The Third Age - The Time of Folly
The third age is known as the time of folly. It was not a golden age, even though Demons seemed to be defeated, in fact, it became a second age of Darkness. Humans had paid a terrible toll to defeat the demon hordes. Most of the great cities of the First Age had been destroyed. There were only ruins left to echo the greatness of the Golden Age. Human populations had been nearly destroyed. The great storehouses of knowledge had been mostly burned or lost. Humans nearly returned to barbarism in the two hundred years that followed their victory over the demon hordes.
It was then that the Prophet came to the poor and destitute human settlements. He spoke of the Returning Gods, and how they alone could raise humans back to glory. He spoke of how it was the humans themselves that brought the demons down upon them because they had tried to attain the power of the Gods… through the use of sorcery. In their decadence and pride, they had forsaken the Gods and thought themselves the creators. He told of how the Gods were not dead… and would soon return. And he told of how the humans could help. He told them that they must discover the true names of the Gods, for only then could they return. And as each was found, those people who found them must worship and obey that god above all other gods before prosperity would return to their lands. In so doing he divided the humans, for each settlement discovered a different god's name, and they soon fought against their fellow humans for the supremacy of their god.
Great Quests ensued as the people of the Second Age sought the names of the Gods in deep and dark places. The more difficult the quest, the greater the name discovered, and therefore the greater the god they discovered. And find the names of the Returning Gods they did, for they were placed there to be found, and they were secretly the names of Demon Lords. Great religions formed, each following the name of a different 'god'. Wars ensued as the worshipers of one 'god' fought the worshipers of another. And when enough worshipers followed a god's name, that terrible god issued forth with powers of death and destruction at his fingertips. Gods with names like: Anapocolis, Deserges, Sufernal, Garos, and Elopayne. Each was moreterrible in their wrath, each fake god reveled in the pain and destruction of their rival's humans, and they fed.
But one group of humans did not believe, and they sought to escape the 'gods' and their destructive religions. They sought a place to hide from the insanity gripping their fellows, and found it in the depths of watery places. Those amongst them descended from Peran's blood used their powers to give them enhancements in breathing underwater, handling the cold, and methods to move in this new medium. Yet the changes were not so sweeping that they could not return to land when necessary. And so they became cold blooded creatures of both earth and water, and they called themselves the waerians. At home above or below the waves, they developed scales for skin, lidded eyes, neck gills, webbed fingers and toes. The waerians developed a great pride as the only beings to never trust the Returning Gods, and in latter days tended to be aloof among other free folk. Waerians were confidant in their superiority and inner strength of character.
The Returning Gods were but Demons pretending to be Gods. Humans came willingly to these false gods and sacrificed their own kind or captured humans from their enemy factions. Human sorcerers used their powers to alter their fellow humans into new forms to please their 'god'. New races where created out of human stock. Converts to a god's name could be transformed into the new race so that they could be different from the 'heathens' of another 'god'. This separated the humans even more, and prejudice was rampant. No longer could humans unite to defeat the Demon Hordes. Yet, only one of these newly created religious races survived to prosper in future, the Gargoyles.
In the end it was the Grim nature of the Demons that was their downfall. Not all humans believed and these non-believers set out to expose the 'gods' lack of true divine power. The idea that true gods could be this wrathful, terrible and cruel, and that they would condone war, human sacrifice and suffering was too much to believe. An underground movement began, led by a direct branch of the Tremora bloodline. One Sorceress, who was strong in the Blood, came forth and they called her the Enchantress.
She had gathered and trained many of those powerful in sorcery to become her loyal personal Heroes. They took on one of the most powerful cults, and when things went poorly for the demon, he called forth his minions from the Darkhalls and the truth was exposed to the Enchantress. These 'gods' were demons. During that great battle with the hordes of demons the Enchantress was captured and taken deep into the depths of the Darkhalls, there to become the food of Demon Lords as they tortured her powerful spirit for eternity.
But the Enchantress' heroes followed even into that unholy place. To this day songs are sung of the heroic battles that her heroes fought. They were the first human force to ever penetrate the Darkhalls. Many heroes fell, yet they fought their way deep into the Darkhalls until they found their mistress. More fell, as the demons threw themselves at the invading humans, but the Enchantress was taken back from the darkness. Those that died to save her left their spirits in the Darkhalls. They became known as the Fallen Heroes, and their legend has endured through the ages, for since that time no human army has dared to enter the Darkhalls.
The Wrath of the Gargoyles:
Returned from where no one could return, the Enchantress exposed the Demon Garos to his followers. The humans that had worshiped Garos had even changed their bodies to mimic that of their God. They were called the gargoyles. When the Enchantress showed them the truth the gargoyles threw down their false God, and exposed him to the rest of the world as a Demon Lord. Great was their anger when they learned of the demons deception. But other human factions that still followed other demons derided the gargoyles for their lack of vision and true faith. They told the gargoyles to join them and follow a true god. Feeling the betrayal of their faith as a permanent brand, the gargoyles went forth with zeal to expose the other false Gods. In their righteous anger the gargoyles set out to prove that they were not the only ones deceived. They went to war against any humans that continued to follow a 'false god'. As each of the Demon Lords was exposed they fled back to the Darkhalls. Thus ended the Third Age.