Note: Much of the following was taken from Dennis Powers' Aliens Among Us articles and the works of fantasy authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien.
The planet known to Earth to some of its inhabitants first came into existence about 4.5 billion years before the beginning of the Information Age. It arose like all other planets surrounding the yellow star Sol in the Orion Arm by forming from space dust that originated in a nebula. Initially, it was an inhospitable place much volcanic activity going on. The early atmosphere consisted mainly of carbon dioxide and ammonia, with very little oxygen. Over time, Earth cooled down and the continents and oceans began to take shape.
Life is first believed to have appeared at the will of the Godhead, although to what extant is widely debated. Evidence from genetic memory indicates that the first forms of life were self-replicating RNA molecules that developed during the Archaean eon (3800-2500 mya). The coastal waters of the time provided an excellent environment for the first attempts for life to evolve. Due to the combined forces of divine guidance and natural selection, the macromolecules slowly evolved into prokaryotic chemoautotrophs that recieved their energy from inorganic materials. Most of these life-forms were very similar to modern bacteria. Although primitive, they were still able to attract life-energy that enabled them to have potenial minds.
Around this time, several Great Old Ones, powerful beings from a higher plane of existence, first arrived on Earth. They were once Great Powers in the heavenly realms, but sought to exploit the universe, not to aid the development of living beings. It is commonly believed that they are by nature evil but in actuality, they are completely indifferent towards inferior life-forms. Although incredibly powerful, they still operate under cosmic cycles. Some of the more well-known Elder Gods who visited Earth are Rath, Dagon, Cthulhu, Set, and Hastur. When they found Earth, they noticed that some form of life existed but ignored it. The Great Race of Yith, allies of the Elder Gods, also showed up and resided in modern-day Australia. Another race, known as the Elder Things, also settled on Earth, but they were hostile with the Yithians and the spawn of Cthulhu.
Meanwhile, the Progenitors, who were loyal to the more benevolent of the Ancient Ones soon dominated the galaxy. Aware of their civilization's mortality, they implanted DNA codes into microscopic life-forms on various planets, including Earth, to ensure that they would be home to humanoid races not physically different from the original Progenitors. Much of their culture was eventually destroyed in a colossal war over how to control the development of life. Their descendents later departed to other dimensions, including the Q Continuum and the Courts of Chaos.
Complex life-forms began to develop during the Proterozoic eon (2500-545 mya). It was during this time that eukaryotes developed and the ancestors of plants and animals diverged. About 880 mya, the consciousness of Gaea, patron goddess of Earth, was first generated by the planet's living creatures. Over time, she developed sentience and became devoted to the preservation of Earth's native life. For a long time, she barely had the power to assume physical form, let alone protect her home planet from alien invaders. It is believed that Gaea was responsible for the Cambrian explosion that occured 545 mya, where multi-celled organisms developed at a rapid rate.
By the end of the Cambrian explosion, most phyla of the plants and animals had evolved into diverse groups. After dominating Earth's oceans, they stepped on land and conquered it as well. The Mesozoic era (250-65 mya) is generally known to most people as the Age of Dinosaurs. Of course, dinosaurs were not the only megafauna in the Mesozoic but they left the most fossils in the geological record. It is erroneously believed that non-avian dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic. In fact, small enclaves have been discovered where still dinosaurs exist, mostly in remote parts of the world.
After the extinction of the dinosaurs, which coincided with the destruction of the Elder Gods' city in Leng, Gaea chose to focus on the development of mammals and birds, partly because she saw great potential in warm-blooded animals. This saw the beginning of the Cenozoic period. Fourteen of the remaining Elder Things on Earth were trapped in a cave in Antarctica, where they slept for millions of years. Surviving pterosaurs evolved into dragons but spent much of their time hibernating so they were of little interference. One group of sentient reptiles, influenced by the Elder God Set, evolved into the so-called Silurians, who tried to prevent the rise of mammals but were unsuccessful and were also placed into a deep sleep by Gaea.
