Regnad and his core band of supporters, some only a little less powerful than he, fought on, defiant, against the Powers united, from the dark halls delved deep beneath the White Palace. At this point, most of the struggle was incomprehensible, even unperceptable, to mortal senses, but at the end every sentient being knew when the Powers made their final stroke. On the 24th of Hieral, 2383 AF, a great Voice echoed in every mind in all the Realms of urXron, that cursed the form, mind, and works of Regnad, and concluded with the words “Let the Darkness fall.”
And so it did.
The Darkness was for most, the total cessation of everything beyond unfathomable duration. There was no light, though some claimed the darkness held fitful visions of terrible beauty and others “saw” flashes of exquisite horror. There was no sound, yet sonorous chords building on one another until their vibrations ripped themselves apart were reported by some, while others spoke of an unending crash of noise. There was no feeling, most unable to sense any motion or positions or their limbs, or even that they possessed a body at all. Still some told of fire or ice, caresses or torture. But most of all each was utterly, utterly alone. Yet even so a very, very few claimed to feel the presence of loved ones in some way near to them, or in some cases a Presence… the presence of absolute Annihilation..
Even the duration of the Darkness was disputed. The survivors reports ranged from seconds to some almost unending span. But whatever the perceived duration, the Darkness did end for everyone at the same moment. In Eldarhaven, the survivors dug themselves out of wrack and ruin in the gathering light of a chill dawn.
Many did not survive to see that dawn, the dead exceeding the casualties of the Apostate’s War itself. In the environs of Plii, over 80% of the remaining populace were expunged. Sometimes there wasn’t a body, and in extreme cases the world was strangely rearranged so that the missing person seemed to have left no mark on it, save in the memories of the survivors.
Regnad’s fate was never determined with certainty. The war was clearly over, and no further action of Regnad or his final cohort was seen. But no body was found, as none wished to search through the still dangerous mazes beneath ruined [Plii]. No one appeared who claimed to have been with him in the final moments before the Darkness fell. There was one curious fact: every representation of his face, in statue, fresco, portrait, or even coinage was now defaced, melted, peeled, erased. Even attempts at portraiture would result in a bland, average set of features, that everyone agreed was not a very good likeness, though they could make no specific suggestions on how it could be improved.
The Darkness’s effects marred entire ecosystems all over the face of Gaea, for example: great swaths of once verdant woodland now transformed to graveyards of dead trees, their skeletal branches reaching up to the sky; desert land became swamp, or verdant fields of grass or bracken; farmlands replaced by primeval jungle; and a few mines or dwarf holds were found, completely filled in, as if they had never seen pick or maul, and any occupants at the point of the Darkness supposedly entombed within. But there were huge areas apparently untouched. Plii was completely leveled, but that had been achieved during a cosmic bombardment before the Darkenss and seemed to suffer no further hurt. The western fifth of Eldarhaven was similarly untouched, save a few cracked lintel stones, while the remainder had suffered a massive seismic shift, sloping down beneath the water, an unclean, haunted, place, Drowned Eldarhaven.
From the position of the sun, that grim dawn marked the southern solstice, New Years Day, so at first it was argued that the duration of the Darkness was only eight weeks annd a bit. But the position of the moon and planets did not jibe with their predicted positions for the next, or any, year after the Darkness. A new epoch was proclaimed, the Years After the Darkness (AD), year 0 AD marking that first year after the Darkness lifted.