In the final days of the Mage Wars, the Archmage Urtho was betrayed by one of his generals, Shaiknam, who sent a traitorous mage to assassinate him. The mage, Conn Levas, did succeed in fatally poisoning Urtho. Urtho had trapped his Tower and Gate network, to explode upon his death. He had hoped to use it as a final weapon against Ma'ar. With his death imminent, Urtho sent Skandranon off with a magical device to eliminate Ma'ar and his magic. He also completed the evacuation of his people and armies.
When Skandranon set off the device in the throne room of the Royal Palace of Tantara, Ma'ar's current headquarters, Ma'ar's set spells were destroyed causing waves of destructive magic to move outward like ripples on a pond. Urtho's nearly simultaneous death, and the subsequent destruction of his magical network moments later caused a second set of waves, crashing into the first set. The explosions resulted in two massive craters where the palace and Tower once stood, which later became Lake Evendim and the Dhorisha Plains, respectively. The ripples of wild magic crashing into each other twisted the land between the two locations, forming the weirdness of the Pelagirs.
The explosion caused ripples in the magic fields of the land, prompting what came to be called Mage Storms. Creatures caught in the Storms could be killed or changed in various ways. Thousands of years later, these waves echoed back over Velgarth in a second set of Mage Storms.
In the wake of the destruction and havoc, there were no centralized governments left in the northern part of Velgarth. The largest level of organization was the small town or former army fortification. Some refugees made it as far as the Wtasi Empire located on the shore of the Salten Sea to the east. They sent back reports on the devastation and collapse of civilization in the lands Ma'ar had controlled. Some places, especially large cities, had been entirely dependent on magical Gates for food and other supplies. With the collapse of the Gates, the people starved. And with the onslaught of the surviving soldiers, chaos descended.