The following timeline details the major and known events of the ARCLIGHT world. This article is to be considered as "Out-of-Character". Knowledge obtained from this timeline is to be used purely for historical reasons, and is not to be considered available to characters in ARCLIGHT - in general.
The First Epoch (The Garden)Edit
- All information within this period is considered conjecture, mythology, or pure fable.
- Unknown: The "first breath of life is bestowed upon the Primal."
- Unknown: The Garden is established.
- Unknown: Life is first seen to slither, crawl, then walk through the Garden. Humans are considered to first be born.
- Unknown: Creation recedes from the Garden. Life is given reign over the Garden. The first form of communities are established in a psuedo-democratic, communalist form; "Fourth Epoch" scholars consider this period "utopian."
- Unknown: Communities begin to unite forming city-states, leagues, and small civilizations around major bodies of water and other highly-fertile lands. The largest of these civilizations center around three rivers in a region known as the "Cradle".
- Unknown: The civilization of Ousur rises in the Cradle. Enlightenment is brought from the darkness of the Primal by the hands of life; Ousur unites much of the Garden beneath the benevolent rule of twelve "Philosopher-Kings", establishing the first form of an "empire" that life had ever seen.
- Unknown: The Order of Equivalency is discovered by Ousur priests and alchemists. Equivalency is thereafter defined through the maxim of:
"For each craft, there must be a labor; and for each labor, their must be a craft."The Order is understood to mean that for each output (be it an act of creation or destruction), an equal degree of input must be applied. This "order" grows to encompass the most basic and fundamental laws of the Garden, coming to define every act of life, death, and rebirth. It further grows to be the foundation of what the "Fourth Epoch" would come to define as "science", as well as what would first become the "occult" or, more correctly, the "Art of Exchange": crafting.
The Second Epoch (The Fracture)Edit
- All information within this period is considered conjecture, mythology, or pure fable.
- 15 After the Craft: Royal crafters of Ousur, in search of Creation, inadvertently create a "window" into a parallel plane of existence to the Garden. Termed the "Nether" by ancient crafters, the newly-uncovered plane is witnessed to be a hellish and primal world, filled with beasts and creatures far different from those witnessed in the Garden. General consensus of both the royal crafters and lay crafters alike call for the "window" to be destroyed and the rituals used to access the plane erased from the Grand Library of Ousur. Even so, the highest echelons of the Ousurite Craft, a "priestly" segment of society referred to only as the "Hierarchs", refuse and, instead, continue their study and experiments with the "window".
- 17 AC: Two years after the crafting of the "window", the experimentation performed by the Hierarchs result in a catastrophic flood of devastating and grotesque creatures from the Nether. Near-open rebellion by much of Ousur results in the "window" being sealed.
- 18 AC: Following the closing of the "window", the Hierarchs begin openly utilizing the knowledge gained from their experimentation: chiefly the ability to bypass the Order of Exchange: crafting objects and - according to some legends - even life without "labor for the craft." This "heresy" results in a fracture of Ousurite society. An intense distrust and hostility is fostered between the Hierarchs and those former laymen-turned-fundamentalists "of the Craft".
- 19 AC: The Hierarchs perpetuate a bloodless coup against the "Philosopher-Kings" of Ousur, utilizing their learned abilities to usurp authority from the central power of the Cradle, turning much of the former psuedo-democratic oligarchy into a mere rubber-stamp for their whims, desires, and goals.
- 19 AC: The Hierarchs begin bestowing greatly-restricted forms of their abilities on their proxies and servants, granting individuals not familiar with the Craft the capability to, at times, completely violate the Order of Equivalency.
- 19 AC: In light of what many "of the Craft" perceive to be abuses performed by the Hierarchs in the name of tyranny and authoritarian hegemony, civil war begins in Ousur, spreading to consume first the Cradle, before coming to envelope the Garden in totality. The civil conflict - known as the War of the Cradle - end after nineteen years with a catastrophic incident only briefly in apocryphal accounts:
"And the Craft descended upon the Citadel, and the fortress of the absolute and royal and crafted fell unto the dust. In the eve of the black sun, the time of the Ousur ended and the Garden shattered."
