Black Years - Crescent Eruption Physical / Metaphysical Law in Salan | World Anvil
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Black Years - Crescent Eruption

The Black Years was a series of natural disasters that swept over Salan 418-430 AFS. It is the most devastating catastrophe that ever happened during the known history.  


The Black Years happened following a large eruption on Crescent Island. The catastrophe, and later famine caused by the volcanic winter, dispersed a large number of refugees, and with them spread a deadly plague. The plague killed up to 30% of the total population of Salan, and caused many important shifts in the powerstructure all over the lands.  

Key events

First a previously unknown disease started spreading on the Eastern Islands. According to records, the first wave hit Washleng winter 418 AFS and Crescent Island early autumn 419. On Crescent the plague killed up to 20% of the population, including the reiging king Ustetur-Sahar Šamžan. The accounts after this point are scattered and generally deemed unreliable, but in the desperate effort to stop the disease, the people ended up angering the islands Volcano God Sahar, and the volcano erupted in the early spring, Sow Month of 420 AFS, destroying most of the island, leaving behind a crescent shape the island was later called after.

The refugees, that had managed to escape, scattered all over the Islands, looking for a safe place to stay. Doing this, they also spread the disease where ever they went. The Plague hit the West Island autumn 420 AFS, and the coastal cities on the Southern Continent such as Silford became affected during the winter 421 AFS.

However, the volcanic winter had even more widespread effects than the disease. Especially the Northern coast of the Continent had multiple failed crops in a row, which caused widespread unrests, and movement from the countryside to the cities, which made the population density even worse, which in turn facilitated the spread of the plague.

Later waves of the plague reached the central higlands of the Serme Mountains during the mid to late 420's, presumably through the merchants from the coastal settlements, and the cities of the Sayal. Soon the more isolated Ara people saw their change coming, and conquered the central highlands, establishing Aramacänten (Mountain kingdom).    

Social effects

Many of the patients were thought to have gone insane or become cursed. They were often avoided or treated badly, instead of giving treatment.   The refugees that survived the Eruption of Moons were commonly believed to be cursed, and were driven away from many cities they sought refugee in. Notably, the crown prince of Crescent was killed in one of these conflicts during the first winter. Some surviving nobility managed to settle on the remote parts of West Island. The arrival of their ships was however seen as a dark omen, and they were given a new name, Šiwke, or Black Sail. The tragedy of the Black Years was going to be a major part in the life of the surviving House, and their descendants.   On the continent the plague caused a strong weave of discrimination against all Zeribians as a whole, because the disease was first spread by the Zeribian merchants. At first the disease was thought to only affect Zeribians and people who were mingling with them too closely, and the impression was permanent even though it was soon realised this was not the case. In some city states laws limiting the right of Zeribians to settle and get a citizenship were put into place, and were still in place after a century after the incident.
by Pierre-Jacques Volaire

The symptoms of the
Black Years' Plague

The disease starts with mild symptoms like a sore throat, resembling the common cold. The second phase starts withing a week of the initial symptoms: usually the patient has hallucinations, and gets high fever during the next hours from that. For some patients the fever can be mild, and the hallucinations is the main symptom. The fever can last for weeks, and most deaths are caused by dehydration and malnutrition, but selfdestructive behaviour is also common for patients that have milder fever.

Famous victims

Ustetur-Sahar Šamžan 'Sahar made me a king' the King of Moons was suffering from the plague and died in the spring 420 AFS, the night before the Eruption. His successor, the Prince Šamžan Senet died later the same year, but it is not known if he was victim to the plague, or murdered in the following unrest. Senet has widely been accused of arranging the murder of his father, even though he officially died as a victim to the plague.

King Elderoak of Republic of Free West Island (490s), better known as the Mad Oak, is suggested to have suffered from the long term effects of the plague. He was later used by Zeribians as a literary trope symbolising the Farens' madness (as seen e.g. in The Impotent Scribe)

This is my submission for Summer Camp 2020 prompt "Write about the events of a devastating natural disaster in your world, either past or present."

  • 618 AFS


    Plague recorded on Wašleŋ
    Plague / Epidemic

    The first known case of what was to become the plague of the Black Years recorded on Wašleŋ

  • 619 AFS


    First case of the Plague on Moons
    Plague / Epidemic

  • 620 AFS

    623 AFS

    Volcanic winter
    Disaster / Destruction

    The volcanic winter caused by the Crescent Eruption causes crops to fail all around Salan. Famine causes unrest in the working class. People travelling in search for food end up spreading the plague.

  • 620 AFS


    The volcano on Creascent erupts
    Disaster / Destruction

    The volcano erupts destroying the settlements on the island.

  • 620 AFS


    The plague on West Island
    Plague / Epidemic

    The first cases are recorded among the Zeribian population.

  • 621 AFS

    622 AFS


    Plague on Silford
    Plague / Epidemic

    The first wave of the plague kills thousands in Silford.

  • 628 AFS

    629 AFS

    Plague on the Serme Mountains
    Plague / Epidemic

    The plague has spread to the central highlands. The plague hits hard on Wasäkawakal and Áhçämara, the primary cities of the Saial people.   The more isolated settlements of the Ara are mostly unaffected.

  • 631 AFS

    635 AFS

    The Ara conquest of the Highlands
    Military action

    The Ara manage to conquer the Central Highlands from the Saial, taking advance of their weakened state due to the recent outbreaks of the plague. The centuries long existence of the Saial civilization is terminated.


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