Dragons. The mainstay of fantasy literature, but not something I'd intended to use at first. Originally, the bad guys were going to be a humanoid race who'd come to Venosea through a portal from another world; they'd have the ability to Wield, and they were the ones who'd created the ritual to halt the war, but it had gone wrong somehow and blah blah blah it totally sucked because I realized I'd unconsciously ripped off a race from an episode of Stargate SG-1. I came up with the idea to use dragons sometime later - they had many of the same abilities, but it fit better and actually made more sense.
As for the dragons... unbeknownst to all, the dragons had not vanished or died during the cataclysm, but had ridden out the disaster mostly unscathed. They found that they could change between their human and dragon forms, so they used this to mingle with the new races, imparting wisdom, sowing chaos, or simply gaining new experiences. Naturally, there were occasional sightings of these beings in their dragon form. They came to be revered in many cultures as divine or demonic beings, or simply viewed as mythical creatures like unicorns and sea serpents.
One of the first things the Council did was hunt down and destroy every dragon they could find, thought it resulted in numerous casualties on both sides. Finally, the Council and the (non-insane) dragons came to an agreement: if the dragons stayed out of mortal affairs (at least, overtly) and kept control of their insane brethren, the Council would leave them be. The dragons created an island in a remote corner of the world, thousands of miles from any landmass, and most of them retreated there to hibernate or simply meditate the centuries away, while others remained at large in the world, quietly working behind the scenes, or simply living in isolation.
As time passed, the Chancellors quietly removed records of dragons from the Council's reach, keeping the information to themselves and passing it from one to another. After a couple millenia, dragons faded from all memory and became nothing more than hoary old legends.
Naturally, the dragons will play a large part in this world, but that's more on the plot side of things, and we're discussing world-building right now. Still, like the magic system, I had to mention this so things would make sense later.
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