The first century on Terranis following the Fall was one marked by lawlessness and chaos. Although the Dreadlord Astanathos had been defeated, the continued survival of humanity was still in doubt. Other entities had been unleashed during the invasion that remain unaccounted for, and the sudden power vacuum plunged countless human territories into anarchy. However, despite such overwhelming odds, the power of the human spirit continued to shine.
Abating the Darkness
During the initial invasion led by Astanathos, the demon lord opened numerous portals across Terranis, through which unspeakable monsters from the universe of the Great Enemy emerged. The majority of these were lesser creatures, biological monstrosities that could generally be defeated with conventional weapons, though dozens of cities were destroyed anyway with the suddenness and ferocity of their attacks. Furthermore, the death throes of Astanathos caused nearly all technology left on Terranis to cease functioning, forcing the surviving humans to rely on far cruder or improvised weaponry.
Luckily for humanity, the portals opened by Astanathos began to close after his defeat. Unluckily for humanity, entities more powerful than simple monsters had emerged through some of them, or forced their way through before the path between realities was completely closed. Although none could match the raw power of Astanathos, many of them were still strong enough to defeat any threat. They began to either lead armies of destruction across the land or carve out their own fledgling empires, sometimes battling each other as if they were human powers squabbling over territory.
In time, many of these demonic warlords would be brought down over the First Century, whether in open battle with new human nations (such as the First Battle of Aachen, the Ambush of Khar’thul, or the Siege of Saernis City), by bands of desperate warriors trying to halt their rampages (Ghoraz the Mutilator, the Prefect of Hate, or Laztili being several that were defeated in such a manner), or even by individual mighty heroes in a few cases. Not all would be stopped in the First Century, and some would continue to plague humanity well into the Second Century, such as the Lustlord Lucifon.
As if the Great Enemy wasn’t bad enough, numerous groups of humans also plagued Terranis throughout the First Century. Many simply became power-hungry groups of raiders, but others openly joined the assorted demon warlords, likely seeing such moves as their only option for survival.
Within a few decades of the Fall, the bastions of civilization across Terranis were little more than scattered candles in a storm, with more of them guttering out every year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the defenders of these bastions fought with increasing desperation to survive as time went on, especially against fellow humans they saw as traitors to the entire species, whether or not these traitors had allied with the Great Enemy.
Even some of the most secure cities still standing, such as the mountain fastness of Ralanoga in central Occidus, were ultimately sacked. Only the largest cities, that could draw on the most defenders, or those who were extremely isolated, seemed to have any real hope of survival. Thankfully for mankind, a new hope began to appear.
To this day, no one knows where the abilities now commonly referred to as “magic” came from. All that is known is that, following the Fall, certain individuals began to demonstrate extraordinary abilities, and this number only increased as the years went on. There seemed to be no pattern or common element as people all over the world began to manifest powers, with no indication of hereditary elements or environmental exposures being a factor. The only telling factor was that no human who broke with civilization and became a raider, or who allied with the Great Enemy, manifested the new abilities.
At first, these powers were wild and uncontrolled, and few gained any true mastery in the First Century. However, even the most rudimentary control was enough to often turn the tide in battles as gifted individuals could unleash torrents of raw energy to annihilate a dozen enemies at once, or spontaneously heal all but the most grievous of wounds. Indeed, many of the smaller groups of adventurers who tried to strike down the more powerful demons included at least one member with these abilities.
By the second half of the First Century, enough of the demon warlords had been slain that the pressure upon the remaining human cities was finally beginning to relent. Essentially in retaliation, the assorted barbarian tribes renewed their own assaults upon civilization, sparking the First Barbarian Wars. The fighting would last almost until the end of the century, but, without large-scale support from their demonic patrons, the barbarian tribes were slowly ground down until those who survived vanished into the vast wildlands of Terranis, not to be seen again for a generation or more. Numerous human warlords of notoriety were slain, including Skudder the Vicious and the entire line of Vasilius, which had plagued vast areas of Occidus since the Fall itself.
