More on my D&D fantasy setting. “D&D fantasy” as a genre, not system. No elves this time. Dragons there are, though, but not till the end.
Age of dragons
In the ages past there were dragons ruling the land (and the sky and the sea and presumably everything else). Little could humans do to them; the mere presence of a dragon was sufficient to make those weak of will to serve them and do as they willed. Very few could resist an order.
Dragons treated humans as pets or slaves or food, depending on the individual. A few actually befriended a human or two, who would thereby gained great power and influence.
During what is now known as year two before the age of humans a shaman, known as Tirae, claimed he would oppose and overthrow the dragons. Some followers she gained, but most ignored her and some hunted her. Regardless she managed to gather roughly hundred followers, around twenty of whom were shamans or wizards.
The small group, forged into a tribe in their challenges, performed a ritual according to Tirae’s directions. They did manage to reach a powerful spirit and struck a deal: They would venerate and worship the entity and it would help in slaying and driving away the hated serpents. The sky was filled with eagles and gryphons and rocs an unnamed flying creatures, bird-like. They savagely attacked the dragons and with help of the various human tribes, many of whom suddenly found strength to defy the dragons, killed many and forced many more to escape wounded. Many of the dragons were spell-bound or delirious or merely savage beasts, in stark contrast to their normal might.
Easy the victory was not; many warriors were dead and the ground was littered with corpses of birds, many of which had never been seen in the region, and would never be seen again. Three of the most powerful dragons, one who was the storms that struck the region, one who was the feared sea serpent, swallowing those who wandered too far from the shores, and the last one burrowing deep underground, causing violent earthquakes, cursed the tribe of Tirae for its insolence; every year the first three children would be born with the scaly complexion of dragons, and woe to any who would harm the dragonspawn (the shamans later consulted several spirits and are convinced that harming the spawn is indeed a bad idea). Of the blood and bones of the three dragons were three seals made. Their locations were a closely guarded secret and thus has remained.
The avians went their ways, some to live in the region, others to live elsewhere. Dragons were gone. For some time the tribes made preparations for their return, but it did not happen. The tribe of Tirae did no such thing, instead seizing power and forging alliances with nearby tribes. With dragons gone humans would have to govern themselves. This role the people of Tirae quickly adopted. They and a total of six other, larger, tribes formed a kingdom, the first of humans. This was the first year of the age of humans.
Age of humans
Soon enough Tirae, as the kingdom was known, had extended to what space it had; there was a range of mountains to south, badlands and desert to north, sea to the west, and hostile tribes to east, not easily driven away from their native lands with hills and mountains and many an opportunity for ambush, but only little water and game. Some tribes north were also hostile, but rarely did they brave the desert to pillage and kill.
Forests were cut down for farmland and to work metal. Wood became a rarity. To the north, across the badlands, there was a forest known as Thaleth, but all who approached were first warned to not come closer, then brutally slaughtered, should they not take the hint. Elves lived there and their forest was sacred, humans not fit to live there. The mountains to south were difficult to scale, but there were lush forests beyond.
Today it is year 243. Tirae has not grabbed any more area, but tentative peace with the eastern barbarians has been made. Two wars against the elves were expensive, yet futile. Iron is being forged into blades and armours of greater strength than before. A somewhat safe passage to the southern lands has been discovered and garrisoned, as strange monsters live in the forests. Occasionally a warband is sent to the forest, where trees are quickly cut and then warriors return. Often these expeditions are successful. They provide enough wood for forges to burn hot and bright. Three ships have also been built, but one turned to piracy and now preys upon coastal settlements, the other two hunting it and keeping it away when possible.
Tirae the shaman-queen has died of old age, but her descendants sit on the throne built of dragonbone and wood (the two expensive materials only rich can afford), located in the city of Tirae, the capital of the kingdom. Every year three scaly monsters are born; the shamans find them and they are educated in the great stone fortress that is the central feature of the city of Tirae. Deep in a dark dungeon this happens. At the age of nine they are taken away to the southern garrison and banished from the realm. Any that return are killed.
There is a small cult, some say consisting of 27 true members and half a dozen people sympathetic to it, that want the dragons to come back. Their ancestors were, some say, friends of some powerful dragons. Others say they are just disgruntled at the current rulership. Some say their children were born lizardfolk and taken away from them, making them bitter. Whatever the reason, the cultists are widely hunted and little liked.