The alien race known as the Prometheans (or Anunnaki), beings uplifited by the the Ancient Ones, first arrived on Earth ten million years ago. Their physical form was like that of humans but taller and more robust. Most of them were benevolent beings who respected Gaea and her powers over Earth's creatures. Gaea allowed them to do experiments on some of the more advanced creatures as long as they were not allowed to become slaves or monstrosites. The Prometheans constructed a colony on the planet Thyoph, which lied between Jupiter and Mars. The colony flourished until it was destroyed by minions of Azathoth, who had become sworn enemies of the Prometheans. Survivors fled to other Promethean-colonized worlds like Gallifrey and Krypton. One group even decided to join Azathoth and became known in later years as the Shadows.
Despite setbacks caused by hostile forces, the Prometheans continued their work on Earth's more intelligent life-forms, especially primates and dolphins, which resembled the sentient beings of their original homeworld. They constructed a large monolith in Africa to boost the developement of local hominids. The first near-sentient beings that they developed were the mangani, which belonged to the genus Australopithecus. Thanks to advanced bio-engineering, some were also able to create hybrids like satyrs and centaurs, but these beings were mentally unbalanced and often uncooperative with the Prometheans. As hominids progressed, they were taught such concepts as art and religion. Finally, the species Homo sapiens appeared and showed remarkable potential in both intelligence and genetic variety. Some offshoots, including elves, dwarves, hobbits, and giants, were created by a few Promethans who favored diversity.
When the first humans appeared, the Prometheans found two young children and named them Adam (boy) and Eve (girl). The two children were placed in a garden in Africa where they were placed under careful observation. Both of them showed the ability to develop a simple language and express abstract concepts with ease, which greatly pleased their watchers. They were soon taught by the Prometheans the Solarian tongue, which was used by Promethans native to our solar system. This complex language soon became the mother of nearly all human languages.
An unexpected wild card appeared when a large spaceship carrying White and Red Martians crash landed in Africa. The survivors were instructed not to interfere with the Prometheans' experiments but the Martians sought to exert their own control over the primitive continent. They established a large number of cities, including Opar, along the African rift valley. Normally, the Martians ignored the primitive humans but there is evidence that some were enslaved or interbred with the Martians. One group travelled to the island of Lemuria in the Indian Ocean, where several experiments were carried out creating large megafauna that appeared as monsters to the the native humans. Finally, the Prometheans gave them an ultimatum: give up their advanced technology or be driven extinct. The Martian tribes who refused were largely decimated by a deadly virus. The remainder became very content with their primitive lifestyle.
Just as soon as the Prometheans were to declare their work on Earth a major success, an avatar of Azathoth known as Melkor (known to the elves as Morgoth) appeared in the far north of modern-day Europe where he created a fortress and created a large army of monsters intended to supplant the human race. The main bulk consisted of orcs and trolls, which were genetically altered elves and giants. A large cloud was created, preventing vision of the Sun and creating a major ice age. Gaea responded by creating two giant trees that gave off their own light. Melkor also tried to take control of the vain race of Noldor as an attempt to eliminate the Prometheans and destroy their projects on Earth. However, the Noldor figured out his evil plans and set their kingdoms in alliance against him. As Melkor 's power temporaily waned, two Prometheans were sent to destory the screen, ending the period of coldness.
As Earth became warm again, the descendents of Adam and Eve spread throughout the world, supplanting other races with their superior intelligence and advanced language skills. Although they did have some success, other sentient races could never over-power their human cousins. One race of parasitic beings created the first vampires as an attempt to sabotage the Promethean experiement, but it was only partly successful. Around 24,000 years ago, radiation from the Vela supernova arrived, causing the first meta-genes to lie dormant for millenia. Around the same time, humans learned to domesticate animals and plants.
Within time, Melkor managed to conquer much of Eurasia and subdue the Noldor and their allies. However, Eärendil the half-Elven managed to travel to Valinor, headquarters of the Prometheans on Earth. Listening to his pleas, the Prometheans agreed to step in and destroy Melkor's forces. After a cataclysmic battle, they defeated Melkor and exiled him into outer space. However, much of the world's surface had been devastated by war, with deserts made uninhabitable by the Prometheans' advanced weapons. It took nearly a hundred years to properly restore what had been destroyed.
