Once, Begma was much like every other Shadow around it. It was a fantasy world full of mystery, magic, castles, princes and princesses. It was happy and stable. Life went on much like a fairy tale.
Until the Alchemists and the Artificers began to perfect their craft.
Slowly their power grew. The Alchemists and the Artificers refined their art, until it was so perfected that it could be taught, using confirmed and repeatable methods, to just about anyone.
Thus was the dawn of Progress!
Meanwhile, the High Wizards of Begma found themselves marginalized and downtrodden, undone by their own ivory tower exclusivity. While a High Wizard may have one or two apprentices at a time, even a sorcerer's long lifespan means he might only train two dozen further wizards.
The Artificers were training a hundred new artificers, every year.
Three hundred years ago, there was an uprising. Alchemical firebombs and clockwork siege weapons broke the back of the wizard-supported royalty of Begma. They shackled the King with laws and Constitutions and parliamentary procedure, all in the name of Progress. The Civil War today is known as the "Great Discussion on Laws and Other Important Things (with Explosions)."
For a while, there was a fragile peace. The magicians could not be entirely defeated, and the eventual form of the constitution allowed the nobility to keep their influence in government. But slowly, as the artificers consolidated their power grab, the magic began to fade from Begma. The great sorcerous families died out, or went underground, or gave up their wands and joined Proper Society. The beasts of yore became more and more rare. There has not been a Magical Creature in Begma for over two centuries.
All the while, the forces of Progress have been slowly squeezing the magic out of Begma.
Dates in Begma are measured from the establishment of the Constitution, and are appended NE (New Era). The current year is 308NE.