The earliest tales tell of how there were no humes, and no weres, only the ilim, whom lived in harmony with the land. The ilim were the land, and the lands were the ilim, the two ever in balance. The ilim could hear the pulse of the world, the constant beat of life's heart, and the pangs that signalled some life had ended. The ilim built their civilisations by what the land provided them, constructing homes and cities in the boughs of large trees, or carving them into natural mountainsides and cliff faces.
The ilim passed their tales and histories down from generation to generation in song, and verbal tale told by firelight. Their gods, it is said, were once living beings much as the ilim themselves were, and lived alongside them, guiding their people, and teaching them the arts of magic.
In time, the ilim were joined by strangers from across the sea. These peoples looked somewhat like the ilim themselves, but much taller, and they had strange ears and no tails. Despite these differences, the ilim welcomed them, happy to share what little they had with the newcomers. But this was a mistake. The humes wanted more than what meager things the ilim had gathered together, established their own territories, felling great forests and mining stone from the earth to build colossal metropolises the likes of which the ilim had never even dreamed of. And from humes, the ilim knew war, as the many hume territories began to fight one another over resources and land.
The ilim weakened as the land was damaged, and were pushed further and further north. Now, only northern Azaleon, home to the once-great nation of Galace, is the last bit of Azaleon the ilim can truly call home. In time, the humes began to turn on the ilim, desiring control over the natural resources that Galace had in large numbers. The ilim created the weres, a magical fusion of hume and ilim, that were stronger and more durable, and quite a bit more long-lived, than humes and ilim both, to defend their forests and mountains. But even the weres began to fail, in time.
Empires rose and fell, one nation conquered another, and soon, there were only three hume territories remaining: Dalmasca; Jihon; and Macenia. In the west, the nomadic tribes had begun to settle and form city-states, collectively called the Free Cities, in response. Dalmasca and Jihon united against Macenia and Galace, determined to see all of Azaleon become either Dalmasca or Jihon, and the slave trade started with a vengeance.
And then, the gods gave humes magic.
Most ilim have sensed the change, but none can say for certain what changed. One day, things seemed fine, and the next, the land was immensely distressed. Galace began fighting off an enemy it could hardly defend against, and humes that could sense aura and use magic began popping up across Azaleon, no rhyme or reason behind it. The ilim say that things have changed in a most drastic manner, even if they cannot say for certain how. And the hume magi, while once quite happy to receive their new gift, have steadily lost their minds, one by one, to an ill-understood madness, presumably borne of magic.
As their fellow man proved to lose their minds, many nations turned on hume magi, labelling them a danger to society, and casting them out, if not outright murdering them on discovery. Hume magi went into hiding, and those that do survive do so carefully, as they, too, can still be executed for their powers in some parts of Azaleon. Not all turned against them, however; the western Free Cities began research in earnest, learning about aura and how it interacts with the physical plane, in hopes of finding something useful. This led to the advent of auratech, man-made machinery infused with magic. The Free Cities have become a power unlike the hume nations have ever seen before, more of a threat than they ever believed possible, which has forced the warring to calm somewhat. While Dalmasca and Jihon have thus far mostly let the Free Cities alone, it is perhaps only a matter of time until they change their minds.
Forty years ago came a seer's prophecy, from the sands of the Free City of Saqqara, which told of the coming of a Messiah, destined to 'rid' Azaleon of... something, and usher in a new era. The anti-mage fervour began again in earnest, bans on magic strengthened anew, and the peoples' fear reignited, as those in power interpreted and misinterpreted the prophecy time and again, using it as a ploy in their own machinations. The anti-magi movements have sparked countless cults and sects to life across Azaleon, some working to protect magi, and some working to destroy them.
Azaleon has become embroiled in a physical, and a political, war. But prophecies are fickle things, and the true meaning of the prophecy has been long lost, told and retold as many times as it has been, each iteration a little less accurate than the last.
Macenia clings to the last vestiges of its defence line. Galace seeks diplomatic ways of ending the wars with Dalmasca and Jihon, all the while facing disaster in their own nation. The Jihonese fight one another for control of their islands, and Dalmasca's nobility have turned on each other. Whether all of Azaleon will burn in these flames or not is yet to be seen.
And perhaps, the Messiah awaits their opportunity.