Long ago the Archons ruled over every corner of Albion. The World was peaceful and in perfect order, though many wondered if the force that held it together was not corrupt. For the Archon had in his possession a sword of vast and mysterious power. Albion's elders wrote of gradual changes overcoming their leader. These changes spread to the kingdom itself. Strange structures were erected around the world, and huge armoured figures were seen guarding four hubs of energy and the Archon's Castle itself. Every living thing was touched by the Sword's influence, and soon foul creatures not known the world had darkened the lives of the people of Albion. And yet no records exists of what caused the fall of the Kingdom. The Archon and the Sword disappeared, leaving behind the darkness.
Rise of the Old Kingdom
Many eons ago, Albion was a place of peace and beauty; a land of infinite prosperity and potential. That was until a 'Court' of three demonic beings known as the Knight, the Queen and the Jack of Blades emerged from a place called the Void. They coveted Albion, and commanded that all men bow down before them. When the people refused, the Court burned Albion until the earth turned black, and the sky was thick with smoke. Then, the Court demanded obedience again, only to be refused a second time. This time, the Court lifted the sea into the sky and flooded the world. A third time, the Court demanded that men worship them, promising peace, and an end to the misery. Those who survived still refused. So, the Court twisted their minds until brother slew brother, parents abandoned their children, and friend turned against friend. Finally, the people of Albion bowed to the Court. They and their descendants toiled to raise monuments to those who came from the Void.
In the days when the people still suffered under the Court's cruelty, a humble blacksmith and his wife had a boy. They named him William Black, and he would become the key to saving Albion. Little is known about William's youth. As a grown man, he amazed others with the powers of his mind, with which he was able to protect his village and perform feats that a dozen other men could not equal. These acts came to be celebrated as the "Powers of Will". William grew obsessed with the Court, determined to find a way to overthrow it. One night, while consulting a mysterious tome, he was suddenly transported from Albion into the Void. Here, he met Jack, who sat on a throne surrounded by ghastly figures. Jack tried to enslave William with the powers of an ornate sword, but William fought back and managed to steal the sword before escaping the netherworld. Back in Albion, the sword spoke to William, calling itself the Sword of Aeons, and it promised to help him defeat the Court – but only if William offered his soul in bondage. With the Sword of Aeons, William set off to find the Court.
William scaled the peak of Ruon, Albion's highest mountain, and challenged the Court to combat. The Knight of Blades appeared first, and, wielding the Sword of Aeons, William destroyed him completely. Next the Jack of Blades appeared. They fiercely struck at each other, until William broke Jack's body. Jack's soul escaped back into the Void, to fight another day. The Queen of Blades was the last to face William. For weeks their battle raged across Albion. Mountains were raised and valleys were formed by their mighty blows. At last, William slew the Queen, freeing the people of Albion from their yoke. They acclaimed William, who took the title, Archon, as their king.
Rule of Albion
Once he had vanquished the Court, the Archon set his mind to unifying Albion into a great kingdom. By this time, his powers of Will were so great that the world seemed to reshape itself in accordance with his wishes. Cities were built in mere weeks, and marvellous machines were constructed that ran on Will alone. Through a thousand years of peace, Albion reigned as the greatest centre of commerce and philosophy that the world had ever known. Its territory is known to have extended to the northern Edgelands, and its economy to have traded with the countries beyond Albion's shores, including Samarkand to the east, and the Cities of the West.
Under the early years of the Kingdom, the city of Hook Coast was created. A group of monks retired from the thriving cities that were appearing everywhere and settled in the harshest place they could find, founding an abbey on a distant shore. Soon, a whole community grew to serve their needs and, in time, the Kingdom built a lighthouse that would guide ships from its ports to the unexplored lands in the Northern Wastes. The town Snowspire was built in the region, and the Oracle was created by order of the third Archon to give information of the past, present and future.
It was during the reign of the Old Kingdom that the evil Will-user called Hallik was cast out by the Archon for his use of dangerous dark magic. He created the colossal beings known as Summoners by reanimating the dead bodies of fallen warriors. People throughout the kingdom learned to fear Hallik, and though it was the magician himself who was the summoner, his creations soon earned that title through their ability to appear out of nothing as they brought forth total devastation. Summoners were, for a long time, the scourge of Albion.
The Old Kingdom grew vast and powerful; but without any enemy to vanquish, the Archon's children grew petty and cruel. They called themselves Heroes and used their powers of Will to terrorize the people of Albion. A younger Archon might have stopped them, but his battle with the Queen, and the time in the Void had infected his body and mind with a wasting illness. Faced with this decay, the Archon wrapped his body in gold mail and a royal blue cloak before seemingly vanishing from the land. Thus, the corruption of the Kingdom began.
Fall of the Kingdom
When the Archon vanished, Albion descended into chaos. Three quarters of the population were either slain in the succession wars that followed or died of disease/starvation. Meanwhile, the Archon's many descendants vied for power. These new rulers were not as kind or wise as the first. Each new Archon, fearful of a coup, brought fresh tyranny to Albion. A massive wall was constructed around the city, to keep citizens in and beasts, as well as undesirables, out. The Archon's personal guard, who were encased in armour from birth, enforced their harsh decrees: no citizens were allowed out after nightfall, every citizen must appear when an alarm bell sounded, and any who opposed the Archon's rule were killed along with their families. The people witnessed these cruelties from behind masks that signalled their status while concealing their fear. When the Kingdom had grown to its greatest extent, the Archon of the time demanded that an immense tower be built to focus Will.
