The rise of the favored races--the Second Age

The Second Age was an age of wonders, where the mortal races rose to the challenge laid before them by the departure of the gods. Heroes were born, epics were written, and great works were accomplished. The events of this Age affected the world for centuries to come, shaping both the land and its people.

A pity the Age of Ruin happened just after. No one knows how many thousands of books, scrolls, and tablets were destroyed in the early, darkest days. The results, however, are well-known—only fragments of history of this time remain, kept alive mostly by the bards, who sing these old songs in exchange for a night’s lodging.

What follows is “broad strokes” knowledge of the Second Age that most adventuring-type people would know. Some character concepts will know more about certain areas, and will be given additional info accordingly.

The Second Exodus
Legends say that the races were birthed in the lands around Godsmount, an area so close to paradise it is often given that name. After the destruction of Godsmount, however, Paradise became less hospitable, resulting in what is generally referred to as the Second Exodus, when the races departed their birthplace to settle the rest of Terok. It is said that the Rishkin were the first to set forth, and that they will continue to wander until they find a new Paradise.

The Great Works
One visible reminder of the Second Age are the massive constructs. Castles, temples, monuments, roads—the old masters built well, and they built to last. The dwarves get most of the fame—Doric Boulderfist, the Builder of Roads; and the Cloudbeard castles, to name just two. The halflings, however, have their own legends, albeit on a slightly less grand scale-- Gideon Glasius, who created the art of stained glass windows; and Ana the Stonebride, who was said to have sculpted statues so beautiful, she fell in love with one.

Kingdoms of the Second Age
As the races grew in number, the need for leadership grew. The clerics were the first to offer such guidance, filling the void left by the gods’ departure. As time went on, however, and the people moved ever-outwards, more local rulers began to appear, as it became more and more difficult for a central authority to claim dominion. Eventually these “governors” became the new rulers-- the birth of the monarchy. The bards, predictably, have many, many songs about the various kings and queens, and the realms they gained and lost--ironically, most of these epic battles were fought over kingdoms no one has heard of in over a thousand years.

While the races mingled freely, the stories say almost all of the favored races eventually found a portion of Terok to claim as their new homeland. The dwarves carved out a portion of the Richter mountains; the elves settled amongst the trees of the vast (insert) forest; meanwhile the halflings happily settled in the fertile land of (insert), where their low-walled city could sprawl in every direction; even the Merfolk were said to have one city beneath the waves that they treasured over all others, though the name of it has been lost to time. Only the humans refused to pick just one portion of Terok to call their own--Soledon’s children instead spread farther and wider than anyone else, establishing cities and kingdoms throughout Terok.

A New Land
Once the coasts were settled, the people started experimenting with ship building. From simple rafts to multi-masted boats, the land-bound races explored what they could of the vast oceans. But it was the merfolk who brought news of a new land, seperate from Terok--a large, untouched continent many leagues from familiar shores, a place unpopulated by any of the races. Naturally, this resulted in countless expeditions to this unspoiled place, and it was given the name of Kazuun, after the admiral that lead the first fleet there. Rumors abound that the land was not as uninhabited as first thought, and stories of ancient ruins are still told, but no-one today knows the truth of the matter.

The Church of Terok
When the gods left, they empowered certain mortals to be their voices to those left behind. And, like suddenly-orphaned children, the people of Terok needed to hear the words of their gods, even if only through an intermediary. Thus, the Church was born. Over the years and centuries, the Church and its clergy would spread and grow with the races. This institution provided a framework for an evolving people, and, legends say, allowed the races to stay in contact with each other, even as the towns and cities were built farther and farther apart.

The Arcane League/Arcanal
Founded in the early days of Terok by the first archmage--the elf Leya Greyflame--the League (commonly referred to as the Arcanal) was created to protect the practioners of arcane magic from the harsh control of the clergy, who believed that all magic was a sign of a god’s favor, and thus falling under the purview--and control--of the Church. Over time the Arcanal became the center of more than just magical learning, founding universities and libraries all across Terok. Ostensibly an enlightened group that didn’t involve itself in politics, stories still remain of “rogue” individuals who used their knowledge for their own ends, or the ends of those they served.

War with the Lunar Goblins
The favored races had seemingly forgotten about their unfortunate cousins, the children of Gohbal who had been exiled to his moon, there to live forever apart from the bounty of Terok. These creatures--commonly referred to by the name “goblin,” from a corruption of their creator’s name --had not forgotten, however. And one day, they found their way back.

Though details are sketchy, the legends say that the goblins attacked in wave after wave all across Terok, arriving through gateways that linked the two worlds. Some kingdoms were immediately overrun, while others were able to fend off the assaults. Coordinated counterattacks were difficult due to the distances involved, and the goblins proved to be unmatched in the art of hit-and-run assaults, whittling down the defenders in small skirmishes until the goblins’ numbers overcame the greater Terokian skill. Even when a major battle was won, the gates would simply open, and more goblins would pour forth. Eventually, however, the hordes were defeated, and the majority of the gates were sealed--however, the stories of how this happened are numerous and varied, and no two accounts agree. Only the ending is ever the same: the goblins, though now a permanent fixture on Terok after the survivors went into hiding, are no longer in danger of claiming it.

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