THE MIDDLE AGE (also known as the Age between the Ages, or The Black Years). [Note, there is a lot of controversy about the placement of this age. The Guardian of the Graveyard believes it is properly a part of the First Age, while Grindill the Arch Mage Sovereign believed it to be part of the Second Age (due to the fact that Mankind had finally become the Dominant Race of Inzeladun. But Sha'a Foshli'ishram (and Killren the Arch Mage and many other scholars) believe it to be a separate age altogether because of the changes in the world during the time just prior to these years and just after.]
The Middle Age, usually called the Black years, was the time when the Last Alliance of Elves and Men fell through. Aeroth helped forge this Alliance to help defeat the Orcs. Now that the Orcs were defeated and driven from power, the Alliance, due to mistrust between the two races, collapsed. The only Elves now allied with men were the Al Karak Elam, the Winged Folk (a variant offshoot of Elves that evolved during the Flaithen War of the First Age). Winged Folk became highly sought after soldiers and scouts. While this was a time of prosperity for the Al Karak Elam and for Mankind, most of the other races were in decline. The Orc Wars of the First Age had wiped out most of the Elves and the Dwarves. Many of the Elven cities had to be abandoned and many of the great Dwarven Halls had collapsed, unrepaired. The Gnomes, also hunted by the Orcs, were also doing poorly. However, their illusionary skills became so great that even a single gnome illusionist could take down an entire army. The Al Karak Elam, friends of the Gnomes, began to learn this art from them. The Winged Folk civilization began to flourish.
The High King died three years after the death of Aeroth and was replaced by his son. The new High King wanted to build a bigger palace and raised taxes and other tariffs to an all new high. Several city states began to split off from the Kingdom. The new High King then began training elite police forces to enforce his rule. The High King also started a war between Men and Elves that lasted over a decade. This war drained the resources of both races.
The Elves became so reclusive after that war that they became mostly a myth, as did the Dwarves. The Dwarves, during the 300 Black Years between the First and Second of the Great Ages, began to secretly rebuild their kingdoms and their Strongholds. The Stronghold of Morgimek was founded halfway through the Black Years. The Elves, during their absence from world affairs, continued to hone to perfection the art of Bladesinging.
Mankind became more and more barbaric and began to forget the arts of castle building and repair and other civilized skills. The High King had to fight often just to keep his crown from becoming nothing more than a trinket upon a useless figurehead. The High King called more and more upon the aid of the Al Karak Elam. The High King even had a Winged Folk as an advisor. Huge wars broke out among the citystates. The High King liked to keep the city states fighting in order to keep them from banding together and destroying him. The High King sent out armies to conquer lands from the Elves, the Barbarian tribes, the Thri-Kreen, the Centaurs, and the Wemics. In this way, Mankind spread out all over the continent and became the dominant race. The High King's first born son, a paladin who might have brought Inzeladun out of the Black Years 200 years early, was assassinated. The High King died soon after and his second son, a mere fop, took power.
Plagues and pestilence struck Inzeladun shortly after the new High King took the throne. Most of Mankind was struck down. Nearly one half of Inzeladun's Human population was wiped out. In the great cities, from which the peasants could not move, the Black Years was a period of acute crisis. It is believed that the evil diseases were brought back by the soldiers who were campaigning and spreading Mankind across the continent. Distracted by wars, weakened by malnutrition, and exhausted from trying to win a living from his inadequate portion of ever less fertile land, the peasants were ripe for a plague of monstrous proportions to strike.
Two more High Kings held power as the plague waxed and waned over the growing years. Finally, the Last High King turned to demon worship. The Prince of Demons offered to lift the plague if the High King sacrificed souls to him every night for a year. King Imruk of Erlacor, a Warrior of Olanigan, intended to stop this exercise of evil power and sought to overthrow the High King. The High King probably would have defeated King Imruk had he not made one very major mistake: He sacrificed several Winged Folk to the Demons. King Fearnlur ("Hawkwing") of the Al Karak Elam proclaimed that all of the Winged Folk warriors and wizards would aid King Imruk. Winged Folk from all of the Human Lands, and from the Elvish Lands, and from the Halfling Lands gathered in Erlacor. With command of the air provided by the Winged Folk, King Imruk was able to crush the High King's armies.
The last battle of the uprising was fought on the plain to the north of the High King's capital and just south of the Graveyard of the Elves. The Winged Folk clerics called upon their gods for aid, and their prayers were rewarded when the High King's demons were destroyed by the gods' wrath. It is said that Olanigan himself (or at least his Avatar) fought alongside the Men of Erlacor and the Winged Folk and that the skies turned red. Khasmanen of Erlacor, High Priest of Olanigan led the Men of Erlacor beside King Imruk and King Fearnlur of the Winged Folk led his people. It was after this great battle that Khasmanen received the Philosophies of War from Olanigan. It is also said that Kalendor Hob was present as well and that he personally ended the plagues of the Black Years.
Seeing his demons and his army being destroyed, the High King called down a curse on the Winged Folk and upon Imruk, proclaiming that Imruk would become as he, but less than he, and would die for treachery. Seconds after proclaiming the curse, the High King fell dead with scores of arrows in his body.
King Imruk was awed by, and apprehensive of, the power the Winged Folk had shown. He feared that unless he acted quickly, he would rule only by their sufferance. Therefore, Imruk invited King Hawkwing (as Humans generally called him) to bring the Winged Folk army to Imruk's encampment the following day so he could give the Winged Warriors great rewards for their part in winning the battle.
The following day, the Winged Folk army landed in the designated area in the center of Imruk's camp. As soon as the air was no longer stirred by the beating of wings, Imruk's archers fired upon the Winged Folk, and only a few of them survived to reach the sky.
King Fearnlur was one who escaped. Three days later he killed Imruk in a raid upon the camp, but was himself mortally wounded. He lived long enough to crawl to the nearby Graveyard and ask the Guardian for permission to bury the dead Winged Folk (an offshoot of the Elves) there. The Guardian granted permission and personally buried the Al Karak Elam King after the king had spoken to his successor. Thus did Imruk die for his treachery, and was ruin wrought upon the Winged Folk, just as the High King's curse had prophesied.
The Winged Folk had lost 80 percent of their male population and many of their female clerics and magic-users in the ambush. Before he died, King Fearnlur charged his successor with the responsibility of removing the Winged Folk from their relationships with other Human and Demihuman races. Hawkwing's successor followed this order and secreted the Winged Folk from the society of men, and thus the Winged Folk began their long and slow recovery from the disaster into which king Fearnlur had unwittingly led his people. In order to better protect themselves and hide, the Winged Folk became master illusionists, almost as proficient as the Gnomes.
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