Difference between revisions of "Research:Shadow Valley"

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The parallel to the Rift may have been designed even beyond this plunging into darkness motif. The first three planes of The Rift are parallels of each other, much like the Secluded Valley and Shadow Valley. There is also a room in The Rift of skeletal "equines" frolicking which is highly reminiscent of Shadow Valley. It is possible there are cryptic relations to [[Purgatory]] on a subtextual level in the Drake's Shrine. The reptilian bat-winged [https://monster.fandom.com/wiki/Shantak shantak] bird that Randolph Carter leaps from is worthy of note as well. These can be reasonably argued to resemble the wyrm, which is associated with the dark crevice itself.
 
The parallel to the Rift may have been designed even beyond this plunging into darkness motif. The first three planes of The Rift are parallels of each other, much like the Secluded Valley and Shadow Valley. There is also a room in The Rift of skeletal "equines" frolicking which is highly reminiscent of Shadow Valley. It is possible there are cryptic relations to [[Purgatory]] on a subtextual level in the Drake's Shrine. The reptilian bat-winged [https://monster.fandom.com/wiki/Shantak shantak] bird that Randolph Carter leaps from is worthy of note as well. These can be reasonably argued to resemble the wyrm, which is associated with the dark crevice itself.
 +
 +
There is another parallel which is more literal. The "Lover's Leap" from the cliff of the Dark Palisade on Teras Isle uses the same wording as the slightly older Shadow Valley exit. The Temple of Luukos has its own [[Purgatory#Lornon|special variant]] of the death mechanics messaging where the body goes to the moon of the dark gods instead of Purgatory. The mouth of the wind tunnel is an implicit god face like the [[Research:The Broken Lands#Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath|Dark Shrine]].
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[Dark Palisade, Lovers' Leap]
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The desolate moor gives up life to a jagged cliff of jet black volcanic rock and the grey sea beyond.  Cold wind carries the spray of the waves below against the rocks and howls up the face of the cliff below.  It draws a mournful wail from the dark stone as it hurtles onto the moor, blowing the tenacious shrubs into drawn and flat shadows of their normal shapes.  You also see the edge of the precipice.
 +
Obvious paths: north, south, west
 +
>jump
 +
'''You foolishly leap up into the air and straight out''' over the cliff!
 +
 +
A powerful wall of air suddenly strikes and you find yourself slowing ever so slightly.  The surroundings are just a blur of motion as you speed along!
 +
P>
 +
Just as you think the falling will never end, you are suddenly dropped into a smooth stone chute.  '''Your sensation of falling turns to dizziness''' as you tumble down the chute.  Without warning you find yourself hanging in the air '''for a prolonged second and then WHUMP!!!'''
 +
'''You are stunned!'''
 +
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'''You feel the presence of cold hard stone underneath you.'''
 +
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>look
 +
[Wind Tunnel]
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The wind speaks with a passionate voice, the voice of the damned souls that have been borne here from the swirling storm off-shore.  Throughout the years the unnatural tempest has been known by many names.  Sailors call it the Felstorm, or simply "the Squall", and you remember a mendicant preacher once mumbling something about "...the breath!  The foul breath of Luukos..."
 +
Obvious exits: east, west
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===Colour Out of Space===
 
===Colour Out of Space===
 
[http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/cs.aspx "The Colour Out of Space"] is more of a science fiction story that Lovecraft wrote to illustrate a highly alien otherworldly horror. There is a meteor impact at a farm which quickly shrinks, throwing off what can only be approximated as colors of light, until it is repeatedly struck by lightning. It poisons the soil causing mutant vegetation growth, deforming the animals, and strangely colored fog. It is followed by the color draining out of everything, which becomes grey and brittle, with the characters becoming ill and falling into madness. Ultimately this alien horror is turning the surroundings and dead horses into dust. Where "The Mound" might explain some of the story elements and the entrance of Shadow Valley, "The Colour Out of Space" might explain the landscape with the horses. Both of these stories have glowing fog.
 
[http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/cs.aspx "The Colour Out of Space"] is more of a science fiction story that Lovecraft wrote to illustrate a highly alien otherworldly horror. There is a meteor impact at a farm which quickly shrinks, throwing off what can only be approximated as colors of light, until it is repeatedly struck by lightning. It poisons the soil causing mutant vegetation growth, deforming the animals, and strangely colored fog. It is followed by the color draining out of everything, which becomes grey and brittle, with the characters becoming ill and falling into madness. Ultimately this alien horror is turning the surroundings and dead horses into dust. Where "The Mound" might explain some of the story elements and the entrance of Shadow Valley, "The Colour Out of Space" might explain the landscape with the horses. Both of these stories have glowing fog.

Revision as of 07:44, 21 May 2020

Warning: This page concerns archaic world setting information from the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III. It is not canon in contemporary GemStone IV, nor is it canonical for Shadow World as the details may be specific to GemStone III. It is only historical context for certain very old parts of the game and these things should not be mixed.

This is a research page for systematically decrypting the hidden meaning and references in Shadow Valley. The story of Shadow Valley is still treated as official documentation, but its original context is the archaic Shadow World historical setting. This is seemingly of minimal importance in the case of Shadow Valley. Its original parts seem to have been released in 1995, and the release of its expanded areas occurred after the De-ICE in 1996. There were in-game storyline events, such as Muylari speaking, which are poorly recorded now. This includes the shadow steeds fighting the demon.

Similar to The Graveyard there seems to be a hidden layer of meaning that is a combination of H.P. Lovecraft and comparative mythology pertaining to the Underworld. The Broken Lands seems to have similar themes and subtexts. The relative importance of the Purgatory death mechanics, Shadow World, mythology, and Lovecraft varies between them. It is unclear if any relationship to the mythological subtexts in the Vvrael Quest is intentional.

Related Projects:

The following research pages are interrelated with the subject of this one:

Methodology

Shadow Valley has some degree of meaning set in the context of the Shadow World source books. However, its meaning seems to more primarily be allegorical, which like The Graveyard involves mythology. There are cryptic meanings in the real world etymology of the names used in the story. Similar to Research:The Graveyard this research page maintains that there is an "everything is backwards" motif to the grand design of Shadow Valley.

I.C.E. Source Books

These books potentially have some degree of relevance to the story. This is casting a wide net as Shadow Valley was a late development and so there are that many more possible books. Most I.C.E. books are not relevant to GemStone III. Shadow Valley was developed late enough for Creatures & Monsters to have potentially been used, which has a copyright date of 1994 and a publication date of 1995.

  • Shadow World Master Atlas, 1st Edition (1989)
  • Shadow World Master Atlas: Inhabitants Guide (1989)
  • Shadow World Master Atlas Addendum (1990)
  • Shadow World Master Atlas, 2nd Edition (1992)
  • Quellbourne: Land of the Silver Mist (1989)
  • Jaiman: Land of Twilight (1989)
  • Creatures & Treasures I (1985)
  • Creatures & Treasures II (1989)
  • Creatures & Monsters (1995)

Authorial Intent

This research page is focused on interpreting the Shadow Valley story in its original context, and understanding any cryptic or allegorical hidden layer of meaning. This involves subjecting the material to a level of scrutiny that will at times likely exceed the intent. There is no way around this, as the intended meanings are only a subset, and a possibility space has to be made where this has to be weighed as having more or less probability. It is more important to try to include all of the concepts that are "really there", which are possibilities, than it is to avoid the risk of postulating a meaning that is unintentional. The Shadow Valley story does not have a recorded intent or premise in the way the Broken Lands does, as shown on Research:The Broken Lands, but there is a very strong case for its being purposeful.

The authorial intent does not actually exist in the text. It can only be recovered approximately by the reader reconstructing its meaning. In the case of a hidden meaning through allusions or allegory, a "theory" is guessing the premise, and making an argument that this premise forms a parallel. Beyond some point this parallel will break down. In the process this premise will sound deeper and more complex than it actually is as an artifact of systematically explaining it. In actuality only a handful of points from the source or premise may be used, but what is relevant has to be weighed and sorted and ruled out.

Hierarchical Likelihood

Each section of the research page constitutes a stand-alone theory or surrounding context for interpreting Shadow Valley and its story. The overall likelihood of the major planks of mythology, Lovecraft, and major aspects being "backwards" are buttressed by the cases for a few other possibly related areas with the same factors. The most likely bases within those categories have their own sections. There are then miscellaneous "Others" sub-sections for signals that could exist but are closer to the noise level. This is there because sometimes a thing that sounds weak or only a "one-off" is right, and for giving a baseline of parallels in the same family orbit. Those things which are more likely to be right need to have stronger cases than the Others. This is a way of weighing confirmation bias against coincidences.

Shadow World

The Shadow Valley story was originally written with I.C.E. Age terminology, which has been altered in the modern version "Tale of Silver Valley" which is still an official document. For the most part the Shadow World historical context does not seem important to the Shadow Valley story. It is possible it may have mattered in some way that cannot be guessed for the in-game events that are now poorly recorded.

Discrepancies

There are only minor discrepancies between the original copy and the current one outside of changes to copyrighted terminology. These are mostly differences of punctuation or spelling corrections. This is using the copy on Solatarius' Tower because it has the highest percentage in common with the Play.net version, and outside of the title is almost identical to the Geijon copy. There is a Coven copy that may have transcription differences, including corrections of spelling and punctuation, so that one was not used. The original title is unclear, and generally gets truncated. Options include "The Story of Jaron Galarn", "Silver Valley", and "Shadow Valley". It is simply "Silver Valley" on the Play.net website, having only been turned into "Tale of Silver Valley" on the Wiki. It was most likely "Silver Valley" originally.

(1) Byline

One of the largest discrepancies is the byline on the story. The modern form reads "From the journals of Selias Jodame" while the original reads "From the journals of Selias Jodame, Sage circle IIVI". This is an odd situation because "Sage" was the De-ICE'd term for "Loremaster", as in the Loremasters of Karilon, but this version should pre-date that convention. The word "Sage" was later used in 2007 to refer to members of the Order of Lorekeepers in a retcon of the Uthex Kathiasas story. There is no reference to Selias Jodame being a Loremaster advisor to the Library of Nomikos which is also not a thing.

The story later refers to Selias Jodame being tasked by his "masters" to survey the remains of Silver Valley. This does suggest he was a young Loremaster. World travel was very difficult and few organizations did it. However, in Ditmar's Tale there is a premise of the Library of Nomikos sending its Scribes out in this way, so it is not a decisive factor. The Scribes also used Navigators, the Loremasters do not.

Original:
From the journals of Selias Jodame, Sage circa IIVI:

Current:
From the journals of Selias Jodame
Master of Lore
Advisor to the Council of Biblia

The story refers instead to him having completed his studies on another continent. The title "Master of Lore" first appeared in the context of Linsandrych Illistim in the History of Elanthia document. The earliest date of the official De-ICE'd copy of the Silver Valley story is unclear. The Wayback Machine has one dated around November 2001, but it is unable to scrape the GemStone III website further because it was at one point behind a paywall. The Wayback Machine would not be able to resolve this unless maybe this indicated it was first posted on the Web. The relevant copy would have been on an AOL, Prodigy, or GEnie file library if there was an early official De-ICE'd version of it. However, the 2001 capture by itself is old enough to pre-date all of the later Illistim documentation, which elaborated this concept.

We cannot assume Selias Jodame was supposed to be a Loremaster or an advisor to the Library of Nomikos from this text, but the possibility cannot be dismissed out of hand if this language was actually a very early modification. "Sage" is sometimes used in the Shadow World history, however, to refer to members of the Loremasters such as the "Sage Andraax" or earlier their "saged mortal" members.

Regardless, the Library of Biblia was a (mostly) orphaned term until around 2018 with the Rings of Lumnis event, and had almost no definition. Whether or not Selias Jodame is supposed to have become a Loremaster, the other oddity is the date "circa IIVI". The only ways to parse this as a Roman numeral would be "II VI" or "I IV I" or "II V I", improperly meaning "2 6" or "1 4 1" or "2 5 1". The most likely meaning of this is "Second Era circa 6,000", up until the beginning of the Wars of Dominion in 6,450 Second Era. There is a hint that it should be that old further down, and the room painting in Shadow Valley refers to "hundreds of years". The word "circa" means an approximate date when the exact date is not known. Another more outlandish way of parsing it would be to treat II as 11, and then VI as either 6 or 5 and 1, where silver and gold are rows 5 and 6 for group 11 of the periodic table of elements. But this is almost certainly unintentional. Roman numerals are only an assumption, but another convention is unclear.

(2) Jontara

The modern form of the Silver Valley story uses the phrase "Northern Jontara" to describe its location, while the original said "Northern Jaiman" which was the name of the continent. Jontara was the initial replacement term for the continent, until Elanith supplanted it, which was originally the replacement for "Quellbourne" which was only the northwest of Jaiman. Jontara was an orphaned term until 2020 when it was treated as the greater continent, akin to Australia and Australasia, where Elanith was the major central land mass but also including surrounding islands such as Atan Irith and the Shattered Continent.

Original:
"The equine species were known throughout Northern Jaiman for their beautiful full manes and silver-tipped hooves. Never knowing the touch of man or elf, they roamed the valley freely, only occasionally to be observed by the curious from the cliffs high above. "

Modern:
"The equine species were known throughout Northern Jontara for their beautiful full manes and silver-tipped hooves. Never knowing the touch of man or elf, they roamed the valley freely, only occasionally to be observed by the curious from the cliffs high above."

This differs only in the words "Jaiman" and "Jontara". In the original context this is unusual because this region is known as Quellbourne, and yet Selias Jodame refers to it instead as "Northern Jaiman". This suggests it is within the past two hundred years of the Third Era, after the fall of Quellburn, or that it is before the founding of Quellburn but still fairly late in the Second Era. The latter sounds more convincing, as the term "Quellbourne" would still be known especially by a scholar, Kelfour's Landing was only 25 years old and surrounded by wilderness, and the "hundreds of years" of stagnant air in the mine shaft. The other concern of the recent date, aside from the time pinch, is that the other settlements in this region are ruins. The Kral raided them following the fall of Quellburn. This is why Kelfour's is a frontier.

Given the continent map of Jaiman it is necessary for "Northern Jaiman" to truly mean northwest Jaiman. In the northeast Ja'miil Targ is a volcanic wasteland. Silver Valley therefore must be located in the Seolfar Strake, now called the Lysierian Hills, north of the High Plateau. Seolfar Strake means Journey to Strike Silver in the local trader's language of Seoltang. There is a silver mine there on the Quellbourne maps, known as Kren Talog's silver mine, which in the I.C.E. Age was taken to be the mine by manticores. This is the context of the miners looking to prospect for silver in the cliffs of Silver Valley.

(3) Race

The original version of the story specified that Jaron Galarn was a "young common man", which now reads as only "young man". Common man was a collective racial category for ordinary life-span mannish races and were replaced in the De-ICE by ordinary humans. In the mine shaft it is clear that the skeleton fused into the wall was elven, though it is unclear if this originally said something more specific. What little is paraphrased of Muylari suggests his master was Dark Elven, which back then would have been "Dyari", unless his visit as an NPC happened after the De-ICE conversion making the master Faendryl.

Original:
"Upon our visit, I had the pleasure of meeting an young common man named Jaron Galarn."

Modern:
"Upon our visit, I had the pleasure of meeting an young man named Jaron Galarn."

Selias Jodame was a "small child" when he met Jaron Galarn and returned as what is implied to be a young adult to hear the tale of what happened. This does not help narrow down his race as Shadow World elves (may?) age as humans up until around 20. It seems vaguely likely that Selias saying "man or elf" and noting Jaron was a "common man" may suggest he was himself some kind of elf or high man.

(4) Finnia

Selias Jodame was finishing his studies in the continent of Emer, which was then replaced by the term Finnia. Emer is the continent immediately south of Jaiman. While Finnia was the word used in the Silver Valley story, it was an orphaned term without meaning until around 2019, when it was announced at Simucon that Finnia would be a continent south of Elanith and have a floating city called Phyon. This is likely an homage to the floating city of Eidolon in Emer. Eidolon was never built in GemStone III, but it was the inspiration for airships. The Library of Nomikos is in southern Jaiman and not far from Emer.

Original:
"It was not until I had completed my studies in Emer that I had a chance to return to Silver Valley, and this time the journey was much less pleasant. I had been instructed by my masters to survey the remains of Silver Valley."

Modern:
"It was not until I had completed my studies in Finnia that I had a chance to return to Silver Valley, and this time the journey was much less pleasant. I had been instructed by my masters to survey the remains of Silver Valley."

(5) Navigators

The Navigators are mostly familiar to players from being the ones who mugged characters and took their teleportation gold rings back. This is why it is called getting "Navved". It is a term that should not have been used after the De-ICE, but appeared in the History of Kilron and the Thurfel quest. The concept was finally replaced with the Chronomages in 2006. The Silver Valley story included a specific Navigator guild transporting Selias Jodame out of Emer, so the modern version contains an orphaned term replacing it. The "Shifter's Guild" is a meaningless phrase that seems to have never been developed. It is odd that the phrase "elemental energy" is used in the original, as you would expect it to have said "flows of essence". But "elemental energy" is in every available unconverted copy of the Silver Valley story.

The Navigators are a cartel of guilds who are based on an island called Nexus. The Shadow World Master Atlas 1st Edition (1989), page 45, says they first formed in the early Third Era when the first of their teleportation Compasses were found. These are Lord of Essaence artifacts. This is contradicted in Shadow World Master Atlas Addendum (1990), page 12, and page 130 of Master Atlas 2nd Edition (1992). The Navigator guilds first formed between 3300 and 4000 Second Era. The guilds divide up the world into districts, and the Guide's first appeared on page 48 of the older The Iron Wind (1984) book.

Original:
"With the courtesy of the Guide's guild, I arrived in the village of Valaskar with little delay. Tearhaut, my guid for this trip, informed me of strange patterns in the elemental energy of this area and warned me that such unforeseen dangers might make the return trip a bit more expensive. I shrugged off his allusions to price negotiations and set to my task. The village had been deserted, not so much as a stray animal remained. With no guides apparent, I set out towards the cliffs of Silver Valley."

