The Madness is the common name for the cataclysm that put an end to Camac That Was, and nearly wiped out all humanity on Termag. Exactly what it was, or what caused it, is something that alchemists and philosophers debate without end. Many in the modern age assume that it was a particularly virulent pandemic, perhaps carried from another world by a sorcerer. Others speculate that Camac found a way to combine the powers of Fire and Water, and the contradiction itself was enough to drive the world mad.
What little is actually known comes from fragmentary records dating to the beginning of The Lost Years. It seems to have begun in the western reaches of the empire, and spread like wildfire across the known world. Many places only had a few days’ advance warning, if that. Over half the people were stricken, and were immediately driven mad. They often set upon their fellows (sane or not), and some of those who survived the horror took their own lives. The mad who were not slain (by their own hand or another’s) eventually died on their own after a year. The pandemic, if pandemic it was, may have lost strength as it journeyed east—it was said that the Eastern provinces were not as hard-hit, while the Land of the Dawn Greeters and the South Sea Islands escaped the worst effects.
However it was, the survivors numbered perhaps five percent of the original population. It was up to that tiny remnant to rebuild, and thus began the Age of Heroes.
Next: N is for: (The) Northern Reach