- Circa 40 AC: Apocryphal texts cease referring to the "world" as the "Garden". A variety of names take its place, including "the Realm", "the Land", and, simply, "Place."
The Third Epoch (The Flame)Edit
- Unknown: Most forms of pre-historical records detailing the events before the "Third Epoch" survive only as psuedo-religious apocrypha and oral tradition. A calender system was created and seemingly arbitrarily applied some two thousand years before the "Fourth Epoch", though no definitive dating system existed.
- Circa 10: Civilization seems to exist across the world in various forms; most have existed since pre-history, though historical records are sparse and inaccurate at best, with most forms of historical account being religious in nature or falsified in entirety.
- Circa 10: A faith known merely as the "Craft" is organized the land of Orior claiming apostolic decent from the semi-historical civilization of Ousur, of which the region is said to be the former home.
- Circa 600: The Church of Equivalency is established as the full organization of the Craft; some followers still refer to the organized religion by its prior name and though centralization and canonization of practices begins, practitioners continue to hold a myriad of beliefs that, at times, is wholly contradictory to authorized canon.
- Circa 1480: The "Age of the Light" begins, fostering the birth of "science" and a slow and gradual initiation to the decline of the power of the Church of Equivalency over society.
- 1507: An expedition to a fabled and distant land known only as the "Far" is undertaken from the Kingdom of Hebieros with twelve vessels under royal charter. The Church strongly condemns the expedition as "foolish" and "an attempt at heresy."
- 1548: The "Hebieros Expedition" returns with all but four vessels lost. The survivors of the expedition tell tales of catastrophe and terror; even so, most agree that the "Far Lands" were reached, but that a great wall had been "erected by some great being" that prevented them from continuing their journey. One account states:
"It was as if the land had been ripped upward and shattered like glass panels upon stone. Great fissures rose and fell like the tides, exposing dazzling gems and delights to the eyes. Many men went forward into these cavernous holes to the inferno, but few returned - fewer still returned with their minds whole and their bodies well."
- Circa 1550: An unidentified illness begins to spread across the world. The Church points to the Hebieros Expedition as its cause, stating, in effect, that the travelers "brought back the Illness." As hundreds begin to fall prey to the affliction, support for the Age of Light begins to dwindled and the Church of Equivalency begins to swell in size and influence once again.
- Circa 1560: As fatalities to the "disease" reaches the hundreds of thousands, various scientists and educated scholars from around the world suggest drastic action: the burning of the lands where the sickness is most prevalent. This policy, in desperation, is eventually enacted; continent-spanning scintillations burn much of society - chiefly the most impoverished and crowded of regions - entirely to dust. One report states that "fires as high as the stars" burned for as much as "eight months" before finally being extinguished. In combination with the unknown illness, though effective in eradicating much of its effects, at least forty percent of the world's population is killed or rendered disabled by the policies enacted to help eradicate it.
- Circa 1570: Following the "Great Flame of the Age of Light", most of the world's population totally reverts from the path of science to that of faith; the Church grows in influence to degrees never before seen, with large and once vastly-progressive civilizations rendered to theocratic puppetry within the decade.
- Circa 1570: A period of anti-intellectual inquisition heralded by the Church of Equivalency called the "Second Great Burning" begins. Men of science and intellectualism are persecuted, tried, and many are executed for various "crimes against the Craft".
- Circa 1711: The Second Great Burning comes to an end with the secret discover of the "atom": the basic building-block of physical reality.
The Fourth Epoch (The Tempest)Edit
- Circa 1860: Warren Mercer is officially born in the country of Alonoria. Exact date is unknown; authenticity of the record of birth is, equally, unknown. After 1972, all records of Alonoria's existence seem to be lost or are otherwise removed or destroyed.
- Circa 1900: New and "modernized" perspectives of the world and its physical nature - chiefly the grasp of science - begins to take hold in totality. Industrialization begins to take control over superstition and faith; previously "fantastical" elements of reality are examined, comprehended, and understood to be merely physical and sensuous properties of existence, not the manifestation of the preternatural, supernatural, or "occult". Even so, religion does not fade as believed to soon occur following the turn of the century.