Modern:
"With the courtesy of the Shifter's Guild, I arrived in the village of Valaskar with little delay. Tearhaut, my guide for this trip, informed me of strange patterns within the mana of this area and warned me that such unforeseen dangers might make the return trip a bit more expensive. I shrugged off his allusions to price negotiations and set to my task. The village had been deserted, not so much as a stray animal remained. With no locals apparent, I set out towards the cliffs of Silver Valley."

This is the Guide's Guild of Vurn-Kye which is relatively condescending and aloof. Their Compass resembles a golden sextant with a telescopic viewer allowing the user to see the Essence flows. In the Iron Wind book their district includes the nearby Mur Fostisyr. Tearhaut is not a Shadow World defined Navigator. However, the warning of the return trip being more expensive is a Navigator trope, as they gave surcharges as hazard pay. The "Jaiman: Land of Twilight" (1989) source book has a continent map of the Navigator obelisks that were used for long distance jumps. There is one in the courtyard of the Library of Nomikos, for example, and there is one in the far north of the Seolfar Strake. There is one in the vicinity of where the Spider Temple would be, and another near Blototh which is now called Glatoph.

This is probably what the wooden obelisk in Danjirland was supposed to be, though Navigator obelisks were made of stone rather than wood. Shortly after the release of the Red Forest in 2016, Orrisian spoke of it as a Chronomage obelisk, referring to the archaic Navigator lore for how they worked. The obelisk was given the mechanical ability to teleport people who touch it to Talon Isle, which was itself probably inspired by the Pillar of the Gods from Shadow World. There is no Navigator obelisk around Shadow Valley or the Lysierian Hills in the actual game, nor is the one that should be by the Spider Temple.

(Note: The crystal dome in the Broken Lands interestingly uses the phrase "elemental energy" as well, and it is unclear if this is the original wording or was altered from "essence". Recall this pre-dates the Elemental and Spiritual spheres. Elemental energy in the I.C.E. context is suggestive of the Elemental Companion (1989) supplement book, which was the source of GemStone's "elemental" metals.)

(6) Location

The first highly detailed graphical map of the Darkstone Bay region was released in late 1998. The Secluded Valley is situated near where the Graveyard would naively seem to be compared to Wehnimer's Landing. This is dubious as "The Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion" (1990) and the terrain of The Graveyard strongly suggest the necropolis is on the southwestern edge of the High Plateau. Meanwhile, the story of Silver Valley is more consistent with the Seolfar Strake, which is north of the High Plateau. The High Plateau does not exist on this modern map at all, and Lysierian Hills is now pushed south of Glatoph. In the original Quellbourne map the Seolfar Strake is north of the High Plateau, and the part we can visit should be just north of the old Kren Talog silver mine, in the threk (thrak) and bear territory.

This muddle makes for a few possibilities in the Shadow World context. The first is that the Graveyard is really near Kelfour's Landing, not far from the Spider Temple, and so the Secluded Valley is near that Navigator obelisk. The second option is that the Graveyard is actually near Blototh, with the Secluded Valley is physically near the Graveyard and so near that Navigator obelisk. The third option is that the Secluded Valley was actually far from the Graveyard, up in the far northern Seolfar Strake, and that Velaskar was near that Navigator obelisk. Between these three options the third one is the most likely.

(Note: This is assuming the Navigator obelisk map in the Jaiman book is relevant, which is not actually obvious and automatically correct. The Guide's guild tie with Mur Fostisyr is also not in later books.)

Isles of Transfer

The story refers to "strange patterns" in the flows of essence, or "elemental energy", warned about as a hazard by the Navigator. This is a situation where Selias Jodame has traveled to Silver Valley, which is located in its original place by the now empty Valaskar. What happened that allowed a path to reach the "Secluded Valley" from under the Graveyard is not recorded. The room painting has the tunnel looking recently dug. The Graveyard is on the southwestern edge of the High Plateau, so it should be at least a hundred miles away from Silver Valley. There is some kind of planar instability or portal involved.

This may be involving a Shadow World concept known as the isles of transfer effect. There are islands on the ocean that the Navigators refuse to go near, because they are like huge unstable portals. They can exist in multiple places and times simultaneously. The relevance is that Shadow Valley coexists in parallel forms in two places with bleed through effects, though the premise could be Dreamlands.

"A phenomenon which defies even the Loremasters' explanation, there are islands which seem to exist on the very brink of another time or place. More than Portals, they may exist in several places at the same time (or, several times in the same place... or even several places in several times...). Islands can drift from one space/time to another, or be fixed with access to the same set of 'universes'. In any case, they are dangerous and for the most part unpredictable. The majority of them are fortunately isolated in the Malvin Tesea, and a Navigator will steer far clear of them."

- Shadow World Master Atlas, 1st Edition (1989); page 57

(Note: The Malvin Tesea is the "endless sea" along with Wall of Darkness separating the East and West hemispheres of Shadow World.)

Whether it is this or a parallel dimension entirely, Shadow Valley is somehow coexistent. It is not only dream-like and eerily unreal, it is duplicated in a parallel world. The sound of the horses travels between these worlds, where the portal of darkness in the crevice is presumably related to the wyrm, the great evil entity that opened a way to this world under the valley. The Shadow Valley side is a dark mirror of the Secluded Valley, where most of the details are backwards. Originally, there was a ladder in the Shadow Valley analog of Jaron Galarn's grave, which is apparently where the entity burst from the ground.

(1) Gravestone of Jaron Galarn

[Secluded Valley]
A rough granite gravestone stands against the west wall of the valley.  The torn and broken ground beneath the marker leads you to believe that whatever was buried here chose to leave.  Strangely, the thick mists circle the area, carefully avoiding the gravesite.  You also see a night hound and a night hound.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast

[Shadow Valley]
A thousand tiny particles of shattered wood cover a mottled clay ramp which descends into the ground before you.  Torn and broken earth indicates that the opening may have been caused by an explosive force.  Strangely, odd black mists twist and flow around the entryway, as if trying to conceal it.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast


Third Person: Yelling Jaron Galarn

(1) Exiting Secluded Valley Side
XXXXX opens his mouth as if to say something, but his movements slow and he becomes visibly transparent.  Then a gust of wind blows in, washing away the image of XXXXX as if he were never there!

(2) Entering Shadow Valley
You hear a strange whispering sound, and feel a rush of wind across your face.


(2) Sounds of Hooves

[Secluded Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  From somewhere in the distance, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest

[Shadow Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  Coming from all around you, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest


(3) Dead Trees and Mist

[Secluded Valley]
Dead trees reach out of the mist towards the sky, seeking to grasp some remnant of hope.  A few large black rocks break the surface of the chalky vapors, marking the surroundings.
Obvious paths: southeast, south, southwest, west

[Shadow Valley]
Dead trees reach out of the mist towards the sky, seeking to grasp some remnant of hope.  A few large white rocks break the surface of the charcoal vapors, marking the surroundings.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southeast, south, southwest, west


(4) Trail to Dark Pasture

[Secluded Valley]
Steep rocky walls rise high above, squelching any thoughts of climbing out.  A cold biting wind blows across your face, stinging your eyes and lips.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, west, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
Steep rocky walls rise high above, squelching any thoughts of climbing out.  A cold biting wind blows across your face, stinging your eyes and lips.  You also see some scattered rubble, some large cracks in the ground and an ancient dusty trail that winds up past the rubble and out of the valley.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, west, northwest


(5) Lack of Color

[Secluded Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the mist thins.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the black mist thins.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest


(6) Crevice Entry

[Secluded Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick white mist, lending the land an eerie glow.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick black mist, lending the land an eerie demeanor.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest


(7) Dark Crevice

[Dark Crevice]
You strain to keep clear of the rough outcroppings of rock in this dark space.  The floor continues its steep incline causing you to lean severely to remain upright.  In the dim light, you can just make out a trail of flowing mist moving slowly downward from a small opening above.
Obvious exits: down

[A Dark Crevice]
You are perched on the ledge of a dangerously steep crevice which juts out from the wall hanging over a dark abyss.  The odd mists within it glow with an ethereal light as they lash about in their chaotic dance.  From above, the sound of thundering hooves reverberate throughout the chasm, seemingly vanishing into the bottomless pit below.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious exits: up

Note that the submerged darkness from the Secluded Valley side happens at Jaron Galarn's tombstone, while the darkness from the Shadow Valley side is on the opposite end at the dark crevice abyss. The dark pasture with the horses is not visible from the Secluded Valley because of the steep rock walls, and the underground mines can only be reached through the grave on the Shadow Valley side of it. The whole Shadow Valley area is its own realm, and may not be part of our own plane of reality, or it may merely be in the far north but difficult to teleport. The Secluded Valley itself is seemingly not underground, but its original intended location relative to the Graveyard is unclear. For all we can tell it might not actually be possible to climb out of the valley, or walk to it without traveling under the Graveyard.

The town guard says, "I hear they discovered a new valley somewhere around the old graveyard. I don't see how you could miss something as big as a valley all these years, but then we don't get the sort of folk in this town that we used to either."

>ask guard about valley
The town guard whispers in a low tone, "I'd avoid it if I were you.  Infested with undead and strange magic!  Say the wrong thing out there and you could vanish from this very existence!  Of course, that's just a rumor, mind you."

A wailing and screaming can be heard, as if off in the distance.
Suddenly, a rift in the dimensional fabric appears and a moaning spirit struggles through!

In the time of Selias Jodame it would have still been present somewhere on the north side of Claedesbrim Bay. The north side of Darkstone Bay is ill-defined in the modern world setting, because the Lysierian Hills is pushed south with the High Plateau not existing on the maps. The northern peninsula is still represented on illustrated maps from 1996 and then 1998 onward, but nothing about that area is defined. In the archaic world setting this was the location of Feortoth, Galtoth, and Straketoth. These were replaced on lists (possibly not in the game itself) by the orphaned terms Startoph, Keltoph, and Straektoph.

" As I reached the top of the hill, remembering this as the place the young Jaron had led me to as a child, I looked down into the valley and found desolation. The trees were dead, the flowing grass along the hillsides gone, replaced by a strange dark mist. And the equines... I turned away from the sight. The valley had the unmistakable signs of undead. The thought of those beautiful equines turned to such a fate tore at my soul. I returned to the city, found Tearhaut, and said it was time to go. "So soon?" he replied with a raised eyebrow. "Yes, there is nothing left in the valley except shadows. Shadows of what once was..." "

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The interesting point about Selias Jodame's account is that he saw "dark mist" in the valley, which in the room painting is the Shadow Valley side rather than the Secluded Valley. The other option is that he is speaking of the plains and "Black Hills", which is described as largely grey mists on the Shadow side, which would mean on our side it would be grey sand and dust with black mists. But he says "the valley".

Regardless, the undead equines were present, as well. This suggests the "Shadow Valley" was still in our world in its original location after Muylari buried Jaron Galarn. This raises questions of when it shifted into another dimension, or if the horses and mines are on both sides. There is also the question, if it was unstable in an isles of transfer sense, if the Secluded Valley moved near the Graveyard or if the tunnel amounts to a subtle portal with the Secluded Valley being far away from it. This sort of thing would depend on what was actually said by Muylari and any other event related to the release of Shadow Valley. The isles of transfer phenomenon would allow an alternative option. The Shadow Valley would not be in a parallel dimension, but instead exists as mirrors in two geographical places, like the Red Forest.

Other

There are a few other points where the Shadow World or Rolemaster background materials may provide relevant context that is otherwise missing. The difficulty is that most of the Shadow World and I.C.E. books are not actually relevant in any way to GemStone III. Those that are used may not be leaning heavily into their surrounding context, meaning the "world logic" is at risk of being overanalyzed.

(1) Muylari

The mining supervisor Muylari is a name that is conspicuously influenced by Shadow World. The Iylari are the high born elves, which is an Iruaric word, meaning the beauties. Iylari and Muylari differ only by the first letters. In the GemStone III specific glossary the word Iylari (or Ilyari) is a pluralization of "Ilar". This glossary also speaks of word-parts being morphed together. This raises the question of how Muylari is supposed to be interpreted. It might be "mur" and "iylari", meaning essentially the beautiful women, or even the beautiful elven women. This may refer to his wife who, according to paraphrases, is dead.

Another possibility is the combination of "mun" and "iylari", meaning the beautiful hills. This would refer to Silver Valley, and perhaps play off the implicit fey mythology. The third possibility is it is meant to be Erlini, the common elven tongue, where "mur" instead means "watch" or "watcher." He would then be the watcher of all, supposedly cursed with immortality, and this may play off implicit watcher demons.

(2) Terrorite

There used to be a log of the release event for the dark pasture, where the demon manifested as a wyrm from shadows in the sky. The impression when reading it was that it resembled a Terrorite demon, as (if remembered correctly) it had fangs, and may have had an anthropomorphic face but possibly not the whole upper-body. The Terrorite is a very powerful demon with a winged serpent body that is often the lieutenant of demon lords. It is known for ripping its way into other planes of existence unexpectedly. It inflicts its victims with a sleep serum, and usually attacks from above where it cannot be reached.

Terrorites first appear in Creatures & Treasure II (1989), page 29, in the section immediately before the Demon Lords. But the illustration of their unexpectedly forcing their way into other realities first appears on page 155 of Creatures & Monsters (1995). The Terrorite summons other demons as servants as well as beasts like demon dogs and traags. Night hounds are zephyrs, they only resemble demon dogs.

"Description: Terrorite Demons have long snake bodies
topped with a human upper torso. They have a long white
head of hair and large black bat wings. Their scales are a
shimmering blue-black color and their bright red mouths
contain two slender fangs. They hiss in combat as vampires
are apt to do. Their bodies and wingspan are both 10'-15'
long.

Lifestyle: These powerful Demons are lieutenants to the
Demon Lords themselves. Very often they command powerful 
Demon bodyguards such as Sword Demons, Huntarrs,
Rhodintor, and/or beasts such as Demon Dogs, Traags,
various Fell Beasts, and so on. They are Type VI Demons."

- Creatures & Monsters (1995), page 154

(Note: This is the same wording as Creatures & Treasures II, but it is not split into "Description" and "Lifestyle" categories. In the older book the text is side-by-side with that of the Demon Lord Maleskari.)

Notably, Terrorites are known for summoning Huntarr demons, which themselves ride demon horses. These "demon horses" are also called "nightmares", which are possessed by evil spirits. which seek revenge on those who harmed the horse or its possessor. The Huntarr is a "lesser demon" (a miscellaneous grouping up to level 25) first appearing on pages 25-26 of Creatures & Treasures II (1989), while the nightmare first appears on page 39 of Creatures & Treasures I (1985). The Demon Lord on the same page as the Terrorite is Maleskari, which resembles Velaskar, later the demon of Bonespear Tower.

"Description: The Demon Horse, or “Nightmare,” is a
nocturnal steed. Possessed by an evil spirit, it is jet black
and appears as a huge, swift, riderless horse. It stands 8 1/
2 to 11 feet tall, and a hellish glow emits from its mouth and
nostrils. Its teeth are pointed and canine in appearance.

Lifestyle: Typically, a Demon Horse contains the soul of
a jaded or vengeful spirit, and may seek to kill a specific
individual or group which directly or indirectly (e.g.,
through their ancestors) harmed either the horse or its
Demon-possessor at an earlier time. These Type III Demons 
are sometimes used as mounts by more powerful
Demons (Type IV+, particularly Celebdel and Demon
Scourges, although occasionally they also will suffer a
Huntaar to ride them as well), or, more rarely those that
serve the Demon Lords directly, such as a powerful Skeleton
Lord or Lich, and infamous evil priest, etc. They
prefer to remain riderless, however."

- Creatures & Monsters (1995), page 146

(Note: The italicized parts first appear in Creatures & Monsters. The rest is the same wording as Creatures & Treasures I.)


A night mare comes galloping in, her eyes ablaze!
>
A night mare flares her nostrils.

>describe mare
Eyes glowing green with the hatred of the dead, the night mare's stare bores right through you. A magnificently beautiful equine, the night mare seems to be bathed in a deep green glow that tosses roiling shadows across her coat. Upon closer inspection, shadows can be seen that roil and crawl across its coat much like the nightmares that keep many awake at night. It is said that gazing upon a nightmare for too long will induce waking nightmares that are difficult to shake off.

Note that the appearance of the wyrm was an event that happened after the De-ICE, but it is highly likely the concept was developed prior to it. It is unusual to have a premise of an entity opening a portal to this world from outside it. The Eyes of Utha artifacts in the Shadow World setting should prevent it. When demons appear accidentally without a summons it is through portals formed by flow storms, through existing Major Portals, or some aberration such as the passing of the comet Sa'kain or a disruptive celestial alignment. It is possible something like this could have been at play in Shadow Valley, but is either very implicitly about the moons or was context given in something not recorded now. There are fair odds of the Terrorite being coincidental, since there are independent motivations for a serpent demon.

(3) Night Hounds and Pookas

The night hounds are a special case of the zephyr hounds, which first appear on page 29 of Creatures & Treasures I (1985). The other example of them extant in the game are the ice hounds. These hounds all have a kind of elemental attunement, include storm hounds and vapor hounds, and the night hound is a creature of darkness. This is the origin of their cloud breath and their sleep immunity.

"Night Hound: wmsk(-EKX@#,RUW-6; 3-5 young; uses gas breath (GBr) 4th level poison (Var. C) which induces comas: mild 1-10 rounds, moderate 1-10 minutes, serious 1-10 hours, extreme 1-10 days; breath is standard con: 50' length and 30' base; each breath will coalesce into a 10'R sphere after the first round and drift with the wind, lasting 2-20 rounds before dispersing; it is immune to its own breath and all sleep spells.

Night Hounds shun the sun, wandering by sunlight when their coal black coats conceal their presence."

- Creatures & Treasures I (1985), page 29


"Description: Coal black coats conceal the Night Hounds
as they prowl the darkness. Foul, heavy, black steam pours
from their slavering mouths, defiling both the air and the
ground.

Lifestyle: Night Hounds shun the sun, only wandering by
starlight. They have excellent night vision (Nightvision
500' and Darkvision 500'). These hounds are literally the
servants of darkness, and are totally evil."

- Creatures & Monsters (1995); page 88

The following are clips of what the night hounds look like and what their clouds do in GemStone itself. They do not have a creature description, it is given by their spawn messaging.

A night hound belches a dark cloud at you!
You are unaffected.

You notice that the night hound's breath hangs in the air.

You notice the night hound breath congeal into a billowing cloud of shadows.

