No one knows how the world was born.
In the beginning, there were trees and mountains and rivers and storms, forests and animals and deserts, but it was chaos. Primordial elementals vied for control of the soul of the world itself and they twisted and changed the world to their liking. It was a time we cannot understand, barely remembered and then only from conversations had with elementals that existed so long ago, such that we know it occurred, but know of no time before, and know little of the time that was. However, we do know that it was into this that the Great Dragon came.
The elementals do not truly understand time, able to tell us only that one day the Dragon was there, and its magic was breathed into the world’s soul. That where the shadow of its wings went, in its wake the world was ordered, the cycles of nature set, and life was given room to grow and bloom. Its children came in its wake, populating the world where it was to their liking – the Dragons. They ruled all that was, and their birth, life, and death, their existence asleep and awake, brought magic into the world, the weave growing stronger with each generation. When the weave was strong enough, the Green and the Shadow, the Feywild and the Shadowfell, were born. These realms represented the awakening of the world’s spirit, in turn showing us the Dream of possibility.. and the gateway to the world beyond, the End of Things. Magic became self-reinforcing, and the weave grew from a passive, useful thing to the beating heart of an entity so grand it defied complete understanding.
From the Dream came the Eladrin, exploring a new reality that enticed and excited them; some chose to stay. Those who persisted in living on the now-living world grew attached to its weave, diversifying and becoming all of the various races of Elves. Also? There came from that impossible realm the first of the goblin-kin, denezens of the wilder spaces – and they, too, settled on the burgeoning world, seeking a new life away from the dangers of the Dream. At first there was strife between the Orcfolk and the Elffolk, as the former saw the latter as oppressors and the once-Eladrin saw the Orcfolk as barbarians – but, in time, this faded, as they mingled and learned from each other, sometimes by force and sometimes in peace. In the end, a unified civilization rose – and the Half-folk between the two peoples, called Hobgoblins, proved to capture the strengths of both races with long lives, ordered minds, and great strength of will and body.
From the world itself came Humans, perhaps rising as a reflection of the near-immortal elves and magic-infused goblin-kin. This short-lived race burned hot and ambitious, going from simple creatures that roved the plains of the East as nomadic hunter-gatherers to a great civilization at a shocking pace. Their strength has always lied in their ambition and their will – a will that transcends generations – coupled with clever minds and hands. This ambitious empire rose – and began to spread though diplomacy, and then conquest, from the east. Humans, given millennia, divided – becoming the Dvarin and the Halflings, each with their own societies – the former allied to men, and choosing the mountain holds and the undercroft of the world, the latter choosing to lay aside ambition and take a broader path of exploration, becoming the wandering nomads they are now.
In places where the Shadow was strong, there came forth the first of the beastfolk, born from the darkest dreams of the Feywild and built to prey on the larger world; this was the birth of lycanthropy, the rot of undeath, and similar diseases of the soul. But, while the moon-driven and the dead became a plague endemic to the world, their existence caused other, unforeseen consequences. Born from the children of lycans that mastered their curse, the Shifter race, never populous, spread through the world nonetheless – especially as the traits of the ultimate parents proved persistent throughout their children, not truly being diluted by the march of generations.
The Dragons watched all of this from above and below, amused at the antics of races who were young and still learning – they interfered and played with the growing civilizations as a child would play with interesting toys, guiding them along paths of their own devising, often at odds with each other in some obscure game for status, wealth, and proof of their own cleverness. From this meddling, and their earnest love of their playthings, came the Dragonborn – product of the unions of dragons and any other sentient race, where the dragon’s blood inevitably proved dominant. These beings held themselves aloof, generally valued by their Dragon parents and occupying a strata between the legendary Dragons and the races of the world.
The world, then, was still chaos – but a different kind. The various peoples mingled, philosophies emerged, and those philosophies went to war – but the world was still vast, and was not yet so full as to force empires to war; that said, make no mistake, empires did rise, around strength or around common cause, and those empires grew.
Into this came the Gods – and the ancient, cold war that persisted until only a few short centuries ago.