The Tale of Ages
What follows is the time-line of the realms of Wyldlands. The game is based upon mythology from the period of Celtic history that is sometimes known as the “Golden Age of the Celts”, the stories of heroes and their deeds which span the populating of Ireland up to the arrival of Christianity on its shores. Many of the legends that have survived were not recorded until the Romans arrived in the first century AD and in areas the Romans did not manage to conquer such as Northern Scotland and Ireland, the Celts’ oral tradition survived a great deal longer with their history being recorded as late on as the Dark Ages.
The Wyldlands world is not presented as a historical re-enactment and some of the mythology has been written and rewritten to accommodate the more fantastical elements of the game, such as faeries and magic. Celtic legend abounds with tales of other worlds and faerie hosts and Wyldlands is set in a time when the boundaries between those worlds are less distinct. Hence, the game does not use the traditional calendar; as the Celts also had their own calendars which they used to choose auspicious times to perform acts from conceiving children to crowning chieftains, the time-line starts with the first appearance of the emissaries of light and heralds the first steps towards civilisation.
As the ages progress, the presence of the non-mannish races diminishes until by the end of the Age of Twilight, those races with strong faerie blood are rare individuals. Even the Tuatha dé Danaan and the Fomorians are waning in number, though the legends of them live on through the tales of bards and druids.
The Age of Creation
In the void of the infinite came forth a great light as the Universe gave birth to its new form. The darkness was filled with points of brilliance which spiraled through the night like ripples on a pond. At the same instant the Goddess became manifest, and from her seven stars went forth; fragments of her own divine radiance. These were her children, the gods, who became known to mortals as Lugh, Arawn, Medb, Manannan, Balor, Dagda and Macha. From them went forth the ethereal beings who passed through the veil to the mortal realms. The world coalesced in the firmament, its surface dancing with flames as the mountains belched smoke and the rivers ran with fire. In time the world cooled and the seas began to teem with life; plants began to cover the ground and reach upwards towards the light giving life. Creatures emerged and began to populate the land, roaming the grasslands and forests, and taking to the air to glide between newly formed mountain ranges, through forested valleys and across wide, grassy plains.
The Age of Dawning
During this Age the emissaries of light bring learning to the tribes of men, the bloodlines of the Faerie hosts and mortals become mixed, leading to different races emerging from the tribes. Those that retain a stronger mortal bloodline become known as the Mannish tribes whilst others remain close to their Faerie heritage.
1 Emissaries of the gods manifest in the mortal realms, taking the form of seven Faerie courts. These ethereal beings are worshipped as gods amongst the tribes of mankind. They teach the tribes about the properties of plants and how to domesticate animals. To the soothsayers and shamans they teach the secret names of the elements that they might bend them to their will.
1700 The construction of five great cities begins; Falias in the north, Gorias in the east, Finias in the south, Murias in the west and Atlantis in the centre.
2000 The building of the five cities is completed, each housing one of the five sacred artifacts of the Goddess. In Falias is the Stone of Fal, which lets out a scream when touched by the rightful King. In Gorias is the Spear of Lugh, which when thrown will travel great distances and never miss its target. In Finias is the Sword of Nuada from which every blow is fatal. In Murias is the Cauldron of Dagda, an inexhaustible pot which can satisfy every appetite. In Atlantis is the Book of Akasha, which holds all the wisdom of the Universe.
2030 The five cities become great centres of learning from which are taught all crafts and skills, both mundane and esoteric.
2100 The tribes begin cultivation of the land, building settlements and farmsteads. Domesticated livestock are bred for food and clothing and many of the tribes begin to rely more on farming than hunting.
2300 The first physical distinctions among the tribes of men appear as the different races become more defined. Gnomes begin to appear as a result of the mixing of Faerie and mortal blood.
2450 The first of the Dwarves begin to emerge.
2520 The first of the Elves begin to emerge. They are the last of the non-Mannish races to evolve, being similar in appearance to their mortal ancestors.
2678 Druids begin to prophesise a great catastrophe. The winters become harsher and the summers wetter.
2680 Changes in the climate lead to widespread flooding, devastating many of the valley farming communities.
2681 The city of Atlantis is devastated by the rising waters and the Book of Akasha is lost to the world.
2685 A great plague sweeps the lands on the heels of the floods. Many of the Mannish tribes are afflicted, with thousands of lives being lost.
2686 The nomadic tribes of the Braethanis are ravaged by plague. Their Council of Elders decides to split the tribe into three, and move in different directions in an attempt to save the bloodline.
