Age of Darkness
There are no significant events or records from the Age of Darkness, and for at least the first 500 years, no known culture had invented a system of writing. The old Clans formed during this era, though they had mostly dissolved by the begining of the Mage Wars.
Most cultures, and certainly all that can trace their roots to this Age, tell a story about a terrible tragedy, massive loss of life, and sometimes great destruction. Few details are consistent, beyond those of tremendous loss.
Exactly how long it lasted is generally established around 1000 years. However, the old Clans of that era each have wildly different counts for the length of the Age. The Bur'ian count, which adds up the reigns of all Bur'Ian kings through the Age, is considered the most accurate, and fixes the Age at 994 years. While the Bur'Ians did keep the earliest written records, their count begins with the crowning of the first king, not the Fall of Roads, and they provide no information about how long after the Fall the first coronation occured.
The Goat People offer a count of 1500 or 2000 years. However, they may have at one point use a two-year calendar system and the point at which they switched is uncertain. So by their count, the Age could have lasted as little as 500 years or as much as 2,000. The 1500-year count assumes they used a two-year system for the first 500 cycles and switched to a 1-year system for the last 500. The 2,000-year date assumes a 2-year cycle for the entire Age. However, it is not known for certain if any of this is true; they may have followed an annual solar calendar in which case their count agrees with the Bur'Ian at ~1000 years.
The Lamb Clan had a count of 2750 years by the time their oral history was recorded in around 3800 B.G.A., which would make the Age closer to 2,900 years long. However the Lamb Clan used an oral history and probably followed a lunar calendar, so the accuracy of their count is highly suspect.
The Dragon Clan gives a count of well over 15,000 years. This would seem to indicate that the Age of Darkness lasted considerably longer than most other counts would indicate. However, most historians agree that the Dragon Clan was an invention of the Marcon Alliance during the mid Dynastic Period, so the religious texts that offer this count are highly suspect.
History of the Age
The Age of Darkness can be best divided into two periods.
The Black Period
For the first 5 to 700 years, things were extremly dark and hopeless. This is often thought of as the "true" age of darkness, for no one possessed technology of any kind. There was some magic then, or so the old stories tell; but for many it was a desperate struggle for survival.
The old Clans formed during this time; nomadic groups to whom most modern civilizations can trace their origin.
The Gray Period
Spanning the latter 3 to 500 years of the Age of Darkness, the Gray Period shows a gradual shift from nomadic traditions to a more sedentary lifestyle. Agriculture was invented, along with the first cities; and by the end of the Age technology and magic.
The Age of Darkness was followed by the Mage Wars.