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aka Age of Bronze
Whereas the First Age witnessed the rise of the Sylvari and Runir (among others), the Second Age belonged to humanity. This age was dominated by the ancient human empires, founded by the wizards of Aan and their descendants. Though little knowledge remains of the Second Age, the legacies of Satar, Khemsa, Qet, and the rest live on even today. Events known to have occurred during the Second Age are described below. All years are approximations that should be considered accurate only as relative to other years of this age.
Ancient Human Empires (-1800 to 0)
A variety of kingdoms and empires came and went during the Second Age. A few lasted longer than others and left their names etched in history. Satar started as a small coastal village on the western Karnathas shore and eventually came to dominate all of the western half of the continent. The Satar Empire survived 800 years before imploding due to corruption and civil war. Zammut ruled over southeastern Karnathas and was Khemsa's rival in the eastern Llyrnan Sea in the Early Second Age until a series of military defeats made it a protectorate of the southern empire. The Empire of Xucatl was a Late Second Age power that controlled western Zarkhir until its defeat by the Qeshans. Khemsa, probably the most famous of the Second Age powers, was spread across most of Zarkhir and even extended into the Eastern Desolation. Qet was the successor to Khemsa; the Qeshan Empire rose from the ashes of Khemsa, only to fall 400 years later to its own missteps. Thallosea was the last of the great powers of the Second Age, covering the center of Karnathas. Its dreams of expanding to the continental coasts were cut short by the fallout of the Divinity War.
Destruction of Amanheru (-1300)
The beginning of the end of Khemsa came with the destruction of Amanheru, the empire's capital city. Oppressed Zammutian loyalists attacked from the north, allied tribesmen of the Zarkhirran plains came from the west, and saboteurs inside Amanheru itself rose up and together brought down the city in a fierce three day battle. In the end, the decadent Khemsans were no match for the martial skills of the tribesmen or the fury of the Zammutians, and their greatest city was reduced to a smoking ruin strewn with the bodies of the dead.
Orcs First Appear (-1200)
Records from the Second Age (what few there are) seem to indicate that Orcs first made their appearance in the world during this time. It was assumed for years that they were created during the First Age, along with the Runir and most of the other intelligent races. But sages now contend that a nameless rival of Satar was responsible for either creating the Orcs or (more likely), opening a portal to another world where the Orcs actually originated. Whatever the case, this ancient kingdom attempted to employ the Orcs to defeat an invading Satarite army. They were successful in keeping the Satarites at bay, but then the Orcs turned on their "masters" and flooded out into Karnathas. It appears that Satar was able to re-launch their assault and eventually close the gate, but at that point the damage was already done.
Earthquake Destroys Asgarth Mor (-1100)
Asgarth Mor was once a great port city of the Satar Empire, a shining jewel of southwestern Karnathas. It was leveled by a great quake early in the Late Second Age. Satar made a half-hearted attempt to rebuild the city, but it was abandoned as the deteriorating empire lacked sufficient resources.
Creation of Varghani Desert (-1000)
It has been said that eastern Zarkhir was once covered by great plains and savannahs. It has also been claimed that the area was a lush, tropical rainforest. Regardless, it was supposed to have not been the desolate wasteland it is today. Legend states that during a war with the Xucatl Empire, wizards of the the Qeshan Empire attempted a magical ritual that was intended to destroy the enemy armies. However, the ritual went awry, and instead eastern Zarkhir - from the Varghani Mountains to the Sea of Serpents - was turned into a massive desert.
This tale is highly disputed as evidence indicates the Khemsan Empire - the precusor to Qet - was a desert power. The Qeshans could not have created the Varghani if it already existed. Some scholars believe that perhaps the legend is true but is an exaggeration, that the Varghani already existed but the botched Qeshan ritual simply enlarged it. Unfortunately, due to the lack of records from the time and the inability of divination magic to glean much prior to the Divinity War, the truth may never be known.
Fall of Qeshan Empire (-900)
The Qeshan Empire collapsed during the Late Second Age due to a series of magical mishaps, natural disasters, and bad decisions on the part of an inept leadership. The capital, Qet, still survives today as a decaying city-state.
Frost Giants Drive Runir from Tharindor (-850)
Tharindor was once a great dwarven city, one of the first the Runir had established in the First Age. However, in -850, a great tribe of frost giants from farther west in the Icewall attacked the city and drove the dwarves out. Due to a variety of other hardships and obstacles, the Runir have yet to reclaim their ancient city.
Sekhemet Leads Undead Invasion (-500)
Sekhemet? was once a great Khemsan wizard, a figure that other mages strove to become. Long thought to have been killed during the destruction of Amanheru, it was later learned that he had escaped the doomed city, fled far to the north, and underwent the transformation into an Undead lich. In -500, Sekhemet? led a great army of the Undead from beyond the Icewall into the heart of Karnathas. How legions of frozen skeletons and icy corpses could be found in the uninhabited far northern climes is unknown. Bearing an ancient staff known as the Blackcrypt Scepter?, Sekhemet swept into Thallosea, ravaging the empire. While the Imperial army fought the lich's forces, the Thallosean hero Caledac fought Sekhemet man-to-man. Caledac was victorious, breaking the staff in two and severing the lich's hand in the process. Sekhemet was not destroyed, and was able to escape. The Thalloseans defeated the Undead army but the wizard was never found.
Thallosean Civil War and Reunification (-450)
Though Thallosea had defeated Sekhemet?'s Undead army in -500, the war had weakened the Imperial army considerably. This enabled a faction of separatist nobles to seize a part of the empire and break away from Thallosea. A twenty year civil war resulted, finally ending with the death or imprisonment of the traitorous nobles and a very weak empire.
The end of the Second Age is marked by the Divinity War, the second of the major conflicts between the gods. The Divinity War was the culmination of an elaborate scheme that had been planned by the god Rahlis (now Shaarizad) since the end of the War of the Elders. Though no one knew it, Rahlis had been infected by an Outer God during that conflict, and over the aeons the infection had grown until it corrupted him completely. Not content to be one god among many, he plotted to incite a war among the deities. He convinced a number of gods to join him in a plan to destroy the rest, with the promise that they would all share in the power they gained from the deaths of the others. In truth, Rahlis planned to use his allies to crush the other gods and then he planned to eliminate them in turn.
The ensuing battle was known as the Divinity War. Many gods were slain during the war, which also spilled over into the mortal realm and resulted in further death and destruction there as holy wars raged between the various earthly churches. Kingdoms and empires rose and fell, while in many places the geography of the land itself was changed. Rahlis changed his name to "Shaarizad" borrowing from the Varghani a word meaning "dark king".
The Divinity War finally ended when the goddess Jhadara learned the truth behind Shaarizad's plan. She revealed it to the gods helping him, who turned on the "dark king" to avoid the fate of the other fallen deities. Shaarizad was cast into the divine prison that bound the Outer Gods. The surviving gods, weary of battle, ceased their fighting through an unspoken truce. They took up the domains of their fallen brethren and retired to their individual corners of existence. Today, the gods no longer fight directly (though there is nothing to prevent them from doing so if they wanted to), but by proxy through their followers.