Rise: -3,400SG to -2,900SG
Golden age: -2,550SG to -549SG
Fall: midnight, 7 Winterstime, -549SG (vanished)
The Zin'Charu, “People of the Charu”, are our first major human civilization, roughly paralleling the Netherese in traditional FR, and the real-world Roman Empire (less militant, more arcane might). Physically, they are described as of short stature, dark hair, dark eyes, narrower shoulders, a caucasian complexion (somewhat darker than that of the northern Aesatri) and comparatively round head.
The Zin'Charu arose from six clans living upon the Charu highlands, who eventually allied in common defense of their people. Circa -3,400's begins their expansionist movements east, down onto the fertile plains of Yniam. The moon elves of what is now Kilkaen forest (Aketon) entered into various treaties and trade agreements with the rising human civilisation, in exchange for maintaining peaceful borders to their forest. This included the very important aspect of teaching them arcane spellcraft.
The human with none of the elven patience or caution, raced ahead in their knowledge of arcanery and the might it offered. By circa -2,900SG, thus empowered, they began taking over lands further and further south, claiming rulership over numerous local tribes and much of the land that had belonged to the Aesatri (eastern coastline). Over many centuries they laid claim to all civilised lands within reach, held back only by the natural buffers of mountain and ocean from spreading yet further, and by circa -2,550SG they were the undisputed lords of the entirety of what is now the Shadow realm.
The original six clans of the Charu Highlands were, at this point, considered the ruling aristocratic houses of the empire, all claiming a wealth of powerful magi holding their subjects to their whim. It is believed that technology and spellcraft arose among their studies which are still lost to this day. Upon establishing the strength of their empire and being courted by dark beings offering yet more power, the high clans turned their interests to other pursuits.
It is said that Shar, over the centuries, slowly insinuated her way into the hearts and souls of the nobility of the Zin'Charu. Offering them greater powers than the elves had ever known, they became practitioners of what is referred to in the modern age as the 'Shadow Weave', Shar's antithesis of Mystra's own arcane Weave. They were said to have many research sites, some hidden deep within the forests or the earth, where they carried out experiments of all kinds, some upon “lesser” living beings.
It seemed that the Zin'Charu empire was one destined to hold sway for unmeasured time, but on 7 Winterstime, -549SG every major city of the Zin'Charu suddenly vanished overnight, leaving no explanation to their disappearance. Most claim that they delved too far into their magical dabblings and it backfired on them, wiping them out. With no remaining nobility, and no claimant strong enough to take hold of the rapidly rebelling subjects of the empire, it very quickly fell apart, leaving the humans to return to their clans and tribes, and the Aesatri to reclaim their hold upon the eastern Shadow coast.
Certain few remaining descendants of the six clans managed only to claim their original home in the Charu highlands, and served as the original stock that now inhabit Antioch. Antioch's royal line is directly descended from several of these Zin'Charu clans.
Antioch's royal line are the only peoples of Sundering Shadows that claim clear and direct descent from the Zin'Charu nobility of old. It's assumed that many of their citizenry also claim at least partial bloodlines to these original clans, from the remnants following their disappearance.
The truth of the disappearance isn't quite as history suggests; the Zin'Charu did indeed delve too far into their shadowy arcane arts, and their greatest project to date backfired on them - the ShadowGate. Schemed by Shar all along as a way to take over the prime material plane, a ritual was simultaneously enacted by each of the clans in an attempt to open the gate. It did not work as planned and instead sucked all of the clans, and their cities in entirety, into the plane of Shadow, effectively making them disappear overnight along with the Shadow Weave itself.
The ShadowGate was left at its original site, dormant, for many hundred years until the Descent of the immortals circa -10SG, at which point Shar made her own bid for the gate in a second attempt to open it, thwarted then by Mystra.
Most of the Zin'Charu have since died out, succumbing to the horrific creatures of the Plane of Shadows. However, the greatest of the six clans (yet unnamed) has managed to survive and now to prosper, raising a great city within the plane that still exists to this day. While they still remain without means to return, it is ever at the heart of their efforts to find a way back to claim their ancenstral homeland. In future (pending admin approval of the Shadovar race and/or the Shadow Adept PrC) they may find their way back, bringing with them the Shadow Weave…