The history of the Fifth World includes the history of civilization, its collapse, the Rusting Ages that followed, and the ensuing generations who created the new world.
Very few people in the Fifth World have the means to make a concerted study of the ancient history of civilization. Very few people can read, and very few written histories have survived, making history in the strictest sense extremely limited. A few small groups like the Vulture Priests maintain records and the literacy needed to use them, but they remain few and far between.
Most people in the Fifth World think of civilization as ancient history — when they think of it at all. They generally see it as unrelated to their day-to-day lives. Among those who do spend time thinking about their relationship to the ancient past, one can find several general attitudes (with unique stories and myths reflecting them from one family to the next).
- The most common opinion paints civilization as a brief anomaly, a sort of passing madness which nearly destroyed all life on the planet, and which they continue to struggle to recover from (see “The Tale of the Locust People”).
- Quite often people will paint this as more tragic than villainous, referring to their civilized ancestors as misguided or enchanted rather than evil (see “The Tale of the Grass People”).
- Some people remember civilization as something their ancestors survived, rather than something they emerged from (see “The Tale of the Winged People”).
- A relatively small, but nonetheless notable, number of people see civilization as a lost golden age (see “The Tale of the Wise People”).
See Collapse and Rusting Ages.
Most oral histories begin with civilization's collapse and its aftermath. These stories often involve heroic ancestors who either see civilization's flaws and escape from it, or manage to resist or evade it.
After the collapse of civilization and the ensuing Rusting Ages, individual family histories begin to diverge widely, recounting local struggles and lives.