The Dark Times refer to the era from approximately 1000 years ago, after the wars between the dragons and dwarves, until the rise of Emperor Kordaava.
As the interests of dragons turned elsewhere the armies from various planes that the dragons had brought to Chaldea to fight the dwarves settled in and began warring amongst themselves and each other. This era is known as the Dark Times for many accountings have been lost and civilizations destroyed before they even began. Toward the end of this era some prominent city-states emerged: Saratov, Larkt, Port Kar, Tanai, Perrin, Astrakhan, and within these cities humans established a moderate edge over the other races.
Many dwarven communities still remain on the surface, but the “heart” of dwarven culture has receded underground, deeper and deeper. As dwarves went deeper and humans strengthened the orcs and their kin have made good use of the near-surface holds the dwarves left behind.
Appearing on the cultural map during this time—-but claiming to have been here all along—-are the elves. The sages say the Garnon brought the elves. The elves say they brought the Garnon. Either way, if they existed before this age they existed only in myth and mystery. Whereas other races bend to the trends of power, wealth, and time the mission of the elves has been consistent. The wilder elves have come to protect nature, the high elves have come to study magic. The etharch to administer culture, build citadels, and train armies.