The Third Age: "Age of Starlight"

Rise of the Younger Races

Now that the Elder Horrors had been dealt with, it was time for the Younger Races to rebuild their world. Under the guidance of their gods, they began constructing cities and forming civilizations. Among all the races, two stood above the others: the Fey’Anthyr and the Agharendarr.

These two races of the Great Alliance, due to their part in the Abomination War, were blessed by the gods and gained much wealth and power. They began forging vast and powerful empires. The third founding race of the Great Alliance, the Hynar, were also blessed, but they suffered the most during the war, and could not organize themselves well enough to match the power of the elves and dwarves.

The civilizations of the elves and dwarves allowed their cultures to grow and flourish in prosperity. They advanced in the fields of arcane and scientific knowledge. They developed great works of art, music, and literature. At one point, they even created great ships that could travel the stars, which lead to their civilizations being called the "Starlight Empires".

Eventually, with the great might and influences of the elven and dwarven empires, all other Younger Races swore fealty to them, and prospered under their rule. However, peace was still a hard dream to accomplish. There were some races among the Younger Races that did not enjoy the power the Fey’Anthyr and Agharendarr. Their reasons varied: some were jealous of them, others remembered being wronged by them somehow, and others still simply did not like who they were. However, perhaps what was the primary reason to go against the Starlight Empires was the influence of the gods.

Division of the Pantheon

It was during this time that Zhao-Kahn, one of the three creator gods, was completely corrupted by evil due to his dealings with the Dark Ones. His experiences throughout the first two Ages led him to believe that absolute power was necessary to survival, and that any method should be used to attain it. He began coveting the power of his fellow Creator Gods, and he formed plans to take it away from them. Other gods even followed his example and began planning their own bid for power. Although it was not apparent, but there was much infighting by these gods to determine who would rule who. Eventually, a hierarchy was established, with Zhao-Kahn at the ruler of these so-called Dark Gods.

However, these gods would not be opposed. Kaï-den and Illia, who witnessed their fellow Creator God’s cruel actions and dark dealings during the Entropic War, already suspected Zhao-Kahn’s corruption and prepared for his eventual betrayal, though their methods were different. Kaï-den believe in facing these Dark Gods and fighting them to protect the principles of good. Illia, on the other hand, felt that the existence of these Dark Gods would enable better growth, using them as a challenge to overcome, though they must not dominate all or else all life would cease to grow. The rest of the gods allied themselves with the philosophies that they agreed with, thus forming the Light Gods led by Kaï-den, and the Grey Gods guided by Illia.

The Dark Gods influenced their worshippers to seek rulership by whatever means, though in keeping with the dogma of their respective deity. They also demanded that they destroy the worshippers of their enemies. Younger Races that desired power above all else flocked to the Dark Gods and were very willing to do their bidding in hopes of being rewarded. These races, composed of orcs, goblins, trolls, and other savage beasts, would leave the Great Alliance forged during the Entropic War, and they would be known as the Horde Races for their cruel and evil actions.

Corruption of the Light

During the ten millenia of the Starlight Empires’ existence, the Horde harassed the more peaceful races. Intense hatred rose from both sides of the conflict, and as the wars and skirmishes grew worse, the elven and dwarven rulers became more and more desperate and reckless. For though the Fey’Anthyr and the Agharendarr were a strong and long-lived race, they were slower to propagate and adapt to changes, whereas the Horde races, though very less sophisticated and much brutish, bred quickly and numerously. The large numbers of the Horde left devastation in their wake. However, the Alliance races could still defeat them quite handily. Instead, a far more sinister menace lurked within them.

When the conflicts became very serious for the Starlight Empires, a large majority of the elves and dwarves, after millenia of ruling and prospering, began to develop beliefs of superiority over the other Alliance races who were technically their vassals. Increasing divisions between the upper-class and noble elves and dwarves, and the lower-class common gnomes and halflings. Even the humans, once honored and trusted as the third founding race of the Great Alliance, were treated with disdain. For unlike the other Alliance races, whose penchant for goodness was influenced by the natural world, humans had no such influence, having the ultimate free will, and many had gone over to the side of evil. What truly prompted the Fey'Anthyr and Agharendarr to put down the Hynar was the fear that they would some day eclipse them, for humans had both the potential of the elves and dwarves, and the growth of the Horde races.

The elven and dwarven rulers became more paranoid about different races, mainly due to the constant threat of the Horde races. This fear was preyed upon by more insidious evils, such as devils and evil gods, planting the seeds of corruption among the high-ranking elves and dwarves. As the upper-class of the Starlight Empires considered more and more the other races as lesser beings, they began acting cruelly against them, taxing them or taking over their land. Some dark-hearted ones even took them as subjects for magical experiments, creating new races to be served as a slave race. Humans were especially oppressed, and that drove many to hate the elves and dwarves, increasing hatred and paranoia. Needless to say, the level of discontent among the other Alliance races grew to dangerous levels. However, not all elves and dwarves agreed with the policies of their rulers.

The vast number of cruelties were acted out by the elite upper-class of the Starlight Empires, whereas the majority of elves and dwarves, such as the commoners, artisans, and farmers, were more or less tolerant to other races, preferring to live in peace and friendship. However, the elite nobles held most of the power, either in magical force or military strength, thus dictated policy.

An underground organization was formed to help other races escape the cruelties of the Starlight Empires. This organization was led by more enlightened folk: elven sages, dwarven craftmasters, human wizards, priests of various good religions. Many of their members were artisans, scholars, and bards who understood how the actions of their rulers would bring the ruin of all.

When the Great Sundering of the Dwarven People occurred, things were at their lowest. With the internal squabbling of the dwarven race came the dissolution of the Great Alliance. Internal and political disputes of the Starlight Empires grew to a point where noble lords incited civil wars. Races fed up with the oppressive rule of the Starlight Empires rose up against them in a large scale rebellion. At the same time, Horde Races attack them all everywhere. It took a thousand years for all the greatness that was built up to fall into ruin.

A Shining Moment

After the dust settled, the great Starlight Empires were shattered, either destroyed or split into independent factions, no longer united in common purpose. This allowed many aggressive factions to take advantage of this weakness and there were numerous conflicts all over the world.

Preceeded by:
Age of Horrors

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Succeeded by:
Age of Kings

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