The shadowy cloud seeps languidly in your direction.
  CS: +72 - TD: +231 + CvA: -7 + d100: +71 == -95
  Warded off!
You breathe in some of the gas...

As your lungs fill with the dark cloudy substance, instantly your nervous system feels as though it was made of oil-soaked rags and touched with a match!

The sensation leaves you quickly, but leaves an aftertaste of pain throughout your nervous system.
  ... 10 points of damage!


The shadows before you coalesce and take shape in the form of a night hound, its golden eyes gleaming within its shadowy head!

A night hound pads in, a mist of shadows puffing from its nostrils.

The night hound pads southeast, leaving a trail of dark and shadowy whirlwinds behind it.

>desc hound
You have never seen anything quite like a night hound, so you are not really sure what to make of it or how dangerous it might be.

(Note: The black mist coming from them is consistent with Creatures & Monsters, but is not defined yet in Creatures & Treasures I.)

The Rolemaster pooka is a shapeshifter but is interesting precisely because its description does not include the horse form. It is described as taking the form of "small mammals", and occasionally swelling up a few times in size for a few minutes. This is important because it suggests the horse in chains imagery came from folklore rather than indirectly through a creature bestiary. The horse form might be mentioned elsewhere in a Dungeons & Dragons bestiary, such as creature catalog "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk" (1989) pages 33-36 (which oddly enough refers to a place called the Broken Lands as well as on page 50 a place called the Dreamlands), where the pookas are associated with nightmares but not the chains. The pookas appearing as horses wearing and dragging chains is found in various folklore accounts.

"Description: Animal spirits who make mischief in the
domestic realm, Pookas wear the shapes of rabbits, weasels, 
ferrets and other small creatures. These beings do not
seem to have any “true” form when not borrowing the
shape of another creature, but are immaterial after the
fashion of other spirits.

Lifestyle: A spirit of this type may occasionally befriend
a human; especially shy, quiet, retiring ones (very probable
for humans named Elwood P. Dodd). A Pooka can not be
controlled by such a “friend” and will often play mischievous 
tricks on those around the “friend”; it will however
protect its “friend” in its own way (often a ‘big’ surprise for
bullies).
Pooka can take on the form of any small mammal, they
can enlarge to triple normal size for 5 minutes of every
hour, and they can become invisible at will. The Pookas use
these abilities as they play through the material realm,
enjoying immensely the occasional joke it plays on unsuspecting humans."

- Creatures & Monsters (1995); page 221

(Note: This text appears without the category breaks in Creatures & Treasures I on page 47 under Shapechangers.)


GemStone Description:

"The most stunning thing about the appearance of a ghostly pooka is the odd illusion surrounding this pitiful equine which seems to absorb all the color from everything around it. The ghostly horse appears to be weighed down by some heavy chains which cover its entire body. The sight of its obvious torment tears at the souls of all who lay eyes upon it."

A sudden rattling of chains draws your attention to a ghostly pooka which just appeared out of thin air!

A ghostly pooka rattles and shakes her chains...

The color drain of the pookas is not a feature of Rolemaster or folklore, and more likely can be explained in Lovecraft terms. Their sad depression from enslavement is also not a feature of the mythology. This could be inspired from the enslavement of the quadrapeds in his "The Mound", but that could easily be coincidental. Within the GemStone context the horses were enslaved in chains by the miners.

(4) Lorgalis

What little is still paraphrased of Muylari says he and his new wife were beset by giants, and they were saved by a Dark Elven rider. Muylari owed his life to this master, and turned himself over after his wife died. Then Muylari returned to the region many years later as a survivor. He was world weary and supposedly set off to finally find his death. This summary has some unknown degree of player embellishment in it. If this story happened before the De-ICE it would have been a Dyari rider. It is impossible to say now who this might have been, as there were numerous cases of Dyari NPCs in 1995. Among these are a dyari assassin under the Graveyard, an assassinated dyari woman in the Seolfar Strake, and a "loathly lady" trope of a beautiful dyari woman in Helga's tavern who initially appeared as a hideous hag.

If it is not related to pre-existing story elements or something purely de novo, the world context for this region is that Lorgalis controls the land of Xa'ar immediately to the west. He did so in the Second Era prior to the Wars of Dominion, and does so again now in the Third Era. Lorgalis is half Dyari and half Lord of Essaence. It is thus at least conceivable he could be the "master" in question. However, this is a very thin premise, with little to support it. Lorgalis should matter to the historical context of the Graveyard, Broken Lands, and possibly Shadow Valley, but it is unclear if this context does matter.

(5) Quellbourne

The mists of Silver Valley in themselves are merely consistent with the geography of the Claedesbrim Bay region in the Shadow World setting. There are other examples of I.C.E. Age room descriptions that speak of the landscape being foggy as well as cold, and there is a room in the original part of the Seolfar Strake (Modern: Lysierian Hills) that calls it the "Land of the Silver Mist". This is the title for the realm of Quellbourne, including the source book cover, whose south side is perpetually shrouded in fog and whose north is misty. This is due to the cold latitude mixed with seasonal warm water Bay currents.

There is an abandoned silver mine left from the fall of Quellburn that is labeled Kren Talog's Silver Mine in the source book. Kren Talog is a local barfly in the Raging Threk Inn who sells adventurers a map to it. This was taken to be the mine by manticores in the early I.C.E. Age, and there was later in 1994 an abandoned mine next to the ruined village by Lake Marliese. This village was part of the Marliese storyline leading up to the release of Iloura's Shrine and is probably unrelated. Silver does exist in the Kaldsfang Mountains, but at the treeline elevation. Silver is seemingly mostly a Seolfar Strake association.

(6) Relative Timing

The issue of when the journal of Selias Jodame wrote his journal is relevant to dating it compared the Graveyard and the Broken Lands. It would seem to be before the Wars of Dominion, making it pre-date the conquest by Kestrel Etrevion. The Graveyard would have been built after Shadow Valley formed, which raises the question of why they are physically linked. Whatever story was accompanied with the tunnel between them is not recorded. The Monastery with the monastic liches depicts wild horses, but this detail was probably made in 1992, which is a few years earlier than the Silver Valley story.

It would be possible for Bandur Etrevion to have been familiar with the journal of Selias Jodame, whether through the Loremasters or the Library of Nomikos depending on his affiliation, and he would have been familiar with the undead valley itself. On the other hand, if it all happened later after the founding (or fall) of Quellburn, the monastery pre-dates it and its connection to the necropolis is weird.

Major Sub-Texts

The concept of "major sub-texts" is a theory that another story or myth was used as a hidden layer of meaning. It is impossible to prove without a statement of authorial intent. The idea is that if there is such an outside story, identifying it will allow some number of specific details to be explained. Coincidences hopefully only match poorly, and correct ones hopefully have enough parallels to be convincing. Only parts of a premise will actually be present. The difference between an "inspiration" or pastiche and an "allusion" or allegory is if the source is left in a recognizable form and adds a dimension of meaning.

Mythology

The theory of this research page is that the Shadow Valley story is a GemStone III specific variation of the Chaoskampf mythology. This is a struggle between a storm god and a sea god. In the Indo-European traditions it is a heroic god of thunder who slays a world serpent associated with the seas, often with a lightning themed weapon such as the hammer of Thor or the mace of Indra. There are similar myths in Middle Eastern religions, including the Hebrew Bible with Yahweh striking down Leviathan, and more broadly includes Underworld stories such as the Osiris myth or the battle between Ra and Apophis.

The basic premise is that the demon of Shadow Valley was a "wyrm", which is a sea serpent, and that the valley is dead with drought with its rivers blocked with sentient black ichor. The shouting that cracked the earth and the return of the shadow steeds to battle the wyrm were associated with lightning and thunder. The specific theory is the salvation myth in the Rigveda and the "water horses" of Celtic myth.

Vedic

The oldest written version of this myth is the slaying of the world dragon Vrtra (or Vritra) by the storm god Indra. The Vedas are the early precursor of Hinduism from the Indus Valley Civilization in what is now northwest India and Pakistan. Indra is the Lord of Steeds and Thunder in Vedic mythology. Vrtra is the son of the water goddess Danu, and a serpent demon of drought, responsible for blocking up the rivers and swallowing all the water. Vrtra is the brother of the demon Vala, who swallows up Ushas who is the Dawn. Vala is hoarding her sacred cows as well, which are watched by fog demons called Panis.

Vrtra and Vala are cognates of the same myth, descending etymologically from "Vr", which like Varuna signified encompassing or enclosing. Vrtra swallows the water and Vala swallows the light. When Indra slays the stone serpent Vrtra with his lightning mace, the waters burst forth from its body and the rivers flow again. When Indra cracks open the stone cave Vala, by shouting prayers, he lets out the Dawn.

"A group of men had arrived at the settlement of Velaskar claiming to be sightseers. As most travelers in the village were in fact sightseers there was little to be suspicious of but this was a large group of men, seven and twenty and more seemed to join them each day. ... With the courtesy of the Guide's guild, I arrived in the village of Valaskar with little delay. Tearhaut, my guid for this trip, informed me of strange patterns in the elemental energy of this area and warned me that such unforeseen dangers might make the return trip a bit more expensive."

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame


(Note: This is in copies that are not De-ICE'd. However, "elemental energy" seemingly should say "flows of essence" instead, so it might be tampered with regardless. In the current modern form it says "Shifter's Guild" and "mana" instead of "elemental energy." The Guide's guild is one of the Navigator guilds. This pre-dates the Chronomages.)

The hint in the "Tale of Silver Valley" story that tips off the relevance of Vala and Vrtra is the name of the village being spelled two different ways. In one spot it is Velaskar, and in the other spot it is Valaskar. It has the seeming appearance of being Scandinavian. Skær is Old Norse for "horse" and "bright/radiant", while skar essentially means "to cut." Vela could be taken to mean "veil" in Latin, which has the same ultimate etymological root as Vala. Vala is also an Anglicization of the Viking völva seers, which means wand-bearer while "gandr" means both wand and monster. Research:The Graveyard argues Norse mythology is important to the burial mound. Whether rebracketing the word into parts in this way is correct, "Vala" by itself convincingly signifies the Vedic myth in the context of the Shadow Valley story.

The following is one of many hymns in the Rigveda giving an account of Indra slaying Vrtra and freeing the rivers. In this one it includes the detail that the world dragon Vrtra is perpetually sleeping, and was awakened to be slain by Indra with his thunder. "Ahi" in this hymn is referring to Vrtra. Indra is generally associated with the Sun, and Vrtra with new moon, meaning darkness in the destruction of the Moon.

1. THEE, verily, O Thunder-wielding Indra, all the Gods here, the Helpers swift to listen,
And both the worlds elected, thee the Mighty, High, waxen strong, alone to slaughter Vrtra.
2 The Gods, as worn witheld, relaxed their efforts: thou, Indra, born of truth, wast Sovran Ruler.
Thou slewest Ahi who besieged the waters, and duggest out their all-supporting channels.
3 The insatiate one, extended, hard to waken, who slumbered in perpetual sleep, O Indra,-
The Dragon stretched against the seven prone rivers, where no joint was, thou rentest with thy
thunder.
4 Indra with might shook earth and her foundation as the wind stirs the water with its fury.
Striving, with strength he burst the firm asunder, and tore away the summits of the mountains.
5 They ran to thee as mothers to their offspring: the clouds, like chariots, hastened forth together.
Thou didst refresh the streams and force the billows: thou, Indra, settest free obstructed rivers.
6 Thou for the sake of Vayya and Turviti didst stay the great stream, flowing, allsustaining:
Yea, at their prayer didst check the rushing river and make the floods easy to cross, O Indra.
7 He let the young Maids skilled in Law, unwedded, like fountains, bubbling, flow forth streaming
onward.
He inundated thirsty plains and deserts, and milked the dry Cows of the mighty master.
8 Through many a morn and many a lovely autumn, having slain Vrtra, lie set free the rivers.
Indra hath set at liberty to wander on earth the streams encompassed pressed together.
9 Lord of Bay Steeds, thou broughtest from the ant-hill the unwedded damsel's son whom ants were
eating.
The blind saw clearly, as he grasped the serpent, rose, brake the jar: hisjoints again united.
10 To the wise man, O Sage and Sovran Ruler, the man who knoweth all thine ancient exploits.
Hath told these deeds of might as thou hast wrought them, great acts, spontaneous, and to man's
advantage.
11 Now, Indra! lauded, glorified with praises, let powers swell high, like rivers, for the singer.
For thee a new hymn, Lord of Bays! is fashioned. May we, car-borne, through song be victors ever.

- HYMN XIX. Indra, Rigveda; Griffiths translation

This is another example which speaks of the artisan god Tvastar making his thunder weapon, as well as the mother of Vrtra and the Dawn. It is worth noting that in the Vvrael quest, Risper was supposed to smite the Vvrael with a Mace of Eonak, which was forged by Eonak himself for that end. Whether the word Vvrael was playing off Vritra in a comparative mythological sense can only be speculated.

1 I WILL declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder.
He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents.
2 He slew the Dragon lying on the mountain: his heavenly bolt of thunder Tvastar fashioned.
Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending the waters glided downward to the ocean.
3 Impetuous as a bull, he chose the Soma and in three sacred beakers drank the juices.
Maghavan grasped the thunder for his weapon, and smote to death this firstborn of the dragons.
4 When, Indra, thou hadst slain the dragon's firstborn, and overcome the charms of the enchanters,
Then, giving life to Sun and Dawn and Heaven, thou foundest not one foe to stand against thee.
5 Indra with his own great and deadly thunder smote into pieces Vrtra, worst of Vrtras.
As trunks of trees, what time the axe hath felled them, low on the earth so lies the prostrate Dragon.
6 He, like a mad weak warrior, challenged Indra, the great impetuous many-slaying Hero.
He. brooking not the clashing of the weapons, crushed-Indra's foe-the shattered forts in falling.
7 Footless and handless still he challenged Indra, who smote him with his bolt between the
shoulders.
Emasculate yet claiming manly vigour, thus Vrtra lay with scattered limbs dissevered.
8 There as he lies like a bank-bursting river, the waters taking courage flow above him.
The Dragon lies beneath the feet of torrents which Vrtra with his greatness had encompassed.
9 Then humbled was the strength of Vrtra's mother: Indra hath cast his deadly bolt against her.
The mother was above, the son was under and like a cow beside her calf lay Danu.
10 Rolled in the midst of never-ceasing currents flowing without a rest for ever onward.
The waters bear off Vrtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.
11 Guarded by Ahi stood the thralls of Dasas, the waters stayed like kine held by the robber.
But he, when he had smitten Vrtra, opened the cave wherein the floods had been imprisoned.
12 A horse's tail wast thou when he, O Indra, smote on thy bolt; thou, God without a second,
Thou hast won back the kine, hast won the Soma; thou hast let loose to flow the Seven Rivers.
13 Nothing availed him lightning, nothing thunder, hailstorm or mist which had spread around him:
When Indra and the Dragon strove in battle, Maghavan gained the victory for ever.
14 Whom sawest thou to avenge the Dragon, Indra, that fear possessed thy heart when thou hadst
slain him;
That, like a hawk affrighted through the regions, thou crossedst nine-and-ninety flowing rivers?
15 Indra is King of all that moves and moves not, of creatures tame and horned, the Thunder-wielder.
Over all living men he rules as Sovran, containing all as spokes within the felly.

-  HYMN XXXII Indra, Rigveda; Griffiths translation

In the cognate story of Indra slaying the stone cave Vala to release the Dawn, instead of using his thunder weapon, he shouts prayers that are likened to thunder. In this guise he is sometimes represented mystically as the Vedic sage Brhaspati, who was born from the first great light that drove away the darkness. This is remarkable as the original copy of the "Tale of Silver Valley" was authored by "Sage Selias Jodame". The Greek word "σέλᾰς" (sélas) means light or shining, related to the word for moon. In the story Jaron Galarn's shouting is accompanied by thunder and the ground cracking. (Though in contrast the word σελίς (selis) can mean a writing page or the column of text in a papyrus roll. This might be interpreted as instead encoding Sage Selias Jodame was a scholar who wrote the story.)

Jaron is a Hebrew name that means "shouting or singing praises." Jodame in this context is likely Hebrew as well. Joda is a variant of the root "ydh", similar to names like Judah and Hoda, which means "he who is praised" (or throwing) depending on its conjugation. Other names like Jehoram contract to Joram, so it may be something on these lines. "Jodame" as a whole does not seem to be a word. The last name "Galarn" itself does not have obvious meaning. Galar in Irish and Scottish Gaelic means sickness, affliction, or misery. This is at least consistent with the pookas, blight, and poisonous mist.

" Then suddenly an excited voice exclaimed, "Muylari, there's cracks opening up in the grave! I don't think we can dig any deeper." "Shut up fool! I told you never to use my name." A short silence. Then... "It is deep enough. Toss the box in and fill up the hole." The darkness once again lurched around Jaron as someone hefted the box and began carrying it away. Before he could begin screaming, the sad voice spoke one last time, "Good-bye Jaron Galarn. Accept your fate."

"No!" Jaron screamed. "I do not accept this fate damn you! You cannot leave me here to die and simply forget me! Do you hear me Muylari?! I will return to free my horses if I have to rise from the grave I swear! Do you understand Muylari?! I curse this land and all who would do harm here! I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!!!" A roll of thunder breached the silence and then Jaron was suddenly falling as his box was dropped into the grave. The hard impact knocked him out, leaving his last words echoing in his mind as the sounds of earth raining upon the top of the coffin filled his ears. The last thing he felt before dizziness and suffocation took over was a sudden shift and a sinking feeling as if falling a great distance into some subterranean chasm. Then everything, even his thoughts, stopped in blackness. "

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The following is one example of a hymn in the Rigveda where Vala is split open by thunderous shouting of praises. The Panis fog demons who watch the stolen cows are mentioned in other hymns, such as Hymn XXXIII Indra, which says: "GIVE us the rapture that is mightiest, Indra, prompt to bestow and swift to aid, O Hero, That wins with brave steeds where brave steeds encounter, and quells the Vrtras and the foes in battle. For with loud voice the tribes invoke thee, Indra, to aid them in the battlefield of heroes. Thou, with the singers, hast pierced through the Panis: the charger whom thou aidest wins the booty."

