The Sixth Great Maelstrom

In 1999, the Sixth Great Maelstrom hit the city. Whereas, in the past, a solid Hierarchy rule had always seen the endurance and rebuilding of the Necropolis, the tense sharing of power, and threat from Renegade gangs meant that the city was ill prepared. The city walls and the towers of the Citadel were in a sorry state, and quickly gave way under the force of the storm. The Citadel was all but destroyed by the Jade invasion, and all Hell broke loose as the government of the Necropolis gave way and the Anacreons were destroyed. Jade Kingdom citizens of Chinatown rose up from within the city, raw with the memories of ills long past, and Harrowings took place on every street and rooftop. The roofways were soon taken by the Jade army, and the panicked London dead ran wild among the crowds of the living, adding to the already huge number of souls extinguished across the city. The Maelstrom finished off almost all of those left above ground and it was only the Renegades, sheltering in their underground tunnels that were immune from the winds and the Shades. The small communities from the Dark Kingdom of Jade, Swar, and Les Invisibles were wiped out along with the Hierarchy. Or at least, no one has seen them since.

The world of the Restless began to fall apart. Immediately after the onset of the Maelstrom, London was cut off. The Midnight Express ceased to run, and the tunnels it had once steamed through were treacherous and unpredictable. No one that ever entered them came back.
The Byway that had once meant so much trade and prosperity to London collapsed almost entirely, and again, anyone daring or stupid enough to enter it found themselves in strange lands, and often beset by spectres. As the surge of the storm ebbed and swelled in an echo of the global warming which was then only just beginning to take effect in the Skinlands, kingdoms and cities became isolated and descended into chaos, brought on by the disintegration of the Hierarchy and a complete lack of information from anywhere beyond the walls of the surviving fragmented Necropoli. The Shadowlands stretched out for hundreds of miles around the city to the nearest Necropolis in Paris, much farther than any Wraith could travel in the grey space of the day between the waves of the Storm. The settlements of Restless nearer by in Brighton, Birmingham and Oxford were found to be entirely destroyed, entirely deserted. Last of all, the Tempest offered a treacherous road at best, with hundreds of tiny, often dangerous Shifting Zones appearing in and around the city, and the storm beyond the city limits falling into a chaotic and confusing disarray where even the most competent of Harbingers lost their way.

The last words to reach the city before the outset of this utter isolation told vague rumours of the demise of the Deathlords, the disintegration of the Hierarchy and the transcendence of Charon. After that, all contact with a world outside London was lost. The Hierarchy cracked and crumbled with the after-effects of the Jade Kingdom attack and the lack of solid leadership, and it wasn't long before society fell apart. The Guilds and Heretics fragmented in the turmoil, drawing in on themselves and conducting their meetings in small groups behind doors carefully closed against the Maelstrom which raged almost constantly.

For a long time, the world of the Restless Dead remained in a turmoil that only fed the swell of Oblivion, wraiths took shelter in the underground tunnels at night, when the Spectres screamed and rampaged in the streets, and undefended Enfants lost their existences every hour. With the initial blast of the Maelstrom, the destruction of the Citadel and the ferocity of the Jade invasion, the numbers of wraiths in the city soon ebbed almost beyond belief.

These events also had a devastating impact on the world of the Skinlands. The invasion of the Jade forces and the force of the storm drove hundreds of Wraiths into crossing the shroud to seek protection from the devastation. The loosely-enforced Dictum Mortuum slowly broke down entirely, and the blast of the Maelstrom forced dozens of Wraiths and the encroaching Spectres across the Shroud to Rise in bodies that were often not their own.

For a long while, there was anarchy. The dead rampaged desperately among the living and the fabric of reality began to tear. Among the individuals thrown across the Shroud was a powerful Nephwrack known as Shadowshimmer, an ancient Spectre with her sights firmly set on becoming a Malfean. Her crash across the Shroud certainly made her plans more interesting, but didn't hinder them. As society broke apart, Shadowshimmer was amassing an army on both sides of the Shroud and dancing with abandon in the rubble. Oblivion rose like bile in the mouth of the city, Shadowshimmer's troops began to congeal into the most organised spectral force London had seen for centuries, and behind every Skinlands disaster or failure lurked a Spectre. Soon, they were showering their rage down on humanity and walking among the disparate Restless massacring every Pardoner and Freewraith talented in Castigate that they could find.