- Circa 1910: The power of the Church of Equivalency has fallen almost out of existence entirely. Much of the Craft is conducted purely for tradition or ceremonial purposes, with most followers believing and following he faith almost entirely out of habit or due to cultural polity.
- Circa 1915: An artifact known only as the "Eye" is discovered by archaeologists in central Diutisca.
- 1915: Warren Mercer and his immediate associates establish a corporate enterprise known only as "ARC" in Alonoria. Within three years, it grows to become a multinational corporation influencing much of society with its research and products, ranging from such simple items as consumer goods to weapons of war.
- Circa 1915: Secret benefactors within the Church finance the transport and housing of the Eye to an unknown location. Researchers and Crafters discover that, in accordance with the Ousuritic Records, the Eye is a "window" to another plane of existence. Unlike the statements of the Records, however, after a Crafter accidentally falls into the Eye and returns, it is revealed that a third plane exists. According to the account, this plane of existence is known only as the "End".
- Circa 1920: In exchange for blanket rights to explore the territory of the nation of Diutisca for further artifacts, the Church begins an exchange of artifacts recovered from the End to the Diutistic government for "research purposes." In actuality, a "radical sect" of the Church begins formulating a plan involving such artifacts (and the knowledge obtain from such) to initiate a conflict between itself and much of the continent.
- 1933: Diutisca spontaneously invades much of its territorial neighbors. Utilizing the harnessed powers of the End artifacts, Diutistic forces roll across the continent almost entirely unimpeded.
- Circa 1943: Upon urging from the nation of Rysca, Alonoria enters the "War with Diutisca", thereafter referred to simply as the "Great Continental War". Rysca and Alonoria fight to force back Diutistic forces, but most victories are Pyrrhic in nature.
- 05.01.1945: Though officially a "cooperative enterprise between the Alonorian and Rysc militaries", spectacularly-devastating weaponry is utilized to bombard the Diuitistic industrial heartland. In truth, the weapon utilized was an invention of ARC utilizing atomic and nuclear sciences. Regardless of its origin, the bombardment results in the decimation of much of central Diutisca, creating a 3,000 km² swathe of wasteland and the death of over two million individuals.
- 05.03.1945: The Diutistic Empire capitulates and signs an unconditional surrender with Alonoria and Rysca.
- 05.18.1945: Through cooperation between the governments of Rysca and Alonoria, it is discovered that the Church of Equivalency played a substantial role in the financing of Diutisca's military and general weapon development programs. As result, both Rysca and Alonoria - in conjunction with several other national entities - outlaw the Church, forcing much of the Crafters underground.
- Circa 1950: Rampant persecution of the Church and its followers spreads across the world.
- 08.01.1950: The State of Alonoria and the Rysc Federation unite, becoming the Calibanite Union. The capital of the new nation becomes the city of Caliban. The fact that the corporate headquarters of ARC is in Caliban is largely ignored or remains unnoticed.
- Circa 1955: Construction of the Dogan Network begins after the discovery (perpetuated by ARC) that at least twenty-three primary "First Epoch artifacts" remain extant in the world. Though nominally billed as either Calibanite reconnaissance stations, military outposts, or research facilities, the Dogan Network is constructed in an attempt to locate the "First Epoch" artifacts.
- Circa 1956: The first artifact, identified by the title of "RAINBOW", is discovered near Dogan Number Nine.
- Circa 1960: Through the use of "RAINBOW", ARC seizes de facto control of the Calibanite Union. The near entirety of the Union's assets are re-focused to the location and utilization of the artifacts.
- Circa 1960: The first confirmed terrorist strikes by the now heavily-persecuted and secretive Crafters begin to surface.
- 1962: ARC formulates the "Three Tiers Theorem", postulating that reality consists of three parallel planes of existence. Experimentation occurs and, accordingly, the theorem is proven, though the results are never published and, as such, the validity of such is uncertain.
- Circa 1962: "RED FLARE" is discovered under Dogan Number Sixteen.
- Circa 1966: "ARCLIGHT" is discovered under a rural general store. The construction of the ARCLIGHT facility begins almost immediately. Entire investment accounts and various capital assets are immediately liquidated to finance its construction. ARC spares no expense in its construction, forming massive and ever-expanding, underground tunnel networks connecting the "ARCLIGHT facility" not merely to the entirety of the Dogan Network, but also to Caliban itself.