1. Him who with might hath propped earth's ends, who sitteth in threefold seat, Brhaspati, with
thunder,
Him of the pleasant tongue have ancient sages, deep-thinking, holy singers, set before them.
2 Wild in their course, in well-marked wise rejoicing were they, Brhaspati, who pressed around us.
Preserve Brhaspati, the stall uninjured, this company's raining, ever-moving birthplace.
3 Brhaspati, from thy remotest distance have they sat down who love the law eternal.
For thee were dug wells springing from the mountain, which murmuring round about pour streams of
sweetness.
4 Brhaspati, when first he had his being from mighty splendour in supremest heaven,
Strong, with his sevenfold mouth, with noise of thunder, with his seven rays, blew and dispersed the
darkness.
5 With the loud-shouting band who sang his praises, with thunder, he destroyed obstructive Vala.
Brhaspati thundering drave forth the cattle, the lowing cows who make oblations ready.
6 Serve we with sacrifices, gifts, and homage even thus the Steer of all the Gods, the Father.
Brhaspati, may we be lords of riches, with noble progeny and store of heroes.
7 Surely that King by power and might heroic hath made him lord of all his foes' posses-ions,
Who cherishes Brhaspati well-tended, adorns and worships him as foremost sharer.
8 In his own house he dwells in peace and comfort: to him for ever holy food flows richly.
To him the people with free will pay homage-the King with whom the Brahman hatb precedence.
9 He, unopposed, is master of the riches.of his own subjects and of hostile people.
The Gods uphold that King with their protection who helps the Brahman when he seeks his favour.
10 Indra, Brhaspati, rainers of treasure, rejoicing at this sacrifice drink the Soma.
Let the abundant drops sink deep within you: vouchsafe us riches with full store of heroes.
11 Brhaspati and Indra, make us prosper may this be your benevolence to usward.
Assist our holy thoughts, wake up our spirit: weaken the hatred of our foe and rivals.

- HYMN L. Brhaspati., Rigveda; Griffiths translation

This is then more explicitly called shouting in Hymn LXII. Brhaspati or Brahmanaspati is the lord of prayer, and splits Vala with thunderous shouts of prayer.

"1. LIKE Angiras a gladdening laud we ponder to him who loveth song, exceeding mighty.
Let us sing glory to the far-famed Hero who must be praised with fair hymns by the singer.
2 Unto the great bring ye great adoration, a chant with praise to him exceeding mighty,
Through whom our sires, Angirases, singing praises and knowing well the places, found the cattle.
3 When Indra and the Angirases desired it, Sarama found provision for her offipring.
Brhaspati cleft the mountain, found the cattle: the heroes shouted with the kine in triumph.
4 Mid shout, loud shout, and roar, with the Navagvas, seven singers, hast thou, heavenly, rent the
mountain;
Thou hast, with speeders, with Dasagvas, Indra, Sakra, with thunder rent obstructive Vala.
5 Praised by Angirases, thou, foe-destroyer, hast, with the Dawn, Sun, rays, dispellcd the darkness.
Thou Indra, hast spread out the earths high ridges, and firmly fixed the region under heaven"

- Hymn LXII Indra, Rigveda; Griffiths translation

The context that ties this back together with Shadow Valley is that the "great evil entity" that was driven into the darkness below ground, where it sleeps, was called a "wyrm" when it "awakened" and a portal opened in the sky with a stampede of shadow steeds and mares trampling it with lightning and thunder. Wyrms are water dragons from Norse mythology. The analog of Vrtra is Jormungandr, and Indra is Thor. The log of this event used to exist but is currently missing. The following is a summary of what happened. Shadow Valley is drought stricken with evil fog, rivers of sentient black ichor, and darkness.

" "My master says, `No icons can save you from the destroyer. Only the protectors of Velaskar can save you now. It forms .... it awakens,’" the wolf growled. The awakening was that of a giant winged wyrm that formed in the sky above the band of adventurers. It was Lady Cheat and Lord Jorak who realized that the wolf wanted them to cast uncurse on three ghostly pookas. Free of their chains, the pookas transformed into a giant shadow steed. The steed launched itself into the sky, and the old ladder that once led to the safety of the ledge shattered into a thousand tiny particles. Seconds later, a vortex opened in the sky, pouring out thousands of shadow steeds and mares in a majestic ethereal display of lightning and thunder. The stampede trampled and destroyed the wyrm in a fiery battle. "

- "Shadow Valley", Lord Eythan Gwenywen; Elanthian Times Volume I Issue I, Ancient Annals

Interestingly, the story is exactly backwards of the Vala and Vrtra myth on certain points, similar to the mythology in The Graveyard. Instead of the Dawn being imprisoned below ground by the demon Vala, it is the "darkness" and fog that is imprisoned and guarded against by the equines. Instead of the cows imprisoned in the cave, it is the "wyrm" or Vrtra analog that is held underground. Jaron Galarn is shouting a "curse" rather than "praises" when the ground is cracking. There is also the issue of the multiplicity of entities. It is traditionally the serpent who is somehow multiple, such as many heads, but here the thunder god is a stampede of many horses rather than a single hero. The stilted line about no icons of protection from the wolf familiar quoted above is interesting, as the Vedic period myths had no iconography.

" Jaron was dumped roughly in a long wooden box and the lid was immediately nailed shut. He searched frantically for anything to aid him in an escape, but the strangers had stripped him of anything useful. Desperate, he began screaming at the top of his lungs. "Release me! Let me out here or you'll regret it!" A sad voice replied, "Quiet in there. No one remembers you. In time, we will not remember you. Accept your fate lad. Try to die with some dignity." "Dignity! What dignity is there to die in a box?! You must let me out! I can hear in your voice that you do not wish this upon me! Release me and help me free the horses!" Again the sad voice replied, "My fate is set friend, as is yours. I must serve the master with my talents and you must die in this box. Do not bother in your attempts to turn my loyalty. That possibility has long passed." Then suddenly an excited voice exclaimed, "Muylari, there's cracks opening up in the grave! I don't think we can dig any deeper.

"Shut up fool! I told you never to use my name." A short silence. Then... "It is deep enough. Toss the box in and fill up the hole." The darkness once again lurched around Jaron as someone hefted the box and began carrying it away. Before he could begin screaming, the sad voice spoke one last time, "Good-bye Jaron Galarn. Accept your fate." "No!" Jaron screamed. "I do not accept this fate damn you! You cannot leave me here to die and simply forget me! Do you hear me Muylari?! I will return to free my horses if I have to rise from the grave I swear! Do you understand Muylari?! I curse this land and all who would do harm here! I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!!!" "

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The following are some examples of the in-game text with implicit or explicit associations of wind and thunder along with the cracks in the ground.

[Secluded Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  From somewhere in the distance, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest

>yell jaron galarn
As you yell out the name, your voice echoes through the valley, louder and louder until it becomes deafening.  The world begins spinning, and the ground shakes beneath your feet.  You become completely overwhelmed at the sudden barrage attacking your senses when, suddenly, it all stops, fading into silent blackness.

You hear a strange whispering sound, and feel a rush of wind across your face.

[A Dark Crevice]
You are perched on the ledge of a dangerously steep crevice which juts out from the wall hanging over a dark abyss.  The odd mists within it glow with an ethereal light as they lash about in their chaotic dance.  From above, the sound of thundering hooves reverberate throughout the chasm, seemingly vanishing into the bottomless pit below.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious exits: up

[Shadow Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick black mist, lending the land an eerie demeanor.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

A rush of cold wind blows through the area as a shadow mare gallops into view!

The identification of the battle between Indra an Vrtra with the moon cycle is present in the Satapatha Brahmana which is a later commentary on the Vedas. The slaying of Vrtra is identified with the splitting of the moon, and the moon infuses the soma drink. There is a stilted line in the "Tale of Silver Valley" where men arrive in Valaskar in numbers of "seven and twenty and more seemed to join them each day." Twenty-seven days is the length of moon phase cycle in the real world. There is a mural of a dragon assaulting a world in the mine tunnels. It is remarkable that DragonRealms was developed around the same time as Shadow Valley and has a mythical premise of a world dragon birthing from the destruction of one of the moons (while blackening another), devastating the world below and having to be kept sleeping under the earth by the gods. In this form the world dragon is swallowing all the fire, rather than the water, and the gods are using singing to keep it asleep underground rather than slaying with it.

"12. The full-moon oblation, assuredly, belongs to the Vritra-slayer, for by means of it Indra slew Vritra; and this new-moon oblation also represents the slaying of Vritra, since they prepared that invigorating draught for him who had slain Vritra.
13. An offering in honour of the Vritra-slayer, then, is the full-moon sacrifice. Vritra, assuredly, is no other than the moon 1; and when during that night (of new moon) he is not seen either in the east or in the west, then he (Indra) completely destroys him by means of that (new-moon sacrifice), and leaves nothing remaining of him. And, verily, he who knows this, overcomes all evil and leaves nothing remaining of evil."

- Satapatha Brahmana, Part 1

[Mine Tunnels]
Swirling blue symbols formed of luminescent moss mark the walls. Though none are of any symbol set you can recognize, the largest is quite obviously a dragon.  Several spheroid-shaped patches of moss surround it, causing the entire wall to be reminiscent of a star-covered night sky.
Obvious exits: southeast

>glance symbol
You glance at a large mossy symbol.
>look symbol
The symbol is shaped in the form of a large dragon, wings extended and breathing fire upon a small planet just underneath it. 

See Also:

  • Chaoskampf - Indo-European serpent slaying myth
  • Vritra - Vedica stone serpent demon of drought
  • Vala - Vedic stone cave demon and Viking volva seers
  • Danu - Vedic water goddess and Irish mother goddess
  • Indra - Vedic thunder and steed god
  • Panis - Vedic watcher fog demons
  • Brhaspati - Vedic sage
  • Sages - Rishi seers who wrote the Vedas
  • Mace of Indra - Vajra thunderbolt weapon

Celtic

In Celtic and Scandinavian folklore there are various kinds of "water horses", which are water spirits that take the form of horses who kill the people who ride them. The Scottish kelpie, the German nokk, the Scandinavian bäckahäst, the Welsh ceffyl dŵr, the Manx cabyll-ushtey, and the Gaelic each-uisce or each-uisge are all examples of this, and there are other Celtic water spirits represented in the residential neighborhood outside Castle Anwyn. In the "Tale of Silver Valley" this is hinted at with Jaron Galarn telling tourists: "'No one has ever ridden one of the Silver Valley horses,' he said in an ominous tone."

The tip off that the Celtic fey or faeries are relevant comes from the ghostly pookas. Pookas are shapeshifters who take many other animal forms. In the folklore they are sometimes in the form of black steeds wearing heavy chains, and this is notably not included for them in the Rolemaster bestiaries. The point that they are actually shapeshifters was used outright in the release event for the dark pasture, where their chains had to be uncursed and a few of them morphed together into a giant shadow steed. This is when the vortex in the sky opened and there was a stampede of shadow steeds and mares.

" "My master says, `No icons can save you from the destroyer. Only the protectors of Velaskar can save you now. It forms .... it awakens,’" the wolf growled. The awakening was that of a giant winged wyrm that formed in the sky above the band of adventurers. It was Lady Cheat and Lord Jorak who realized that the wolf wanted them to cast uncurse on three ghostly pookas. Free of their chains, the pookas transformed into a giant shadow steed. The steed launched itself into the sky, and the old ladder that once led to the safety of the ledge shattered into a thousand tiny particles. Seconds later, a vortex opened in the sky, pouring out thousands of shadow steeds and mares in a majestic ethereal display of lightning and thunder. The stampede trampled and destroyed the wyrm in a fiery battle. "

- "Shadow Valley", Lord Eythan Gwenywen; Elanthian Times Volume I Issue I, Ancient Annals

The Welsh water horse "ceffyl dŵr" is known for flying people in the air and dropping them. More generally, riders are stuck to the horse, who drown them. There are similar drowning monsters in other cultures such as kappas. This idea that the seeming horses are actually water spirits is important. The "Tale of Silver Valley" has folktales in it of the equines imprisoning "a great evil entity from another plane" deep under ground and that they "remain in the valley to protect us" if it ever returned. This is a clearly mythological notion and cannot be literal if they (or at least all of them) are actually corporeal horses.

"There were rumors and legends about them, scary tales of a great evil entity from another plane who once tried to gain entrance to our world by opening a great portal deep underground. The skies grew dark and the ground shook. The entity came through the portal and tore its way up through the ground, breaking the surface just inside Silver Valley. It is said that the equines met this invader with such ferocity that it was driven back into the crevice that it had opened and fell into a deep chasm never to be heard from again. Some say the horses still remain in the valley to protect us should the entity in the pit ever return. His stories were many and I never forgot the awe-inspiring feeling I had when I first set eyes upon the herd as they ran through the valley."

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The theory is then that at least some of the equines of Silver Valley are actually fey water spirits in the form of horses similar to the pookas. These would be the shadow mares and steeds, who came out of a portal in the sky. The night mares are instead corporeal undead, and would presumably be the ones who were actual horses. The spirit horses are now corrupted with dark power, and effectively are undead. The wyrm is symbolically a serpent demon of drought, which establishes an inherent antagonism between them. The rivers in Shadow Valley have been replaced with caustic black sludge that is sentient.

The tie-in is that the Celtic Otherworld of the fey is typically reached by traveling down into mounds. The Aos Sí or Aes Sídhe are "the people of the mounds", where sídhe is the Irish for "mounds." Shadow Valley is reached under the burial mound of the Graveyard, which itself is a huge passage barrow like those that exist in the British Isles. The "moaning spirits" may thus symbolize bainsídhe (banshees), and the "spectral miners" may be "knockers". The night hounds could symbolize the "black dogs" in European folklore who guard the Underworld. These are both omens or portents of death in this context.

The Celtic Otherworld is more fundamentally associated with the sea, and became associated with burial mounds later. In Welsh it is Annwn, Avalon in Arthurian legend, and in Irish it is Tír na nÓg or Mag Mell (incidentally, the general store owner NPC is Megorn Mell.) The theme is everlasting life and forgetting suffering or the passage of years, which may be played off with Muylari. It is located alongside our world and intrudes on it, which manifests in the form of magical mists. This veil is called "féth fíada" and cloaks the gods, sometimes in animal forms. Regardless, the Aos Sí descend historically from the old Irish gods, the Tuath Dé meaning "the tribe of the gods". This is known also as the Tuatha Dé Danann, meaning "the folk of the goddess Danu". Some folklorists have argued since the 19th century that the Irish mother goddess "Danu" is related to "Danu" the Vedic water goddess and mother of the world dragon Vrtra. Thus the Celtic and Vedic myth crossover in Shadow Valley may be more natural than it sounds.

See Also:

  • Water horses - Celtic and Scandinavian fey water spirits in horse form
  • Ceffyl Dŵr - Welsh shapeshifting water horse
  • Glashtyn - Manx water horse
  • Each-uisge - Scottish/Irish Gaelic water horse
  • Kelpie - Scottish water horse
  • Bäckahäst - Scandinavian water horse, also Germanic nokk
  • Pooka - Irish shapeshifter trickser, horse in heavy chains
  • Knocker - Welsh/Cornish spectral miner, similar to brownie or leprechaun
  • Bainsidhe - Banshees, wailing moaning spirits
  • Black Dogs - Black dog guards of the Underworld
  • Tuatha Dé Danann - Irish gods, folk of Danu
  • Danu - Irish mother goddess
  • Aos Si - Fairie mound folk
  • Féth fíada - Magical mists or veil between this world and the Otherworld
  • Celtic Otherworld - Adjacent to our world, accessed under burial mounds

Lovecraft

There seems to be a convincing amount of influence from H.P. Lovecraft stories, just as there is in the original Graveyard and the Broken Lands. The parallel to a given story will always break down at some point, so only parts or even single scenes from a given story will be relevant. There is a reasonable case for the foggy underground valley with the precious metal prospectors, spectral horses, eagle-clawed moaning spirits, phasing monsters, mining picks, and serpent demon coming from "The Mound". There is a sound basis for suspecting the relevance of several others, such as "The Colour Out of Space".

The Broken Lands has a strong parallel to an extended scene in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath". With Shadow Valley outright parallels are less convincing, but specific story elements and thematics might be recognizable from a few stories. It would be difficult to believe the very uncommon phrase "singsong chant" did not come from "The Call of Cthulhu", especially given the identical context.

The Mound

The story that seems to have the most relevance to Shadow Valley is "The Mound", a relatively obscure novella ghost-written by H.P. Lovecraft for Zealia Bishop. It was only published in highly abridged forms until 1989, when the full text was given in "The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions" anthology. In the novella there is an "Indian mound" in Oklahoma, where "Indian" means Native American, which is the gateway to a subterranean valley with an underground kingdom. The narrator is an ethnologist investigating it over ghost stories he has pieced together from locals involving a headless woman.

He finds a scroll written by a Spanish Conquistador from several centuries ago who had wandered down there searching for gold. There are numerous motifs in common between this story and Shadow Valley, which is located under the burial mound of the Graveyard. In the case of Silver Valley it was silver instead of gold. If this novella was used as a subtext, it is able to explain a number of specific details.

(1) Spectral Sky Horses

"I had gone into Oklahoma to track down and correlate one of the many ghost tales which were current among the white settlers, but which had strong Indian corroboration, and—I felt sure—an ultimate Indian source. They were very curious, these open-air ghost tales; and though they sounded flat and prosaic in the mouths of the white people, they had earmarks of linkage with some of the richest and obscurest phases of native mythology. All of them were woven around the vast, lonely, artificial-looking mounds in the western part of the state, and all of them involved apparitions of exceedingly strange aspect and equipment.
     The commonest, and among the oldest, became quite famous in 1892, when a government marshal named John Willis went into the mound region after horse-thieves and came out with a wild yarn of nocturnal cavalry horses in the air between great armies of invisible spectres—battles that involved the rush of hooves and feet, the thud of blows, the clank of metal on metal, the muffled cries of warriors, and the fall of human and equine bodies. These things happened by moonlight, and frightened his horse as well as himself. The sounds persisted an hour at a time; vivid, but subdued as if brought from a distance by a wind, and unaccompanied by any glimpse of the armies themselves. Later on Willis learned that the seat of the sounds was a notoriously haunted spot, shunned by settlers and Indians alike. Many had seen, or half seen, the warring horsemen in the sky, and had furnished dim, ambiguous descriptions. The settlers described the ghostly fighters as Indians, though of no familiar tribe, and having the most singular costumes and weapons. They even went so far as to say that they could not be sure the horses were really horses.
     The Indians, on the other hand, did not seem to claim the spectres as kinsfolk. They referred to them as “those people”, “the old people”, or “they who dwell below”, and appeared to hold them in too great a frightened veneration to talk much about them. No ethnologist had been able to pin any tale-teller down to a specific description of the beings, and apparently nobody had ever had a very clear look at them. The Indians had one or two old proverbs about these phenomena, saying that “men very old, make very big spirit; not so old, not so big; older than all time, then spirit he so big he near flesh; those old people and spirits they mix up—get all the same”."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft


"Here is the legend as I have heard it told in various inns along the northern coast of Jontara. Considering its detail, I can only speculate that the original teller of this tale was a participant of the event..."

