World in Flames
The Wyrm War
Sanctum’s initial edenic period was not to last. As time went by, the Great Wyrms began to see the enormous capacity of their creations for cruelty, and chose to destroy Sanctum to rid the universe of the evils that they had wrought. In the year 1574 AII, the Red Wyrm launched an attack on the Desert, marking the start of the war.
In defiance of their creators, the Phoenixes came to the decision that life had the capacity to be good as well as evil, and that the good was worth preserving. They stood at the head a joint army of humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings, opposing the Wyrms through decades of constant warfare. During this conflict, the Wyrms tried many times to generate their own army capable of reaching the places they could not. In the absence of the Black Wyrm, however, they were unable to create any truly sentient life, but instead gave form to the animalistic Wyrmborn. After years of experimentation, they succeeded in modifying existing beings to suit their needs. The Wyrms created the original orcs from captured humans and elves and the first gnomes from dwarves and halflings, fully intending to turn on them as soon as they were no longer needed.
Eventually, it was discovered that a portal to the Emptiness could be opened by the sacrifice of an avatar at specific locations. The ritual required to complete this would permanently seal off the portion of the Phoenix contained within the avatar, preventing it from merging back into the original entity. After decades of brutal fighting, the five remaining Wyrms were bound and banished. However, this victory came at a terrible cost. All of the Phoenixes save one gave their own lives in the struggle to save those of Sanctum’s inhabitants.
In the aftermath, the Phoenix and her Avatars were instrumental in rebuilding society, using her power to heal the scarred land. In return for her generosity, men of all regions cooperated to build the great city of Tel Phonen as a home for her avatars. The city was placed in the Plains at the Phoenix’s suggestion for practical reasons. The flat land made it easily defensible, while the temperate climate made it easily accessible by all who wished to visit. As time went by, gratitude towards the Phoenix was instilled in generation after generation, and eventually mutated into full on worship. The end of the war was deemed the start of Year 0 of the Third Age of Sanctum, or AIII.