2689 The Dwarven tribes under their king Thromrahd I, establish a stronghold in the Black Mountains alongside their Gnomish kinsmen. They begin to create skilfully crafted items from the various ores they find there.
2690 The western branch of the fragmented Braethanis under the leadership of their chief Fhamhor, reaches the southern plains of Albion. They become the Faedris, or People of Fham.
2710 Mannish tribes of the Fir Bolg under their king Parthalon, reach the coast of Erin. They begin to clear the ancient forests and cultivate the land making their capital at Tara.
2720 Eobhar Elves under their king Lannair na Cuin, establish settlements in the great oak forests of Albion. Morthan Dinas in western Sherwood becomes the royal residence of these secretive people.
2740 In Alba the Pictish tribes split in a dispute over royal succession, the dissenters becoming the Northmen tribes. Under their chief Talorc mac Airt they occupy the southern uplands and Cheviot hills. The Northmen tribes fight border skirmishes with the northern Woodsmen tribes and the Picts.
2742 Fomorian fleets led by their king Crom Darroch, arrive on the shores of Erin. They fight a pitched battle with Parthalon on the plains north of the Bog of Allen. Parthalon defeats the Fomorians, driving them back to Toraigh Island.
2744 The Gnomish clans led by King Tuitean, leave Caer Thromrahd after increasing friction between the Gnomes and Dwarves. They travel beyond the Dwarven halls of the Pennines to the uninhabited ranges of the Druim Alban, the western Grampian mountains in the north, where they establish the stronghold of Righ-Targaid. This exodus is recorded as the Deagsamhair Trail, or “March of the Silent Feet”.
2748 The nomadic Ruagath land on the east coast of Albion under the leadership of their chief, Golistan. They prove themselves as great horsemen during the numerous raids they conduct.
2750 Parthalon and many of his people are killed in a great plague; Nemed is crowned King at Tara.
The Age of Blood
This Age is marked by bloodshed and much of the wisdom learned during the Age of Dawning is lost or forgotten as the lands are torn apart by war. Bards and Druids become important repositories of ancient knowledge as few records are kept during these destructive years. The remaining four great cities of learning fade from the mortal realm during this Age, existing only in the undying realms of Faerie. Many magical artifacts become scattered throughout the lands during the continuous warring of the tribes.
2760 Balor turns away from the light of the Goddess as his desire for power becomes all-consuming. Conflict breaks out as Balor and his ethereal hosts war against the other gods.
2770 The Fomorians build the fortified port of Dun Feannag on the Isle of Manx.
2775 Nemed wars with the Fomorians in three successive battles, defeating them at each one.
2778 The Fomorian Fuil-Madach or “Blood Wolves”, earn a fearsome reputation for their lightning raids along the west coast of Albion and Alba.
2779 Golistan is slain by an arrow during a raid on the woodsmen settlement of Fordingbridge. His son Goriath succeeds him as chief of the Ruagath.
2780 The Fomorians launch attacks along the south coast of Cymru. Caerau is destroyed. The Fomorians are stopped at the battle of Dun Caithris by an alliance of Ruagath and Woodsmen. The king of the Fomorians, Crom Darroch is slain and Elatha succeeds him.
2782 The Fomorians land in force on the west coast of Albion led by a powerful faerie lord, Ahmdorrach. They are met by the combined armies of the Eobhar Elves and Northmen clans who manage to drive them back into the sea; but not before Ahmdorrach slays Lannair na Cuin, king of the Eobhar. Both sides suffer heavy losses.
2783 Under the guidance of the bard Dar Siuath a breakaway group of Eobhar travel north to find more peaceful lands. They become the Siuatha.
2784 On Nemed’s death, the Fomorians once more invade Erin. After a great battle the Fir Bolg kill the Fomorian king Elatha, but only after suffering great losses on the battlefield. Many leave Erin for the shores of mainland Albion. Those who remain occupy the Great Plains to the west.
2785 In response to continuous Fomorian raids many ports and river settlements are fortified.
2787 Fomorian longboats attack the north coast of Alba and an invasion force travels inland. They are driven back at the glen of Coille Dubh by sustained guerrilla attacks from bands of Pictish Fear-Cuthac warriors.
2788 The Picts launch a fleet against the Fomorian stronghold in the outer Hebrides but are defeated in the waters off the coast of Lewis.
2790 Fomorian longboats attack Porth Kerddin destroying most of the ships moored there. The town is put to the torch.
2791 A war council of allied Mannish and Elven clans meet at Caerlleon to discuss the Fomorian menace. The sorceress Scathach appears before the assembly and warns the council that there is a war in Faerie and soon it will spill over into the mortal realm.
