Over thirty years ago a mountain in the far north exploded. Soot filled the sky and blocked some of the warmth of the sun. The winter that followed was so long and cold that we had no true summer before the next winter began. All over Kyralia and in Elyne, crops failed and stock died. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of farmers and their families came to the city, but there wasn't enough work or housing for them all. The city filled with starving people. The King handed out food and arranged for places like the Racing Arena to be used as shelters. He sent some farmers back to their homes with enough food to last them until the next summer. There wasn't enough to feed everyone, however... It became dangerous to walk the streets, even in daylight. Gangs broke into houses, and people were murdered in their beds... The King sent the Guard to drive these gangs from the city. When it was clear that it couldn't be done without bloodshed, he asked the Guild to help.
- — The Magicians' Guild
It started when influencial members of the Houses complained that the streets weren't safe, so the King ordered the Guard to drive the beggars, homeless vagrants and suspected criminals out of the city. They fought back however with weapons supplied by the wealthier smugglers and thieves. The King turned to the Guild for help, and they successfully drove them out. The King was happy with the outcome and declared it happen every year. The Purge is a cause of resentment among the poor of Imardin against the Guild.
Sonea discovers her magical powers during the Purge in the Magicians' Guild. She throws stones at a group of magicians along with Cery and other friends. One of her stones passes through the magical barrier the magicians have created, and strikes Lord Fergun on the head, rendering him unconcious. Sonea then flees from the Guild, who she believes they want to kill her. However, they only want to offer her a place at the Guild as a novice.
|Spoilers from "The Ambassador's Mission"|
King Merin finally decided to abolish the Purge, however some people wish it hadn't happened due to the new consequences.