The Long Night can be titled Long Night, Age of Dawn, or After Dragon; all are acceptable and used during the Course Books.
The Long Night began with the Battle of the Last Stand in A.Y. 6960, the last official date of the Alliance Calendar and the official fall of the Alliance. The Battle of the Last Stand is also often titled "the day hope died".
Dates within the era use A.Y. 6960 as the year zero and count forward, using the prefix A.D. This construct was chosen as the few surviving records usually keep time by referring to the number of years that had passed since the battle. For the sake of simplicity, the official start of the Long Night is the first day of 6960, even though the battle would not happen until later that year.
Historians who chronicled the Long Night would later identify five main periods:
(A.D. 0 to A.D. 27) Samuel Fate's war of conquest was long and surprisingly bloody. The Alliance tried hard to resist but was unable to slow the advancing forces. The Gudersnipe Foundation chose instead to capitulate, laying down arms. Because of their earlier agreement to lay down arms, Samuel Fate ignored the Foundation while he pursued the Alliance. This gave the Foundation time to hide countless military assets eventually used in the Battle of the New Day.
(A.D. 27 to A.D. 152) The deconstruction of the old ways happened at this time, wherein the Alliance was destroyed completely, the Crimson Blade was dismantled, and the Gudersnipe Foundation officially subjugated.
The dismantling of the Foundation was peaceful, with some military vessels even allowed to remain in service. Most of the Crimson Blade was not put to death as originally intended, and many older millitary commanders were even made governors under the new government.
Paladins of the Afterglow was composed during this era.
(A.D. 152-250) The Transition from the old to the new was made with relative haste. All borders of the Alliance nations were erased and new provinces drawn with no regard of long-standing state lines.
Many nations resisted the new borders, and resistance was put down violently where Fate's forces administered directly. Where the Foundation was still charged with administration, matters were dealt with a diplomacy uncharacteristic of the Gudersnipe Foundation.
(A.D. 250 to A.D. 2500) This was the long decline. Night was fully upon the verse and Samuel Fate slowly absorbed the known worlds into his empire.
Wherever possible, technology was obliterated. Most people were forced to live simply, and many cities were abandoned as people returned to subsistence farming. Wherever not absolutely neccessary, technology of any kind was made apocryphal.
The Gudersnipe Foundation was an exception, being allowed to operate the GATE network and with it the technologically-advanced support system that made it possible. In isolated regions, business continued with no real change.
The Foundation neglected to report the existence of many worlds accessible only by GATE. This allowed some of their operations to go un-noticed. The School Proper was hidden entirely, as well as the Blind Consul.
(A.D. 2500 to A.D. 3115) The deepest part of the Long Night. The decline was over and nothing was as it had been, except where the Foundation was still the only authority. The Alliance was completely forgotten, and the old nations no longer existed.
The one constant: everyone could still look back and remember the day hope died.
In A.D. 3115, hope was resurrected from the dead, the Long Night ended, and the Dawn of the Dragon began; eventually part of the New Day.
The Long Night is also sometimes titled "The Second Age of Darkness" for the massive loss of technological and social advancment. Lower birth rates also led to a drastic population decline, though not as bad as that in the original Age of Darkness.
The Long Night lasted roughly 3,000 years. During its passage, it was officially known by those who lived through it as the 'Age of Dawn'; but the abbreviation of 'A.D.' often held a more sinister meaning: 'After Dragon'.
As the Age of Dawn became the New Day, the 'After Dragon' definition became official. A great deal of rebuilding was still needed, and the distinction was a helpful unifier.