Age of Despair, the Fourth Age
Article written by Joe Mashuga
The Age of Despair begins with the Cataclysm, and runs ca. 1 AC - 383 AC. Two time periods form the Age of Despair: the Time of Darkness (ca. 1 AC - 331 AC) and the Time of Dragons (ca. 331 AC - 383 AC).
Time of Darkness
The fallout from the Cataclysm lasts for centuries. Plague and famine wrack the lands. Knights of Solamnia are unjustly persecuted as scapegoats. Lawlessness and banditry run rampant. The Seeker movement begins as people look to new gods. Beleaguered hill dwarves and humans attempt to gain entry to Thorbardin for food and begin the Dwarfgate War. The archmage Fistandantilus destroys both armies as well as the fortress of Zhaman, but disappears. The dwarven hero Kharas, sickened by the acts of his people, takes the Hammer of Honor and departs Thorbardin. He leaves a prophecy saying that no dwarf will rule Thorbardin without the hammer, which becomes known as the Hammer of Kharas.
Takhisis brings the sunken Temple of Istar to the Abyss, and takes the temple's Foundation Stone to Neraka to be used as a gateway for her and her forces. The Temple of Neraka is created as a result. She secretly awakens the chromatic dragons before returning to the Abyss to gather her might. While Takhisis is away, Berem and his sister Jasla find the Foundation Stone. Berem, covetous of the gems on the stone, accidentally kills his sister, whose spirit takes up residence in the stone. A green jewel from the Foundation Stone embeds itself in his chest, granting him immortality. Takhisis cannot reenter Krynn until the stone is whole, and dispatches her forces to find it. The chromatic dragons steal the eggs of sleeping metallic dragons. Takhisis awakens the good dragons and secures a vow of noninterference in her war. In exchange, she promises to return their eggs at the war's conclusion.
Time of Dragons
Takhisis places her forces under the command of her Dragon Highlords. Evil creatures are drawn to the cause, and the Highlords ally with other nations to increase their might. Draconians are created from the captured metallic dragon eggs and used to bolster the Dragonarmies or to aid in finding Berem. As the Dragonarmies gather their might, the Companions pursue separate leads in search of the lost gods.
The Dragonarmies invade Balifor and Nordmaar in 348 AC, beginning the War of the Lance. Silvanesti is attacked; the elves flee to Southern Ergoth as elven king Lorac Caladon attempts to repel the invasion with a dragon orb. His failure results in the corruption known as Lorac's Nightmare. The Dragonarmies continue their expansion and control much of Ansalon by 351 AC. The reunited Companions meet Riverwind and Goldmoon, whose Blue Crystal Staff proves the existence of the gods of Good. The Companions free refugees from Pax Tharkas, kill Dragon Highlord Verminaard, recover the Hammer of Kharas for the dwarves, and flee south.
The few remaining free nations send representatives to Whitestone Glade to discuss an alliance. The Companions rediscover dragonlances and retrieve the dragon orb from Silvanesti, which slows the forest's corruption. Theros Ironfeld and the Companions help form the new alliance.
The Golden General defends the High Clerist's Tower from the Blue Dragonarmy} with the help of Sturm Brightblade, who dies in battle against Kitiara Uth Matar, Dragon Highlord and a former Companion. Gilthanas, D'argent, and Cymbol infiltrate Sanction and discover the truth about the metallic dragon eggs. The good dragons, upon learning this information, enter the war with a vengeance. The Dragonarmies falter, and the armies of the Whitestone Council lay siege to Kalaman.
The Companions, now known as the Heroes of the Lance, discover Berem and head to Neraka to reunite him with Jasla and the Foundation Stone. Berem sacrifices himself to free Jasla and reunite the gem as Tanis Half-Elven kills Duulket Ariakas, leader of the Dragon Highlords. The Temple of Neraka explodes, and the dragonarmies fight for their own power. The War of the Lance ends.
Raistlin Majere enters the Tower of Palanthas and is declared the Master of Past and Present. Good and evil dragons withdraw from the fighting. The Dragonarmies occupy much of Ansalon but are swiftly driven back by the Whitestone armies. The Knights of Solamnia proclaim their first Grand Master since the Cataclysm. Raistlin, along with his twin brother Caramon Majere, the priestess Crysania, and kender Tasslehoff Burrfoot, travels to the days of Istar to challenge Takhisis. Raistlin defeats Fistandantilus and, with Crysania, enters the Abyss. Kitiara Uth Matar, also known as the Blue Lady, rallies her forces and attacks northern Solamnia. Her army strikes at Palanthas with the aid of a flying citadel. The army is repelled and Kitiara is killed. Raistlin sacrifices himself to keep Takhisis from entering the Portal to the Abyss.
Lord Ariakan, a Dragonarmy prisoner of war, is released by the Knights of Solamnia. He receives a vision and begins forming the Knights of Takhisis. Two elves of different nations, Porthios Kanan and Alhana Starbreeze, marry in hopes of creating peace between their nations. Goldmoon and Riverwind unite the tribes of Abanasinia. Tanis and Caramon visit Storm's Keep and meet Steel Brightblade, son of Sturm and Kitiara. Tanis fruitlessly tries to warn the Knights of Solamnia, the Temple of Paladine, and the Wizards of High Sorcery about the Knights of Takhisis. Years later, the Wizards of High Sorcery attempt to assault Storm's Keep and are soundly defeated. Porthios ends Lorac's Nightmare but he and wife Alhana are exiled from the elven realms. The Knights of Takhisis begin their conquest of Ansalon, which frightens the few remaining Irda. The Irda break the Graygem and free Chaos, who destroys their island before retreating to gather his strength. Silvanoshei, child of Porthios and Alhana, is born.
The Knights of Takhisis occupy most of Ansalon within a month but before they can secure their lands, the return of Chaos heralds the start of the Chaos War. Fire Dragons, shadow wights, and other Chaos-spawned creatures attack the entirety of Krynn. Forces of good and evil alike are destroyed by the minions of Chaos. Lord Ariakan is slain and Takhisis withdraws her presence from Krynn. The Vision given to the Knights of Takhisis vanishes.
Reorx, with help from Palin Majere, Usha, and Tasslehoff, retrieve the broken pieces of the Graygem. The few remaining Knights of Takhisis join forces with their former Solamnic prisoners in mounting an attack against Chaos himself. Tasslehoff stabs Chaos in the toe, and Usha catches a drop of Chaos's blood in the Graygem. This is used as leverage to force Chaos to leave Krynn.
The gods supposedly agree to leave Krynn as well, but this is nothing more than a trick by Takhisis. Using the gods' fight with Chaos as a diversion, Takhisis consolidates her power and at the right moment, moves the entire world to a place where she can be the only god. She takes the guise of Fizban, an avatar of Paladine, and explains to Palin and Usha that the gods had to agree to leave Krynn as well. Both clerical and wizardly magic is gone. Takhisis tells Palin that another type of magic exists and that the Age of Mortals has begun, then she retreats to gather her strength and await the next phase of her plan.
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