|As noted elsewhere on the site, specifically the file on months and the passage of time, different cultures have different methodologies of differentiating the passage of time in the world.
Humans tend to divide time according to either a solar or lunar calendar, whilst most demi-human races mark time according to important events that have occurred in the history of the world. For instance, on one level, elves mark the passage of time according to a stellar year, each "year" being three solar years in length. On another level, they also subscribe to the notion of Ages, preferring to see time as both a minor phenomenon and a major phenomenon.
The concept of an Age means that divisions of time within Andurin can be discerned between events of major historical significance. Such events tend to be occasions that have impacted the progression of history within the world. By "history", this usage of this term in this context does not mean history of one nation or race, but rather an event that impacts the lives of a wide cross-section of peoples and races.
No one knows as to how many Ages there are within the span of time allotted to Andurin; however, all are in agreement that four Ages have passed thus far, and that the world is now engaged in a fifth Age, also known as the Age of Unity. There is a prophecy that states that the events of this Age will sorely test individuals living in the world in this time; that all must stand together or perish together as a result.
The first Age, the Age of Creation, began with the creation of Andurin by the gods. It ended once the gods swore amongst themselves to live apart from the mortal plane forever until the end of eternity, to dwell in their infinite fastness within the celestial realm of Sul. The High God, who is both apart from the gods and composed of each of the gods, decreed that from this moment onwards, Sul and Andurin would be known to the multiverse as the realm of Sularin and separated Sularin from the rest of existence. The High God further decreed that a natural Balance would hold forth between Sul and Andurin, that events that occurred on the celestial plane would be mirrored to a minor extent on the mortal plane, and that the fates of one realm would be intertwined with the other. Lastly, so that Balance would be given meaning, Order and Chaos took form and began their eternal struggle for dominance over the fate of mortals and over the gods. Throughout the course of the history of Sularin, the pendulum has shifted between one or the other, but has always returned to a neutral position.
The second Age, known as the Age of Passage, began with the imprisonment of Illaenth by the gods Solnor and Gorgauth. As noted elsewhere on this site, this Event caused a crack in the fabric of reality within Sularin, and drew a Being known as the Dark One, or Shai'tan, from a world elsewhere within the multiverse. Because of this act, the Celestial Jewel became marred with imperfection, and would lead to an event on the mortal plane centuries later that would cause much misery amongst all.
The Age of Passage saw many things of importance amongst the races of the world, notably the rise of dwarvenkin as the pre-eminent race on Andurin, and the creation of many items of magicka that are still spoken of in tones of hushed awe and wonder, in both song and legend. It ended in tears and recrimination, when the elves warred amongst their kind (see the file on elves for details), which led to the scattering of elvenkin on Naranduil and elsewhere throughout the world.
The third Age, the Age of Men, lasted for well over one thousand years, during which time dwarvenkin began an inevitable decline whilst Men began their ascendancy. New heights of magicka and lore were reached, a level which has not been equalled in succeeding Ages. This Age had no major conflicts apart from an incident that occurred early on, amongst the elves, when a human was brought by an elf to view the most sacred living artifact of the People, the Tree of the Sky. Because of this, a rift developed between the various branches of elvenkin as to the philosophies that would guide them with respect to living with others on Andurin. This rift is slowly healing, for elves are long-lived and have long memories of past deeds. The third Age ended with the Invoked Devastation on Naranduil, which caused a scattering, not only of humans but of all others. The effects of the Devastation caused a monumental shift in both the physical and temporal realities of the mortal realm. It is for this reason alone that access to tenth-level spells and above has been removed from the minds of mortal ken. The upheaval caused by the Devastation is still ongoing on many levels, for instance, in societal reactions towards wizards and magic, and in social relations between elvenkin and forestkin towards Men, to name a few. Lastly, the Devastation itself was caused by the celestial Event, centuries before, when two gods conspired amongst each other to gain power for themselves.
The fourth Age, the Age of Rebirth, began in the aftermath of the Devastation. It ended in the 822nd year of the Praxthian calendar -- the Year of the Forge Song, when the Treaty of the Shieldbearer was signed amongst various countries in western Telluria. Elsewhere on Andurin, many conflicts amongst various countries and nations were resolved, some amicably, others more or less satisfactorily. Although conflict would still occur on a minor extent, there would be almost no wide ranging world-spanning upheavals for some time to come. Thus did the Age of Rebirth pass into this fifth Age, the Age of Unity.
What trials shall come to pass have only begun to be recorded.