In 750 A.D. Baghdad, Jabir ibn Hayyan, then-leader of the Brotherhood of the Shield, conceived of a way to keep the world from ever ending. He built a machine that would take the sum total of the hopes, dreams, inspirations and desires of a thousand men a give it to a single man. This man could then recreate the world whenever it was threatened. The machine, however, drained the men of their lifeforces and the machine failed. Without a thousand of the Brotherhood of the Shield around to shape the world, Man fell into an age of darkness.
Fin Fang Foom was somehow briefly awakened in the 8th Century, and returned to sleep through a second application of the herb. He consequently entered into Chinese legend -- whose name, roughly translated, means "He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains and Whose Back Scrapes the Sun". A group of humans were placed as guards outside his tomb, passing the job on to their descendants. The surrounding region became known as the Valley of the Sleeping Dragon.