The Burning Times were an important event in Night World history. It was a period in which humans committed what was essentially genocide against non-human species, nearly driving them to extinction. The Night World was ultimately formed to counteract the effects of the Burning Times and protect the Night People from humans.
It is not clear when the Burning Times began, but it seems to have been most prominent in the 16th and 17th centuries. Humans had grown increasingly fearful of magic and the supernatural and sought to eradicate this supposed threat from the world (primarily in Europe). This lead to the mass hunting, imprisonment, torture and execution of anyone suspected of being a Night Person or using magic, regardless of whether they were actually a Night Person or not. As a result, thousands of Night People and innocent humans were killed - not even children were spared. The period was called the Burning Times presumably due to the hunters' favouring of fire to torture and execute their victims (especially those accused of witchcraft). The Burning Times was disastrous for the Night People, who were forced into hiding and faced extinction. Eventually, the Night People resolved to band together for the sake of all their species, beginning with a truce between the Harman Family - leaders of the witches - and the Redfern Family - leaders of the lamia. Hunter Redfern, patriarch of the Redferns, did a blood-tie ceremony with the Harman matriarch, Maeve, thus uniting the two families. They also married and had four children, Garnet, Lily, Dove and Roseclear. The shapeshifters, made vampires and werewolves also joined the two united species and this lead to the formation of a secret society known as the Night World. The Burning Times eventually came to an end - presumably with the Age of Enlightenment and the decline of the belief in the supernatural - but the Night People remained understandably fearful of humans. As a result of the Burning Times, one of the witch circles, Circle Daybreak - which sought harmony with humankind - was disbanded. The lamia enclaves were also formed to provide sanctuary from humans.
Modern Age Edit
It is made clear that, even in the 20th Century, the continued fear and resentment of the Burning Times is why the laws of the Night World are so strictly enforced and are one of the root causes of the Night World's disdain or outright hatred of humans. Witches in particular are very sensitive towards this dark period of their history - Thea Harman is particularly distressed and angered by insensitive Halloween decorations depicting witches being tortured and killed. Because of the Burning Times, some lamia, such as the sisters Jade, Kestrel and Rowan, have very sheltered lives on enclaves, for their own protection. The spirit of Suzanne Blanchet, a victim of the Burning Times, is also accidentally unleashed by Thea Harman, kills a human and attempts to kill more in revenge for what was done to her, forcing Thea to use a spell to send her back to the afterlife. Despite this, there are many Night People who believe it's time to move on from the paranoia and hatred of the Burning Times and seek to live in peace with humans. Humans also seem to be far more tolerant and accepting of Night People now - with many documented cases of humans and Night People defying Night World law by falling in love. It is these beliefs that lead to the re-formation of Circle Daybreak and the secession of many Night People from the Night World, though this has also lead to violent opposition from Night World loyalists.