2795 Many of the Faerie court pass back through the veil to the immortal realms to help quell the unrest. Those that remain are the host of Balor, who as fragments of his radiance become dark and twisted in form and terrible to behold. These three dark faeries become known as the Fear-Mallach or “Dark Ones”.
2800 Under the guidance of the Dark Ones the Fomorian High Priest Calatin performs the ritual that enables Balor to break the circle of light that binds the gods to the immortal realms. He passes through the veil to the mortal realm bringing with him an Unseelie host. He becomes king of the Fomorians.
2801 Tailtu, the wife of the Fir Bolg king Eochaid mac Erc, dies prematurely. Her death is seen as an ill omen.
2802 The Tuatha dé Danann come to the shores of Erin from Alba and beyond, driven by druidic prophesies of a promised land. They bring with them the remaining four sacred artifacts of the Goddess and are led by their king Nuada. They encounter the Fir Bolg. Their ambassadors exchange weapons.
2803 The Tuatha dé Danann demand that Erin be divided between the two people but the Fir Bolg refuse.
2804 The Tuatha dé Danann and the Fir Bolg meet in battle on the southern plains of Magh Tuireadh (“moy-tyorah”). The Fir Bolg king, Eochaid mac Erc is killed and the Tuatha dé Danann king Nuada loses an arm in the battle. The Tuatha dé Danann seize the Fir Bolg capital at Tara and drive its people from the mainland. The Fir Bolg continue to rule in the Arran Islands and build the stronghold Dun Aonghusa on Inishmore.
2805 As Nuada had lost a limb in the battle of Magh Tuireadh he is obliged to step down as High King and his position is taken over by the half-Fomorian, Bres, son of Elatha and Eri. The smith Dian Cecht crafts Nuada a silver arm. Druids prophesise Balor’s downfall at the hands of his grandson. As Bres is not of pure blood, the land becomes barren and foul under his rule. The bard Coirbre uses magic to disfigure the king, forcing him to abdicate.
2809 Fomorians attack the west coast of Alba, bringing with them Faerie hounds. At the battle of Iubhar fields the hounds, being impervious to the blades of men, move amongst the Northmen warriors and slaughter them in great numbers. The Fomorians are eventually defeated by the sorcery of Surrech na Moirun, one of the Aes Dochad.
2815 Bres goes to Toraigh Island and conspires with Balor. He tells Balor of the druid’s prophecy and fearing for his life, Balor imprisons his daughter Ethlinn and forbids all contact with her by anyone but her handmaidens. Her prison is a tower atop a high cliff, approachable only by land. However, with the use of druidic magic the Tuatha dé Danann lord, Cian climbs the cliff and steals into Ethlinn’s chambers.
2816 Nuada is grown a new arm by Miach, who is then killed by Dian Cecht out of jealousy. Nuada is restored to the kingship. With child, Ethlinn rightfully fears for her children’s safety. As soon as the three children are born, Balor orders them thrown into a great whirlpool at the base of the cliffs of Toraigh Island. However one child survives and is washed up on the shores of Erin where he is taken in and raised by the Tuatha dé Danann smith Goibhniu. Once grown, the boy presents himself to Nuada at Tara as Lugh. He is greatly skilled.
2821 Work on the Dwarven halls of Thromrahd rouses the great drake Cummanach. The Dwarven King Thromrahd I is slain, as is his son and many of his retinue. Caer Thromrahd is abandoned, the surviving clans travel to the stronghold of Caer Ingle in the north.
2834 The Tuatha dé Danann face the Fomorians at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh; this time on the northern plains. Balor is formidable on the battlefield, slaying all who stand before him including Nuada and his warrior queen Nemain. As the slaughter continues Balor becomes fatigued. Seizing his chance Lugh throws the Spear, one of the sacred artifacts of the Goddess, which strikes Balor in the eye. Balors form is destroyed and his essence is cast into the Outerdark. The Fomorians are routed and driven into the sea. Roth becomes King of the Tuatha.
2835 The Dark Ones retreat to their strongholds, Ahmdorrach goes to Rathduin on Toraigh Island. Mhordorrach travels to Dun Feannag on the Isle of Manx and Cagorrach sails to Dun Carloway on Lewis. After nearly a century of conquest the Fomorian nation falls silent.
