Maybe you have already guessed this from the clues sprinkled throughout the Legends of Tivara: this is actually a science fiction story. It is set in 2800 AD Earth time, told through the eyes of people of Renaissance technology.
The basic premise is that magic and interstellar travel are all based on energy from istirum (whenever you see “light blue” mentioned, whether it is from Avarax’s eyes or paladin swords, it probably comes from the mineral); the next premise is that this planet has a lot of it, and is therefore prized by interstellar races. Those interstellar races include elves (Elestrae) and orcs (Tivari), who have been at war for 15k years throughout the universe; and humans, who are late to the game.
Elestrae originally evolved on a dense planet orbiting a white dwarf. With the ultraviolet light and high gravity, they were a squat, hardy race. Once they formed a symbiotic relationship with space-going creatures, they left their home planet and resettled on an Earth-like planet. The lower gravity and yellow sun made them taller, thinner, and healthier. Their civilization advanced, and they enslaved and bred the creatures that brought them to the planet to be non-sentient. Eventually, they explored more worlds.
The interstellar Elestrae confederation split 20k years before, with a splinter group wanting to get back to their mythical roots in nature and magic; a group of them found and colonized the planet around that time. Over 15k years, they forgot their origins in space, preferring to use magic.
The Tivari found the planet about 8k years ago, and used future tech to almost completely wipe out the elves there during the Twilight of Istriya. After their final victory, they erected a planetary shield, generated by the Pyramids which emit istirum energy, which in turn is distributed by the Tivari-made orbiting relay stations (Iridescent Moon, a ginormous, spherical geosyncrhonous, geostationary satellite, as well as other “stars”). When the orcs ruled the world, they brought humans of various races from 200BC-200AD Earth (which they’d stripped of Istrium in ancient times) as slaves to farm the land and harvest timber for Tivari reproduction hives. Many of these tie into real-life Missing Tribe legends. The Tivari used a religion they made up to keep humans under control.
The Tivari also brought Eunane, a tall race of engineers from a low gravity planet orbiting a red giant star. Tivara’s gravity crushed them, making them small and stocky. They became known as Dwarves, and were forced to mine istrium.
The Tivari also brought Madaerae, a small race of humanoids that occupied the bottom of the food chain on their home world. They evolved with excellent senses.
This entire time, the Elestrae in space genetically modified themselves to be healthier, longer lived, and better able to manipulate istrium energy. However, the Tivari were winning the intergalactic war Eventually, their Confederation discovered the planet and slipped some commandos (“Elf Angels,” who are genetically superior in health and magic to surface elves, due to their genetic modification) to try to disable the shield. Kierra (Kirala) and her twin, Aran (Lord Xu), led the team, and became collectively known as Aralas.
During the reconnaissance, they discovered their ancient elf brethren, as well as humans and dwarves (also brought by Tivari to mine); and trained them to overthrow the orcs (“The War of Ancient Gods“). Key targets included an interstellar communications array (Lydath’s Golden Dish), surface wired networks (Threads of Tivar’s Purse), Tivari reproduction hives (lairs of the Orc Queens), etc. When the Dwarves destroyed the Planetary Shield’s control center (i.e., sacked the Temple of Tivar), it was left up, essentially isolating the planet from the rest of the galaxy.
With the surface Tivari separated from new supplies of futuretech, and limited in their ability to reproduce, they fell out of power and clustered in their own cities. Only the leadership of General Graz, a cybernetic Tivari (The Orc King), kept them from being completely defeated.
Kierra’s descendants become the rulers of Aerilysta; Aran’s become the rulers of Aramysta. These elves, with their genetically-modified longer lives and stronger magic, are considered “High Elves.” However, there weren’t a whole lot of elves (or other sentient races) left in the world, so Humans become the most populous people and eventually carved out their kingdoms (First Age of Empires). After 600 years, there two major empires fought for supremacy.
In the meantime, at the time of the The War of Ancient Gods on Tivara, it was around 1800 AD on Earth. Over the next four centuries, humans developed genetic engineering to make themselves longer-lived and healthier. Despite Tivari efforts to prevent it, humans discovered Faster Than Light travel, and set out to explore the stars.
Still, two factions on Earth were engaged in global war: the Asiatics fought against other humans to maintain their racial purity ; but when the Tivari obliterated major cities and plunge Earth into a nuclear winter, human united and joined the war against the Tivari. Leading planetary assaults on Tivari colonies were the Bovines, humans genetically engineered to be larger and stronger; though their genetic code included a kill switch at age 32, and they produced only y-chromosome sperm. In addition, they had a rare blood marker that would cause a woman to have an autoimmune reaction to a second birth (similar to Rhesus factor)—in future Earth (and now, actually, with rhesus negative mothers), that could be solved with a shot of immunoglobulins.
Faced with these super soldiers, and combined with the loss of their major source of istrium, the Tivari lost ground in their intergalactic war with the Elestrae. About 600 years after the War of Ancient Gods, they made a last ditch effort to retake Tivara.
Timed with the Godseye Conjunction, they sent a standard strike force of seven capital ships (“The Golden Flock”) and tried to disable the planetary shield emitters by orbital bombardment (“The Hellstorm“) and battle mechs (“Iron Avatars”). The devastation lead to the Long Winter (a nuclear winter) and the end of agrarian empires and social order.
