Here follows a short history of the civilisations that have come before the wretched Age of Dusk. Know that in the long ages between each entry mentioned below, empires have risen and fallen and civilisations have been lost to time, leaving only ruins and no soul to remember them. What follows are only those civilisations, glorious or vile and often both, that have left their mark upon the lands of Autumn even in the Age of Dusk. Know also that there are older things then man that lurk in the crags and caverns beneath the skin of the world and not all of these have been found.
-The Sybarran Empire: Know that before Sybarra rose from the cradle of Great Sibir thousands went before them and all traces of these others were swept away under the sandals of its uncountable legions. With steel and commerce and sorcery did Great Sybarra spread across the Lands of Autumn and beyond until it could truly be said that the Sun never set across its domains. Glorious and terrifying was Great Sybarra, and by the will of its God-Emperors cities were ground to rubble, mountains sculpted in the image of its heroes and great monuments erected that persist to this day. Its language formed the roots of the uncounted vulgar dialects spoken in the Lands of Autumn.
Powerful and invincible was Great Sybarra until it fell within a year and a day and men have forgotten why it was so. Today few records of Great Sybarra remain, though their monuments endure still. Only the Sial-Atun remember, and not even under the direst torture will they reveal their secret.
-Nzembar: Based on an island off what is now the western coast of the Sea of Storms, for the seas stretched farther in that glorious era then they do in this decrepit age, Nzembar rose to prominence by the skills of its artisans, rather then the might of its armies. Beautiful concubines of spun glass and delicate alloys, living ships that could sail across the heavens, great flying fortressess as beautiful as they were impregnable and a thousand other wonders were the gifts of Nzembar. Such was the quality of their artifice that today a Gal’Alorian merchant prince will pay a man his weight in gold for a single Nzembarian artifact. Glorious and benevolent was the reign of Nzembar and it was said the Gods looked upon them with favour.
But this age of splendour did not last. None can say from whence it came, but know that those who looked upon Nzembar with envious eyes and hatred in their hearts did release an insidious Bane upon them. Gradually it ate away at their thoughts, reducing many to drooling imbeciles. Those that retained their wits suffered a fate far more dire. Their artistic skills were mutilated, and where once they could produce things of great beauty, now they could produce only ugliness.
Though their end was nigh and their reign forever broken, Nzembar did not pass quietly, for there was hate left in their hearts and revenge on their minds. Unable to identify the cause of their doom, they set out to pay back the world for the mortal blow it had struck them. Thus they forged things of horror and ugliness, to let loose upon the world and do unto it as it had done to them a thousandfold. And though Nzembar has long passed, many of its Banes still lie within the forgotten places of the Lands of Autumn, waiting to exact retribution for a crime that was committed when the world was young.
Though at least one floating palace, long since fallen to the dusty earth, has been discovered, the location of Nzembar has been lost to time.
-Tzyan: Accursed and loathed and foul was Tzyan, whose towers reached for the sky and whose skill with Sorcery was greater then all that ever were and would be. Terrible and decadent and ferocious were its Princes, who remade their flesh with sorcery and wrapped their cities in lambent tapestries of sorcery. So arrogant and vile were the Sorcerers of Tzyan that in their Hubris they saw fit to challenge the gods themselves.
For years the war raged on, and of those gods that could be killed did Tzyan take their flesh and deployed it to its own vile ends. On the great plains of what are now the Tempest Lands did the Sorcerers of Tzyan meet the hosts of the Old Gods in Battle, and faced with an invincible adversary, they did deploy the Weapon and so doing ushered in the Age of Dusk. As the host of the Old Gods was broken alongside the armies of Hated Tzyan a great shockwave did travel through the fabric of sorcery, burning the Tzyanese in their spires as their thousand enchantments turned upon them. Cities fell and the earth was burned and sorcerers were turned into torches. The few of the Tzyanese that survived by wits or luck linger on, immortal, their vital functions sustained by sorcery, warring ceaselessly over ever diminishing spoils.
-The Harrow Kings: From the ashes of the Calamity that burned the world rose a terror every bit as loathed and feared as the foul Tzyanese or the nightmare sorcerers of banished Ion. Styling themselves the Harrow-Kings, they did unleash upon the reeling kingdoms and empires of the Age of Dusk a reign of Terror that would never be forgotten. By their cruel and despotic whims, cities were sacked and libraries burned. It is said that there was not a day in their dread reign that the screams of hundreds could not be heard upon the wind, and the sky was blackened by their pyres.
Not so much conquerors as despoilers, the Harrow Kings crushed all but a few of the kingdoms of the Age of Dusk and made of their cities abbatoirs and charnel houses. It is fortunate for man that they were as fractious and capricious as they were powerful and it was by their own constant infighting that they caused their doom.
It is said the last of the Harrow Kings was betrayed by his allies and cast within the Sea of Storms in a coffin sealed with rune-scribed lead. Thus ended the reign of the dreaded Harrow Kings.