It was about 23,100 years ago, shortly after the defeat of Melkor, when the Prometheans chose to set up the first human civilization. They gathered variant stocks of humans from across the world and placed them on the mid-Atlantic island of Numenor (or Westernesse). The first King of Numenor was Elros Tar-Minyatur, son of Eärendil. The various peoples of Numenor eventually intermarried with the encouragement of the royal family and the magi class. Most of the people practiced some form of polytheism, where they worshipped the Ancient Ones who shaped the universe. The ruling family worshipped a omnibenevolent All-Father while the magi believed in an unknowable Infinite Absolute. The lingua franca was Adûnaic, which was descended from the language spoken by the pre-Nordic tribes who had aided the Noldor.
During the next thousand years, Numenor established the first overseas empire known to mankind. It set up small colonies in Eurasia and Africa, but was forbidden by the Prometheans to sail westward, where Valinor lay. However, they were allowed to trade with the elves of Tol Eressëa, an island that lay in sight of Valinor. In the lands that they could conquer, several vassal states were established. One profitable export of Numenor was orichalcum, a rare alloy that was considered by the Numenoreans to be next to gold in value. Their main rivals in sea trade were the Lemurians, who dominated the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, Sauron, a former disciple of Melkor, devised an evil plan to enslave the Prometheans' client races on Earth. He appeared to a group of elven artisans and persuaded them to build several Rings of Power that would prevent decay and enhance their bearers' natural abilities. Three Rings were given to the elves, Nine Rings to the humans, and Seven Rings to the dwarves. While the elves forged the Rings, Sauron went to the volcano Mount Doom and created a One Ring that would control all other Rings of Power. There were other sapient beings at this time but Sauron considered the elves, dwarves, and humans to be the most powerful. The elves managed to find out what Sauron was up to but the other races were more susceptible.
Sauron established a kingdom in Mordor where he declared himself to be the new Dark Lord and organized the remaining orcs, trolls and other monsters. He used the beings under the control of One Ring to expand his his realm into a vast land empire that rivalled the Numenorians' sea empire. Some leaders of formerly independent nations allied themselves with Sauron, believing that he would allow them to maintain their own power. The human kings who had put on the Nine Rings had become Ringwraiths, fearsome creatures who brought terror among the free peoples of Earth. As undead magicians, they were able to place great fear and confusion into their enemies. Eventually, the threat was so serious that the Numenorians and the Lemurians, who were traditional enemies, united together with the High Elves to fight Sauron's forces. Together, they established a powerful Alliance that liberated many tribes and nations from Mordor's grasp.
Once the free armies reached Morder, Sauron, who had a very cunning plan, surrendered to them. The Numenoreans brought Sauron back home were he was kept as a prisoner. There, he managed to convince the Numenorean king, Ar-Pharazôn, to make him his advisor, despite the magi class's objections. Sauron told Ar-Pharazôn that he knew of his dreams of greater power and claimed that they could be achieved by attacking Valinor. Going against the will of his ancestors, Ar-Pharazôn agreed and led a fleet of all of his ships to invade the Prometheans' stronghold. After consulting the Ancient Ones through their oracle, the Prometheans used their technology to destroy the fleet in a massive storm, then proceeded to permenantly sink Numenor to the bottom of the ocean. The Numenoreans who managed to evacuate the destruction of their home fled to the nearby island of Atlantis and the eastern shores of Eurasia.
During the fall of Numenor, Sauron escaped and fled back to Mordor, where he prepared to destroy the surviving Numenoreans once for all. He learned that the leaders of the human and elf kingdoms had established a Last Alliance to invade Mordor. A Numenorean lord, Elendil, had established the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and was prepared to lead his people. After he was killed, his son Isildur fought Sauron face to face and successfully cut off the Dark Lord's ring finger. Once Sauron's body fell dead, Isildur was told to throw the One Ring into Mount Doom. Instead, he kept the One Ring, believing that he would not be corrupted by it. Eventually, he lost the Ring while in battle and it stayed at the bottom of a river for millenia.
Over the next three thousand years, many kingdoms rose and fell, with history turning into myth. Those who did remember the Numenorian Age included the High Elves, who lived for many centuries and kept records of every major event that occured to their people. The Prometheans also remembered and kept watch over the world of elves and humans, knowing that Sauron would return. To help the mortal races fight the Dark Lord, they sent five wizards who would guide the free peoples in a final war that would determine the fate of humanity.
