The Dimly-Lit Ages was a term first used by Bilmum Foobar as the title for volume eight of his epic work, “A History of Early Quendor”, and from that point on has been used by all historians of the Entharion dynasty as a general label for the time from the reign of Zylon the Aged to the fall of the dynasty with the deposition of Zilbo III. Generally, the period in question can be characterized as one utterly devoid of arcane knowledge and thaumaturgical practice. Although it is true that various scholars during the Entharion dynasty made sporadic attempts to rediscover the basic magical truths, it was not until the domination of Quendor by the Flathead family that the old essence of magic could be returned to the full light of organized knowledge.

The reasons for Dimly-Lit Ages are several, and are intimately involved with the problems inherent in giving an accurate timeframe for the period. Mystified historians have recorded that most knowledge of the sacred arts had been lost with the fall of the city of Pheebor some eight centuries ago, and the sudden unexplained death of every member of the Jerrimore clan about two hundred years after that.

After the confrontation with the Great Terror, Entharion himself was active in the suppression of various forms of dark magic. Both he and his successor, the obscure and short-lived Mysterion the Brave, were believed to belong to a secret society dedicated to the guardianship of magical knowledge from the eyes of the outside world. However, while these two monarchs and their companions were still alive, memories of magic remained fresh in the minds of the populace, and thus the Dimly-Lit Ages cannot yet be said to have fully begun. Most scholars begin the period with the reign of Zylon the Aged, who himself was not a member of the near-legendary magical society and in which magic of any kind was a rare commodity.

Since Zylon the Aged himself reigned for an unprecedented three and a half centuries, the length of the Dimly-Lit Ages vary widely depending on when exactly during Zylon's reign one decides to begin the period. It is of course true that Zylon, a contemporary and associate of both his predecessors, was intimately acquainted with magical practice and lore. However, the aged monarch was notoriously introspective, a habit only natural from one who had the misfortune of watching a dozen generations of good friends give in to death while he himself remained alive. In any case, Zylon shared little of his magical knowledge, and although not a member of Entharion and Mysterion's secret societies, he did little if anything to prevent their work throughout the long course of his reign.

As for the academic institutions, many scholars felt that they had finally begun to achieve some understanding of an underlying order in the seemingly chaotic world. It was during this period of enlightenment that many important scientific discoveries and technological innovations were made.

Astronomers began meticulously analyzing the motion of celestial bodies, physicists made stunning assertions about the apparent tendency of all things to “gravitate” towards the ground and cartographers insisted that their geographical surveys simply did not add up under the assumption that Zork lay on a flat surface. All these things combined to give rise to the Giant Coconut theory, which enjoyed uncontested dominance in all academic circles up until the late 4th century when it was replaced with the planetary model. These stirring events were quickly answering the great mysteries of the ages that had baffled mankind.

Primitive cultures had naturally assumed that the disorderly nature of our world was due to such supernatural causes as magic or was created at the hand of some ancient god. With the founding of the “natural” sciences, however, nature was increasingly viewed as being orderly. As the sciences progressed, the knowledge and lore of magic largely disappeared.

In some places the spark of magic would survive in the forms of two of the late members of Zylon’s court, those like Dinbar and Hargood, brilliant but untrained, often erratic. However, magicians like those were usually limited to flashy pyrotechnics, and would never be capable of using their skills towards destructive ends. With the death of Zylon, no magical knowledge existed outside the confines of the mysterious and hidden proto-guilds, and thus with 398, the Dimly-Lit Ages can truly be said to have begun.

Throughout the period, Quendor would be wracked by dramatic religious and cultural transformations, but all the while, isolated and persecuted individuals would continue the hard work that would allow the knowledge of magic to reemerge at the end of the era, with the dawn of the Empirical Age in 473.