Timeline for Gaia
Moving out from the supermassive black hole devouring in the center of the spiral, all space dims as dark matter filters light from the limitless stars circling the galactic core. If one followed the Orion Arm of the Milky Way a bit further out than half-way point, one might come upon the yellow star, Sol, amidst the teeming masses of stellar bodies, if one's timing was right. In a place as inconceivably enormous and ancient as Universe, temporal accuracy is critical.
Around Sol whirl a small family of planets with attendant moons and other satellites. Among these giants and dwarves Gaia sparkles like the crown jewel of infinity's eternal night. She will be called by this and many other names throughout her rich history of entire civilizations, entire worlds, being born, aging, and dying. She is host to all the works of Mankind. It is here that countless generations of prideful mortals have risen and fallen across the Wheel of Time. The majority of sapient people tend to forsake the ways of their ancestors and embrace more mundane miracles as society matures. This progression of intellectual evolution amongst common anthropomorphoid mortals from speech to magecraft to hard science is illustrated thusly: Light, Wonder, Reason, Darkness. In the wake of Death, there is Peace.
Epochs are the generations of all creatures to have pulled themselves from the quagmire to posit the age-old question: Why am I here? Epochs are, in turn, divided into five chapters which are defined by specific events. Surd is the birth of a world. Vern starts with the first appearance of intelligent life. Aestiv begins with the first use of magic, Vesper with the last, and Brum comes in at the first strike of Doom. It would take far too many words, far too long, to tell the entire tale now. Suffice to say that volumes could be filled with less. What now follows is but the outline of a story billions of years in the making.
First Epoch: Genesis- the Time of Titans
Gaia first forms as a barren stone whirling through the vacuum. Another planet (Theia) strikes her and, soon, there is life. More specifically, there are macromolecules. By popping in and out of conventional reality, and occasionally coming back better off, these very simple creatures are suddenly alive. Due to large amounts of water deposited by frequent comet strikes, and the effects of volcanic outgassing, Gaia develops large watery patches in which these macromolecules spend the majority of their time when not quantum leaping. It does not take long, geologically speaking, for these molecules to gather into more complex systems and, soon after, the first single-celled organism. Gaia is about half a billion years old now. These simple creatures group together just as their ancestors had and there are animals. These creatures, ancestors of the Titans, wonder just how big they can get. For nearly three billion years, they will work on it.
The first day of Vern is not much unlike yesterday. It is near the end of what Human scientists will call Precambrian Time, in the early morning hush of Gondwana's east coast. Tiny creatures flit about the shallow, inland seas and mountains of flesh heave themselves about the world. One Titan flails its appendages at another Titan they way it always does when it wants the other out of its way. This time, however, the other understood. This first effective communication inspired the creatures, and language soon developed. Society was close on its heels.
A great cataclysm shatters one of Gaia's Solar brothers: Yuggoth. Flotsam of the corpse carries fungus to the fertile, sun-ward world. For nearly one hundred million years the Titans learn of each other and of the world. They are nearly eternal, and change comes very slowly for them. For the sake of clarity it must be noted that the name of any given Titan is not pronounceable with any known mortal vocal apparatus and only rough approximations can therefore be made in print. That in mind, the Titan henceforth known as Aydka finds the Power. He shares it, hoping the people will enjoy this new thing. But they fear it, and they fear and hate Aydka along with it. So Aydka conquered them. Gaia has swung around the sun one billion, five hundred million times.
Although Reason crushes Wonder beneath gargantuan devices of biomechanized slaughter, religion is stronger than ever. The twisted gods of the Titans are as Aydka has become: deified individuals who stole the magic from the world and invested it in themselves. Titanic scientists experiment with the miniscule lifeforms they find. What they eventually create will become known as cyanobacteria. This will be the greatest influence on their eventual undoing. The god of death is Mhr'Azakel. It knows somehow that in her original, pure, form, Gaia was barren. It intends to return Gaia's purity and "cure" her of the infection: life. It has few adherents, but stockpiles its resources. As the divinity of severance, It knows also that unworshipped gods die. It knows that It will die. Aydka is the god of vengeance and strength and has the largest following. It rules over the teeming masses the Titans have spawned from themselves over the millenia. The birth of twin champions is known by the very few worshippers of the minor Titanic deity of wisdom to signal the end of the Age.
From the smallest, weakest of all Titanic nations arise Gog and Magog. So vast is their might that all who come before these heroes fall, Aydka's destroyer machines no match against the brothers' power. The remaining enslaved nations rise up and fight back. The tyranny of Aydka is broken at long last and all Pangaea knows freedom, for a moment. As Its dying act, Aydka rips the minds from Gog and Magog and, together, the twins decimate life on Earth before, finally, turning upon one-another. In the end, each falls into death to sleep. Mhr'Azakel hides Its two immortal Eidolons in which most of Its prodigious might rests away from the slaughter.
Second Epoch: The Garden and the Age of Reptiles
Gaia has now circled Sol four billion times. Mhr'Azakel rests, having wisely stockpiled Its energies. The beasts of the world assume a new variety of forms. The Great Reptiles soon conquer land, sea, and air, having claimed a hard-won victory over the amphibians. They rule thus for an eternity and a day. A treacherous mountain range surrounds a small, almost insignificant, area of the planet and seals it away from the rest of the world. This lush valley will someday be dubbed "cradle of life".