During this time, the item called the Fire Heart, used to call forth the Ship of the Drowned and to project the Archon's powers across vast distances, was sealed behind the Primal Demon Door, the first ever created. Charged with guarding it were the five prophets who had predicted the Kingdom's imminent destruction. They were encased in glass cages that both protected them from the beating of the Heart, and kept them alive until such time as they were released from their duty, or died fulfilling it.
The construction of the Spire enabled a creature known as the Corruptor to send his chief lieutenant, the Crawler, through a newly-created rift between Albion and the Void. Desperately, the Old Kingdom's greatest Three Heroes, Sol, Stone, and Blaze, attempted to use their combined powers to stop the Crawler, and close the rift. The trio managed to successfully close the rift, but could not kill the Crawler, instead imprisoning him within the Shadelight Dungeon in Aurora. Even worse, their combined power shattered the Spire, which resulted in a massive explosion that killed the Three Heroes, turning them into Willstones. The sky was filled with a sudden bright light, and all Albion shook. In the morning, the tower was gone, and the Old Kingdom lay in ruins. All of its people were gone, except for those who lived beyond the walls.
After the fall of the Old Kingdom, Albion was plunged into anarchy in a wave of devastation that affected every town and city within its borders. The trade routes with Samarkand and the Cities of the West were severed, and the few villages that survived the disappearance of the Spire fell into isolation. Notable villages included Snowspire, Bowerstone, Oakvale, Hook Coast, Knothole Glade and an unnamed town. A handful of monks who still inhabited the Hook Coast abbey knelt along the shoreline, and used their Will power to protect the port and its people. The swirls of magic that mark the place where they fell are sometimes still visible to this day. Hook Coast was cut off from the rest of the world, but thanks to them it stood intact. The Edgelands and the Northern Wastes were also cut off from the rest of Albion, and their remaining towns were isolated from each other.
Distance bred suspicion, which grew into bloodshed. Villagers fought for food, land, livestock, fresh water, and eventually, women of child-bearing age. Mercenaries sold their swords to the highest bidder and fought in a series of petty squabbles. If the mercenaries didn't like the price being offered, they extracted payment by threatening the villagers.
Human scavengers poked through the ruins of the Old Kingdom. What they found, they did not understand, and priceless artifacts were cast aside, or traded as trinkets. Followers of the three ancient Heroes collected the scattered Willstones, and entombed them in structures which became known as Temples of the Enlightened. Finally, the forest grew over the ruins, and it was as if the rich heritage of Old Albion had never been. The population dwindled, and those who survived would awaken each day to a darker world. There seemed there was no safe haven. Hope faded as bandits stole and murdered with impunity. The people, starving, scoured the land for food and fresh water, but as the years passed, there was less of each to find. The six major city states were reduced to five, due to an egotistic merchant having the nameless town in the Northern Wastes destroyed in exchange for power and wealth, thus it was renamed Necropolis. Crazed prophets preached that the end of the world was at hand. Then, out of the east, hope arrived in the most unexpected form. A bandit and mercenary by the name of Nostro came forth, pledging to bring peace and prosperity to Albion, under the guidance of his wizened mentor, Scythe. This resulted in the establishment of the Heroes' Guild in the woods near Bowerstone, the largest of the city-states.
Following the construction of the Primal Demon Door at the end of the Old Kingdom, numerous other Demon Doors were created from the same magic to preserve treasures and invent riddles for the seeker to solve. Demon Doors still exist in Albion today.
By the time Fable takes place, the world has slowly deteriorated from the days of the Old Kingdom. Most people live in the small city-states that fill the countryside. The lands outside these cities are plagued by banditry and vicious creatures. Traders who travel through the country side are regularly killed by these forces, with some hiring mercenaries or Heroes to protect them. The infrastructure of walls and roads built during the Old Kingdom has gradually collapsed.
By this time, only fragments of the Old Kingdom remained. Among them was the Snowspire Oracle, an enormous monument created by the Third Archon to contain the history of Albion and to foretell future disasters, in order to prepare the Old Kingdom for the future, while keeping a record of the past and present.
Several of Albion's cities during Fable were built during the time of the Old Kingdom; among them are Snowspire Village and Hook Coast.
Shards, Old Kingdom weapons of great power, were used by Lucien Fairfax and his men during Fable II. The shards are pieces of the Spire, an Old Kingdom device commissioned by the last Archon, and designed to make its user's wish come true.
During the events of Fable III, remnants of the Old Kingdom and it's structures still linger on, despite the centuries and the change into the Industrial Revolution. While in The Hole, the Hero and Walter see ruins of a possible Old Kingdom structure or city.
The Willstones of the three ancient Heroes of the Old Kingdom were recovered by the Dweller, Gabriel, under the guidance of Theresa, who together explored a number of Old Kingdom and Enlightened ruins in the Edgelands and northern Albion.