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

There used to be a log of the release event for the dark pasture and shaft expansions, where the ladder was replaced by a ramp and the shadow steeds were introduced. The following summary of it describes the scene, where a portal opens and the shadow horses battle the wyrm in the sky. These are "spectral" horses in the sense that they are not really corporeal, and they are also probably not really horses.

" "My master says, `No icons can save you from the destroyer. Only the protectors of Velaskar can save you now. It forms .... it awakens,’" the wolf growled. The awakening was that of a giant winged wyrm that formed in the sky above the band of adventurers. It was Lady Cheat and Lord Jorak who realized that the wolf wanted them to cast uncurse on three ghostly pookas. Free of their chains, the pookas transformed into a giant shadow steed. The steed launched itself into the sky, and the old ladder that once led to the safety of the ledge shattered into a thousand tiny particles. Seconds later, a vortex opened in the sky, pouring out thousands of shadow steeds and mares in a majestic ethereal display of lightning and thunder. The stampede trampled and destroyed the wyrm in a fiery battle. "

- "Shadow Valley", Lord Eythan Gwenywen; Elanthian Times Volume I Issue I, Ancient Annals

(2) Serpent Demon

The "great evil entity from another plane" of Shadow Valley was a "wyrm", and there is a mural in the mine tunnels depicting a dragon assaulting a world. In "The Mound" there is a Great Old One named Yig, Father of Snakes, who is the ur-daemon behind the mythical Central American snake gods such as Quetzalcoatl and Kukulcan. The advanced race that lived deep under the mound in the subterranean realm specifically worshipped Yig, Cthulhu, and at one point Tsathoggua until something happened. Yig and Cthulhu are referenced here repeatedly, and "The Call of Cthulhu" is probably in the mine shaft.

"Make no mistake—Oklahoma is a lot more than a mere pioneers’ and promoters’ frontier. There are old, old tribes with old, old memories there; and when the tom-toms beat ceaselessly over brooding plains in the autumn the spirits of men are brought dangerously close to primal, whispered things. I am white and Eastern enough myself, but anybody is welcome to know that the rites of Yig, Father of Snakes, can get a real shudder out of me any day. I have heard and seen too much to be “sophisticated” in such matters. And so it is with this incident of 1928. I’d like to laugh it off—but I can’t."

"Opening my handbag in the light of a single electric bulb, I again took out the cylinder and noted the instant magnetism which pulled the Indian talisman to its carven surface. The designs glimmered evilly on the richly lustrous and unknown metal, and I could not help shivering as I studied the abnormal and blasphemous forms that leered at me with such exquisite workmanship. I wish now that I had carefully photographed all these designs—though perhaps it is just as well that I did not. Of one thing I am really glad, and that is that I could not then identify the squatting octopus-headed thing which dominated most of the ornate cartouches, and which the manuscript called “Tulu”. Recently I have associated it, and the legends in the manuscript connected with it, with some new-found folklore of monstrous and unmentioned Cthulhu, a horror which seeped down from the stars while the young earth was still half-formed; and had I known of the connexion then, I could not have stayed in the same room with the thing. The secondary motif, a semi-anthropomorphic serpent, I did quite readily place as a prototype of the Yig, Quetzalcoatl, and Kukulcan conceptions. Before opening the cylinder I tested its magnetic powers on metals other than that of Grey Eagle’s disc, but found that no attraction existed. It was no common magnetism which pervaded this morbid fragment of unknown worlds and linked it to its kind."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

Yig is known to make "Progeny of Yig" out of humans who harm his snake children. These are semi-anthropomorphic snakes with human faces. This happens to look almost exactly like the abyran demons. While the "History of the Faendryl" (2002) document has a couple of Lovecraft easter eggs in it, the Enchirdion Valentia (2003) document was probably written by a different GameMaster, and this is most likely coincidental. If it is not a coincidence it would imply that the missing Faendryl sorcerers were turned into abyran demons, and might explain Shieltine's Ward banning sorcerers from traveling to Lorae'tyr.

(3) Moaning Spirits

The moaning spirits are oddly described as having eagle claws for feet, but otherwise appear to be humanoid. The moaning spirits force their way into this plane, and also appear in Castle Anwyn.

"Intense hatred for those living drives the moaning spirit to traverse the bounds of space to attack its enemies. Crying out in constant pain, it marshals magic, claw and fist against its foes, destroying relentlessly to sate the desires of the forces that bind it, then returning whence it came to await the intrusion of another living creature. Its semi-transparent countenance is passably humanoid, save for the eagle-like claws replacing what would normally be the human's feet."

- Moaning Spirit creature description

This is a highly specific and unusual detail that can be effortlessly explained by a section of the novella where a man named Captain Lawton traveled down into the mound. He was later found with his feet cut off. He was rambling madly about Cthulhu, as well as Azathoth and Nyarlathotep, who are relevant to Research:The Graveyard and Research:The Broken Lands. In this scene there is an old Native American chieftain named "Grey Eagle" speaking, warning to not go down there because the old ones are no good. This easily accounts for the eagle claw feet on the moaning spirits guarding the entrance to the valley.

"The next trip was the solitary venture of old Capt. Lawton, a grizzled pioneer who had helped to open up the region in 1889, but who had never been there since. He had recalled the mound and its fascination all through the years; and being now in comfortable retirement, resolved to have a try at solving the ancient riddle. Long familiarity with Indian myth had given him ideas rather stranger than those of the simple villagers, and he had made preparations for some extensive delving. He ascended the mound on the morning of Thursday, May 11, 1916, watched through spy glasses by more than twenty people in the village and on the adjacent plain. His disappearance was very sudden, and occurred as he was hacking at the shrubbery with a brush-cutter. No one could say more than that he was there one moment and absent the next. For over a week no tidings of him reached Binger, and then—in the middle of the night—there dragged itself into the village the object about which dispute still rages.
     It said it was—or had been—Capt. Lawton, but it was definitely younger by as much as forty years than the old man who had climbed the mound. Its hair was jet black, and its face—now distorted with nameless fright—free from wrinkles. But it did remind Grandma Compton most uncannily of the captain as he had looked back in ’89. Its feet were cut off neatly at the ankles, and the stumps were smoothly healed to an extent almost incredible if the being really were the man who had walked upright a week before. It babbled of incomprehensible things, and kept repeating the name “George Lawton, George E. Lawton” as if trying to reassure itself of its own identity. The things it babbled of, Grandma Compton thought, were curiously like the hallucinations of poor young Heaton in ’91; though there were minor differences. “The blue light!—the blue light! . . .” muttered the object, “always down there, before there were any living things—older than the dinosaurs—always the same, only weaker—never death—brooding and brooding and brooding—the same people, half-man and half-gas—the dead that walk and work—oh, those beasts, those half-human unicorns—houses and cities of gold—old, old, old, older than time—came down from the stars—Great Tulu—Azathoth—Nyarlathotep—waiting, waiting. . . .” The object died before dawn.
     Of course there was an investigation, and the Indians at the reservation were grilled unmercifully. But they knew nothing, and had nothing to say. At least, none of them had anything to say except old Grey Eagle, a Wichita chieftain whose more than a century of age put him above common fears. He alone deigned to grunt some advice.
     “You let um ’lone, white man. No good—those people. All under here, all under there, them old ones. Yig, big father of snakes, he there. Yig is Yig. Tiráwa, big father of men, he there. Tiráwa is Tiráwa. No die. No get old. Just same like air. Just live and wait. One time they come out here, live and fight. Build um dirt tepee. Bring up gold—they got plenty. Go off and make new lodges. Me them. You them. Then big waters come. All change. Nobody come out, let nobody in. Get in, no get out. You let um ’lone, you have no bad medicine. Red man know, he no get catch. White man meddle, he no come back. Keep ’way little hills. No good. Grey Eagle say this.” "

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

This is referencing another man named Heaton who in 1891 went down into the mound, and came out later rambling in madness about Cthulhu and other Great Old Ones. The "white man" referenced here is implicitly the Spanish Conquistador, who is introduced later in the story. In the "Tale of Silver Valley" Selias Jodame has a Navigator guide named Tearhaut which sounds at least vaguely Native American. It might be playing off the French phrase and placename "Terre Haute". This could refer to Indiana where there are very old mounds of this kind, or to the literal meaning highland or high ground, as they were looking down at the valley. It might even be playing off "highland" in the sense of Scotland, given the premise of Celtic fey horses. It it is a play on words it might refer to the tear in reality deep underground.

"When Heaton made his own trip he resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery, and watchers from the village saw him hacking diligently at the shrubbery atop the mound. Then they saw his figure melt slowly into invisibility; not to reappear for long hours, till after the dusk drew on, and the torch of the headless squaw glimmered ghoulishly on the distant elevation. About two hours after nightfall he staggered into the village minus his spade and other belongings, and burst into a shrieking monologue of disconnected ravings. He howled of shocking abysses and monsters, of terrible carvings and statues, of inhuman captors and grotesque tortures, and of other fantastic abnormalities too complex and chimerical even to remember. “Old! Old! Old!” he would moan over and over again, “great God, they are older than the earth, and came here from somewhere else—they know what you think, and make you know what they think—they’re half-man, half-ghost—crossed the line—melt and take shape again—getting more and more so, yet we’re all descended from them in the beginning—children of Tulu—everything made of gold—monstrous animals, half-human—dead slaves—madness—Iä! Shub-Niggurath!—that white man—oh, my God, what they did to him! . ."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

(4) Conquistadors

The story of what happened to Shadow Valley involves miners coming to the local village in search of silver. They wipe the memories of the townsfolk with sorcery, and enslave the horses to be beasts of burden. In the Shadow World historical setting the northern region of this area had silver mines, and that is the implicit context for Silver Valley. The valley would have implicitly have been located to the north in the Seolfar Strake, which means something like "Journey to Strike Silver" in Seoltang, and was re-named the Lysierian Hills. What happened around its appearance under the Graveyard is not recorded.

"A group of men had arrived at the settlement of Velaskar claiming to be sightseers. As most travelers in the village were in fact sightseers there was little to be suspicious of but this was a large group of men, seven and twenty and more seemed to join them each day. It soon became apparent that they were more than watchers of horses and it was Jaron Galarn who discovered their true purpose. Taking them on a tour to the valley, as he was known to do, he observed them paying little attention to the equines and more attention to the grounds around the valley. That night, he snuck into their supply tent at the end of town and discovered it was full of mining equipment. The men intended to mine the cliffs of Silver Valley, no doubt expecting to find silver."

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The corresponding detail in "The Mound" is the character who provides all the information on the subterranean world is a Spanish Conquistador who was searching for legendary cities of gold.

"I paused to reflect on the portentous significance of what I was reading. “The Narrative of Pánfilo de Zamacona y Nuñez, gentleman, of Luarca in Asturias, Concerning the Subterranean World of Xinaián, A. D. 1545” . . . Here, surely, was too much for any mind to absorb all at once. A subterranean world—again that persistent idea which filtered through all the Indian tales and through all the utterances of those who had come back from the mound. And the date—1545—what could this mean? In 1540 Coronado and his men had gone north from Mexico into the wilderness, but had they not turned back in 1542! My eye ran questingly down the opened part of the scroll, and almost at once seized on the name Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. The writer of this thing, clearly, was one of Coronado’s men—but what had he been doing in this remote realm three years after his party had gone back? I must read further, for another glance told me that what was now unrolled was merely a summary of Coronado’s northward march, differing in no essential way from the account known to history."

- "The Mount"; H.P. Lovecraft

This is stated more explicitly in other parts of the story, such as this scene where Zamacona encounters an idol of Cthulhu.

"For a moment he was quite stupefied by what he saw. It was not the all-covering dust and cobwebs of immemorial aeons, the fluttering winged things, the shriekingly loathsome sculptures on the walls, the bizarre form of the many basins and braziers, the sinister pyramidal altar with the hollow top, or the monstrous, octopus-headed abnormality in some strange, dark metal leering and squatting broodingly on its hieroglyphed pedestal, which robbed him of even the power to give a startled cry. It was nothing so unearthly as this—but merely the fact that, with the exception of the dust, the cobwebs, the winged things, and the gigantic emerald-eyed idol, every particle of substance in sight was composed of pure and evidently solid gold.
     Even the manuscript, written in retrospect after Zamacona knew that gold is the most common structural metal of a nether world containing limitless lodes and veins of it, reflects the frenzied excitement which the traveller felt upon suddenly finding the real source of all the Indian legends of golden cities. For a time the power of detailed observation left him, but in the end his faculties were recalled by a peculiar tugging sensation in the pocket of his doublet. Tracing the feeling, he realised that the disc of strange metal he had found in the abandoned road was being attracted strongly by the vast octopus-headed, emerald-eyed idol on the pedestal, which he now saw to be composed of the same unknown exotic metal. He was later to learn that this strange magnetic substance—as alien to the inner world as to the outer world of men—is the one precious metal of the blue-lighted abyss. None knows what it is or where it occurs in Nature, and the amount of it on this planet came down from the stars with the people when great Tulu, the octopus-headed god, brought them for the first time to this earth. Certainly, its only known source was a stock of pre-existing artifacts, including multitudes of Cyclopean idols. It could never be placed or analysed, and even its magnetism was exerted only on its own kind. It was the supreme ceremonial metal of the hidden people, its use being regulated by custom in such a way that its magnetic properties might cause no inconvenience. A very weakly magnetic alloy of it with such base metals as iron, gold, silver, copper, or zinc, had formed the sole monetary standard of the hidden people at one period of their history."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft


[Shadow Plain]
A cold wind whistles through the crumbled walls of an ancient shrine.  Rising from the ruins is a magnificent silver statue of a large equine surrounded by a pool of dark murky water.  Several twisted skeletons litter the ground around the area.  You also see a small well.
Obvious paths: southeast, southwest

>look statue
This imposing silver steed rears back on its hind legs, its nostrils flaring.  A regal air emanates from its flawless face.

(5) Secluded Valley

The scroll of Zamacona detailed how he was told of the underground valley by a native named Charging Buffalo, who said there were "natural fissures" in the earth that were allowed to stay open to circulate the air. Zamacona ends up descending into the mound, which Charging Buffalo had done up to a point. It is mostly a descent, but it involves going up sometimes, and the final part of the tunnel is a steep climb. This is the corresponding situation for Shadow Valley. What follows in this section is several paragraphs from a single scene, which depicts finding the vast glowing mist plain and descending to it.

"For three days, as best he could reckon, Pánfilo de Zamacona scrambled down, up, along, and around, but always predominately downward, through this dark region of palaeogean night. Once in a while he heard some secret being of darkness patter or flap out of his way, and on just one occasion he half glimpsed a great, bleached thing that set him trembling. The quality of the air was mostly very tolerable; though foetid zones were now and then met with, while one great cavern of stalactites and stalagmites afforded a depressing dampness. This latter, when Charging Buffalo had come upon it, had quite seriously barred the way; since the limestone deposits of ages had built fresh pillars in the path of the primordial abyss-denizens. The Indian, however, had broken through these; so that Zamacona did not find his course impeded. It was an unconscious comfort to him to reflect that someone else from the outside world had been there before—and the Indian’s careful descriptions had removed the element of surprise and unexpectedness. More—Charging Buffalo’s knowledge of the tunnel had led him to provide so good a torch supply for the journey in and out, that there would be no danger of becoming stranded in darkness. Zamacona camped twice, building a fire whose smoke seemed well taken care of by the natural ventilation.
     At what he considered the end of the third day—though his cocksure guesswork chronology is not at any time to be given the easy faith that he gave it—Zamacona encountered the prodigious descent and subsequent prodigious climb which Charging Buffalo had described as the tunnel’s last phase. As at certain earlier points, marks of artificial improvement were here discernible; and several times the steep gradient was eased by a flight of rough-hewn steps. The torch shewed more and more of the monstrous carvings on the walls, and finally the resinous flare seemed mixed with a fainter and more diffusive light as Zamacona climbed up and up after the last downward stairway. At length the ascent ceased, and a level passage of artificial masonry with dark, basaltic blocks led straight ahead. There was no need for a torch now, for all the air was glowing with a bluish, quasi-electric radiance that flickered like an aurora. It was the strange light of the inner world that the Indian had described—and in another moment Zamacona emerged from the tunnel upon a bleak, rocky hillside which climbed above him to a seething, impenetrable sky of bluish coruscations, and descended dizzily below him to an apparently illimitable plain shrouded in bluish mist."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

This illustrates the analogous tunnel deep under the ground, which turns into a steep ascent. This opens up to a secluded valley, shrouded in mist with clouds in the sky.

[Narrow Tunnel]
The tunnel continues, seemingly without end, in both directions.  Shadows play off the rough rock walls, causing your eyes to dart about looking for enemies that may or may not be there.
Obvious exits: northeast, southwest

[Dark Crevice]
Darkness prevents a clear survey of this small niche, but you feel a space above your head.  The floor begins a steep incline rising up into the rock and a narrow fissure, possibly wide enough to squeeze through, is barely visible along the wall.  You feel a cool dampness around your ankles.
Obvious exits: up

[Dark Crevice]
The rough path continues up the steep terrain.  Step after step, you feel your legs growing hot as you strain to keep a sure footing.  A pressure in your ears lets you know you have climbed quite a distance.
Obvious exits: up, down

>u
[Dark Crevice]
You strain to keep clear of the rough outcroppings of rock in this dark space.  The floor continues its steep incline causing you to lean severely to remain upright.  In the dim light, you can just make out a trail of flowing mist moving slowly downward from a small opening above.  
Obvious exits: down

The foggy valley is illustrated as being dream-like or a forgotten memory. It is possible to hear horses stampeding in the distance in one room.

