Against the Shadow
Against the Shadow
It is now the Last Age. A shadow covers the land. Faith has fled. Freedom is lost. Hope is gone. The dark god has risen and the world is his. Who will stand against him?
In the ageless time before the dawn of history, there was a war in heaven. In desperation, the lords of light severed the black spirit of the dark god Izrador, casting him out of the celestial kingdom. The gods succeeded in vanquishing their brother, but Izrador corrupted their magic and turned their victory against them. As the fallen god’s spirit was severed from his physical form, so too was the celestial kingdom severed from all contact with the material realm. The lords of light discovered that they could no longer commune with their mortal children. This cataclysm shook the foundations of the world and came to be known as the Sundering.
The dark one fell to the earth, his foul essence staining the land with its evil shadow. Weakened and bodiless, Izrador retreated to the ice and cold of the far north. There he slumbered, slowly recovering his strength and dreaming of vengeance across eons of time. Empires were built and crumbled to dust, races were born and died, and the Shadow in the North grew deeper and darker.
Three times the dark god rose and threatened the nations of Aryth with iron and fire. The first time he was defeated by a proud host of elves, dwarves, and Dornish men led by Aradil the Witch Queen. The second time, races of good held the Shadow off long enough for aid to come from, an unlooked-for ally. By the time of his third rising, the free peoples of Eredane were battered, bitter, and distracted by their own infighting as well by the insidious corruption sown by the dark god’s spies over the years. Four of the land’s greatest heroes fell prey to his dark promises and betrayed their people, leading his hordes from the north. This time, the dark god won.
The dwarven clans were broken and retreated to their holdfasts deep within the earth. The elves withdrew into their vast and ancient forest, abandoning all to the Shadow. The Dorns, tamed by a power from across the sea in the Second Age, were betrayed from within and fell swiftly. One hundred years have passed since the Shadow fell. The elder races—those of good heart and fey ancestry who have battled Izrador for millennia—are being systematically hunted down and exterminated. The great forest of Erethor has become an island of light in a darkening world, its elven keepers fighting a never-ending battle against besieging hordes of orcs, giants, and goblinoids. The surviving dwarven clans have locked themselves in their mountain holdfasts, and the streets of once-proud subterranean cities have become meat grinders for the orcs who are sent in to root them out. The lands of men are ruled with an iron fist by the minions of the Shadow. Cities lie in ruins, and the commoners in isolated towns lock the gates against the darkness each night. Literacy, magic, and weapons are illegal, and ignorance spreads across the land like a terrible plague.