Dread Wars

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gods vs Monarchs

The Dread Wars was an apocalyptic event in the history of Cradle. It started well over 500 years ago, when a Dreadgod called the Wandering Titan started digging into the Labyrinth. It ended when much of the vast Ashwind continent was in ashes and billions were dead, including ten Monarchs.

“You should understand that the dragons left the doors open for years as they explored the labyrinth, making war on one another and settling petty grudges with their new weaponry. They didn't realize that something in that place drew the Dreadgods like wolves to fresh meat. . . Most of this continent was reduced to a blasted wasteland, from which it has not entirely recovered even to this day. Billions of people and sacred beasts died, and the former Blackflame Empire was nothing more than a Remnant haunt for generations.” (Skysworn chapter 7)

Power Distribution

Subject One refers back to the historic Dread Wars, when twelve Monarchs battled the Wandering Titan, who employs earth aspects:

They crushed the beast of earth, and then they discovered what we did. When one of the beasts dies, the others inherit its power until it is reborn. They become smarter. Stronger. And the hunger takes hold. “The beasts devoured the rest of the Monarchs, and for a while, I could live through their eyes.” (Reaper ch 21)

Consequences of the War

A power vacuum with only two Monarchs left alive.

The Dread War brought about the virtual extinction of the ruling black dragons (see Ashwind Continent History)

It inspired the current Blackflame Empire’s prohibitions against entering the Labyrinth and/or taking weapons or treasures from it (because the open labyrinth lures dreadgods like flies to honey)

This titanic battle inspired the creation of the first Uncrowned King Tournament, to encourage advancement and growth in the wake of mass death (billions died)

It motivated an ambitious young white lion to glory, a watershed moment for Reigan Shen, only an Underlord at the time.

When the twelve Monarchs attacked the Wandering Titan in an attempt to destroy the Dreadgods once and for all, Reigan Shen distantly sensed the battle. And when the other three Dreadgods woke to defend their brother, beginning the greatest slaughter of Monarchs since the creation of Cradle, he saw the start of that fight as well. It was his first glimpse of true power, as such things are measured in his Iteration, and it filled him with awe. The conflict broke most of his home plains, and many of his pride lost their lives, but he led an expedition to a nearby human city. His goal: to find out the identity of these godlike beings whose battle had broken the earth and spread across the sky. That same year he began his search, the Dread War concluded. The two surviving Monarchs convened the handful of Heralds and great families remaining in the world. Together, they organized the Uncrowned King tournament in an effort to pool their resources and raise up a new generation of Monarchs. Reigan Shen reached these families just as they had begun their search for powerful Underlords. He was the victor of the first Uncrowned King tournament, and that fortune became the foundation for decades of conquest.(Uncrowned, ch 14)


  • Akura Malice had not been a Monarch during the Dread War, but she had seen the memories of others.” (Reaper, ch 1). This implies she was alive at that time, but not yet advanced to Monarch
  • Reigan Shen had been a young cub, an ambitious Underlord, during the war
  • Seshethkunaaz was also alive at the time. “Suggested topic: Seshethkunaaz and the Dread War. Continue? Denied, report complete.” (Uncrowned, ch 3)
  • On his Archives, author suggests that Emriss Silentborn is the oldest Monarch, albeit a Remnant. Anyway, at some time after the war, she managed to ward the Silent King within her Everwood continent jungle (see Reaper, ch 23, in book 10).