I am looking for a word that describes an event which marks the beginning of an apocalypse or era of darkness. It shouldn't describe the aftermath itself, but rather the instigating moment.

However, I'm looking for contextual suggestions, so a little background might be appropriate. The word is meant to describe the reopening of a gate/barrier or the breaking of a seal, which was closed long ago. This reopening portends terrible times.

So far, I've thought of calling it "the Fracture", but I'm hoping to use that term for something else in the story, so alternative suggestions are welcome. Words like calamity, cataclysm etc. won't work, because they don't actually describe the specific event which I mentioned above.

Sample Sentence 01: "The Fracture has led to thousands fleeing south to escape the devastation."

Sample Sentence 02" "I was born after the Fracture, but I've heard enough stories to appreciate what little I have today. For others, it was much worse."

  • Perhaps you could coin a neologism, something like the Wreak, the Unleash or simply the Trouble? Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:31
  • 1
    The noun corresponding to portends is portent. However, your question seems to focus on giving the thing a proper name, rather than classing the thing itself -- rather like "I was born after Mike" compared to "I was born after that man".
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 21:05
  • If you are asking for a proper noun, that's not something that anybody can coin for you. Any word—or phrase—could be turned into a proper noun in this context and inserted into those sentences. All you need to do is capitalize it. And that includes the Calamity and the Cataclysm. But it could also be the Spoon, the Black Leaves, or the Dawn of the End. Without any more specific criteria, this is entirely subjective. Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 23:27
  • Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series called it (proper noun as the prior comment mentions) The Breaking. But you might know that. Calamity, downfall, crisis, catastrophe, these are more plain English.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 3:08

3 Answers 3


The word harbinger could fit here, meaning "a person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another". It may not fit perfectly, though, since a harbinger is typically observed before the event it signals, and isn't usually the instigating event itself. It sounds like the gate opening is itself causing the problem, so if it's causing doom rather than just indicating it, harbinger may not be the best choice. Perhaps there was another indicator of impending doom prior to the opening that people generally refer to as the first sign of trouble?

As a bonus, harbinger is often (but not always) used in a pejorative sense, indicating the onset of something bad - the top 3 Google autocompletes for "harbinger of" are "death", "doom", and "hell".



an occurrence or phenomenon believed to portend a future event

The dark clouds were considered a bad omen.



Hellmouth (M-W Dictionary)

a property in a medieval mystery or miracle play representing the entrance of hell as the gaping jaws sometimes with moving joints of a monster resembling a whale.


(From wikipedia)

Hellmouth, or the jaws of Hell, is the entrance to Hell envisaged as the gaping mouth of a huge monster, an image which first appears in Anglo-Saxon art, and then spread all over Europe.

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