The Witch Winter was a magically induced winter created by the Ice Queen Issyldra that lasted until 4628 to 4632, M.E..
The Witch Winter was unleashed upon the western half of the continent of Elanthia in 4628. Snow and ice blanketed the ground all year round, thus destroying any chance of crops being raised in that time period. Mass starvation followed as a result. Accompanying the unnatural weather were monsters under the control of Issyldra, which attacked the human settlements close to the Dragonspine Mountains. This involved almost entirely the Kingdom of Hendor.
Pushed to the brink by the meteorological disaster, Hendor was unable to repel its invaders and fell in 4630. One reason the kingdom fell was that the Turamzzyrian Empire was unable to answer a request for military aid, due to an ill-gotten attempt to start a military campaign against the House of Nalfein. The Imperial Army became trapped in Barrett's Gorge and subsequently starved with prevalent rumors of cannibalism.
The Witch Winter only ended when Llaestal Anodheles and Rasimm Roelas, along with a band of adventurers, stormed Issyldra's fortress of Rimefast and killed the Ice Queen. This was accomplished with the use of the legendary Anodheles' sword, Searswathe, and an artifact from the Sea of Fire. While most of the human governed lands recovered, the Kingdom of Hendor was permanently shattered. Imperial troops retook the land from the monsters and humanoids who had overrun the territory, and established the two earldoms of North Hendor and South Hendor.