>climb opening

Confidently, you begin to climb up the opening.  Within a short time, you have reached the top.

[Secluded Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick white mist, lending the land an eerie glow.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

[Secluded Valley]
Dead trees reach out of the mist towards the sky, seeking to grasp some remnant of hope.  A few large black rocks break the surface of the chalky vapors, marking the surroundings.
Obvious paths: southeast, south, southwest, west

[Secluded Valley]
Steep rocky walls rise high above, squelching any thoughts of climbing out.  A cold biting wind blows across your face, stinging your eyes and lips.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, west, northwest

[Secluded Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the mist thins.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest

[Secluded Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  From somewhere in the distance, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest

The corresponding scene is the next paragraph in "The Mound", where the native guide Charging Buffalo was unwilling to go further, because of the stampeding things that were not horses.

"He had come to the unknown world at last, and from his manuscript it is clear that he viewed the formless landscape as proudly and exaltedly as ever his fellow-countryman Balboa viewed the new-found Pacific from that unforgettable peak in Darien. Charging Buffalo had turned back at this point, driven by fear of something which he would only describe vaguely and evasively as a herd of bad cattle, neither horse nor buffalo, but like the things the mound-spirits rode at night—but Zamacona could not be deterred by any such trifle. Instead of fear, a strange sense of glory filled him; for he had imagination enough to know what it meant to stand alone in an inexplicable nether world whose existence no other white man suspected.
     The soil of the great hill that surged upward behind him and spread steeply downward below him was dark grey, rock-strown, without vegetation, and probably basaltic in origin; with an unearthly cast which made him feel like an intruder on an alien planet. The vast distant plain, thousands of feet below, had no features he could distinguish; especially since it appeared to be largely veiled in a curling, bluish vapour. But more than hill or plain or cloud, the bluely luminous, coruscating sky impressed the adventurer with a sense of supreme wonder and mystery. What created this sky within a world he could not tell; though he knew of the northern lights, and had even seen them once or twice. He concluded that this subterraneous light was something vaguely akin to the aurora; a view which moderns may well endorse, though it seems likely that certain phenomena of radio-activity may also enter in."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

Instead of being able to see a vast plain far below, there is the grave of Jaron Galarn, which involves shouting his name to be teleported to that realm.

[Secluded Valley]
A rough granite gravestone stands against the west wall of the valley.  The torn and broken ground beneath the marker leads you to believe that whatever was buried here chose to leave.  Strangely, the thick mists circle the area, carefully avoiding the gravesite.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast

>yell (wrong answer)
The words you yell are garbled by the wind, and nothing happens.

>yell Jaron Galarn
As you yell out the name, your voice echoes through the valley, louder and louder until it becomes deafening.  The world begins spinning, and the ground shakes beneath your feet.  You become completely overwhelmed at the sudden barrage attacking your senses when, suddenly, it all stops, fading into silent blackness.

XXXXX opens his mouth as if to say something, but his movements slow and he becomes visibly transparent.  Then a gust of wind blows in, washing away the image of XXXXX as if he were never there!

The corresponding paragraph is when Zamacona begins descending down to the misty plain, and the utter silence was such that even small noises were loud. It is then speaking of the underworld herds who could not be grazing there as there was no vegetation. The pastures in Shadow Valley are all dead and mist shrouded. However, there is vegetation further into the plain when he keeps traveling, there just is not where there was evidence of the herds. Later when he is hiding out with the Cthulhu idol he can hear the herd stampeding, which is thunderously loud because of how silent it is in the underworld.

"Zamacona strode briskly along down the steep, interminable slope; his progress checked at times by the bad walking that came from loose rock fragments, or by the excessive precipitousness of the grade. The distance of the mist-shrouded plain must have been enormous, for many hours’ walking brought him apparently no closer to it than he had been before. Behind him was always the great hill stretching upward into a bright aërial sea of bluish coruscations. Silence was universal; so that his own footsteps, and the fall of stones that he dislodged, struck on his ears with startling distinctness. It was at what he regarded as about noon that he first saw the abnormal footprints which set him to thinking of Charging Buffalo’s terrible hints, precipitate flight, and strangely abiding terror.
     The rock-strown nature of the soil gave few opportunities for tracks of any kind, but at one point a rather level interval had caused the loose detritus to accumulate in a ridge, leaving a considerable area of dark-grey loam absolutely bare. Here, in a rambling confusion indicating a large herd aimlessly wandering, Zamacona found the abnormal prints. It is to be regretted that he could not describe them more exactly, but the manuscript displayed far more vague fear than accurate observation. Just what it was that so frightened the Spaniard can only be inferred from his later hints regarding the beasts. He referred to the prints as ‘not hooves, nor hands, nor feet, nor precisely paws—nor so large as to cause alarm on that account’. Just why or how long ago the things had been there, was not easy to guess. There was no vegetation visible, hence grazing was out of the question; but of course if the beasts were carnivorous they might well have been hunting smaller animals, whose tracks their own would tend to obliterate."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

This is the later paragraph illustrating the thunderously loud charging herds against the silent backdrop. The K'n-yans soon find him but they do not seem to matter at all for us.

"Zamacona’s reflections on the strange idol and its magnetism were disturbed by a tremendous wave of fear as, for the first time in this silent world, he heard a rumble of very definite and obviously approaching sound. There was no mistaking its nature. It was a thunderously charging herd of large animals; and, remembering the Indian’s panic, the footprints, and the moving mass distantly seen, the Spaniard shuddered in terrified anticipation. He did not analyse his position, or the significance of this onrush of great lumbering beings, but merely responded to an elemental urge toward self-protection. Charging herds do not stop to find victims in obscure places, and on the outer earth Zamacona would have felt little or no alarm in such a massive, grove-girt edifice. Some instinct, however, now bred a deep and peculiar terror in his soul; and he looked about frantically for any means of safety."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

The situation in the Shadow Valley is the opposite of what is seen in "The Mound" in terms of elevation. Instead of being above a vast litten plain and making your way down to it, you start in a valley with steep walls, and then have to climb the trail up to the plain. This is more a matter of having a detail made backwards than an inconsistency. While we cannot reach the village and plain from the secluded valley in our dimension, this is where Selias Jodame visited by climbing downward. There is no record of Selias Jodame making his way into "Shadow Valley" itself. It is possible the Secluded Valley is still above ground in the north somewhere and the underground Graveyard entrance is more symbolic for the allegory. The logic of using ">look up" to test whether you can see the sky is an anachronistic mechanic.

(6) Spectral Miners

In contrast to elements (1) through (5) from the earlier part of the novella, the very end of "The Mound" provides possible basis for the spectral miners. The advanced underground "Old One" race known as the K'n-yans were effectively immortal, with advanced telepathic powers, and they entertained themselves with sadistic and grotesque modifications of bodies. They had the power to dematerialize and rematerialize themselves through matter. Near the end this is a horror motif where modern objects, from mound explorers, are found impossibly deep in older parts of the earth unless they were phased.

"But I wished I had not stopped at just that place, for the act fixed my attention on something profoundly disturbing. It was only a small object lying close to the wall on one of the steps below me, but that object was such as to put my reason to a severe test, and bring up a line of the most alarming speculations. That the opening above me had been closed against all material forms for generations was utterly obvious from the growth of shrub-roots and accumulation of drifting soil; yet the object before me was most distinctly not many generations old. For it was an electric torch much like the one I now carried—warped and encrusted in the tomb-like dampness, but none the less perfectly unmistakable. I descended a few steps and picked it up, wiping off the evil deposits on my rough coat. One of the nickel bands bore an engraved name and address, and I recognised it with a start the moment I made it out. It read “Jas. C. Williams, 17 Trowbridge St., Cambridge, Mass.”—and I knew that it had belonged to one of the two daring college instructors who had disappeared on June 28, 1915. Only thirteen years ago, and yet I had just broken through the sod of centuries! How had the thing got there? Another entrance—or was there something after all in this mad idea of dematerialisation and rematerialisation?"

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

The ethnologist narrator goes still deeper and eventually discovers his own belongings impossibly far underground. This is specifically what would be considered mining equipment: a pickaxe and shovel.

"But, curse it, every time I tried to get a grip I saw some fresh sight to shatter my poise still further. This time, just as my will power was driving the half-seen paraphernalia into obscurity, my glance and torch-beam had to light on two things of very different nature; two things of the eminently real and sane world; yet they did more to unseat my shaky reason than anything I had seen before—because I knew what they were, and knew how profoundly, in the course of Nature, they ought not to be there. They were my own missing pick and shovel, side by side, and leaning neatly against the blasphemously carved wall of that hellish crypt. God in heaven—and I had babbled to myself about daring jokers from Binger!
     That was the last straw. After that the cursed hypnotism of the manuscript got at me, and I actually saw the half-transparent shapes of the things that were pushing and plucking; pushing and plucking—those leprous palaeogean things with something of humanity still clinging to them—the complete forms, and the forms that were morbidly and perversely incomplete . . . all these, and hideous other entities—the four-footed blasphemies with ape-like face and projecting horn . . . and not a sound so far in all that nitrous hell of inner earth. . . .
     Then there was a sound—a flopping; a padding; a dull, advancing sound which heralded beyond question a being as structurally material as the pickaxe and the shovel—something wholly unlike the shadow-shapes that ringed me in, yet equally remote from any sort of life as life is understood on the earth’s wholesome surface. My shattered brain tried to prepare me for what was coming, but could not frame any adequate image. I could only say over and over again to myself, “It is of the abyss, but it is not dematerialised.” The padding grew more distinct, and from the mechanical cast of the tread I knew it was a dead thing that stalked in the darkness. Then—oh, God, I saw it in the full beam of my torch; saw it framed like a sentinel in the narrow passage between the nightmare idols of the serpent Yig and the octopus Tulu. . . ."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

The scene is describing partially dematerialized people, ending with the headless body of Zamacona. This is thematically present in the mine shaft, which has skeletons embedded in the stone walls. The spectral miners themselves spawn by materializing out of the walls of the mine shaft, and they swing mining picks as weapons. These rooms are from the original part of the spectral miner area.

[Mine Shaft]
Something about this part of the shaft sends a chill down your spine.  Warily looking about the area, you find the source of the uneasiness.  Embedded into the walls are the skeletal remains of several unfortunate former humanoids.  From this vantage point you cannot quite make out their race.
Obvious exits: east, west

>look remain
Upon closer inspection, you recognize the skull to be of elven origin.  How this poor soul found itself in this situation remains a mystery.

A spectral miner walks right out of a wall without warning!


[Mine Shaft]
Impenetrable stone walls mark the end of this long musty shaft.  On the ground, shattered remains of broken mining picks lead you to believe that the sudden outcropping of hard rock was not well received.  You also see a large pile of rubble.
Obvious exits: east

The sudden materialization concept might also be present in the special maneuver attack of the moaning spirits where they briefly become solid.

The spirit wails a sad, eerie song!
The moaning spirit swings a suddenly quite solid arm at you! Powerless to move out of the way, you can do little but flinch and pray.
... 25 points of damage!
Strong blow breaks your neck!

Those broken mining picks on the hard rock wall are interesting, as beyond the rubble into the later add-on area, the walls are weirdly clay with roots coming out of the ceiling. There is a premise of bones phased into the wall in chalky white patterns, as well as instances of a mining pick and a shovel phased into the walls. These are precisely the two "dematerialized" items and root soil in "The Mound".

[Mine Tunnels]
Broken pieces of mining equipment lie scattered about the tunnel.  One large mining pick juts out from the wall next to a chalky-white outline.  The pick is the only unbroken piece of equipment in the area.
Obvious exits: east, west
>look pick
Only half of the blade and part of the handle is visible while the rest is hidden deep within the wall of the tunnel.  You wonder what could have caused this curious phenomenon.
>look outline
You see the chalky-white outline of a vaguely humanoid shape.  Where the right hand would be, a mining pick juts out from the wall.

>w
[Mine Tunnels]
Crawling up from the floor, a chalky-white human-shaped outline stretches over part of the floor and part of the wall.  A mining shovel is imbedded into the wall around the neck area of the outline.  A roundish splotch of the chalky-white substance lies a few feet away from the outline on the floor.
Obvious exits: east, west
>look outline
This twisted humanoid outline stretches from the floor to the wall.  A mining shovel is imbedded in the wall right where the neck would be and the outline ends there.
>look shovel
This shovel is buried in the wall up to its rotting wooden handle.

(Note: The imbedded pick and shovel rooms are right next to each other.)

The room painting even explicitly says at one point that the place looks wrong for a silver mine, and that there are no lamps or lanterns making the source of light weird and unnatural. There is then an area lit with glowing moss, similar to the Graveyard and Broken Lands, with strange murals pertaining to the wyrm demon. Luminescent fungus and lichen and so on is a common motif of Lovecraft stories.

[Mine Tunnels]
Black mud cakes have been piled along the base of the walls.  Resembling nothing you'd expect to find in a silver mine, they serve only to promote a sense of puzzlement about the former workers of this mine.  
Obvious exits: south, northwest

[Mine Tunnels]
Greyish-white marks blanket the walls here.  Though there is no distinguishable pattern, the markings are reminiscent of bones.  You get an eerie feeling that this tunnel has dug its way into an old boneyard, long buried by time.  
Obvious exits: east, southwest

The chambers with the strange symbols would, if anything, have more to do with the "nightmare idols" including the serpent Yig. There is indication in a couple of the entry rooms to those three wings that it looked like people had tried to carve the wall except it is now covered in moss. The luminescent moss comes in three colors: green, blue, and silver grey. One mural is likely symbolizing a "world dragon". Another resembles a serpent with a face and fangs, but it is also shaped like a "skeleton key". This is interesting because that is more implicitly the shape of the Dark Shrine in the Broken Lands.

The last is a spiraling, triskele-like pattern, which may represent the Celtic megalithic art of passage mounds like Newgrange. Newgrange is oriented so that the sun penetrates its interior on the sunrise of the winter solstice, which may be a relevant concept to the passage tomb burial mound in the Graveyard, whose "natural chimney" may be a "roofbox". This could support the Celtic water horses theory.

(1) North: World Dragon, Blue

[Mine Tunnels]
Swirling blue symbols formed of luminescent moss mark the walls.  Though none are of any symbol set you can recognize, the largest is quite obviously a dragon.  Several spheroid-shaped patches of moss surround it, causing the entire wall to be reminiscent of a star-covered night sky.
Obvious exits: southeast
>look symbol
The symbol is shaped in the form of a large dragon, wings extended and breathing fire upon a small planet just underneath it.

>se
[Mine Tunnels]
The walls are splotched with strange glowing moss, shading the tunnel in ethereal blue.  Scratch marks around some of the moss hint that someone may have tried to carve something into the wall.
Obvious exits: south, northwest


(2) West: Triskele, Green

[Mine Tunnels]
Glowing green symbols formed out of luminescent moss blanket the walls.  Curiously most of the symbols seem to follow a pattern, carefully spiraling to a single point near the bottom of the north wall.  You also see a spectral miner.
Obvious exits: southeast
>look symbol
The symbol has a hypnotic feel as it spirals inward... around... circling deeper and deeper... spinning slower... further...

[Mine Tunnels]
Thick glowing green moss covers the walls of this mine.  The soft glow lends an eerie feel as the tunnel begins to ramp downward steeply towards the northwest.  You also see a spectral miner.
Obvious exits: east, northwest


(3) South: Skeleton Key Serpent, Silver Grey

[Mine Tunnels]
The walls are covered with silvery glowing moss, each patch shaped into a strange symbol.  The absence of glowing moss along the ground is almost as distracting, as the effect of glow above and black dirt below feels odd, as if there were no ground to stand on here.
Obvious exits: northeast
>look symbol
The symbol looks a little like a skeleton key, the top semi-circular with three dots for eyes and nose, below them a row of markings forming a mouth and a long jagged stroke downward representing the teeth of the key.

>ne
[Mine Tunnels]
Odd blotches of glowing silvery grey moss cover the tunnel walls.  Some of the blotches have been marked or scraped, as if someone once tried to draw or carve some sort of message on the wall, though nothing of it is still recognizable.
Obvious exits: north, southwest

(7) The Mound

The burial mound of The Graveyard can itself be taken to correspond to the "Indian mound" in the novella, since it has had a pathway leading to Shadow Valley since the ghoul master expansion in 1998. The question is whether this room painting has continuity with "The Mound", assuming that sub-text was actually an influence on Shadow Valley. There are some points of similarity suggesting they might be consistent. The tomb spider portion is completely inconsistent with it. However, there is a Clark Ashton Smith story called "The Seven Geases", where this is not a problem on the way to K'n-yan.

"Everything else on the mound was as I had left it—brush cut by my machete, slight, bowl-like depression toward the north end, and the hole I had made with my trench-knife in digging up the magnetism-revealed cylinder. Deeming it too great a concession to the unknown jokers to return to Binger for another pick and shovel, I resolved to carry out my programme as best I could with the machete and trench-knife in my handbag; so extracting these, I set to work excavating the bowl-like depression which my eye had picked as the possible site of a former entrance to the mound. As I proceeded, I felt again the suggestion of a sudden wind blowing against me which I had noticed the day before—a suggestion which seemed stronger, and still more reminiscent of unseen, formless, opposing hands laid on my wrists, as I cut deeper and deeper through the root-tangled red soil and reached the exotic black loam beneath. The talisman around my neck appeared to twitch oddly in the breeze—not in any one direction, as when attracted by the buried cylinder, but vaguely and diffusely, in a manner wholly unaccountable.
     Then, quite without warning, the black, root-woven earth beneath my feet began to sink cracklingly, while I heard a faint sound of sifting, falling matter far below me. The obstructing wind, or forces, or hands now seemed to be operating from the very seat of the sinking, and I felt that they aided me by pushing as I leaped back out of the hole to avoid being involved in any cave-in. Bending down over the brink and hacking at the mould-caked root-tangle with my machete, I felt that they were against me again—but at no time were they strong enough to stop my work. The more roots I severed, the more falling matter I heard below. Finally the hole began to deepen of itself toward the centre, and I saw that the earth was sifting down into some large cavity beneath, so as to leave a good-sized aperture when the roots that had bound it were gone. A few more hacks of the machete did the trick, and with a parting cave-in and uprush of curiously chill and alien air the last barrier gave way. Under the morning sun yawned a huge opening at least three feet square, and shewing the top of a flight of stone steps down which the loose earth of the collapse was still sliding. My quest had come to something at last! With an elation of accomplishment almost overbalancing fear for the nonce, I replaced the trench-knife and machete in my handbag, took out my powerful electric torch, and prepared for a triumphant, lone, and utterly rash invasion of the fabulous nether world I had uncovered."