The One Ring was eventually rediscovered by the wizard Gandalf, who found that it was possessed by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. He also found out the Sauron had been restored and now was planning revenge in Mordor. When Bilbo left the Ring to his heir Frodo, Gandalf, along with Eärendil's son Elrond, convinced the younger hobbit to deliver it to Mount Doom, where it would be finally destroyed along with Sauron's spirit, which had been binded to it. Once Sauron learned that his sworn enemies were using his Ring, he responded by waging a massive war in Eurasia. The War of the Rings was very devastating and finally ended when Frodo and his friend (some say homosexual partner) Sam, despite all odds, made it to Mount Doom. However, the Ring was actually destroyed by the mutated hobbit Gollum, whom Bilbo had stolen it from, when he grabbed it and accidently fell into the volcano.
Now that the free peoples of Eurasia were victorious and Sauron had been defeated forever, the Prometheans decided that it was time to leave Earth. They took the elves, dwarves, and hobbits on board massive spaceships and took them to Ringworld, an artifical ring-shaped object that circled a distant star. However, they still kept an eye on Earth, to make sure that their project was not drastically unharmed. They declared their work to be mostly a success, but there still a few minor flaws in the system that needed to be worked out.
One mark that the Prometheans left on humanity was genetic thanks to the occasional unauthorized cross-breeding. Since both races were biologically compatible, many Promethean-human hybrids were born over the centuries. They usually appeared human, but possessed extraordinary strength, great longevity, and magical powers. These beings were revered by ordinary humans as gods and heroes, although a few used their abilities for evil. Some of them became kings and established great dynasties. Once they died, they became semi-divine beings in the realm of Briah (also known as the Outer Planes). There, they kept a steady contact with corporeal humans, although only a few wished be worshipped to the point of holy war and ritual sacrifice.
Another legacy left behind was a group of immortals, who unbeknownst to themselves, were recording devices that gave the Prometheans a chance to easily observe the development of humanity. They were all born as ordinary humans until their immortality was activated by their first "death." Once they became immortals, they stopped aging and roamed across the world assuming a number of different identities. One of the few ways for a human immortal to die was to be decapitated by another immortal, who would absorb the victim's memories. This led to belief that there was a holy 'prize' that would be achieved by killing all of the other immortals. It was also possible for an immortal to die by leaving Earth, where the morphogenetic field that preserved him no longer worked.
Millennia passed and a new civilization was set up by the descendents of the Promethean-human hybrids on the island of Atlantis. Its people remembered with great fondness the stories of the Numenoreans and wanted to repeat their successes. They developed a primarily expansionist culture, believing that it was their destiny to conquer the known world. Eventually, a new sea empire was set up with colonies established in both Eurasia and the Americas. The Atlanteans continued to be in rivalry with the Lemurians and the two empires engaged in a number of wars with each other.
Eventually, both civilizations were nearly destroyed when a comet collided into Earth's surface around 10,200 years ago. The resulting catastrophe, known in legend as the Great Cataclysm, changed the world's surface and made the general climate much colder. Over centuries, the geography of the worlds' continents changed until they were almost unrecognizable. Both the Atlanteans and the Lemurians reacted to this by resorting to primitive barbarism. The Atlanteans' descendents in the successor states managed to survive, but had continuous wars with the Picts and the Lemurians. Knowledge of the ancient past survived through a small number of priests and scribes who passed on their sacred knowledge, hoping that it would one day restore civilization.
Unfortunately for the survivors of Atlantis, a new obstacle arose when nine powerful wizards made a diabolical pact with the Elder Gods who resided beneath Earth's surface. They agreed to create as much human death and suffering as possible in exchange for immortality and great powers. As a result, they became the Nine Unknown, a secret cabal who slowly manipulated events to serve their abominable masters. The wizards only once met together once every few decades and convened at a remote location.
In response to the Nine Unknown's actions, the mysterious figure Mr. Am, possibly the same being as Gandalf, established a special community in Tibet known as the White Lodge. Its members opened up several lamaseries and orphanages across the world to train men and women so that they could fight the Nine Unknown's many forces. Where the sinister cabal favored tyranny, hate, and superstition, Mr. Am favored freedom, love, and enlightenment. To aid humanity's survival against hostile extradimensional beings and their allies, Mr. Am's disciples took the arduous task of breeding and recruiting metahumans throughout the centuries. They held to the Prometheans' cherished belief that humans were not just a bunch of upright apes driven by their own genes, but a species with great potential to reach for the stars and evolve into purely spirtual beings.