This is the current Age and after decades of war the lands are in chaos. Hill forts cover the landscape and few towns are left unfortified. The land has been carved into fiefdoms and many tribes fight with their neighbours over border disputes as land and cattle become ever more valuable commodities. Many clans begin to search for the four sacred artifacts of the Goddess in the hope of bringing unity back to the lands.
2841 Fachtna succeeds Roth and his wife Nessa becomes queen. The stronghold of Caerau is rebuilt.
2845 Dwarven numbers are swelled by the dispossessed clans of Caer Thromrahd, forcing them to expand their territories to the north.
2865 Ailill mac Mata, king of Connacht, attacks the borders of Ulster. Many years of hostility ensue between the two tribes.
2910 The war council of Mannish tribes is disbanded after Queen Brigantia of the Northumbrian tribes lays siege to Din Fuigh. Ailward, chief of the Bernicia sends riders to his allies in the north to request help.
2911 Queen Brigantia assaults the Bernician capital, Din Guarydi. She is stopped by the forces of Chief Cruan western ally of Ailward.
2915 Ahmdorrach begins his search for the sacred artifacts of the Goddess. He sends spies amongst the Mannish tribes.
2918 The Dwarven House of Domhain clash with the Gnomes of Righ-Targaid at the battle of Mullerdoch valley. The aging King Tuitean is slain but the Dwarves are driven back. Tuitean’s son Ruamannach succeeds his father.
2920 Fergus succeeds Fachtna but hands the kingship to Nessa’s son Conchobar, in exchange for Nessa’s hand in marriage.
2923 The first Hobyah raids begin. Attacks are made in the dead of night against settlements in Gisburn and Inglewood forests. Survivors describe the Hobyah as hideous creatures.
2924 Conchobar begins construction of defensive earthworks along Ulster’s borders. This becomes known as the Black Pig Dyke.
2925 Morgen, the sorceress of Righ Mighean on Arran, prophesises that the land will wither and fall into darkness.
2926 Medb succeeds her husband to become Queen of Connacht.
2927 A fearsome beast terrorises the south of Albion and Cymru. It strikes at night, devouring cattle whole. King Brouann of the Atrebadh tribe sets out with a retinue of warriors to hunt it down. For months the beast evades them, slaying his men one by one. Finally it is caught and slain in Dumnonia.
2928 As illness sweeps through Ulster, Queen Medb launches an attack against the province. Many are killed, including the Tuaicnid Catha – the kings champion – Cuchulainn. Fomorian ships attack settlements on the Isle of Skye and the west coast of Alba.
2929 Conall, foster brother of Cuchulainn, takes an invasion force into Connacht and slaughters Medb’s army. Thus begins many years of bloody retaliation.
2930 Fingan, a Changeling spy of Ahmdorrach, locates the Cauldron of Dagda at Din Carbonek on the Isle of Wight. In his guise as Druid to the Chief of the southern Mercian tribes he uses his position to instigate a border war with the southern tribes of King Brouann.
2932 Fomorian longboats lead by Mhordorrach strike the Isle of Wight while King Brouann’s armies are tied up defending his northern borders. Din Carbonek is sacked and the Cauldron of Dagda is taken.
2933 Sickness strikes the cattle of southern Albion and devastates the herds. King Brouann is advised by his druid Myrddin that there is a traitor amongst Chief Icena’s men. Brouann calls for peace with the tribes of southern Mercia. Fingans treachery is discovered and he flees to the north, evading capture. King Brouann tries to reform the war council of Mannish tribes.
2934 Forbai of Ulster travels to the Island of Clothrann on Lough Corrib, and slays Queen Medb. A great plague sweeps Albion starting in the south. The number of Hobyah raids increases.
2935 Unable to unite the tribes of Albion, King Brouann and a small body of warriors with the help of Myrddin’s sorcery, recover the Cauldron of Dagda from Manx. Mhordorrach is enraged and sends his warships south to the Severn estuary.
2936 The armies of Brouann and Mhordorrach meet at the battle of Camluan, north west of the Salisbury plain. Both armies are all-but destroyed and Mhordorrach is slain by Brouann, who is in turn mortally wounded. The dying king is taken from the battle field by the sorceress Morgen.
The End of Days
So ends the fourth and final age of Wyldlands. In the subsequent generations the realms are invaded many times and fractured into counties and regions. The oral tradition of the druids is lost to all but a secretive few and knowledge of the Otherworld becomes shrouded in superstition. The mythical Golden Age of the Celts becomes the stuff of legend for although it is the curse of men that they forget, the Fey Folk – unburdened by the world as they are – still meet in the sacred places to whisper forgotten wisdom in the ears of those still able to hear.