Chapter 31: The Age of Decay

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23,105 - 23,205 AE

The Aestari people enjoyed a brief moment of peace and plenty before Draug revealed his true colors. Enriched by the nations he had conquered, fortified by the crystals from Ixus, and secure in his dominion over almost the entire known world, Draug’s reign became increasingly brutal and autocratic. Over it all, representing the failures of two rulers, loomed a mockery of Aestari greatness — the unfinished Monolith. Draug knew the rest of the world saw it as symbolic of the limitations of Aestari power. For his singular greatness to be undeniable, and for Aestaria’s primacy to be unquestioned and secure, he would have to complete what his predecessors could not.

Construction of the Monolith resumed, and between it and Draug’s vast appetite for power, the once plentiful supply of crystals was again exhausted. Draug issued mandates of his own, reserving the dwindling supply of crystals for him and his inner circle — and for the construction of the Monolith. Magic became outlawed for commoners, and over time, ignorance and superstition spread, corrupting the truth and distorting centuries of arcane knowledge. The earthquakes and storms grew worse with each year, and the people intuitively knew it was a result of Draug’s wanton consumption of the once plentiful crystals. In their minds, magic became dark and mysterious, reviled as if it was the source of trouble, instead of its misuse.