History, The Visitation (Sanctuary's Lot Supplement)
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≈100 p.s. to 1 p.s.
“In one hour, one billion souls forfeit”
- from a 4th century Fenestra liturgical drama describing the Visitation.
The death toll was nothing short of nightmarish. Billions perished in worldwide ordeal that would reduce the human population to fewer than one for every one-thousand that lived prior to this period.
That there are no surviving accounts of the Visitation’s commencement informs greatly the totality of the destruction wrought by the Strangers entering this universe through our world. The god-like Strangers from the Dark heaved their titanic, unhallowed bodies into this reality and proceeded to consume everything in reach. And their reach was great.That which wasn’t destroyed outright was twisted, perverted, or infested in some unspeakable manor. Lands poisoned, cities decimated, and continents reshaped.
Nor was the number of gods from the Dark ever accurately recorded, though it is usually assumed to be at least twenty, with some texts suggesting “hundreds” of Strangers. The later is usually presumed to be either an exaggeration or a result of confusing the Strangers themselves with the more powerful members of their writhing, voracious hosts.
(Equally muddy, the exact length of The Visitation is unclear, though most modern historians agree it lasted very close to a century)
To the Strangers and their hordes, humans were food, fodder, and entertainment. More appalling, countless others used as breeding stock, infected as hosts for the abhorrent young of certain strangers, and as victims of the Strangers’ other, more indiscernible needs.
No clear purpose for the Visitation has ever been entirely agreed upon. Though historians at different times have postulated everything from the base instincts of the Strangers, the sinfulness of men, to alien motivations no sane person could hope to comprehend. One interesting (and popular) suggestion is found in the writings of the 11th century magician Saffine Eulal, who claimed her spiritual communion with the Lords of the Ten Towers revealed to her that the Strangers emerged into this world purely as a means of invading the Dream.
The implication being that the violation of this world was purely incidental. Our world had the misfortune of overlapping both the Dream and the Dark and was merely a convenient crossover point between the two. Further, Eulal insinuated that human beings survived at all because they were irrelevant to the Strangers’ plans; that we endured through only through our insignificance.
Regardless, if the Visitation had continued longer, or the Strangers’ perusal of the human race been pursued more intensively, the human race would most likely have been annihilated.