Muylari (Erlini: "The Watcher (Of All)") is a man who was cursed with immortality after he and his wife were saved from being eaten by a dark rider, who was quite likely the Dark Elven and Lord of Essaence warlord Lorgalis the White by implication. (The spectral miners lend weight to this possibility as Lorgalis was known to use orcish hordes.) He owed his life to his new master. When Muylari's wife passed away, he returned to pay his debt. He was forced to oversee the plundering of silver mines in the Seolfar Strake (Lysierian Hills), far to the north-west near Claedesbrim Bay (Darkstone Bay), near the edge of northern Jaiman. He used sorcery in the form of "forget" and other mind destruction spells to make the locals of Velaskar fail to understand what was happening to them.
Unfortunately, while mining in what was once known as Silver Valley, they awakened a powerful extra-planar entity that was dormant deep underground. The equines had long been rumored to have kept it at bay, but now enslaved, were unable to stop it from breaking free and conquering the valley. They were all cursed with undeath, and Muylari fled, only to suffer immortality for thousands of years.
Behind the Scenes
The relationship between Shadow Valley and the rest of The Graveyard, as well as The Broken Lands, is extremely subtle and can only be recognized by looking at the I.C.E. Age lore and their shared Lovecraftian subtexts. There was a release event where the horses returned to the valley to defeat the demon, which was labeled as a "wyrm" and was apparently a Terrorite from Rolemaster. There is a very obvious theme of spatial distortion with a dreamworld plane, which is much more subtle in the Broken Lands, but they involve temporal anomalies as well which is more obvious in the latter.
(A) Shadow Valley and The Graveyard
While the valley was still present in its cursed state when Selias Jodame visited in the early 6000s Second Era, it would become unstable and shifted between time and space until it anchored under the necropolis of Bandur Etrevion a few hundred miles to the south-west. Muylari returned to tell his story, and was never seen or heard from again. Adventurers would later follow a talking wolf to the valley and witnessed the pookas transform into a giant shadow steed that flew up and battled the monstrosity, with a sky rift opening and the shadow steeds returning, where the wyrm resembled a flying serpent with arms and wings. These Terrorite demons frequently served as lieutenants of Demon Lords, and were almost identical in appearance to the avatar of Klysus (Luukos). These facts are both relevant to the symbolism of that specific area within The Graveyard. Terrorites would summon demonic servants at will, some of whom were known to ride "night mares", which were demonic possessed and would seek vengeance upon those who wronged the horses before they died. It is worth noting that the Ordainers the Terrorites served were called Death Watchers, which translates as Vog Muylari, and that one of the most powerful was Maleskari which is conspicuously close to Velaskar. Maleskari was known to have a Terrorite lieutenant, as well as Demon Scourge retainers, who rode nightmares as their demonic steeds. He took the form of an enormous armored skeleton. Maleskari was imprisoned in the walls of Bonespear Tower in 5098 Modern Era, where if freed the moving tower would become his body.
Terrorites were known for tearing into other realities unexpectedly, knocking out whoever they ensnared with their sleep poison. It would have somewhat resembled a very large flying abyran'sa demon in appearance, but there is no actual relationship, unless the abyran were intentional allusions to the Progeny of Yig. The Shadow Valley has a sleep theme in general, whether night mares or sleep-immune night hounds. It is related to the more subtle sleep theme of The Graveyard, which includes: a society task of "where death sleeps cold", bog sleeping ghouls, its Lovecraft allusions regarding Old Ones, the nightmares of Bandur Etrevion fueled by otherworldly powers, the dream state of Oblivion, the sleeping nature of the Staff of Doom and Eissa's brother, the dormant Ordainer symbolism, the sleeping death and "resurrection" of the Lords of Essaence, the Dante and Egyptian night journeys to the dawn, hell as where "the sun in silence rests", the Orgiana and Morgu stanzas in The Temple of Darkness Poem, and the poems on the seal of the Helm of Kadaena ("The Shadow") and her false sarcophagus calling her the "sleeping queen" who "spurns death" (hence the frieze inscription "defies Death itself.") The Dark Path had its presence in The Broken Lands as well, which among other things has the lesser vruul, which slumbered in urns filled with foul fluid for thousands of years.
(B) The Exit of Shadow Valley
In particular, the way out of Shadow Valley involves plummeting through sheer blackness over a span of hard RT, which spits you out back under The Graveyard through a rift. This is probably an allusion to the end of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" by H.P. Lovecraft, which is alluded to in Purgatory, as well as extensively in The Broken Lands where Uthex Kathiasas may be a portmanteau of Utha Kadaena with Ex and Kadath. The quest seeker had just encountered the pharaoh demonic Other God in the abandoned castle on Kadath, who tells him the marvelous place he is seeking is his own world from his childhood memories, and sends him back through the black void to return the "Great One" gods of earth to where they belong. (Nyarlathotep was tricking him into traveling to the court of Azathoth, essentially Agoth or The Unlife, but he remembered he was in a dream and leaped from a shantak into the darkness to save himself.) The Dark Gods were waging war on Kulthea in the Wars of Dominion rather than residing on their moon, and only arrived in our world by accident from other planes of existence. They were banished to the moon or the Black Hel at the end of the Wars.
