Modern historians consider the Great War of Shadow to have occurred between 5130 and 5180 Lithini Etos, but as is to be expected of a conflict that covered 50 years, the precise point at which it began is debatable. It was for that matter not immediately perceived as a single conflict by those living through it, in part due to the efforts exerted by the servants of the Most Foul to obfuscate and delay that understanding for as long as possible. It was, instead, simply a very troubled time. Difficulties were faced by every nation, seemingly unrelated and each serving to focus attention close to home and to dissuade us from wondering about the troubles of our neighbors.

It was only in retrospect, when the war reached the point where it was impossible to ignore, that it became apparent how long it had been roiling. I recall a spear-elder of the Kaya saying that it is as hard to tell the shape of a war from the midst of it as to tell the shape of a beast from within its belly. Some distance is required.

That being said, the beginning of the war should certainly be placed no later than 5148 LE and the arrival of the First Descent of the Host. We lacked then the context to understand what this portended, but that army takes the field in our world only at dire need. To those who are living through this now for the first time, I believe it would be wise to assume it has the same meaning now.

The END of the War, of course, was more definitively marked by the fall of the Most Foul in battle. It was then, as the poets say, all over but the weeping.

There was no shortage of that.


Origins and Causes

The only reasons for the Great War I have been offered are variations upon 'because the Most Foul wished total dominion over the physical world'. This is the explanation given by the Host, who are in a better position to know than anyone else, short of the followers of the Most Foul themselves...whose statements on the matter would be considerably suspect. Unfortunately, it leaves several questions unanswered.
  • For what reason did the Most Foul want this? It is considered a fundamental by most Celestials I have spoken with on the subject: he wanted dominion over the world because it was his nature. But was physically conquering the nations of the world his final goal, or was it an enabling step toward some further aim?
  • Why did he attempt it at that moment? The battle waged between the Most Foul and the Host of the Light of Heaven in the Realms Above was, at the time of the Great War of Shadow, tens of thousands of years old according to members of the Second Descent. What made this particular moment the right time to conquer the world? Was he waiting for some particular set of conditions to occur first?


Early Events and Machinations


The Era of Dust

The Copper Gauntlet


The Wasteland

The Grey Plague (Grey Bite)

The Grand Working


The Death of Empress Adona III, and subsequent inter-clan conflict. (Martel said that this marked the start of the war, at least for him.)

The Thirteenth Book of Lygora



Ton Isiq

Sharat Gan

The fall of the city was caused by the Malady of Thought, who spread lies and mistrust and brought corruption to the city. The text of the Mark of Burning Horror says that at the time of the final battle of the war Sharat Gan was "No longer part of this world," and that only the famed Seven Heroes remained to fight.

Major Battles

The Battle of Death's Embrace (5176 LE)

The Siege of the Bastion of Eagles (5177 LE)

The Final Battle ()

Precise date unknown. Some point after 5188?

Uster Carran, one of the Seven Heroes of Sharat Gan, known as the Master of the runes of Pent Fain, and Keeper of the twenty seven chambers of time, is said to have sealed the Most Foul away "in time unchanging," to preserve its death.


Construction of the Barrows of Marath Suvla

Construction of the Barrows was completed in 0 TE.

Major Figures




The Champion of the Lance. Leader of the Vanguard of Oriset and wielder of the Glaive of Oriset.


Oriset's friend and companion, who returned to the Heavenly Manse and brought back the knowledge and skills of the Vanguard to those who had stayed.



The Builder. Fought in the war, but more notable for having created the Table in Marath Suvla, used after the war to entomb both dead friends and foes.

Tariq Silkinti

The Molten Sheik; the Burning Prince. Caliph of Ophira who brought the Ophiran army into the War. Perished in the Battle of Death's Embrace.

Daughter of Amethyst



Other or Unknown



The Most Foul

Lieutenants of the Most Foul

The Matron

The Tendril of Ruination

Destroyed Takresh, the capital of the Tharician Empire. Later, was banished from the world by a coterie of Tharici wizards.

The Smith

Crafted the Copper Gauntlet, which drove the Caliph of Ophira (Devimsi Silkinti) mad with power and delayed Ophira's entry into the war.

The Many-Faced

Ylipo Varas. Possessed Ulian, the consort of Empress Adona III, and distracted Tharicia from the Most Foul's plans.



Other or Unknown


'King of the Trolls'.


Master of the Hounds of the Maelstrom.