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Monday, April 14, 2014

M is for: (The) Madness (#AtoZchallenge)

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


  1. You've stumbled a day ahead after the Sunday post. M is nice letter for Monday, anyhow. Madness is a great topic for Monday, too. :)

    Down to 5% is a huge catastrophe. Biological warfare or poor hygiene could be a catalyst for something like this, and once that madness takes hold, population takes a beating. Interesting piece of history.

  2. I have been waiting for M to come along as I wanted to learn about the Madness. Wiping the population down to 5%, wow! I love the uncertainty of its origin and the ideas and speculation of generations later. Very cool!

  3. Some dastardly curse - maybe from a curse pole!

    Also, you're a day head! Lucky!

  4. I've been wondering about The Madness. Yikes, sounds like something I'd rather not experience.

  5. That certainly was time of Madness - nice world building you're doing here Larry.

  6. David, tomorrow (Wed) is a guest post, so the rest of the world will catch up to me then. ;-)

    Thanks, Chuck!

    Sonia, it might have been a curse. Personally, I think it was some kind of disease, carried to Termag by a sorcerer visiting another world. But even I'm not sure.

    Patricia, it was a pretty rough time. As Jira wrote, the infection rate was about 60%. The others were slain by the crazies, killed themselves in despair, or died in accidents or other sicknesses that might have been preventable in a more orderly time.

    Thanks, Helen. This stuff (world-building, not The Madness) has been in my head a long time, and it's been helpful to get it written down. A few details have come to light, too. (Like Thursday's post, when it's live!)


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