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

The burial mound expansion has a depression in the middle, as well as a spiral stone walkway leading down into it. This is mildly consistent but could easily be coincidental.

[Graveyard, Burial Mound]
The dark earth sinks into a deep depression, providing slippery footing as you make your way among the collection of mummified flesh and bone that has fallen here, loosed from the soil by the movements of the earth and the passage of wandering visitors.  A sun-bleached skull grins up at the sky, still firmly attached to its body buried somewhere beneath the loam.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest
>look skull
The skull grins at you, its teeth, polished by hungry insects, glistening in the faint light.

>sw
[Graveyard, Burial Mound]
The ground slopes away into a deep, dark hole at the corner of the mound, a rough ledge dug into the soil providing access into the darkness below.  Bones and grinning, fleshless skulls from ages past protrude from the ancient layers of dirt, their peace disrupted by the digging.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, down
>d
[Graveyard, Barrow Tunnel]
The piled dirt that forms the burial mound gives way to a passage hewn into the stone of the ground below.  A narrow ledge has been carved into the walls, providing a precarious means of descent as it circles downward into darkness.
Obvious paths: up, down
>d
[Graveyard, Barrow Tunnel]
A stone ledge, carved into the chamber walls, circles the passage and leads upward into darkness.  A foul miasma settles from above, filling the chamber with a heavy odor of tainted soil and ancient decay.  The passage narrows to the east, its walls still showing the marks of the tools used to painstakingly carve it from the rock countless centuries ago.
Obvious exits: east, up

The room with the "symbols of dark gods" could correspond to the idols of Yig and Cthulhu the narrator encounters after this, where he is horrified by the buried equipment being impossibly present, and ultimately encounters the headless body of the Conquistador soldier. But this requires ignoring the robed scythe figure, altar, and the albino tomb spiders. There is nothing specific indicating it.

[Graveyard, Barrow Tunnel]
A chill breeze bearing a faint odor of decay wafts through the huge stone arch that dominates the eastern end of the tunnel.  The arch is worn by dark rivulets of water dripping from somewhere above, the acidic liquid etching deep streaks in the ancient grey stone and nearly obliterating the many symbols of dark gods carved into its pockmarked surface. 
Obvious exits: south, west

In the same way the skulls in the burial mound and the "unknown warrior" grave-marker could refer to his headless body, which is the premise of the ghost story the narrator was investigating. Overall this is still very thin, these details of the burial mound could be meaningless. The presence of this area also subverts the Purgatory symbolism of the original Under Crypt tunnels and the Under Barrow.

[Graveyard, Burial Mound]
A weathered wooden grave-marker stands here, leaning to one side in the dark soil that shifts damply underfoot.  A ridge of black earth forms a boundary at the west end of the mound, blocking access to the dark bogs in the distance.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south
>read grave-marker
In the Common language, it reads:
For The Unknown Warrior - R I P

However, since there is a basic consistency between these two mound scenes it is worth mentioning, as several points potentially match up. The burial mound expansion was not very long after Shadow Valley was made, so it is conceivable there could still have been some continuity of intent between them. Generally speaking, the add-on areas to the Graveyard are their own things, and are mostly meaningless.

"Well, I saw the same thing that poor Heaton saw—and I saw it after reading the manuscript, so I know more of its history than he did. That makes it worse—for I know all that it implies; all that must be still brooding and festering and waiting down there. I told you it had padded mechanically toward me out of the narrow passage and had stood sentry-like at the entrance between the frightful eidola of Yig and Tulu. That was very natural and inevitable—because the thing was a sentry. It had been made a sentry for punishment, and it was quite dead—besides lacking head, arms, lower legs, and other customary parts of a human being. Yes—it had been a very human being once; and what is more, it had been white. Very obviously, if that manuscript was as true as I think it was, this being had been used for the diversions of the amphitheatre before its life had become wholly extinct and supplanted by automatic impulses controlled from outside.
     On its white and only slightly hairy chest some letters had been gashed or branded—I had not stopped to investigate, but had merely noted that they were in an awkward and fumbling Spanish; an awkward Spanish implying a kind of ironic use of the language by an alien inscriber familiar neither with the idiom nor the Roman letters used to record it. The inscription had read “Secuestrado a la voluntad de Xinaián en el cuerpo decapitado de Tlayúb”—“Seized by the will of K’n-yan in the headless body of T’la-yub.”"

- "The Mound"; H.P. Lovecraft

Call of Cthulhu

There is a one-off allusion to "The Call of Cthulhu" in the original part of the mine shaft of the spectral miners. In the Shadow Valley story there is an otherworldly horror slumbering deep below ground until it is awakened and destroys its surroundings. Cthulhu is a Great Old One who is in a state of sleeping death at the bottom of the ocean in his city R'lyeh until the stars return to the right alignment. The Cthulhu cultists around the world are unconnected to each other, except for what they receive in their minds from the dreaming Cthulhu. This is the "uninvited memories" of ritual chanting in the room painting.

[Mine Shaft]
Faint echoes of a strange singsong chant enter your mind without the courtesy of using your ears.  Disturbed, you can find no visible source of the uninvited memories.  The walls seem to grow closer as the tunnel continues upward to the east.
Obvious exits: east, west

In the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft he used the phrase "sing-song chant" twice, once in "Out of the Aeons" co-written with Hazel Heald, the other as an exact phrase in "The Call of Cthulhu". In "Out of the Aeons" it is strange foreigners coming to see a mummy with a scroll from Yuggoth, which has an image of Ghatanothoa with the power of mummifying those who look at it. This story notably has Randolph Carter in it in his Swami disguise, and mentions Yig and K'n-yan, but otherwise seems irrelevant. In "The Call of Cthulhu" the phrase is immediately before the famous line of Cthulhu sleeping in R'lyeh.

"Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse’s men as they ploughed on through the black morass toward the red glare and the muffled tom-toms. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Animal fury and orgiastic licence here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstasies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organised ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well-drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing-song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:
     “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
Then the men, having reached a spot where the trees were thinner, came suddenly in sight of the spectacle itself. Four of them reeled, one fainted, and two were shaken into a frantic cry which the mad cacophony of the orgy fortunately deadened. Legrasse dashed swamp water on the face of the fainting man, and all stood trembling and nearly hypnotised with horror."

- "The Call of Cthulhu"; H.P. Lovecraft

This is then translated later in the story when it is discovered a completely unrelated cult of Eskimos had knowledge of the exact same ritual chant.

This data, received with suspense and astonishment by the assembled members, proved doubly exciting to Inspector Legrasse; and he began at once to ply his informant with questions. Having noted and copied an oral ritual among the swamp cult-worshippers his men had arrested, he besought the professor to remember as best he might the syllables taken down amongst the diabolist Esquimaux. There then followed an exhaustive comparison of details, and a moment of really awed silence when both detective and scientist agreed on the virtual identity of the phrase common to two hellish rituals so many worlds of distance apart. What, in substance, both the Esquimau wizards and the Louisiana swamp-priests had chanted to their kindred idols was something very like this—the word-divisions being guessed at from traditional breaks in the phrase as chanted aloud:
     “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
     Legrasse had one point in advance of Professor Webb, for several among his mongrel prisoners had repeated to him what older celebrants had told them the words meant. This text, as given, ran something like this:
     “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

- "The Call of Cthulhu"; H.P. Lovecraft

The "Tale of Silver Valley" does not specifically say the entity is unconscious, but there is a recurring dream theme to Shadow Valley. The wyrm "awakened" when it fought the steeds.

"There were rumors and legends about them, scary tales of a great evil entity from another plane who once tried to gain entrance to our world by opening a great portal deep underground. The skies grew dark and the ground shook. The entity came through the portal and tore its way up through the ground, breaking the surface just inside Silver Valley. It is said that the equines met this invader with such ferocity that it was driven back into the crevice that it had opened and fell into a deep chasm never to be heard from again. Some say the horses still remain in the valley to protect us should the entity in the pit ever return."

- "Tale of Silver Valley"

Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

In Research:The Graveyard and Research:The Broken Lands there are arguments for "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" being a basis for the Purgatory death mechanics messaging. This is a novella which takes places in a parallel dimension called the Dreamlands, which is a fantastical version of the Earth and Moon. It is reached by dreaming out of one's own body. It is the end scene where the dreamer leaps out into the void of sentient blackness to wake up again that is relevant. The valley at this point is a contrast to the "waking world", and is an exact parallel to the dark crevice and Secluded Valley.

[Shadow Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick black mist, lending the land an eerie demeanor.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

[A Dark Crevice]
You are perched on the ledge of a dangerously steep crevice which juts out from the wall hanging over a dark abyss.  The odd mists within it glow with an ethereal light as they lash about in their chaotic dance.  From above, the sound of thundering hooves reverberate throughout the chasm, seemingly vanishing into the bottomless pit below.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious exits: up

(A) Leaping

>jump
You foolishly leap up into the air and straight out into the dark abyss!

You find yourself falling into a bottomless abyss.  Swallowed by blackness, you can only sense the air rushing by as you plummet down into certain death!
P>
Just as you think the falling will never end, you crash through an ethereal barrier which bursts into a dazzling kaleidoscope of color!  Your sensation of falling turns to dizziness and you feel unusually heavy for a moment.  Everything seems to stop for a prolonged second and then WHUMP!!!
You are stunned!

You feel the presence of cold hard stone underneath you.

(B) Mist
>
A tendril of mist wraps around your waist and yanks you away from the ledge with surprising strength!
You find yourself falling into a bottomless abyss.  Swallowed by blackness, you can only sense the air rushing by as you plummet down into certain death!

P>yell
You try to speak but can't concentrate on words while you plummet to certain death!
P>stand
You try, but the unending fall to certain death takes precedence.  Accept your fate.
>
Just as you think the falling will never end, you crash through an ethereal barrier which bursts into a dazzling kaleidoscope of color!  Your sensation of falling turns to dizziness and you feel unusually heavy for a moment.  Everything seems to stop for a prolonged second and then WHUMP!!!
You are stunned!

You feel the presence of cold hard stone underneath you.


Third Person:


XXXXX just jumped off the ledge into the abyss!

A ripple of essence appears about five feet above the floor and XXXXX comes flying out of it, hitting the ground hard!

(Note: The Fool card in Tarot decks is represented as walking off a cliff. This may not be relevant, but is worth mentioning. The plunging into darkness and then appearing this high of the ground before being dropped hard is very similar to entering The Rift, which is quite likely based on the Fool card, and the room painting is Norse mythology but might even more specifically be using "The Seeker" version of it from the Complete Arthurian tarot deck.)

This is essentially the same as Randolph Carter leaping from the shantak to return to the world of his own memories. The parallel is the "grainy montage of colors" in the decay messaging. The premise of this scene is that the world of his memories is rushing back to him as he escapes the daemonic. Earlier in the story he avoided waking up, as he would risk losing the knowledge he had gained of the Dreamlands.

"Thick though the rushing nightmare that clutched his senses, Randolph Carter could turn and move. He could move, and if he chose he could leap off the evil shantak that bore him hurtlingly doomward at the orders of Nyarlathotep. He could leap off and dare those depths of night that yawned interminably down, those depths of fear whose terrors yet could not exceed the nameless doom that lurked waiting at chaos’ core. He could turn and move and leap—he could—he would—he would—
     Off that vast hippocephalic abomination leaped the doomed and desperate dreamer, and down through endless voids of sentient blackness he fell. Aeons reeled, universes died and were born again, stars became nebulae and nebulae became stars, and still Randolph Carter fell through those endless voids of sentient blackness.
     Then in the slow creeping course of eternity the utmost cycle of the cosmos churned itself into another futile completion, and all things became again as they were unreckoned kalpas before. Matter and light were born anew as space once had known them; and comets, suns, and worlds sprang flaming into life, though nothing survived to tell that they had been and gone, been and gone, always and always, back to no first beginning.
     And there was a firmament again, and a wind, and a glare of purple light in the eyes of the falling dreamer. There were gods and presences and wills; beauty and evil, and the shrieking of noxious night robbed of its prey. For through the unknown ultimate cycle had lived a thought and a vision of a dreamer’s boyhood, and now there were re-made a waking world and an old cherished city to body and to justify these things. Out of the void S’ngac the violet gas had pointed the way, and archaic Nodens was bellowing his guidance from unhinted deeps.
     Stars swelled to dawns, and dawns burst into fountains of gold, carmine, and purple, and still the dreamer fell. Cries rent the aether as ribbons of light beat back the fiends from outside. And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust. Randolph Carter had indeed descended at last the wide marmoreal flights to his marvellous city, for he was come again to the fair New England world that had wrought him."

- "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"; H.P. Lovecraft

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath uses the phrase "waking world" over a dozen times as the contrast between Earth in our universe and Earth as it exists in the Dreamlands. This kind of language is much more overt in Shadow Valley than it is in the Broken Lands, which is argued to tightly parallel the Underworld of the Dreamlands. The wording in the room painting for the valley refers to forgetting, remnants of hope, and odd feelings of unreality. In context this might be cryptically playing off Oblivion as it existed in GemStone III and the hopelessness of Purgatory where all memory washed away.

The "forgotten" motif appears in the mines of Shadow Valley as well, and is the predominant theme of "Tale of the Silver Valley". (The jumping into darkness is there as well, except in that case bodies smack hard into the ground.) Muylari uses his sorcery to cause amnesia in the town, and Jaron Galarn is buried alive only because it wore off allowing his memories to return. It is possible this is supposed to be an allegory of sad Eissa and the inevitable fate of Oblivion in general. Muylari interestingly says in time even they will forget him. Muylari is poorly recorded now but was seemingly cursed with immortality.

"He woke up in darkness at the sound of harsh voices. "What should we do with him? The forget spells didn't work! If we spell him again he may come back with help next time!" one voice said. Another voice, this one calmer, darker, "Dig a grave outside the mine and bury him." The other protested, "But he's not dead!" "If you bury him, he'll be dead soon enough. Do it!"

Jaron was dumped roughly in a long wooden box and the lid was immediately nailed shut. He searched frantically for anything to aid him in an escape, but the strangers had stripped him of anything useful. Desperate, he began screaming at the top of his lungs. "Release me! Let me out here or you'll regret it!"

A sad voice replied, "Quiet in there. No one remembers you. In time, we will not remember you. Accept your fate lad. Try to die with some dignity."

"Dignity! What dignity is there to die in a box?! You must let me out! I can hear in your voice that you do not wish this upon me! Release me and help me free the horses!"

Again the sad voice replied, "My fate is set friend, as is yours. I must serve the master with my talents and you must die in this box. Do not bother in your attempts to turn my loyalty. That possibility has long passed."

Then suddenly an excited voice exclaimed, "Muylari, there's cracks opening up in the grave! I don't think we can dig any deeper."

"Shut up fool! I told you never to use my name." A short silence. Then... "It is deep enough. Toss the box in and fill up the hole."

The darkness once again lurched around Jaron as someone hefted the box and began carrying it away. Before he could begin screaming, the sad voice spoke one last time, "Good-bye Jaron Galarn. Accept your fate."

"No!" Jaron screamed. "I do not accept this fate damn you! You cannot leave me here to die and simply forget me! Do you hear me Muylari?! I will return to free my horses if I have to rise from the grave I swear! Do you understand Muylari?! I curse this land and all who would do harm here! I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!!!"

A roll of thunder breached the silence and then Jaron was suddenly falling as his box was dropped into the grave. The hard impact knocked him out, leaving his last words echoing in his mind as the sounds of earth raining upon the top of the coffin filled his ears. The last thing he felt before dizziness and suffocation took over was a sudden shift and a sinking feeling as if falling a great distance into some subterranean chasm. Then everything, even his thoughts, stopped in blackness. "

- "Tale of Silver Valley", Selias Jodame

For the sake of completion this is what it looks like when you jump into the pit in the mine tunnel. The Rift entrance is more like the Shadow Valley exit, a rainbow of colors and darkness and soft landing.

First Person:
>jump
You hop a little closer to the pit and hesitate, reconsidering your actions.  If you really wish to jump into the pit, you'll have to try again.
>jump
You jump into the darkness below...

After a giddy moment of freefalling, you slam hard into the ground!  You fall screaming to the ground grasping your mangled left leg!

The sudden stunning pain from your injuries overwhelms you and your mind gives way to blackness...


Third Person:

XXXX hops over to the edge of the dark pit and looks into it thoughtfuly.
J>
XXXX jumps into the pit and quickly drops out of sight.


A scuffle of sound from above causes you to glance up, just in time to see YYYY crash hard into ground beside you!

YYYY screams and falls to the ground grasping her mangled left leg!

The parallel to the Rift may have been designed even beyond this plunging into darkness motif. The first three planes of The Rift are parallels of each other, much like the Secluded Valley and Shadow Valley. There is also a room in The Rift of skeletal "equines" frolicking which is highly reminiscent of Shadow Valley. It is possible there are cryptic relations to Purgatory on a subtextual level in the Drake's Shrine. The reptilian bat-winged shantak bird that Randolph Carter leaps from is worthy of note as well. These can be reasonably argued to resemble the wyrm, which is associated with the dark crevice itself.

There is another parallel which is more literal. The "Lover's Leap" from the cliff of the Dark Palisade on Teras Isle uses the same wording as the slightly older Shadow Valley exit. The Temple of Luukos has its own special variant of the death mechanics messaging where the body goes to the moon of the dark gods instead of Purgatory. The mouth of the wind tunnel is an implicit god face like the Dark Shrine.

[Dark Palisade, Lovers' Leap]
The desolate moor gives up life to a jagged cliff of jet black volcanic rock and the grey sea beyond.  Cold wind carries the spray of the waves below against the rocks and howls up the face of the cliff below.  It draws a mournful wail from the dark stone as it hurtles onto the moor, blowing the tenacious shrubs into drawn and flat shadows of their normal shapes.  You also see the edge of the precipice.
Obvious paths: north, south, west
>jump
You foolishly leap up into the air and straight out over the cliff!