A New Light
Also of significant note is the creation of the al'ukhuwwat al'ida', also known as the Order of Light. A self-identified “Prophet of God” began to speak to the people across Occidus, preaching about dire threats still facing Terranis, and there being a need for faithful warriors who could hold the line on humanity’s behalf, no matter what sacrifices would be needed. By the time this Prophet reached Jorandek, his followers numbered in the thousands. They purchased a fleet of ships, loaded them with supplies, and disappeared to the north, heading for Korandus, a frozen and uninhabited island almost at Terranis’ north pole.
Twenty-five years later, as the First Barbarian Wars raged, they would stun the world with their initial appearance, as a force of highly-trained paladins appeared during the Siege of Jekith, slaughtering an entire army of barbarians and the demons leading them, despite seemingly impossible odds. Envoys appeared before the leaders of most nations of Terranis, announcing the Order’s existence and pledge to defend humanity. Although the Wars were already beginning to swing in favor of the civilized nations, the appearance of the Order ensured victory would go to those nations, and hastened the end of the Wars by as much as a decade, likely saving tens of thousands of innocent lives.
1 Janras, 1 AF: This marks the beginning of the After Fall calendar, established by King Renoir du Saniel I after the Fall. Although the final battle was concluded several months prior, King Renoir elected to start the AF calendar at the start of the next local New Year, to minimize confusion. This also marked the end of the Solar calendar which had been used by the Solar Alliance up until that point.
17 Febras, AF 41: The Sunlady, a sailing vessel commanded by Jean Packar of Saniel, completes the first trans-global voyage, sailing a complete circuit around the world in 61 days.
2 Janras, AF 47: Inspired by references in pre-Fall texts, Jorgen Sarlson of Saernis City develops the lensatic compass, which greatly aids in navigation and ultimately paves the way for the re-exploration of Terranis over the following centuries.
28 Mas, AF 59: Departure of the “Army of God” from Jorandek. An unknown man identifying himself only as a “Prophet of God” had traveled across Occidus for the last several years, preaching of a need for warriors to defend against the darkness of the Great Enemy. Those who followed this man sold nearly all their worldly possessions to finance an expedition to the frozen island of Korandus.
13 Avras, AF 61: The city of Montfort in Saniel is sacked by an army of brigands, marking both the largest attack by raiders since the Fall and the opening battle of what would come to be known as the First Barbarian Wars, as the nascent countries of Terranis battle for both survival and land against the countless tribes of barbarians and raiders plaguing both continents.
24 Avras, AF 62: Death of King Renoir du Saniel I, founder of the Kingdom of Saniel, and leader of the Solar Alliance forces of Terranis and Belladrix during the Fall.
28 Mars, AF 72: Battle of Shingdao Plains. The first major battle in the War of Five Kingdoms, the army of General Wei scores a crushing victory over the army of Wu Shen, legitimizing his rule over the lands around Zhejing, and eliminating doubts as to his skill in battle. Numerous lesser lords who were hesitant to back him subsequently gave Wei their full support, allowing him to truly launch his campaign of conquest.
8 Novras, AF 81: Through a collaborative effort, several scholars in Saernis City are able to build the first after-Fall telescope (all previously extant copies had been destroyed). Decades are spent refining the device, producing additional copies, and re-cataloging the stars in the night sky.
11 Septas, AF 84: First appearance of the Order of Light in wider Terranis society, as an army of paladins flanks the barbarian army laying siege to Jekith, and wipes it out in less than a day, despite being outnumbered dozens to one.
12 Junas, AF 92: With the defeat of the army of Skudder the Vicious, Saniel declares victory in its part of the First Barbarian Wars. Several decades of peace would ensue until its expansion campaigns in the next century.
22 Avras, AF 93: Battle of Nanjing. General Wei Han Lu successfully conquers the city of Nanjing, the last rival to his power in the region, and declares himself Emperor Wei I of the new Weijin Empire.