The Tivari armada was destroyed by future humans from Earth. One large Earth cruiser, manned by the long-lived, healthy humans (the Eldaeri) crashed onto an island off of Tivaralan. A unit of three starfighters also crashed. One piloted by Gerald Smith, (the first Bovyan, “the mortal son of the Sun God“) landed in the Arkothi Empire; another by the Wang Yuxiang, who would become Cathay’s Regent was rescued by Aran (Lord Xu/one Aralas); a third crashed into the mountain of Lydath’s Golden Bowl.
Because of their superiority over other humans, as well as the break-down in social stability during the Long Winter, these future humans played large roles in the post-Hellstorm history of Tivara. The 70,000 humans on the cruiser genetically modified two species of trees, and engineered ships and repeating crossbows. Claiming descent from elves, they captured much of coastal Arkoth. However, their genetic code makes it hard for them to reproduce with other humans; they also have a dominant gene that prevents them from using magic. The descendants of Gerald Smith became the Bovyans, who eventually came to rule the Teleri Empire.
Only a handful of characters know of the sci-fi aspects: Avarax and Celastya (dragons are related to the same creatures that brought the Elestrae to new planets); Aran/Xu and Kierra/Kirala; General Graz/Orc King. The larger story is how these powerful beings use the politics and nations of the world to control its istrium reserves.
Ayara/Guanyin’s Eye: a ringed planet about 3AUs from the sun. The istrium is so concentrated, it is impossible for spacecraft to enter its ring system.
Iridescent Moon: an orc-made satellite, part of the planetary shield emitter
Golden Flock: Standard Tivari cruiser formation
Myths vs Historical Events:
Year of the Second Sun: A supernova in a nearby solar system, which showered gamma rays on Tivara for three months. It neutralized istrium ions, preventing the elves from using magic during the Twilight of Istriya.
Orc Gods’ Flaming Chariots: refers to orc space cruisers
Dragonpurge: When the Tivari gutted several derelict space craft. Some “dragon bone” sites include the Temple of Heaven in Huajing (Songs of Insurrection), Cassius’ Diviner’s Circle and Dome (Masters of Deception) Altokvistas (in Dances of Deception).
Guanyin’s Tear: an asteroid from the Blue Moon
Dragon Hoards: precious metals magnify the resonance of istrium, helping to nourish dragon’s magic.
Elven Diaspora: never really happened; it is part of the Eldaeri’s origin myth.
Hellstorm: The Tivari’s orbital bombardment on the planetary shield generators in Ayudra.
Founder of Cathay’s Wang Dynasty sent from heaven: Oda Nobunaga, whose body was never recovered from his assassination at Honnoji. A lot of hints are in the pass codes used to enter the Imperial Family’s sleeping quarters. Kaiya visits future Japan, where she retrieves Celastya’s Flaming Pearl.
Curse of Geros (life force transferred to the Orc King): short life due to genetic engineering
Curse of Geros (no girls): y-chromosome sperm only.
Virgin Birth of Haros: mother implanted with a genetically altered Bovyan embryo.
Glittering Caves: old Elestrae Colony ships. Some sites include Temple in Palimur (Orchestra of Treacheries), Elbahia Island (Crown of Arkos), Wild Turkey Island (Dances of Deception), Aerilysta and Aramysta.
Eldaeri Palaces: based off the Eldaeri starcruiser.
Fallen Star: The istrium core of a starfighter’s power source
Xu’s Magic Mirror: a tablet computer
Orc King’s Magic Wand: plasma gun with stun setting
Starburst: the istrium converter drive from spaceships
Iron Avatar: Tivari battle mechs.
Teleri Imperial Crest: homing beacon from Gerald Smith’s ship, made of durastrium to protect it from power surges.
Last Testament of Geros: Gerald Smith’s journal. One sketch includes the Statue of Liberty
Pyramid Blocking Stone: Durastrium-coated to absorb istrium energy
Dragonstones: emitters from the planetary shield generators
Demon Eye: A cybernetic eye from Starfighter pilots, with an AI interface
Light of Eldaeri: a running light on a starcruiser, it is a photovoltaic polymer
Gold Ring: an inverter which allows the running light to generate power from light
White Staff: the interface between the Light of Eldaeri and the starcruiser
Eldaeri Swords: made of durastrium from the Eldaeri starcruiser
Jie’s Clone/De Lucca’s Stealth Suits: Tivari chameleon technology
Jie Clones: made by the Orc King from the stem cells of Jie’s placenta. He wanted to research ways to both kill Jie, and also to turn off the Bovyan genetic kill switch.
Haros (Geros XLIII): he comes from the Orc King’s experimentation of inserting Jie’s longevity DNA into Bovyans.
De Lucca: an early success of the Orc King in splicing Jie’s DNA into humans
Kaiya: a genetic copy of Mai (who became part of the Yanyan legend), the slave girl who sang Avarax to sleep
Li Bin: an In Vitro-Fertilized child of the Tianzi and his wife. Kaiya and Li Bin were accidentally switched.