Cradle of Life
During this period, the world was nothing but a primordial, molten planet. Though, it didn’t take long for the divine beings to appear, beginning with Lena, the Goddess of Death. She appeared only moments before Elseldir, the God of Life and the Moon, giving her more than enough time to establish a cycle of death within the world. The Grey Road was placed between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Those who crossed the veil would have to walk it to make it to their rightful resting places.
The two were lovers, Death and Life constantly commingling their existences with, forging the cycle of life and death. Not long after, Surna, the Goddess of the Sun burst forth into the universe, filling the apparent void between Lena and Elseldir. Death was spurned as the Moon because enamored by the Sun, making her refuse to meet with him hence forth.
After the appearance of these divine beings, more appeared: the Earth Mother, the First Rainfall, the Seeker of Truth, the Time Keeper, the Arcane Wizard, and the Chaos Incarnate. They all smoothed their way into the world, helping shape the Esterin many know today.
They bend and shape physical reality how they see fit, creating the early life forms that walked the planet. En’yre, Fey, Dragons, Tvarians, and Humans were the first creations of the gods, helping guide the world into a period marked by beauty and prosperity.
The Golden Age
Esterin flourishes. This period known as the Golden Age is said to have lasted nearly 200,000 years. Sentient beings walked the realm, having access to much more power than one could even imagine in current times. Destiny was no longer controlled by omniscient and omnipresent beings, but by their own creations. They could now move and evolve on their own with little to no divine intervention.
Other creatures stemming from the created species began to emerge. Elementals and Elves were born into the world on their own accord, uncontrolled by the destiny bestowed upon them. Afterwards, more began to evolve, standing from the mud, to become their own masters. Orcs, Demons, Glisari, and Aquan were all said to have emerged from this group.
During this period, the world prospered, evolved, becoming its own living, breathing beacon of life. Thousands of civilizations were born and died through this epoch. Only the strongest survived, many being Dragons cultivating hordes and securing substantial amounts of power. Surna’s light shined brightly, warming the world and keeping in a constant state of growth and development. Her luminosity was so powerful that she caught the attention of other worlds. Envoy ships dotted the sky, those far and wide in the universe wanting to witness and experience Surna’s radiance.
With the first known alien contact, more species began to populate Esterin. Some traveled to the planet to visit and gawp at the marvels of the Golden Age from afar, while others attempted to view in person. Most of these visitor’s technology failed upon landing, forcing them to stay. Other species traveled to Esterin through once functioning portals created by the Divines. The most well known of these aliens are the Q’thar, crash landing on Esterin a little over 20,000 years ago. Their presence and population, once a space of chaos, is now an integral part of Iron Fall.
This was the age where many saw the creation passages to other worlds, incredibly advanced medicines and mana technologies, as well as general peace among the different civilizations. It seemed to be some sort of utopia, untouched by the potential hardship the world could endure, but it couldn’t go on forever.
Sun’s Fall and the Rise of Darkness
In a single night, the Golden Age ended. The Betrayer, a black chromatic dragon who gained a significant amount of power during the last 200,000 years, called forth horrifying creatures from the darkness. Known as the Old Ones—ancient beings that floated among the stars, the void, and everywhere in between—these monstrosities began wreaking havoc and cast the Twilight upon the world. Life that once walked the planet, creating their own destinies were being destroyed in a large scale genocide.
Elseldir was angered, as his precious creations were plunged into unfathomable pain and death. Conversely, Lena only grew stronger, obtaining endless amounts of power from the sweeping genocide. In attempts to counter the Old Ones and the growing darkness, Surna sacrificed her divine energy to stave off chaos. This only angered Lena, looking at her with such disdain, as no divine being should ever sacrifice their own energy to save mere mortals.