The fall through the chasm of darkness may also be an allusion to the end of "The Shadow out of Time", where the narrator has suffered from amnesia and pseudo-memories with "daemoniac dreams" of vistas from both the past and future. When he is escaping the underground ruins amidst the "demonic wind", he falls through the darkness in a dream delirium, returning to the waking world in much the same way. The vultite manuscript of Kadaena in the Crypt is probably an allusion to this story, implying Bandur wrote his book "Servants of the Shadow: Power through Thralldom" with her knowledge, and that she wrote her manuscript in the deep past using his own language. This novella appears to influence the stories of The Graveyard, The Broken Lands, and the Purgatory messaging. In the symbolism of the Graveyard and Broken Lands, Bandur Etrevion represents Nyarlathotep, who was the mocking avatar of the demonic gods representing himself as a pharaoh or fallen archangel.
Another possible meaning, given Selias is Greek, is that the leap is an allusion to the Greek nightmare demon Ephialtes which translates as "leaper". Ephialtes was a giant in Greek mythology who was condemned to the City of Dis in Virgil's Aeneid and Dante's Inferno, where he blows icy wind preventing people from harrowing the steep descent into the Ninth Circle of Hell. This is arguably symbolized by the part of The Graveyard that is being entered by leaping from Shadow Valley. Otherwise the icy wind alludes to Satan further imprisoning himself by flapping his wings and Ordainer immolation symbolism.
(C) Other Subtexts
Shadow Valley makes allusions to "The Call of Cthulhu" or possibly "Out of the Aeons" as well. The depiction of a dragon in the mine shaft and the demon as a "wyrm" may allude to Cthulhu appearing partly dragon. The strongest influences on the story are arguably "The Colour Out of Space", "The Mound", and the ancient Vedic myth of Vala with the release of Ushas and slaying of the world dragon Vritra. Vritra was a slumbering serpent of darkness (or a "giant") who was the personification of drought, where his defeat by Indra would cause the waters to flow again. It is probably the root word behind the Vvrael. (The Vvrael quest was based on the Wasteland mythology of the Grail quest, where healing the dying god king causes the restoration of the land from drought by freeing the waters, which has been speculated of having originated ultimately in the story of slaying Vritra. Similarly, the same author has argued Perceval and Siegfried originated in the same "Aryan" hero, where the latter is a dragon slayer.) The theme of the ghostly horses and trampling giant sky stallions of a "lord of the abyss" entity (along with the hell serpent) may come from "The Dark Eidolon" by Clark Ashton Smith, whose work could be the basis of the gong in The Broken Lands, though this may be the brass shield in "The Fall of the House of Usher" which is likely the inspiration for the mine shaft. The Dark Eidolon features an evil sorcerer who begins life in lowly status and heralds through the form of "titanic skeletons" like Maleskari. The steeds as warders against a serpent demon comes from the Vedic myth (hence Utha and Valaskar.) The Terrorite demon is remarkably similar in appearance to the shantak "bird" from the cold waste of Kadath, who are scaled with bat wings, flying over the plateau of Leng and serving Nyarlathotep.
There was also the western themed "The Mound" ghost-written for Zelia Bishop, with "warring horsemen in the sky" where they "could not be sure the horses were really horses". The mounds in middle America would have apparitions and strangeness about equipment, and the story has partially dematerialized picks and shovels (and excavators) in the underground ruins. It was not published in its full form until 1989 in a collection of other stories ghost-written by Lovecraft, which included "The Horror in the Museum" which is alluded to below The Graveyard. The ending features more underground wind and yet another mad surface scramble. There was mining equipment displaced, through what was totally sealed off, as well as wall carvings and serpent idols. The Lovecraft entity was the vengeance themed Yig, the Father of Serpents, worshipped by western natives and would transform victims who had killed snakes. The idea of being hidden for long aeons in a still deeper black chasm refers to N'kai, the shoggoths worshipping Tsathoggua, who in turn was worshipped by the quadruped reptilians and later almost fatally the K'n-yans. (In "The Whisperer in Darkness" these are also mentioned - along with Dante, Poe, and time travel - in the context of the distant world Yuggoth, which has "black rivers of pitch" with Cyclopean bridges.) The conquistador who had spent much time with them attempted to telepathically probe forbidden N'kai, and was haunted by hideous and maddening dreams, implying astral projection into the abyss. "The Seven Geases" may be relevant to the burial mound extension.
The more subtle point of the horses and their fate being tied to the drought of the valley is that they are not really horses. They are most likely supposed to be fey water spirits called kelpies, "demon horses" who drown those foolish enough to ride them, which explains why no one is known to have ridden a horse of Silver Valley. Pookas are shapeshifting faeries who usually take the form of horses in heavy chains. Spectral miners who bang on the walls of cave-ins are pixies called "knockers." Moaning spirits are probably supposed to be akin to banshees like the bainsidhe of Castle Anwyn, which is also in the Lysierian Hills and associated with water fey, and likewise the night hounds are the zephyr hounds attuned to darkness itself, possibly being analogs of the spectral hounds of the "wild hunt" led by the faerie king. Fairy lands were supposed to be accessed through burial mounds, where time ran differently compared to our world. The Arthurian dimension of the Vvrael quest is also based on fairy mythology.