The Fifth Age: "Age of Strife"

Picking Up the Pieces

In the aftermath of the Fiend Soul War, the people of Celesia had to rebuild, which was not an easy task. The war changed the very landscape of the world. Landmasses had shifted, new islands were formed, and parts of land were flooded. The abundant resources of the League of Stars were gone, and the people had very little left.

Eventually, they managed to rebuild little by little and resumed living their lives. Unfortunately, all the advancements of the League were lost, and progress was thrown back by several millenia. Much like the first half of the Age of Kings, nations rose and fell, borders were redrawn countless times, and life went on. The only difference from before was that there was a marked increase in conflicts in this age, giving it its name. This was the result of the war. Without the compassion and wisdom of the Célestar, humanity and its neighbors fell back into their old, suspicious and aggressive ways.

The Return of Zhao-Kahn

With Zhao-Kahn's death, there was a huge power vacuum in the ranks of evil. Now leaderless, the Masters of the Dark were quick to fight each other over who will the ultimate master of evil. The side of good thought that things would turn better for them, but the Servants of the Grey suspected otherwise.

Zhao-Kahn was a Creator God, and as such, was one of the primary essences of reality itself. With his destruction, the elements of the universe was unbalanced and attempted to compensate. Nature grew more wild and fierce. Monsters multiplied exponentially. Civilization was turning upon itself, becoming corrupt and falling into decay. This truly was the Age of Strife.

However, Zhao-Kahn was no fool. Knowing that his defeat and destruction was possible, he made plans for that eventuality. He kept an essence of himself hidden on Celesia, in the form of an ever-burning ball of black flame, guarded by his few surviving followers. It and its retinue traveled the world, avoiding detection, and searching for the elements that could bring back the Lord of Tyranny. In the year 4995 of the Age of Strife, the Order of the Black Flame found the perfect agent it needed to accomplish its goals.

A paladin of Kaï-den by the name of Darius Armanis was one of the most powerful, and most noble of the Knight-Protectors of Solaris. He was a champion of the Light and was said to be a true descendent of the Célestar. However, during a war between Solaris and its neighbors, his wife and children were killed when the leaders of Solaris decided to sacrifice the village where they lived in order to gain a tactical advantage. Sir Darius was consumed by grief and anger. He was then approached and seduced by agents of the Black Flame. In exchange for his service, they would give him the power he needed to avenge his family, and bring "justice" to those who did this to him. Soon, Darius became Zhao-Kahn's most loyal and capable agent. When he died, he was raised as a death knight and took the name Thanatos.

Thanatos was given the task to resurrect his new lord. For over a century, Thanatos had formed a small army of undead and living soldiers, as well as forming an alliance with a powerful dark elf House. A ritual was developped by Zhaoist mages and clerics to bring their lord back. The first requirement would be that the land must be bathed in war and tyranny. Secondly, the Black Flame must be fed the souls of the innocent. while their corpses be used to create the receptacle body. Thirdly, three holy artifacts of Zhao-Kahn (The Crown of Tyranny, the Rod of Fear, and the Tome of Hate) must be united and placed upon the receptacle body. Finally, the blood and soul of a descendant of the Célestar must be sacrificed at the climax of the ritual.

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Year 5132

Throughout the entire year, a series of assassinations occur within the kingdoms of Karkista, Garand, and the Valkirk Republic. The victims are mostly politicians and military leaders. At the same time, raids from orcs, goblins, and kobolds wreck havoc in the north of Valendar, in the Valkirk Republic, and the southern regions of the kingdom of Hynaeria.

Year 5133

Emperor Xaos launches an all out invasion on his eastern neighbors. The kingdoms of Karkista and Garand fell swiftly. The former fell because its self-serving nobility could not exercise the leadership needed to lead the defense, while the latter were unprepared due to a conceited belief that their policy of non-involvement of affairs outside their borders would spare them. The death knight Thanatos recovers the Tome of Hate from the Andarios Library-Catacombs underneath the city of Garandios, the capital of Garand.

The armies of Xaos, led by High Warlord Armand Barador, then proceeds to conquer the wester half of the Valkirk Republic before the Republic's armies must a solid defense, led by General Uriel Dirkson, and slows the invasion.

Year 5134

Seeking a descendant of the Célestar who carries the right amount of potential in their blood, Thanatos finds who he is looking for in the form of the elven maiden Sylvanna Ama'tae of Solonaith. Knowing that she tends to accompany her eldest brother Eldebran and his mercenary company, the Solonaith Outriders, on sorties, he waits near the elf city. When the Outriders leave the city to join aid the Valkirk Republic in the war, Thanatos and his army of undead ambush them. Depite slaughtering over half of the company and slaying Eldebran in single combat, Sylvanna manages to escape his grasp.

After the funeral for her brother, Sylvanna learns from her mother that she has arranged a marriage between her and the son of another noble house. Her mother believes that this would help alleviate the grief her daughter was experiencing, especially since Sylvanna was already attracted to the boy. However, Sylvanna views this as taking away her freedom, and she runs away from home to seek her brother's former teacher and adventuring companion.

The kingdom of Hynaeria sends an army to aid its neighbor, the Valkirk Republic. The army is led by First Prince Dashiel Luskarn, with his only son Aiken as his second-in-command. Dashiel's younger brother, Second Prince Elias returns from his wild adventures to aid the kingdom. His daughter, Melisande, serves as liaison to the Republic.

Sylvanna arrives in Feywood and encounters Kain Gallant and his companions: Kyle Swiftblade, Cyrussilar Ari'luth, Jannihilus Saturus, and Loreilana Ama'lyth. Feywood village is soon attacked by a horde of orcs. Normally, the orcs and Feywood villagers have an agreement of leaving each other alone (although the orcs sometimes forget), but the orcs have been roused to violence by an orc agent of Thanatos. His goal is to gather orcs and other monstrous humanoids to continue disrupting peace in the region.

Feywood drives the orcs back, and Kain and his friends are exiled under the pretect that it was their actions that provoked the orc attack. In reality though, his mother suggested that they should investigate why the orcs attacked. Kain's party sneak into the orcs' camp and discover a locked chest belonging to the orc agent. In in they discover instructions from another agent in the town of Bertram.

Both the Valkirk and Hynaerian armies are destroyed in battle against the Xaos invaders, with Princes Dashiel and Aiken killed. Valkirk formerly surrenders, although General Uriel and the remnants of the army go into hiding and for a resistance. Princess Melisande is captured by Thanatos' agents on her way back to Hynaeria. Kain and his companions encounter Roland Kallahan and Aranus Deravan. The same agents that captured the princess attempt to kill them because of Kain's group's interference, and Roland and Aranus' attempt at locating the princess. Defeating the attackers, Roland and Aranus join Kain and they soon rescue the princess.

Year 5154

The Reformation of the Church of Kaï-den begins. The church is split into two factions, the old Orthodox viewpoint, and the newer, all-encompassing Serene Contemplative philosophy.

Year 5159

The Elder Horror Xin'carlath, Mother of Abominations, is freed and goes on a rampage.

Thelaris sacrifices himself to fuse with nature and re-seal Xin'carlath's connection to the Void.

The Mavericks battle Xin'carlath's physical form. Aranus sacrifices himself to serve as a conduit for Kaï-den's divine power to destroy the Elder Horror.

Year 5164

Zhao-Kahn begins his conquest of the world.

Year 5169

Zhao-Kahn is slain by the Mavericks. End of the Fifth Age.

Preceeded by:
Age of Kings

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Succeeded by:
The New Age

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