The Terran Age
The Terran Age is characteristically determined as the reign of the great Terran Empire. It is the oldest and longest age in recorded history, though many of the records of the histories of the Terran Empire have just recently been recovered. The Terran Age occurred roughly between 4,300 B.K.E to 1,600 B.K.E, approximately 2,000 years before the rise of the great heroes.
The First Terran Emperors
Not much is known about the first Terran Emperors as the only records of their reign that have been recovered are second hand information. However, scholars who specialize in the study of the ancient Terran Empire can agree on a few facts important to shaping the long and illustrious founding of such a strong and stable empire.
Traditionally, The Lord was regarded as the founder to the Terran Empire, though he never personally held the title of “Emperor,” and it is supposed that the Empire was founded many thousands of years after the time The Church of the Father gives for The Lord’s fall. According to Terran legend, when the Lord retreated into his own divine realm, the mantle of King was bestowed upon the castellan of the capital city. The castellan’s rule was short lived, but important as he made it a priority to cement Terra’s way of life with worship of their patron deity and once-ruler, The Lord. When the castellan was murdered by the General Martinus Palmerran, the general took his place as King of Terra.
Martinus Palmerran is a more likely candidate for founder of the Terran Empire, though without first hand information, it is impossible to tell whether or not he ever existed. Martinus was portrayed as a ruthless conqueror, and a soldier who lived for war. The legend states that after his military coup, Palmerran embarked on a policy of conquest and engaged in a series of wars against the neighboring territories and city states. In six years, he had more than quadrupled the territory that the proto-Terran kingdom occupied, and had essentially over night become the dominant power of the region.
General Palmerran was eventually slain in battle and his son took control of the country. The new ruler posthumously named his Father the first Emperor of Terra, and changed the name of the capital city to Palamecia in his honor. Over the millennia the Empire slowly expanded, swallowing up neighboring countries until it covered much of the Terran continent.
Origins of the name “Terra”
The word Terra holds a very distinct meaning within ancient Terran culture, and by studying it, a much clearer picture may be painted in regards to their policy and cultural view points. The earliest known use of the word is found in the Palamecian region before the founding of the empire. The word for “Gaia” in their language was “Terra,” and meant to represent the world.
It is supposed that either around the time of its founding, or shortly thereafter the Empire was dubbed the “Terran” Empire to signify the desire to unite the world under one geo-political state. Overtime the word began to spread to other facets of the culture, including the “Terran Race” or “People of the World”, and the “Terran Language.” In modern times, the continent that once housed the great empire is now referred to as the “Terran Continent”. In this way, the word “Terran” may sometimes be confusing as it refers to so many facets of the Empire.
This Terran-centric view helped fuel the policy of expansion and centralization under the Emperor, but it would also eventually be used as justification for eugenics and genocide in the final centuries of the Terran Empire. The Terran name also carries with it a perceived mandate of rule, which also explains why many states throughout history have tried to claim the title of “Terran Empire”, despite in some cases having no political, ethnic, or geographical connection to the original Terran Empire. A prime example of this in the modern age is the Palacardian Empire of the Cardian continent, which has none of these connections to the former Terran Empire.
Development of Magic
Magic had existed before the Terran Empire, but was a rarity with only particularly gifted individuals able to cast spells that pale to what first year students are able to accomplish today. The Terran Empire realized the potential that magic possessed early on, and founded a special entity dedicated towards the study and development of magic, the Gilded Tower. This would be the first such organization in the known world.
The forming of the Gilded Tower was not without its controversy. Because it was formed as an arm of the Terran military, it was categorized as an R&D department for weapons. Due to the highly classified and protected status of Terran military development, this not only reduced the membership of the group, but also the dissemination of magical spells and techniques that they had developed. Membership in the Gilded Tower was as low as a dozen, and rarely surpassed more than twenty members.
Access to the tower was strictly forbidden by any without top secret security clearance, and even then, the mages were largely an autonomous entity within the Empire. In a relatively uncharacteristic policy, the Terran leadership was content to leave them to their own devices to manage themselves. The government’s responsibilities involved the transport of material to the Gilded Tower, and in return, the mages were required to deliver monthly reports on breakthroughs, with a yearly demonstration for the Emperor.
