and many lives were lost.
In Aélûr, the violence had begun far earlier. One of the countries, greater and more powerful than the rest, threatened war and flame upon the rest if they did not submit to their will. Naturally, the other countries of Aélûr refused, and began to attack the outer villages in anger. They were able to mount a surprisingly effective resistance, and for many years great battles raged throughout the lands of Aélûr, both in the plains and fields, and through the greater cities of the lands as well. What at first seemed like a swift victory turned into a war that lasted for many years, and the leaders of Aélûr began to realize that they could not continue, or they would decimate their entire populations, and never reach the eastern lands of Oríthiae and Golgor, which they hated so bitterly and wished to destroy.
The leaders of Aélûr longed for a solution that would allow them to command their legions from afar, for the battles were often chaotic and unsuccessful. They brought military command directly under the leadership of the countries, but still they could not find an ultimate victory.
This was when word arrived in these countries of the workings of those in Viura Râ, for the Eternal City had not sat idle while the world began to destroy itself from within. The great minds that dwelled there knew well that they would not long survive the devastation of Erâth, for eventually Aélûr and Cathaï would cease their bickering and focus their efforts on the rest of the world.
So they began to look to the defenses of their own, and great weapons began to be invented, more ingenious and destructive than any that had so far been devised anywhere else in the world. They had no intention of bringing these weapons to the battlefield, but would use them in a last effort to save themselves, should the world be ending and all forces were mounted against them.
While many of these inventions sought to protect, there were some darker minds in Viura Râ that sought to control. It was thought that if they could change the minds of the world, if they could command the legions of their enemies, they could prevent the terrible bloodshed that seemed all too imminent. One device in particular was created: a small thing that could reach out across the distances and weave a subtle influence into the minds of others, so that they would come to believe for themselves that which the wielder wished them to. Such was a dangerous thing to create, for it could be used by any for any purpose. They called it Paräth, which means ‘peace’, for they saw it as a last keeper of peace when all else had failed.
To ensure this weapon could not be used unless the need was dire, it was made so that its very strength came from those around it: it must slay to gain command. In other words, only one who was willing to kill others with this weapon could gain the strength needed to command those around them. As such, the inventors of Paräth believed it to be safe, for within the walls of Viura Râ, it was inconceivable that any person could have so malicious an intent.
When the dark leader of Aélûr learned of this weapon, he sent word to the other countries of their lands, and to those of Cathaï also, that they were on the brink of destruction, not only from themselves but from the hated folk of Viura Râ also. They must obtain this weapon, he said to them, for it would ensure their success in dominating all the world.
What he did not say was that he alone intended to command Paräth, and would use it to bring his vision of Darkness across all of Erâth. After Viura Râ was brought to its knees, he would take this weapon for himself, and use against not only Golgor and Thaeìn but even against Cathaï, and thus dominate all the lands of Erâth.
So the dark forces of the world united at the end, and demanded that they be given Paräth, or they would come to Viura Râ and take it for themselves. The folk of Viura Râ, naturally, had been in great fear of this moment, and knew they could not concede. So the united armies of Aélûr marched across the Bridge of Aélûr into Thaeìn, and the lands of Thaeìn were thus destroyed, and lost to Darkness.
The northern lands of Narün, where dwelled the Mirèn after their exile from the world of men, were the next to fall to the flame of Aélûr, and it was then that the race of Life was extinguished from Erâth forever, for in their quest for domination, the forces of Darkness—amongst which were the Duithèn, working side by side with the men of Aélûr and Cathaï—had no room in their plans for these gentle folk. It was a devastating blow to the balance of Erâth, from which it has to this day not recovered.
And so the armies of the world found themselves on the doorstep of Viura Râ, having utterly devastated Thaeìn and sent their poison winds over the lands of Golgor, and the people of Viura Râ knew their time was at an end. So they put into place their defenses, and they were strong, and powerful: so much so that the fleets of Aélûr and Cathaï were unprepared for their devastation, and were to a one sunk beneath the waves.
Yet all was not over, because these defenses of Viura Râ were, in the end, as devastating to themselves as they were to the armies of Darkness, and the Eternal City was left in ruins. And amidst the ash and debris, when all was over and the sun had come to a standstill in the sky, Paräth was nowhere to be found.
But that was not the end—not then. As the glory of the First Age faded and men retreated to their caves and hovels, tales of the great war stayed with them. For a time, at least, the people of Erâth remembered the battles, and the destruction, and the desperate desire of men to last forever. And chief among them was the story of Paräth, the peace bringer, whose very existence brought the world to ruin.
With the utter devastation came the loss of much more than just the buildings of men: the fires of Aélûr and the poisons of Cathaï twisted what remained, and then the Duithèn spread wide across the world, and great creatures of Darkness were born. So men were unable to rebuild, and were forced ever further into the mountains, clawing desperately at the last vestiges of life.
So the stories began to fade also, and with each new generation of men the tales of the war were slowly forgotten, until it was but a legend, a myth: and Paräth was all but forgotten.
But if the world of men could not remember, the world of Darkness did. The Duithèn longed to bring Darkness over the face of the world, and when, after a time, the race of men began to resist (or at least, in some parts of the world), they turned to the past for an answer: a weapon that could control the will of all men, and bring them once more into their shadow.
And somewhere, somehow, it was then that Paräth resurfaced, after centuries of forgotten abandonment. And it was then, so long after they had first set out to find it, that the people of Aélûr found it again, and brought it to their king, who recast it as a great black blade, and gave to it a new name: Namrâth, the End of Eternity. For it was now that the world of men would truly fall, and the eternal race would be no more.
And this king, whose name was Goroth, found with it new strength and new power, and with the strength of the Duithèn behind him became the demon lord that is remembered to this day. And he set his war upon the world, and Erâth has never been the same since.