The returned gods, fighting with the Ellehemaei that had stayed on Earth/been born here, killed hundreds of thousands of people with collateral damage. When the armies of the world got in on the fracas, cities fell.
Gods died, too; the armies getting involved began to turn the tides. The military and the Ellehemaei who stayed working in conjunction defeated (slowly, and with a great deal of collateral damage) the returned gods, sending those who survived back to Ellehem and sealing the gates.
This took two hard years of fighting, during which countless cities across the globe were destroyed, as well as roads, farms, lakes, and… well, large bits of everything else.
The Army used conventional weapons. The fae, on the other hand, used everything they had. They turned roads to water. They turned deer into monsters. They simply Destroyed things that were in their way – airplanes, buildings, the aforementioned lakes.
Those who did not die from direct attack, from being in the path of a weapon, from being in the way of something that had once been a deer… they faced longer-term problems.
The roads to most cities were impassible by the end of 2012. (By the end of 2011, things had already started to decline.) Food could not get in, nor gas. Looking at NYC in the days and weeks after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 gives us a good idea of the amount of damage that can cause on its own. And with an overtaxed Red Cross and a completely stretched-to-the-limit government… disease and starvation set in.
People had been dying by the hundreds of thousands. They started dying, now, by the tens of millions.
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