"I shall not see a world that will be dear to me…
summer without blossoms,
cattle without milk,
women without modesty and men without valor.
Conquests without a king, woods without mast, sea without produce.
There will be wrong judgments of the wise and the old,
the false precedents of the lawful,
every man a betrayer,
every boy a bandit.
The son will enter his father's bed, and yet the father his son's.
Everyone will be his brother's brother-in-law, for it is an evil time.
His son will deceive him, and her daughter will deceive her."

- The Dirge of Morrigan, the Devil King of the Merihim
(from the Prophecy of the Morrigan during the Second
Battle of Maige Tuireadh)

Ten years ago, the world, for all practical purposes, died during the War of the Mages—a war of ambition, overweening pride, and utter greed.

A decade after the war, the Elves ultimately decided to migrate entirely to the desolate and blasted mainland to help the struggling human survivors left broken and alone. The war had been extremely calamitous that the once green and verdant mainland of Nithelice was turned into a barren and ashen waste, littered with the skeletons of trees and rotting carcasses of both man and beast. The sun peered shyly above the thick veil of clouds that covered the entire land so that Nithelice was forever in a grip of a half-light, which made it all the more lifeless-looking. At its best, the light was like that when a storm was approaching; at its worst, it was dark as dusk.

Furious vents of steam and lava erupted from fissures, while rivers, choked with the dead, started to give rise to parasites, maggots, and flies. Streams boiled and lakes dried up, and forests, fields and valleys untouched by the war withered at long last, their leaves poisoned and turning black, brown and mottled grey, stooping against the noxious air. The earth rumbled against the feet of those living that they beat their breasts and asked their gods to deliver them, or at least have mercy and kill them, so they might not anymore experience the hell in which they have been put into. When it rained, it was so scorching that it eroded what was left standing, and the humans huddled in caves and underground fastnesses, afraid, and dying. Water was becoming rarer and rarer, and finding food was fast becoming a deadly contest. By night, thunder rumbled, mingling with the groans of the earth, as flashes of lightning lit up the thick, dark and heavy forbidding sky.

It was in this world that the Elves, forsaking their homeland of peace and plenty, had settled to help the Men cope with their vastly changed environment, and to find, with what powers were gifted to them, to appease the angry Earth Mother. And when they had finally coaxed the humans to come out to rebuild their civilization, it finally came.

What started as small pellets falling gracefully from the still heavens soon became a torrent, a downpour of sleet and white, bleak winds. Pebble-sized ice rained down incessantly, and soon they were like boulders, crashing here and there, leveling what was still standing proud and erect. The shower was both of stone and ice, and the children embraced their elders as the sky punished the earth for its wickedness in spawning a prodigal son. The Elves found what they could of refuge, and for a time, both Elf and Man stayed, fearing the wrath of a god, and for years they were only able to look out, as ice, snow and hail, blizzards and blinding sheets of snowstorms threatened to bury them alive.

After over two years of falling the storm abruptly subsided. Men, braving a silent world, and the Elves, their hearts still yearning to give aid to a beleaguered race, went out, clutching themselves against the bitter and sharp chill of a winter time. And they beheld a frozen waste of white, of snow; a featureless and stark land of winter and cold. Everywhere there was white, and up in the skies was a promise of yet more to come. Their mouths gaped, and they gasped in silent wonder and fear, of what had become of their world while they were holed up in the earth.

The Winter Age had come, at last.

(Author's Note: The prophecy in the beginning was actually a real one. It's the English translation of a Celtic prophecy.)