As some people know, the back story to Galactic Civilizations is based on a series of story manuscripts I wrote back many years ago (circa 1988 to 1992).
The Dread Lords and the Arnor are the same race. Just different sides in a war.
But what were they? Bits and pieces have floated around. The handle I use on JoeUser.com and elsewhere "Draginol" is a character from this back story. And he was one of the Mithrilar.
So any discussion of the Arnor and Dread Lords starts out with the Mithrilar who were the beings of power who were assigned to be guardians of the universe. One of the Mithrilar, Draginol, misused an artifact of the original creation called the Telenanth to create the Arnor.
Draginol (the character) is an anti-hero. He did not start out as a villain. And that story will go into a lot of detail in future installments of the game. And it will tie up the physical similarities between the Arnor, humans and Altarians.
But the question is, where did the Dread Lords go bad?
The answer is - time. Draginol the Mithrilar created the Arnor in two groups. One group, the first group he put the most effort into and they are most like him. The second group he put less time into and they are less like him. The key ingredient that makes the difference is that one group feels the passage of time while the other lacks that capability.
Could you imagine living 150 years? How about 500 years? How about 10,000 years? How about 1 billion years? Who do you think would be best equipped to handle that? The beings who marked the passage of time or the beings who had no concept of time that we can relate to?
The Arnor were one race for a long while. Millions of years. But over time -- literally -- the passage of time changed one group while the others remained the same. When other life forms began to evolve, the Arnor cared little about it but the Dread Lords saw these life forms as play things. What is a lifespan of 100 years if you've lived 10 million years? What kind of understanding or comprehension could something that dies almost as soon as it's born have? Are they even really sentient?
But to the Arnor, the amount of time they lived didn't prove they had any more or less value. They looked to guide them and help them. By contrast, the Dread Lords saw them as nothing but things for amusement and any sense of mercy of kindness had long since gone away.
The Dread Lords were the ones most like their creator who, upon nearly wiping out the other Mithrilar, was finally thrown down on a planet that eventually came to be called Altaria. His mere presence on that world altered the evolution of that planet and gave rise to a second sentient species that look like the fallen Mithrilar who in turn looks human. This second sentient species eventually outcompeted the first who became known as the Drath and the Drath were left on the brink of extinction until they eventually found ways off the planet in ways that aren't discussed here.
One of the driving cores that leads to downfall in the mythology is the unrelenting power of time to wear down even the noblest of creations. That minds that have been evolved to exist for only so long are not well suited to exist thousands, even millions of times longer. And that time can lead to madness and worse.
In the end, the Arnor were able to defeat the Dread Lords and banish them to a pocket dimension. They won, despite being weaker, because they had, literally, infinite patience while the Dread Lords were always looking for a final confrontation and hence were more prone to be led to their doom by the temptation for a definitive ending.
Of course, no one knows what then happened to the Arnor. Most have assumed that they disappeared. But that is, of course, an unwise assumption. The Arnor, unlike their brethren, were never interested in conquest or even overt interaction in the galaxy. The galaxy, indeed the universe, is a big place. No one has ever found Arnoria after all.
The other big unanswered question that we will eventually have to get to is why humans? Did humans, or at the very least an individual human, become so powerful as to be able to create a race of super beings and destroy god-like beings? And how could humans, who hadn't even evolved, manage to be present at the dawn of creation in order to exert this influence? It's not, as if a fleet of human ships has managed to escape to a pocket dimension in which beings of incredible power lived and full of devices of immense function are just laying around...