Chronicle of the Flickering Flame
The Age of Humanity
○ Creation (Eons ago)
○ The Days of Thunder (~35,000 years ago)
○ The Dawn Age (~30,000 years ago)
○ The Sundering (~24,000 years ago)
○ The First Flowering (~12,000 years ago)
○ The Crown Wars (~9,000 years ago)
The Age of Humanity (~3,000 years ago)
Over the course of millennia the majority of the elves, dwarves and other intelligent non-human races of Faerûn slowly retreated into their forest, island and mountain homes. This allowed human ambition to flourish like no other time in history. They multiplied and spread to every corner of Toril, quickly becoming the most populous race by far. In these early days the human appetite for knowledge and power is most clearly illustrated in the empire of Netheril.
The empire sprouted from humble beginnings. A string of small fishing villages along the Sword Coast banded together, calling themselves the Netheril after the elder who was instrumental in forming the alliance. The Eaerlanni elves, a nomadic band who lost their homes in the Crown Wars and are now forgotten by most, began trading goods and knowledge with the Netheril people, including knowledge of magic. The humans took to the arcane arts better than the Eaerlanni could have imagined. Eventually, the quaint Netherese fishing villages became towns and then cities and finally a powerful and expansive empire that revolved around arcane magic. A magocracy formed, where a citizen’s standing was intrinsically tied to their skills with spellcraft. Even the common barmaid or stable boy knew some small magics at that point in the empire’s history.
It was a time of plenty and few of the Netherese lacked for the common necessities. Magic made everyday life easier for all but there were some who could not see an end to their ambition and lust for power. The Eaerlanni had told whispered tales of caution about a set of ancient texts that contained forbidden magical knowledge. Knowledge that had led to the downfall of the creator races and was perhaps even responsible for the destruction of the Miyeritar empire. Whether or not the elves who told these tales actually believed in the fabled artifacts or were just warning against the reckless pursuit of uncontrollable power is unknown. But, soon after the Netherese reached the limits of power granted to them by the Earlanni, they began sending secret expeditions into various ruins in what was once the great elven kingdom of Aryvandaar. After decades of searching and many lives lost the High Mages of Nethril began to despair that the texts did not exist or had been destroyed in the Crown Wars. And then, one day, a band of adventurers delivered to them an ancient chest filled with strange, metallic scrolls. They were indeed the artifacts the Eaerlanni spoke of and they contained a complete and unerring base of knowledge on fundamental magical theory. The scrolls are known today as the Nether Scrolls.
The mages of Netheril saw their power grow exponentially due to the revelatory knowledge within the Nether Scrolls. The empire was all but invincible, being able to cast tremendous spells of terrible destructive power, create weapons of war never before seen on a battlefield and raise their sprawling cities into the sky or erect underwater cities in the deep oceans so that no army could lay siege to them. The Netherese conquered much of the north and their reign lasted for millennia. But, all was not well with the empire.
The powerful magic afforded by the Nether Scrolls allowed the Netherese wizards to extend their influence into realms and planes of existence beyond their own. It was this foolish misstep that caught the attention of the Phaerimm, horrific beings of incredible power that live beyond time and space as we know it. They came to Toril for one purpose, to consume and ravage all they could before returning to their torpor. The Netherese fought against them for centuries and the consequences of those battles was hideous, reducing vast expanses of land to ashes or rubble. And then came the archwizard Karsus. He is said to be perhaps the most powerful mortal wizard that has ever walked the face or Toril. Karsus saw the unthinkable cost of continuing the Netherese war of attrition against the implacable Phaerimm and concocted an impossibly bold plan to save his people.
Karsus cast what many scholars consider to be the most powerful spell ever cast by a single person. And for the briefest of moments his being was merged with that of Mystryl, the goddess of magic. Karsus used this singular opportunity to simultaneously banish every Phaerimm into the depths of the planet where they would be magically bound for eternity. Magic surged to incredible levels all across the world and Mystryl knew that the magical Weave, an unseen force of raw magic that permeates everything in existence, was in danger of being seriously and irrevocably damaged. Before Karsus could do more harm, Mystryl, though sheer force of will, weakened the bonds of the spell for an infinitesimally small fraction of time and sacrificed her own life, destroying herself and Karsus both. The Weave was safe, though was temporarily disabled in conjunction with the death of the goddess. All magic ceased for a short period and this spelled disaster for the empire of Netheril. Their flying cities fell from the sky and the earth shaking impacts could be felt thousands of miles away. The spell-forged crystal domes of their underwater cities imploded, filling the streets with the cold and crushing weight of the oceans. Untold numbers died and the Netherese were no more. Though the Phaerimm were driven from Toril, perhaps saving the entire world from being consumed.
Before long, a young peasant girl wandering a spring meadow came upon the essence of Mystryl, fallen to earth. Her soul merged with that of the fallen goddess and she set off on a long journey. She left her small village behind, walking a thousand miles or more, to eventually stand before a massive crater containing the ruins of the imperial capital of the Netherese empire. She strode into the still smoking rubble and emerged with the Nether Scrolls. It was then that she ascended to the heavens, becoming the new goddess of magic. She took the new name of Mystra and cast the Nether Scrolls into the darkest and most impenetrable void of the multiverse.
○ The Era of Upheaval (1358 DR to Present)