Seeking your good counsel here.
I've read the background and history of the Third Horizon multiple times, and have tried to get a clear picture of events and of the Second and First horizons, and of the actual role of the Darkness between the stars in the power struggles depicted.
Since the material is pretty summed up and thin, you really need to read between the lines, extrapolate from short sentences etc.
I don't want to talk about the whole background here, but specifically about the long night. It is said that after the Portal Wars, the Third Horizon was isolated and fell into a major economic downturn and technological regression, and that the Firstcome basically lost their History and became planet bound local cultures with all previous history becoming vague myths and legends. Or something to that effect.
I can't rationalize that at all at the moment. In a world where the info net exists, and databases etc, how can one "lose" their History. Also, how can the Zenith arrive and be the technological leader when it is a 1000 years old? It just makes no sense to me.
So I'm toying with using paranormal explanations for the current state of things. Maybe a kind of Darkness between the stars induced black out of the mind, that the Firstcome had to fight using the Icons as the last bastion of their identity, religion as a shield against DbtS induced insanity? This Darkness would probably have been unleashed by the First Horizon as a weapon to subjugate, a sequel of the Portal Wars, as such.
How do you play the historical part of the game in your campaigns? Does any of my ramblings connect with challenges you had to deal with story wise?