- Circa 1966: The closed city of SYLV-357R in the former Rysc Federation suffers a radiological attack at the hands of followers of the suppressed Church of Equivalency. Nearly forty thousand individuals subsequently die due to radiological fallout and End miasma in what becomes known as the "Sylvester Incident".
- Circa 1970: Urban combat between the Crafters and ARC paramilitary and private security forces begins in Sanburt, Wystere, Yekatragrad, and Polinsk. Most combat remains contrived to brief skirmishes, rioting, and violent search and seizure executions.
- Circa 1970: ARC-affiliated paramilitary groups begin executing discovered Crafters in the streets of Caliban, Yekatragrad, and Wystere.
- Circa 1971: Followers of the Church and ARC combat escalates across the Calibanite Union.
- Circa 02.1972: "RAINBOW" and "RED FLARE" are relocated to the "ARCLIGHT facility."
- Circa 05.1972: Martial law is declared in Wystere, Polinsk, and several other major Calibanite cities in light of a sudden surge of Crafter criminal activity, terrorist attacks, and - as rumored - open revolt.
- Circa 07.1972: Persecuted factions of the Church of Equivalency Crafters begin utilizing at least two artifacts to evoke forces from both the Nether and the End. Though lacking "modern" weaponry, Crafter forces utilize crafted weaponry enchanted in accordance with the Order of Equivalency to attack ARC and affiliated organizations. In response, ARC initiates several code calls, using chemical weaponry to suppress Crafter violence in major metropolitan centers. Fatalities are never accounted for, as most cities suffering such suppression either subsequently burn or are otherwise permanently uninhabitable.
- 08.22.1972: ARC enacts Code 33, initiating the self-detonation, gassing, or vivisepulture of most of its facilities. In turn, Caliban is barricaded and all remaining ARC forces and affiliated paramilitary groups are called into action. Roaming "execution squads" exterminate any non-ARC individuals found, either leaving the deceased to decay or piling their remains into impromptu mass graves.
- 08.22.1972: ARC utilizes "RAINBOW", "RED FLARE", and "ARCLIGHT" to initiate a "criticality event".
- 08.22.1972: Most major metropolitan areas, industrial regions, and rural agricultural zones suffer from either ARC atomic bombardment, Crafter violence, or both. The ARCLIGHT War begins.
- 08.22.1972: Time stalls.
The Fifth Epoch (The Lost)Edit
- No records of the "Fifth Epoch" exist. This period contains merely conjecture.
- Unknown: In the wake of the ARCLIGHT War, time has stalled; the Fog descends upon the world, afflicting what life remains, as over ninety percent of all life has been eradicated during the ARCLIGHT War. Surviving humans have ceased aging entirely; death due to senescence has ceased. Only death by direct conflict and illness continues to impress upon human life.
- Unknown: Most First Epoch artifacts have become lost once more; rumors speculate "ARCLIGHT" remains in its containment facility.
- Unknown: Caliban and most major population centers fade from the world, consumed by the Fog or otherwise decimated by conflict and strife.
- Unknown: ARC and most of its affiliated personnel have vanished or otherwise gone missing, in conjunction with the mass-disappearance of most Crafters. So-called "Brownies" - largely civilian and unaffiliated persons - remain to some degree, but relocate to distant lands and largely establish small, persistence farming and agriculture-based communities.
- Circa 2000 Before the Ember: Strange creatures begin to roam the world in great numbers. Some appear to be mutated lifeforms created during the ARCLIGHT War, others appear wholly supernatural or preternatural in nature.
- Circa 1500 BE: The Fog begins to recede, but affliction remains exceedingly prevalent amongst the "Brownies", forcing most to remain near their small villages and towns.
- Circa 1000 BE: The day-night cycle begins to stabilize, but remains persistently irregular and sporadic.
- Circa 500 BE: Rumors of strange sightings begin to circulate amongst the remains of humanity.
- Circa 100 BE: The Fog becomes a personal and subjective affliction, striking each individual differently than the next.
The Sixth Epoch (The Ember)Edit
- This period concerns the present epoch.