After mulling it over for a while I came up with a solution that changes things in an interesting way for me. Here it is:
It has been two decades since the great disaster, it is remembered as the Time of Troubles. The gods walked amongst men. Their war in the realms nearly destroyed all of Abeir-Toril. In the years after the gods returned to the heavens, the war continued. God slew god, and the demons and devils combined forces and destroyed the new god Cyric. It is rumored that these demons have gained the spark of deity and now walk Fearun as demigods! Rumors of devil worship abound in the far reaches of the realms, some say that demons have wrested control of the entirety of Mulhorand.
A decade ago the gods war ended abruptly, in what is remembered as the Spirit Gasp. Overnight, clerics found it much harder to channel the might of their gods. They were forced to trade metal armor for leathers, and the potency of their spells was far less. Many of the minor gods seemed to fade away overnight, perhaps departing for other realms. The days of the gods meddling in the afairs of men seems like it is over! Some in Faerun cried out, some rejoyced. All could agree that things had changed.
During this retraction of gods, the goddess of magic Mystra gave her life to preserve her weave forever. She bound her weave to the planet, establishing magic power as an essence, forever connected to all living things in Toril. However, without a guiding deity to control magic, areas of wild magic and magic dead zones drift spontaneously througout all of Toril. Wizards throughout the realms have begun meeting and discussing the future of magic at each of the yearly Mage Fairs. Without a god to control things, they have taken the responsibility of preservation of magic.
Now that the Time of Troubles is over, and the overt meddling of the gods a thing of the past (for now), the future of the realms will be decided by the free races. Now is the time for bold heroes to make names for themselves by deeds of sword, and spell!