Flames from the Furnace
The Elder Days
Long before formal records were ever kept regarding the history of the world, tales were passed down by word of mouth, and song. These tales and songs told of the formation of the world, that was perfect, with no evil across the world and civilisation prevalent across the planet. Tall spires, and sprawling cities dominated the horizon as far as even a keen elven or dwarven eye could see. Trade was prosperous and the peoples of the world mingled freely. Whether Human or Half-ling, Elf or Goblin, Dwarf or Dragonborn, Orc or Minotaur, all lived intermingled lives, in the service of their deities and their land.
Then, one day, with a loud snap, all the world changed. Fire rained down from the heavens, and great rents riped apart the ground. The skies turned black, and the sun turned into a bale-ful red circle. The largest towers of the world shattered as the earth quaked. Towns, villages and farms all caught light and burned. People panicked, ran and died.
Some sought refuge from the elemental onslaught. They reached to their Gods, but they were silent. They reached inside themselves, and found a way free of the world. Dwarves delved into the mountains of the world. Some Elves and Half-lings found themselves within the fey-wild, and adopted it as their home. Some Humans and Dragonborn found themselves within the Shadowfell, and were trapped. Many of those who remained found themselves imbued with wondrous powers they could use to shape reality to better defend themselves and others.
The devastation lasted for almost a year, when it ended, gone as suddenly as it had sprung itself upon the world. But a new disaster was about to change the world again. Across the lands, rifts tore reality apart, as they became gateways into the shadowfell. Demons and devils swarmed from the rifts, cutting down or enslaving those who had not the power to resist them. Indeed, the world looked to be overrun, but some humans emerged from the shadowfell. They were changed, almost beyond all recognition, They were horned, and had tails and their skin was of colours that had never before been seen on the earth. They came wielding weapons and wore armour. What was almost a year in the world, had been almost two decades in the shadowfell, and the humans had had to cohabit with demons, and learn to resist the most vicious varieties. No dragonborn were seen to return, but their name-sakes were said to scorch the skies and prey on people of all kinds, even demons.
Others emerged from portals leading to the Feywild, not changed as physically, but gifted with powers that separated them from much of the world that had gone before. They too came bearing tools of warfare, and joined with those who had remained behind, and the changed humans to drive the demons away from the few remaining points of civilisation that remained. The changed humans called themselves ‘Tieflings’, and were vicious beyond almost all compare on the battle-field. The fey who returned from the Feywild were aloof from their brethren, more concerned with race and bloodlines than any before.
Both sides of the war, marshalled armies, and crafted their weapons for war. They were said to clash for a century. Cities fell, forests burned and mountain halls were ransacked. Weapons clashed, skies were filled with quarrels and fire, and lightning crashed. The dead were defiled as their bodies were lifted from the ground by nerotic energies. Once again the prophets of the gods strode forth and drove back the worst of their foes, although some remained silent.
At the end of the century, the demons and devils faded away, hissing curses that one day they would return and take back what was rightfully theirs.
Then the world, changed as it was tried to return to the world that was, but the effects of the Feywild and the Shadowfell were all too evident. No longer could the people of the world live together in harmony.