Winter of 1249
When the winter came, it did not hold back. A cold that had never before been seen blew across Kolnur, freezing hand to weapon and causing steel to shatter as if it were glass.
But it was not for the deep winter, seizing the land, that this season would be remembered for, for this season would indeed be remembered. Stories of it would be heard on the wind, as straggled survivors gathered others around them and spoke in dark voices, as firelight flickered across their broken features. For this would be a story that would last throughout the ages, passed from father to son, until soon it was nothing more than a legend. But they say every legend has a glimmer of truth.
It is said that when Lan Halfelven led his men into the twisting rift, not sure of where it would carry him, or whether he would even survive the journey, he ensured that his name would be forever remembered. For it is in that one act that he may have saved Kolnur from the Darkness.
The legend says that none of Lan's soldiers ever spoke of what they saw in that portal, that it was to indescribable for them to ever speak with their mortal tongue. But what is know, is that many were lost in that rift, hundreds of proud Esterwynne's simply being snuffed out, probably with no chance to fight for their life, their existence simply ceasing in an instant.
And yet, the few survivors claim that above Salthisuar there was a mighty screech, the cry of a Dragon in anguish, the instance before the sky itself began to tear itself apart. The very fabric of reality began to rip that day, and all across Kolnur, almighty rifts appeared in the sky, dragging reality itself into their seemingly all-consuming selfs.
In the Oceans themselves, these great rifts tore themselves open, engulfing the proud Anicean navy in an instant, before they dissapeared, leaving nothing but a few broken and shattered rafts behind, and stunned survivors.
Even as the valiant soldiers of the Great Trade Republic prepare to make their last stand against the Darkness, defiant till the last, the arrayed ranks of proud men and women are simply gone in an instance, leaving nothing but the ringing notes of an almighty thunderclap. And in the bay, the ships that bore them from their homeland are gone, leaving nothing but the rippling waves upon which the mighty ships once rested, but no longer.
The remaining armies of Esterwynne, those who stayed behind as Lan Halfelven led his army through the portal, have no time to react as the rift explodes, engulfing them all and spiriting them away to wherever the portal leads.
And the Crystal City itself, although the crystal structures are little more than broken ruins now, is torn from the ground as the sky opens up and rips itself apart. Kogan-Sul and Salthisuar alike, the armies of Free Kolnur are gone in an instant.
But it is not just the armies of Kolnur that are engulfed by the rifts in reality itself, for as the straggled survivors discover, as they stumble into the light, shielding their eyes. For the Shadow dissapears that day as well. And although the very land is gripped in an icy chill, it seems to be more of the Kolnur of old, as colour and life begins to seep once more into the land.
The few survivors that remain slowly begin the almighty task of rebuilding from the shattered ruins left behind from years of endless conflict, but over many generations, Kolnur is reborn, although it is still just a shadow of it's former self.
Over time, the story of Lan Halfelven and the Rifts pass into fireside tales, and the legend of the Darkness becomes nothing more than a scary story to get young children to behave.
And yet, there still remains the question, when the free armies, those of Anicea, the Great Trade Republic, Kogan-Sul, Esterwynne and Salthisuar, dissapeared, where did they go? But that's another story.