The War in Heaven [ 2001 ]
- A rapid-fire series of sequences became known as the War in Heaven, a confluence of events coming to a fiery head. The mystery of the Tenth Sphere, a rune thereof appearing in the Council of Nine's council chamber. The Jhor-corruption of Voormas, the Grand Harvester of Souls, and the exposure of those who tried to cover it up weakened trust among the council. Long-term mistreatment and dismissal of Crafts by the Council reinforced the Masters and Archmages were out of touch with the current reality; and younger mages were embittered by being thrust to the frontlines of the Ascension War, dying while the Masters remained safe in chantries and Horizon Realms politicking.
An entity known as 'the Ascension Warrior' announced itself as Heylel Teomim, returned from the dead, and demanded leadership of the Traditions. Rebuffed, the Ascension Warrior turned the Hermetic representative - Getulio Vargas São Cristóvão bani Tytalus, Hermetic representative from 1943 to 2001 - into solid gold in retaliation.
The Conflagration [ November 10, 2003 ]
- This set off a series of conflicts among Hermetics in Doissetep, resulting in the Conflagration of Doissetep. Infighting among Hermetics became all-out war, and the magnitude was so great it destabilized the entirety of the Horizon Realm that contained Doissetep. Ultimately, Archmaster Porthos Fitz-Empress bani Flambeau sacrificed himself in order to contain the powerful explosion to the realm, but shockwaves erupted from every portal connected to the chantry - including Horizon.
This disruptive energy was so strong it temporarily disrupted Horizon's defenses, and such allowed the Technocracy to invade the very heart of the Traditions' keystone stronghold.
The destruction of Doissetep and the Horizon Realms saw massive destabilization among the Traditions - all Traditions lost a great many Master and Archmasters, political leaders and otherwise, to the infighting; and the Order of Hermes saw major upheavals that ultimately led to a shattering of the powerbases of many of its Houses that had invested so much into Doissetep and its political intrigues.
White Monday / The Great White-Out [ November 10, 2003 ]
- The destruction of Doissetep rippled throughout other spiritual realms, despite Porthos's best efforts and sacrifice. One such ripple caused the entirety of the Digital Web to crash for several minutes. Every single user who had been connected to the Digital Web at that time died as a result, hundreds of mages - most significantly, the Virtual Adepts, though other Traditions lost individuals as well. This Great White-Out reformatted large swathes of the Digital Web and destabilized others, too; and this event in particular is responsible for much of the Virtual Adepts' changes as a Tradition in the early stages of the new millennium.
War of the Ruins [ March 2004 - June 2005 ]
- Many mages of as many factions tried to flock to the ruins of Doissetep, Concordia, and other Horizon realms in search of relics and wonders, and fighting continued among them over these scraps of things recovered. This fighting kept all factions from collaborating and further divided them, heightening animosities and deepening the distrust among them. These raids and the practices thereof contributed to the Second Massasa War, when the Avatar Storms made House Tytalus turn their attention away from ruins beyond the Gauntlet to instead what was held by the liches of former House Tremere.
The Week of Nightmares [ June 2005 ]
- During the first week of June 2005, a massive entity of terrible, terrifying power awoke in Bangladesh and began consuming hundreds of thousands of people. This entity was assailed by nuclear weapons, utilized chiefly by the Technocracy. Simultaneously, spiritual nukes of Fat Man and Little Boy were intentionally detonated in the Underworld, and these simultaneous detonations triggered the Avatar Storms.
It was undeniable that the first week of June 2005 hit the supernatural community hard.
However, there are more rumors than facts, and to those who were in non-Bangladesh parts of the world, there was little to explain it readily available - most may even believe the Technocracy's cover story of a terrible monsoon or earthquakes devastating Bangladesh. As far as most Awakened of that time were aware, supernaturally sensitive individuals were assaulted by intense and horrific nightmares and prophetic visions [if you were Awake at this time and practiced Mind and Time magics, this likely included you]. Reports of phantasms and hallucinations - ranging from ghostly fires and ten-headed monsters to stories of entire cemeteries of corpses crawling out of the ground and running amok - poured in from around the world.
And then the madness just stopped. The Avatar Storm blew in. And the landscape of the Awakened world took a sharp turn.
Advent of the Avatar Storms [ June 2005 ]
- These Storms destroyed many Horizon Realms that may have briefly survived the Conflagration, and made travel across the Gauntlet difficult, even lethal for many mages. Portals that once connected chantries to Horizon Realms snapped; and the veil between worlds became a sea of broken glass that tore at the Awakened souls of all who tried to pass through it. Those who partook in raids on old Horizon ruins, or who were hiding from the fighting in their own realms, or who were otherwise within the Umbra at the advent of the Storms, were cut off from the Material Realm. Those who managed to break through were flensed - some lost large swathes of their Avatars to these violent Storms, some were Gilguled entirely.
Any hope for maintaining connection with what leaders remained in the Otherworlds was lost - beyond the Gauntlet, mages were stranded or killed, and those in the Realm were cut off from them, unable to communicate or help.
Disillusioned and leaderless, the remnants of the Traditions declared a cease-fire in the Ascension War to try to pick up the pieces - the large-scale war for humanity was lost, it now must be battled on smaller fronts, here in the Material Realm, before the scars of this Reckoning with the Awakened's collective Hubris destroy magic altogether.