Following the War of the Ebontide, Hadrian Albrecht turned his attention to domestic affairs. Blackmarsh' repute was higher than ever; however, it had come at a terrible price. Through many of the battles, practitioners of darker magics had shown themselves. Wilhelm Albrecht had attempted to banish these practies from Blackmarsh but proven ineffective. After realizing that so many remained, Hadrian chose to commit himself to destroying the final remnants of Blackmarsh's dark past.
The Black Purge was a campaign to systematically erradicate those that were considered witches. Any that drew power from a source of unnatural origin (necromancy, primarily) were to be hunted down and killed. It was at this time that Sir Riese Vine and his group of specialized hunters known as jaegers set forth to bring to an end the threat of the shadows.
Initially the movement was kept quiet; however, as it grew in strength people began to accuse one another of witchcraft. An untold amount of innocents were condemned, but the shadows were also damaged severely by this push to remove any trace of necromancy, shadow magic, or other fell practics.
At this time, Eleanor Bayne traveled Blackmarsh in an attempt to find those that would help stand against the might of the viscount. This group was known as the Coven of Seven, which spoke to the seven commanders found within it. Numerous disciples also swelled the ranks as well as swordsmen purchased by Vara Holt. Several battles, not officially considered to be part of the war, were fought in which Light and Shadow were placed on display. Despite being outnumbered, the Coven of Seven proved to be a fearsome foe.
Inevitably, the Black Purge's push came to a head. Believing that if they could force a decisive battle against their foes they would startle the commonfolk into supporting them, the Coven's witches prepared to engage the forces of the viscount at Mercer Downs.
Although not a battle, the Black Purge was the staging ground for the war itself. It should be noted that at least twice during this time Magnus Albrecht, father of Madelynne I actually encountered Eleanor Bayne. It is from this period that rumors of an illicit affair between the two arise. Whatever may have occurred between them, they were fierce opponents.
The only battle within the supposed war, the Battle of Mercer Down saw the triumph of the Light over the Shadows. Or, more accurately, depicted what occurred when a group of idealists were baited into a confrontation they had no hope of winning. Commanding his son to lose two engagements against the Coven to bolster their confidence, Hadrian Albrecht then let slip his plans to launch an attack on Misthollow. Mercer Downs was an ideal location to launch an ambush. It also proved the perfect place to trap down an enemy and see it dead.
The effort that went into defeating the Coven of Seven revealed how tirelessly Viscount Hadrian would pursue an enemy once determined it had to be destroyed. Lesser households that had assisted the witches were condemned and broken, while many names were elevated as a result.