Fantasy can be thought of as an expression of humanity’s yearning for something greater—whether it’s finding the hero within us, or a power beyond ourselves. Part of that yearning is the desire to look back to a golden age—or all too often, to create one where one never existed (like so many in America try to do with the 1950s). The ancient Greeks codified it in their own lore, naming the Ages of Man: Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age.
Fantasy, especially epic fantasy, represents this desire by depicting a true Golden Age (or at least one thought to be true). In Termag’s case, the Golden Age is known as “the time of Camac That Was.” Little is truly known about this time, that ended fifteen hundred years before the end of the Age of Heroes, but the hints that survived are tantalizing. The empire depended on magic more than technology, but basic medical techniques (including hygiene and germ theory) were known and survived the passing of the age. Camac may also have solved many social problems that we continue to struggle with on Earth. Camac That Was, and much of Termag’s population, perished in a cataclysmic pandemic known as The Madness.
The Silver Age, the Age of Heroes, is roughly two millennia of attempting to rebuild. Those efforts were hampered by both infighting and other round of Goblin Wars, and ultimately the dreams of Camac Reborn were abandoned.
In the Bronze Age, or “modern times” as the folk call it, people have not reached the peak of ancient Camac… or perhaps they have, but don’t realize it. (As far as the Iron Age goes, Termag may never get there. Iron is rare and precious.)
Next: I is for: Isenbund