Alara was whole once. But that was millennia ago. Where once there was a plane, now there are five: the Shards.
The plane of Alara was a world rich with mana, a world in balance...until the Sundering. In a cataclysm of unimaginable proportions, Alara was rent asunder into five separate worlds, each a refraction of the others.
The cause of this cataclysm has been lost to time. Some ancient lore of the Shards suggest a being of godlike power forcibly split Alara to seize its mana for himself. Some believe it was caused by the titanic battle for the fate of Alara, waged by the archangel Asha and the demon Malfegor. But for most, only the dimmest cultural memories remain of a richer world that existed before their own.
Whatever the cause of the splitting, one thing is clear: The Shards became very different places in the time since the Sundering. Each plane was all but severed from two of the five colors of mana. This mana imbalance caused the Shards to evolve in wildly distinct directions over the course of thousands of years. Now only hints of a common ancestor plane remain on the five worlds, and their environments and denizens could hardly differ more.
Eventually, the shards of Alara began to merge together, forming a single plane once more. The different shards became regions within the larger plane, and it became possible for creatures to travel from one realm to another. The shards reunited, a jagged fusion of now poorly-fitting pieces.
As the Conflux progressed, it became not the same Alara that had once been, but a new world, a patchwork plane composed of five distinct microverses - Alara, but reborn. As the barriers between worlds dissolved and lands overlapped in chaotic incursion zones, the denizens of the five shards ventured forth, meeting their long-lost fellow Alarans for the first time.
Cities on Alara