Man once again walks the earth. These Men, the first of the Saurians, are simple creatures: brutal and tribal. Around the same time Man arises as a hunter-gatherer in that fertile land through which the waters split into four heads in the protected confines of the "cradle". "Men", in this sense, are the peoples of legend: the Aevi. A band of rebels is banished across the eastern mountains and they settle in Nod, a cursed land blighted by eternal darkness. The Noddites plot revenge on their first night of exile, and for every night to come. Weary of the eternal struggling between power-mad fools, an adventurous cadre of Saurians leave the Nations and build the first sea-going vessel. They will forsake the land forevermore.
Saurians evolve from the early barbarian and shamanistic traditions of their people to crude science and true magic. Rising above all others is Horde Gi, the first of Mhr'Azakels people: Necronites. Edenites learn the ways of magic and bring new wonders into the world while in Nod descendents of the Exiled study a darker craft. In the far West, the Saurian explorers create a floating island upon the great waters with supremely potent magic. It is a continent to itself, and they gather there, in Atlantis.
In Eden there are artificers. Wars over resources begin, stripping away vast tracts of land to fuel the forges. The land shifts and continents touch where they had not before. This brings new life to other lands, along with new predators and new diseases. At the bidding of Mhr'Azakel, the Gi come to Nod to rule and to conquer. The Atlanteans reach for the stars of the sky and the glittering oceanic depths. Sabotage results in the first of three great quakes.
The Saurians and their dinosaurian cousins meet their mysterious fate. Mhr'Azakel's army conquers Eden. All things not his own are driven out into the unknown lands beyond the mountains. After the second great quake immerses half of Atlantis in the chill waters of the Atlantic, the Atlanteans strive to right the island-nation. One of their kind starts work on a massive ship, preparing to flee the planet. The final great quake swallows the city of legend, the ship escaping in the nick of time. Into the darkness Atlantis sinks, the cries of survivors swallowed by the briny depths. The Gi survive as their god promised them, and Mhr'Azakel sleeps once more.
Third Epoch: Rise and Fall of an Empire
At this point, the development of the world and the life upon it takes on a much more familiar cast. After the incident at the K-T barrier, life develops along its, to the Men that come later, very familiar lines. The remnants of the survivors hide themselves away from the world and one another.
The earliest Men live in their Stone Age world, learning the art of invention and, later, of slaughter. Fungus has thrived on Earth.
All the "myths" of Humanity are based upon the reality of this Age. Alchemy and priestcrafts are born into the Human world. Explorers find the elder people and for a time, there is relative peace. A new religion takes hold where kingdoms once stood and from a great idea a church grows like a cancer. Seeing that the world is a dangerous place, it sets out to protect the flock from the monsters on all sides. The end of Wonder rides in on the tail of bloody Inquisitions.
Now that the church has caused the exodus or outright extinction of the magical, the recorded history of Humanity most closely matches reality. It is familiar enough a tale it need not be retold here. Mhr'Azakel's power is held in check by the appearance of a new god with a fanatical following, late in the Age—Messiah. Costumed superheroes struggle desperately to carry the cause of justice. Worldwide rebellion erupts. These bloody skirmishes are but the faintest shadow of the brutal conflict that is to come.
War. Terror. Slaughter. Death. No words can capture the terrible beginning decades of this Age. No tale of woe can ever convey the pain. No story of sacrifice could ever illuminate the darkest years of Humanity, or begin to describe the prices paid by the world's heroes in a futile attempt to save the very people that would never learn to accept them. Mysterious green-robed monks walk the Earth. The planet tears itself apart as two separate realities converge. Almost nothing survives.
Fourth Epoch: Warlords and Legends
This Epoch is different, as ingenuity made strong survivors out of Humanity and its distant kin: the returned Aevi. History and memories are too long and the spiral is tightening. There is no peace as the Epoch dawns.
Ages cycle more rapidly. The descendants of Legends become the Lawgivers, shepherds of Humanity and are worshipped as local gods. Humans have adapted to the new world, becoming the Tribe of Man. Young gods and the nomadic Tribe thrive while Messiah slumbers and Mhr'Azakel sleeps. The Mesans become something different in the absence of their god: the Surhurae. The Necronites strive to reawaken their dark lord while stalking the radioactive remains of Florida. An insectile species stakes claim over the South American continent after aliens make their new home in Eurasia.
The forgotten god Messiah sleeps fitfully. The great Surhurae City Citadels have been constructed, and the Citadel Lords are in place. The Tribe of Man struggles to survive and grow. The insectile Shiree'keks offer alliance and asylum to the Tribe who graciously accept and begin the long journey south under the protection of the mighty Lawgivers. The enigmatic green monks seem omnipresent.
Surhurae research uncovers a hidden data well and the resting place of a god. Messiah's return signals the birth of an Age and the reconstruction of Mesan society. The Tribe of Man fights its way to the Shiree'keks, unaware of the troubles brewing in the insects' ranks as a new breed rises and strives for power.
Kinds leave Earth one by one, until only a solitary people remains.
Fifth Epoch: Spacestation Earth
The Eon seemingly ends on the apparently lifeless planet.
The future changes with every passing moment, with every decision made. Even history can change as more of it is uncovered and put into proper perspective. The preceding outline tells a story as simply as it can be told. But stories have a way of changing when one is not looking. They change in the telling.