The use of magic, while not outlawed, was tightly controlled. Only high ranking military officers were permitted to learn magic, and they were occasionally sent to the Gilded Tower for training. Those who held no political or military status but showed an aptitude for magic were considered for entry in the Gilded Tower, or integrated into the government in positions that discouraged them from teaching others their techniques, lest they be removed from power with the very techniques they taught to others.
Despite all of this, the use of magic continued to slowly spread and develop into many different forms as more and more individuals learned how to manipulate mana. At the end of the Terran Empire it is estimated that roughly 2% of the population could cast at least one spell, and that there were thirty government recognized spells, with many more derivatives and unrecognized spells. This is the highest rate of magical aptitude until the proliferation of magic in the modern era.
Rise of House Caddell
House Caddell is considered the last true line of Terran Emperors, as no Emperor who ruled the Empire after the fall of House Cadell held power for more than a decade. The rise of the house is largely tied to the discovery of Magicite by the Cadell patriarch at the time, Carsus Caddell. By using magicite, he was able to seize the throne from Emperor Rygar and the support of all the regional lords and kings of the Empire to view him as the new rightful emperor.
His great-grandson Braitrius Caddell would go on to weaponize magicite enabling Terra to renew its path of conquest, taking the last of the human lands out of their reach and committing to a policy of genocide for all non-human races. Many nations today have begun research in harnessing the mana within magicite, but have thus far been unsuccessful in replicating the degree of mastery that the Terran Empire had in the field. It is currently unknown whether Terrans utilized derivative forms such as ceruleum and aether or not.
The Great Schism
It was during the reign of the 17th Emperor in the Caddell line, Emperor Ardenald Caddell that the great schism occurred. This civil war split the Empire in two, and although most of the fighting and loss of life happened during the first year of conflict, it would span nearly a decade of constant fighting. During the great schism, King Alexander Galbraith openly rebelled against Emperor Ardenald Caddell, and in gaining support of the border nations and allying with the Dragons, he formed the Allied Terran Confederacy and was able to effectively fight against the Terran war machine.
The Allied Terran Confederacy sought to overthrow the Terran Emperor and install Alexander on the throne as Emperor. Promising significant changes to Terran culture, and later during the war converting to a follower of The Father, many Terrans were against the reforms he proposed. Among other things Alexander sought to end the war on Dragons, revoke the policy of genocide (Which at this point would have been a token gesture, much of the non-Terrans had already been eliminated), and eliminate the traditional “Right of Passage” which had been used by many noble families to cull weak heirs and reduce the instances of disputed succession. Additionally, Alexander sought to remove The Lord as the state deity, and make it legal to worship The Father once more. Other platforms included women’s rights, decentralization, and decreased militancy.
Many within the Eastern border nations of the Empire favored Alexander’s positions, and threw their support behind him. Additionally, Ardenald had gained a reputation as a tyrant, and was unpopular with many lower class citizens. Those who lived in the central and western regions tended to favor Ardenald over Alexander, seeing his policies as too revolutionary and a threat to the global dominance of the Terran Empire. The fever pitch of the Great Schism was reduced after the Temple of the Protector collapsed during the siege of Palamecia. Alexander went missing, and Ardenald was injured so gravely that he had to go into hiding for several years while he recovered.
The Collapse of the Terran Empire
While not the first example of internal conflicts within the Empire, this conflict started a swift downward spiral that the Terran Empire would never recover from. In less than a century, the Terran Empire had gone from the height of its power to non-existent.
After emerging from hiding, Ardenald’s eldest son, Septimius was forced to return his title to his father and went into self-exile across the sea out of fear that he would be seen as a threat to his father’s rule and assassinated. Ardenald held onto the mantle of Emperor for five more years before he died of illness. His second son, Brandon Caddell would continue the war against the allied forces that his father had left off on before being murdered by General Cutris two years later. The General eradicated the entire Caddell clan on the Terran continent and ushered in an age of fear and persecution as he hunted for the last few remaining allied sympathizers. Six years into his term as Emperor, he was killed as well creating a power struggle and massive escalation of arms between rival vying warlords. The ensuing war annihilated much of the continent leaving it a barren, desolate wasteland. The sun had finally set upon the Terran Empire and the Dark Ages had begun.