Feeling as if he had no other choice, the Moon sacrificed his divine blood to form Mana across Esterin to assure his creations to would survive. In turn, she banished Surna for such impunity, feeling as if the Sun was not worthy enough to remain in the physical world. With that, all light vanished and the world was thrown into chaos. The Old Ones began to gain more power through the darkness. They warped the world how they saw fit to meet their own personal goals. This period is marked as the “Sun’s Fall,” where countless millions died and civilizations crumbled.
The Rise of Magic
However, Elseldir would not allow Surna’s sacrifice to be in vain. Despite the darkness engulfing the world, the Moon offered his life blood to the mortals of Esterin. His divine ichor fused with the planet, causing great ley lines and mana lakes to spring forth, providing heat and energy to the world. The intensity of his actions forced Elseldir to retreat from the mortal realm, hiding from the wrath of Death. In his weakened state, the wandering predators could’ve easily preyed on him.
Despite being hidden away until he could regain power, the Moon’s earlier sacrifice still had a drastic impact on Esterin. His blood now running through the land, brought life back into the dying world. Mana ran rampant, permeating even the simplest of lifeforms. The rise of powerful magics and the abundance of mana dealt a massive blow to the eldritch horrors feeding from the darkness.
The Old Ones were thwarted, original goal disrupted by the God of the Moon, forcing them to retreat into the Rift Lands and Dark Reaches. This is where these creatures now remain, waiting and plotting for the proper time to allow their mission to continue. Though, their power still draws people near. Worshippers of these horrors, known as the Branded, flock to be gifted with their mark. They receive gifts and wishes, but at a terrible price, losing their mind, body, and agency in the process. Their goal is to locate and capture magic uses as offerings to the Old Ones in hopes they can regain their once abundant power.
The Current Era
In the current era, 202 years have passed since Surna’s disappearance. The realm known as Tenebris Realm to its inhabitants teeters on the edge of total annihilation. The skies are filled with eldritch horrors, tentacles usually blocking view of the moon and stars. Much of the world has grown cold, the darkness really taking its toll on the environment. However, ley lines, mana springs, and mana lakes provide heat and light in many populated areas. Mana Foragers are even able to provide other settlements erected furthest away from mana sources with power and heat for their survival.
Outside of cities and settlements, a great bog settled across the land. The Frontier has no consistent or viable power source (aside from mana springs, mana lakes, or ley lines). Great beasts, monsters, and other horrors roam free, preying on the adventurers foolish enough to explore the lands. There had been few attempts to build roads connecting all of the cities, but they are found to be quickly overcome by the wilds if not maintained with diligence. More recently, a group of engineers began repairing broken railways, connecting many of the major cities to one another after receiving the approval of city leaders (Verdisol, Taunhill, Jarden, Lightvale, Mistmoore, Lyeria, Dranur, and Vasillica). It has managed to half the time it takes to travel from city to city and greatly decrease the danger of doing so.
Minor outcroppings of civilization are scattered throughout the Frontier, offering bastions within the darkness for those who dare explore this unpredictable land. Many who wander out past the Frontier and enter the Dark Reaches often never return, but those who do survive are known to come back changed, their very core altered by the unstable lands. Within these unstable lands sit pockets of even more extreme environments known as the Rift Lands—a bizarre accumulation of divine magics, portals, and extremely unstable terrain. Only a handful of adventurers in history have seen these lands and lived to tell the tale.
Most recently, Elseldir emerged from hiding, taking refuge on his dying moon. Heroes of the era stepped forth, traveling to his resting place, and saving him from an Old One seeking to destroy him and absorb his power. The creature was destroyed at the sacrifice of some important lives, one being the leader of Lightvale, Orrian Entumal. Though, these sacrifices were not in vain, as the Moon has now regained much of his power, allowing magic and mana to run endlessly throughout the realm. Hushed whispers among the masses show they believe this could be the turning point in the war against the Old Ones.
Tenebris Realm is a world upturned—filled with everything from monstrous horrors to political intrigue to great friendships. Once a beautiful and peaceful planet is now in the grips of dark, sinister beings. It teeters towards chaos while the inhabitants of the land try to survive and achieve their goals.