Humanity before the fall.
Once, humankind was gifted with the spark of the divine, bonded at their souls to godhood. Despite what the Elves might have you believe, Humans were the first born of the Gods, Chosen. Their lives stretched into the thousands of years and their mastery of magic and machinery was beyond all that has since been.
In these ancient days man was called the Vashal, and they spread across the continent. They were a decadent race, devouring the land where they dwelt to build their clockwork spires, but they believed in Law above all else and the rule of the many. But on the outskirts of their empire the Elven people were growing. They came to be called the Empire of Tears and within centuries their growth became outright war and encroachment against the Vashal.
The Vashal bred the powerful Marruspawn as the foot soldiers of their wars, Jackal men with keen intelligence and powerful bodies. They lived in Ziggurats crafted as dormitories and communities, the word of the Vashal the same as the word of god. However even this was not enough to stop the encroachment of the Elves, their pacts with demonkind were strong and they had great Avatars that they sent into battle, spawned by the death of thousands of slaves in a moment.
The Vashal crafted pillars of Dark Stone and channeled their divinity into them, to create champions of their own to lead their armies. Eventually the war between the two peoples brought both Empires to their knees. The Vashal were stripped of their divinity for the sins committed against their gods. The Empire of Tears was destroyed by it’s people rising up against the leadership, striking down all that the wards did not still protect.
Recently there have been rumors that perhaps more of the Vashal’s empire remains than had been previously thought. A group called the Kings of Mechanus have been slowly rising into prominence within the Imperial heartlands. Rumor has it that they are the descendants of the Vashal ruling class, hording knowledge of their works and steering humanity from the Shadows. Lending credence to these rumors are the increasing number of activated Dark Stones within the Empire’s confines.