If we think about the history of the Orlanthi, their original Dawn Age settlements were “hill fort villages” – this is where they survived the Greater Darkness and Grey Ages. The entire populace initially lived within the walls, for outside was Chaos, trolls, and other monsters. Each was the center of a tribe, and location of the temples, tribal ruler, etc.
With the Dawn, people could raise crops and the population grew. People settled outside of the walls, founded new villages, and some of the hill-forts turned into semi-urban fortified towns and later cities. By the end of the First Age, there were small cities along the upper Oslira and Engizi Rivers – Olorost, Voss Varaina, Denkarst, Bon Balar, Jerin, etc.
In the Second Age, some of these became true cities and others were founded – Jintal, Anjorabinni, Bonn Karpatch, Voss Varaina, Olorast, Orin Jistel, Salor, Bon Balor, Banjarn, Kordros, etc. Adari and Pavis were part of this. This was a time of an urbane Dragon Pass civilization that learned to speak with the dragons and later became known as the Empire of the Wyrms Friends.
As the ancient tribal structure faded away, these cities replaced them as subjects of identity and loyalty.
In 1120, most of these cities were destroyed. New tribes formed or older tribes (such as the Hendriki) expanded. In Kethaela, the Hendriki, centered on the temple-fortress of Whitewall, became the main confederation in Heortland (as all of the Kethaelan cities declined after the double whammy of the Closing and two centuries later the Dragonkill War). A new Dark Age descended over Kethaela lasting nearly two centuries.
The Dark Age lifted with the arrival of Belintar, who overthrew the Only Old One and united the lands of Kethaela into the Holy Country. Trade with Ralios returned, small and sporadic at first, but eventually a steady flow. Nochet and Rhigos grew rapidly. And settlers from Kethaela and South Peloria resettled Dragon Pass.
By the 1470s, Dragon Pass was resettled. New cities were founded – Bagnot, Dunstop, Wilmskirk, Jonstown, Swenstown, and in the 1490s Boldhome and Furthest. Urban civilization returned to Dragon Pass. With the Opening of the Seas in the 1580s, this super-charged trade.
The “Dark Ages” of the 11th to 14th centuries was a time of isolation and contraction. It was also a period of transformation. In Peloria it witnessed the rise and fall of the brutal Carmanian Empire, and the rise of the Red Moon. In Kethaela, the shadows grew long until Belintar slew the Only Old One and founded the Holy Country.
But we’ve been in a new renaissance since 1470 or so, and that dark age is long past. I think only the trolls wish for its return.