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BRAGOLMOR - "THE SUDDEN DARKNESS"[]

The Bragolmor - meaning the "sudden darkness" in Sindarin - was the name given to the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Doom in the year 451 of the Fourth Age. It was the largest eruption of Mount Doom that had been seen yet, having remained dormant for the entirety of the Fourth Age.

Prophecies[]

Astrologers, wisemen and cultists had fortold the Bragolmor for much of the Fourth Age, correctly guessing that the mountain would erupt again after remaining silent for so long ever since the Third Age. Records of such theories and foretellings were kept in libraries by both nobles, scholars and cultists all over Middle-Earth, such as the libraries of Minas Tirith, Khazad-Dum and Dale. Many of the estimations for the date were wrong, being a few years off the mark, leading to people doubting whether such a prophecy was even true.

The Eruption[]

At the beginning of autumn in 451 of the Fourth Age, earthquakes spread out across Mordor, a warning sign; some cultists claimed that these earthquakes coincided with the dates they had foretold. A few days later Mt Doom (Orodruin) suddenly erupted, having remained dormant for centuries. It was the largest and most destructive eruption the mountain had ever unleashed, with the explosion being heard all the way in the jungles of Far Harad, and the tremors causing glass to shatter and roof tiles to fall as far north as Dale. Many settlements in Mordor and Gondor were completely knocked over and destroyed by the eruption. The mass of lava thrown up by the volcano reached up to the clouds, along with much of the ash and dust. There, the ash and dust was caught in the weather system, and soon spread over Middle-Earth, covering the sky and blocking the sun; it was these clouds of ash and dust which gave the event its name, the "Sudden Darkness".

The clouds of ash and dust which spread over Middle-Earth soon rained down the debris they carried, causing further chaos and injuries, their weight crushing buildings in some cases. On the Long Lake, the tremors caused by the eruption damaged many of the wooden columns supporting the buildings there, with the disturbed water flooding some buildings temporarily. With the ash and debris falling down, some of the buildings there simply collapsed.

Andrhîw - The Long Winter[]

The clouds which blocked out the sun and sky eventually caused a dramatic drop in temperatures all around Middle-Earth. The clouds remained in the sky for several months, causing Middle-Earth to descend into a premature winter; and when the proper winter did come, it would be perhaps have been the coldest winter in history up to that point. Crops and plants withered and died, and bodies of water froze over. So much snow had piled on top of buildings that frequently they would collapse, and the freezing cold was too strong for anybody to risk going outside. Settlements became disfunctionate, infrastructure failed, and entire Kingdoms and Empires fell. Those who were used to and had adapted to such harsh winters saw an opportunity, and migrated southwards, sacking what remained of cities and taking the wealth of temples and libraries for themselves. As a direct result of the cataclysm, the geopolitical playing field was completely leveled, with empires devastated and sovereign states reeling from the damage caused, trying to rein in their fiefdoms. For two-hundred years this winter endured, harsh and bitter. In this long stretch of time, longer than any ordinary man would've lived through, the greater empires of Gondor and Mordor lay shattered, dormant under their thick blanket of ash. Arnor stood relatively intact, but the shift to a colder climate caused widespread famine and death - Dale suffered the same fate. The nations in Harad were relatively unscathed, and thus the petty-wars between their many peoples resumed but decades after the event. As for the rest...they lost contact and treaties were cut short, disappearing into the shroud of ash and smoke. This was, indeed, a new dark age for Middle Earth. Nonetheless, scholars forged on, as the teachings and lore of old had not been lost - they thus recorded this period of ill, branding it with a most ominous moniker: "Andrhîw"...the Long Winter.

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