A powerful wall of air suddenly strikes and you find yourself slowing ever so slightly.  The surroundings are just a blur of motion as you speed along!
P>
Just as you think the falling will never end, you are suddenly dropped into a smooth stone chute.  Your sensation of falling turns to dizziness as you tumble down the chute.  Without warning you find yourself hanging in the air for a prolonged second and then WHUMP!!!
You are stunned!

You feel the presence of cold hard stone underneath you.

>look
[Wind Tunnel]
The wind speaks with a passionate voice, the voice of the damned souls that have been borne here from the swirling storm off-shore.  Throughout the years the unnatural tempest has been known by many names.  Sailors call it the Felstorm, or simply "the Squall", and you remember a mendicant preacher once mumbling something about "...the breath!  The foul breath of Luukos..."
Obvious exits: east, west

Colour Out of Space

"The Colour Out of Space" is more of a science fiction story that Lovecraft wrote to illustrate a highly alien otherworldly horror. There is a meteor impact at a farm which quickly shrinks, throwing off what can only be approximated as colors of light, until it is repeatedly struck by lightning. It poisons the soil causing mutant vegetation growth, deforming the animals, and strangely colored fog. It is followed by the color draining out of everything, which becomes grey and brittle, with the characters becoming ill and falling into madness. Ultimately this alien horror is turning the surroundings and dead horses into dust. Where "The Mound" might explain some of the story elements and the entrance of Shadow Valley, "The Colour Out of Space" might explain the landscape with the horses. Both of these stories have glowing fog.

"The Colour Out of Space" is able to explain the "lack of color" or color draining effect on the pookas, the reduction of everything to dust, the skeletons and expanding blight, glowing wooden structures, black clouds, the bubbling ooze and acid, and the hateful poisonous mists which are appearing in multiple colors. It might be the source of the well with mist coming out of it, the barn, the footbridge, and the phrase "shadow valley." Similar to "The Mound" it has a premise of an investigator piecing a story back together, which could inspire the Selias Jodame collection of local tales to tell what happened to Jaron Galarn.

(1) Color Drain

"The Colour Out of Space" is set in a "shadowed valley" called the "blasted heath", where all of the vegetation has been permanently reduced to dust. This dust is remarkable for being all grey, as all the color has been drained out of it. The otherworldly horror was only describable as something like colors, but unfamiliar to anything in the visible light spectrum. The blight had spread from the vegetation to the animals, making them all grey and brittle until they fell apart. The black rivers in Shadow Valley are sentient as well as highly acidic and lethal, perhaps reminiscent of the magru in the Broken Lands.

"But even all this was not so bad as the blasted heath. I knew it the moment I came upon it at the bottom of a spacious valley; for no other name could fit such a thing, or any other thing fit such a name. It was as if the poet had coined the phrase from having seen this one particular region. It must, I thought as I viewed it, be the outcome of a fire; but why had nothing new ever grown over those five acres of grey desolation that sprawled open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields? It lay largely to the north of the ancient road line, but encroached a little on the other side. I felt an odd reluctance about approaching, and did so at last only because my business took me through and past it. There was no vegetation of any kind on that broad expanse, but only a fine grey dust or ash which no wind seemed ever to blow about. The trees near it were sickly and stunted, and many dead trunks stood or lay rotting at the rim. As I walked hurriedly by I saw the tumbled bricks and stones of an old chimney and cellar on my right, and the yawning black maw of an abandoned well whose stagnant vapours played strange tricks with the hues of the sunlight."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

The phosphorescent glow had infested the buildings and woodwork as well. This can be seen in the mine shaft, which has glowing wooden structures like braces and pillars.

"Then there burst forth a frantic whinny from Ammi’s horse outside, followed at once by a clatter which told of a frenzied runaway. In another moment horse and buggy had gone beyond earshot, leaving the frightened man on the dark stairs to guess what had sent them. But that was not all. There had been another sound out there. A sort of liquid splash—water—it must have been the well. He had left Hero untied near it, and a buggy-wheel must have brushed the coping and knocked in a stone. And still the pale phosphorescence glowed in that detestably ancient woodwork. God! how old the house was! Most of it built before 1670, and the gambrel roof not later than 1730."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft


[A Dark Shaft]
The air tastes stale in this long forgotten mine shaft.  Several rows of wooden braces extend to the east serving to hold up the ceiling.  An eerie soft white glow emanates from the braces causing the view eastward to fill you with uncertainty and dread.  You also see a pile of rubble.
Obvious exits: north, east, west

>look brace
A strange soft white glow surrounds the wood as if protecting it from outside influences.

[Dark Tunnel]
Dust is thick in the air making breathing a chore.  Tunnels break off in three directions, the one leading west marked with a pillar carefully bracing the ceiling.
Obvious exits: northeast, southeast, west
>look pillar
A soft white glow surrounds the pillar creating a faint light within the tunnels.

The secluded valley and dark pasture are analogous to the surrounding area to the blasted heath itself, which corresponds instead to the shadow plain. The difference is that the shadow plain is black sand and dust, and the pasture is only decaying. But this is on the Shadow Valley side of the parallel dimension. It would be white or grey sand and dust on our world's side, and the mist colors would be reversed.

[Secluded Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the mist thins.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest

[A Dark Shaft]
Odd shuffling sounds from somewhere nearby put you on guard as you struggle to make out your surroundings in the odd light.  The ground seems mottled with hoofprints, pressed deep into the earth as if the makers had been packed with some tremendous burden.
Obvious exits: east, south, west

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
Drab grey clouds twist overhead in muted anguish, casting writhing shadows over this secluded pasture.  The pasture spreads out dully to the southeast, broken only by the occasional misshapen tree or rotted trunk.  An ancient trail, overgrown from countless years of disuse, weaves its way from the rising valley walls into the desolation.
Obvious paths: southeast

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
All around you, the pasture is in various states of decay, with a few spots where a thorny undergrowth has strangled out a life for itself.  Imbued with the stench of rotting earth, the air hangs like a noose about your neck.  Choking for air, you continue on your way, moving as far away from the smell as you can.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
A dull mist hangs low to the ground, obscuring whatever features this pasture had.  Above you dull grey clouds float in a lazy mimic of the mist at your feet.  A lone twisted tree rises up from the mist, in muted defiance of the desolation around it.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest
>look tree
This twisted and gnarled tree stands in muted defiance of the desolation that the pasture has surrendered to.

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
Dry brittle grass clumps remain as little islands amidst this sea of desolation.  Dried flowers, their seeds wasted on the barren ground, lie long forgotten by the passage of time.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
The dull, grey sky contrasts with the dark deterioration of the pasture around you.  The trail meanders through the ruined pasture, bending to avoid the encroaching decay.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
The trail dies out here, swallowed by the desolation surrounding it.  Parched and cracked, the ground crumbles beneath your feet as you walk through.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, northwest

The Shadow Plain is where the desolation is fully reduced to dust. In the world on our side this plain would be grey rather than dark because of the mirror effect.

[Shadow Plain]
The windswept plains stretch as far as you can see to the south.  You can see dust swirls blowing across the flats.  Far in the distance to the southeast, you can make out some dark hills.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest

A swirling dust storm kicks up suddenly and blows through the area.

A raging cloud of dust blows into the area, quickly obscuring your vision.  Try as you might, you cannot shield your eyes from the fine black dust that swirls all around you.  The wind begins to tug at you and you begin to fear that you may be swept up in the storm.  Just when you feel your feet begin to leave the ground, the dust storm moves on!

A dust storm whirls by you, picking up the detritus from the dead ground beneath you feet and carrying it away.  Pausing a moment, you realize that the storm has left you covered in a fine black dust!

[Shadow Plain]
Mist and dust intermingle with the blowing breeze to form a sludge that sticks to everything it touches.  The sludge seeps into your skin making you long for fresh water in which to bathe.
Obvious paths: north, southeast, southwest

[Shadow Plain]
The dried out and barren remains of this once beautiful plain are peppered by small mounds of black sand.  Dark clouds overhead cast haunting shadows that ooze over the barren ground.  Stretched out to the southeast lie long stretches of shattered and dead land.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

[Shadow Plain, Black Hills]
This small clearing provides a short respite from the constant duststorms.  You can see faint lines on the slopes of a stream where water may have once ran.  Petrified remains of once mighty trees lay broken around the landscape.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest

[Shadow Plain, Black Hills]
The wind blows so hard across the hills that you have to lean into it.  Several dust storms swirl around, throwing black dirt in every direction.  As far as you can see, only the desolate, black hills break up the monotonous horizon.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest

In "The Colour Out of Space" this is illustrated as a process of expanding blight that warps what it touches first, then ends up greying it out and making it brittle, ultimately killing it and reducing it all to grey dust. This is the way the shadow valley would look in our own world, as explained above in the coexistence section. We simply cannot reach it because there's no trail out of the Secluded Valley.

"And all the while the vegetation was turning grey and brittle. Even the flowers whose hues had been so strange were greying now, and the fruit was coming out grey and dwarfed and tasteless. The asters and goldenrod bloomed grey and distorted, and the roses and zinneas and hollyhocks in the front yard were such blasphemous-looking things that Nahum’s oldest boy Zenas cut them down. The strangely puffed insects died about that time, even the bees that had left their hives and taken to the woods.
     By September all the vegetation was fast crumbling to a greyish powder, and Nahum feared that the trees would die before the poison was out of the soil. His wife now had spells of terrific screaming, and he and the boys were in a constant state of nervous tension. They shunned people now, and when school opened the boys did not go. But it was Ammi, on one of his rare visits, who first realised that the well water was no longer good. It had an evil taste that was not exactly foetid nor exactly salty, and Ammi advised his friend to dig another well on higher ground to use till the soil was good again."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

The next paragraph is about one of the characters going mad after visiting the well and rambling about moving colors in it. It is then followed by this paragraph, where the grey and brittle color draining moves on to the livestock. This is seen outright in the creature description of the ghostly pooka, which drains the color from its surroundings. The shadow mares instead assume the surrounding colors.

"Almost at the same time the mortality among the livestock commenced. Poultry turned greyish and died very quickly, their meat being found dry and noisome upon cutting. Hogs grew inordinately fat, then suddenly began to undergo loathsome changes which no one could explain. Their meat was of course useless, and Nahum was at his wit’s end. No rural veterinary would approach his place, and the city veterinary from Arkham was openly baffled. The swine began growing grey and brittle and falling to pieces before they died, and their eyes and muzzles developed singular alterations. It was very inexplicable, for they had never been fed from the tainted vegetation. Then something struck the cows. Certain areas or sometimes the whole body would be uncannily shrivelled or compressed, and atrocious collapses or disintegrations were common. In the last stages—and death was always the result—there would be a greying and turning brittle like that which beset the hogs. There could be no question of poison, for all the cases occurred in a locked and undisturbed barn. No bites of prowling things could have brought the virus, for what live beast of earth can pass through solid obstacles? It must be only natural disease—yet what disease could wreak such results was beyond any mind’s guessing. When the harvest came there was not an animal surviving on the place, for the stock and poultry were dead and the dogs had run away. These dogs, three in number, had all vanished one night and were never heard of again. The five cats had left some time before, but their going was scarcely noticed since there now seemed to be no mice, and only Mrs. Gardner had made pets of the graceful felines."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft


>desc pooka
The most stunning thing about the appearance of a ghostly pooka is the odd illusion surrounding this pitiful equine which seems to absorb all the color from everything around it. The ghostly horse appears to be weighed down by some heavy chains which cover its entire body. The sight of its obvious torment tears at the souls of all who lay eyes upon it.

>desc mare
The features of this horror are difficult to make out due to the shifting of her shadowy hide which instantly assumes the color of her surroundings.  Despite the strange effect, her eyes glow red and a wave of ethereal light flashes across her mane.

(2) Colored Fog

Throughout the story there is "vapour" or "mist" that gives strange hues with the light while the background is grey desolation. The blight is poisonous. The whole of Shadow Valley is themed with mists and fogs, either grey or black, but sometimes other colors such as sickly yellow and even red. The creatures form out of these fogs, and the fog itself is a poisonous environmental hazard.

"While he screamed he thought a momentary cloud eclipsed the window, and a second later he felt himself brushed as if by some hateful current of vapour. Strange colours danced before his eyes; and had not a present horror numbed him he would have thought of the globule in the meteor that the geologist’s hammer had shattered, and of the morbid vegetation that had sprouted in the spring. As it was he thought only of the blasphemous monstrosity which confronted him, and which all too clearly had shared the nameless fate of young Thaddeus and the livestock. But the terrible thing about this horror was that it very slowly and perceptibly moved as it continued to crumble."


"“Nothin’ . . . nothin’ . . . the colour . . . it burns . . . cold an’ wet . . . but it burns . . . it lived in the well . . . I seen it . . . a kind o’ smoke . . . jest like the flowers last spring . . . the well shone at night . . . Thad an’ Mernie an’ Zenas . . . everything alive . . . suckin’ the life out of everything . . . in that stone . . . it must a’ come in that stone . . . pizened the whole place . . . dun’t know what it wants . . . that round thing them men from the college dug outen the stone . . . they smashed it . . . it was that same colour . . . jest the same, like the flowers an’ plants . . . must a’ ben more of ’em . . . seeds . . . seeds . . . they growed . . . I seen it the fust time this week . . . must a’ got strong on Zenas . . . he was a big boy, full o’ life . . . it beats down your mind an’ then gits ye . . . burns ye up . . . in the well water . . . you was right about that . . . evil water . . . Zenas never come back from the well . . . can’t git away . . . draws ye . . . ye know summ’at’s comin’, but ’tain’t no use . . . I seen it time an’ agin senct Zenas was took . . . whar’s Nabby, Ammi? . . . my head’s no good . . . dun’t know how long senct I fed her . . . it’ll git her ef we ain’t keerful . . . jest a colour . . . her face is gettin’ to hev that colour sometimes towards night . . . an’ it burns an’ sucks . . . it come from some place whar things ain’t as they is here . . . one o’ them professors said so . . . he was right . . . look out, Ammi, it’ll do suthin’ more . . . sucks the life out. . . .”
     But that was all. That which spoke could speak no more because it had completely caved in. Ammi laid a red checked tablecloth over what was left and reeled out the back door into the fields. He climbed the slope to the ten-acre pasture and stumbled home by the north road and the woods. He could not pass that well from which his horse had run away. He had looked at it through the window, and had seen that no stone was missing from the rim. Then the lurching buggy had not dislodged anything after all—the splash had been something else—something which went into the well after it had done with poor Nahum. "


     "It does credit to the alertness of Ammi’s mind that he puzzled even at that tense moment over a point which was essentially scientific. He could not but wonder at his gleaning of the same impression from a vapour glimpsed in the daytime, against a window opening on the morning sky, and from a nocturnal exhalation seen as a phosphorescent mist against the black and blasted landscape. It wasn’t right—it was against Nature—and he thought of those terrible last words of his stricken friend, “It come from some place whar things ain’t as they is here . . . one o’ them professors said so. . . .” "

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

The fog takes on other colors and poses an environmental hazard, being capable of poisoning characters. The same mist colors are found in the creatures, which manifest out of them.


[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
Like a wounded beast bleeding, a strange red mist oozes from the ground.  The stench is awful and you are forced to choke back your last meal.
Obvious paths: northeast, southwest

A dull grey mist seeps up from the ground beneath your feet, and within moments has wrapped itself around you completely, covering you with a warm grey slime!

You begin to gag and choke as your feel weak and listless, and the world seems to speed up around you!

A sickly yellow mist oozes out of the ground and wraps itself around your ankles, insinuating its way up your leg.  In seconds, it has covered you with a thin yellow membrane!

A murky grey mist oozes up in front of you and crawls over the ground searching for something.  Just as it reaches your feet, you hear the sound of thundering hooves trampling by and a strong breeze picks up, scattering the mist!

(Note: The colors blue, green, and silver grey appear in the mine tunnels as glowing moss. Pillars and braces have a white glow.)

These are the mists from the crevice at the exit of Shadow Valley:

A tendril of mist quickly wraps around XXXXX's waist and yanks him into the abyss below!
J>
The odd swirling mists wrap around your legs but you manage to kick free of them without falling.
J>
Eddies and whorls of black mist swirl about in a chaotic hypnotic dance which makes you a bit dizzy!
J>
A tendril of mist wraps around your waist and yanks you away from the ledge with surprising strength!
You find yourself falling into a bottomless abyss.  Swallowed by blackness, you can only sense the air rushing by as you plummet down into certain death!

The horses are formed from the fog, and disappear back into them as well. The night hounds form of the shadows, being creatures of darkness itself.

A shadow mare's eyes go dim as she dissolves into the shadows.

A night mare vanishes in a sickly cloud of black smoke.

A shadow steed fades into oblivion.

Your heart stops for a moment as a night mare gallops into view!

The shadows before you coalesce and take shape in the form of a night hound, its golden eyes gleaming within its shadowy head!

A sickly grey mist rises from a twisted shadow on the ground, coalescing into a shadow steed!

>desc steed
As magnificent as any living horse, this shadow steed stares beyond you with glowing red eyes.  Its matte black coat provides a sharp contrast to its shining silvery tail and mane.  The shadow steed paws the ground restlessly with its front hooves as it swishes its tail, flickering into and out of the shadows.

You gesture at a shadow steed.
A shadow steed fades into the shadows!
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.

A shadow steed coalesces from the shadows.
A shadow steed charges at XXXXX!
  AS: +198 vs DS: +354 with AvD: +26 + d100 roll: +30 = -100
   A clean miss.

You channel at a night mare.
A night mare exudes a sickly yellow mist, creating a shimmering haze all around her!
 CS: +247 - TD: +327 + CvA: +25 + d100: +17 == -38
 Warded off!
 A dull grey beam snakes out toward the night mare, but dissipates upon impact.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.
Roundtime: 3 sec.

These creatures are also mist or fog themed in their attacks.

You notice the night hound breath congeal into a billowing cloud of shadows.

A shadow steed stomps his hoof in front of XXXX!
You notice a gas cloud begin to form above you.

A shadow steed stomps his hoof in front of you!
An airy mist rolls into the area, carrying a harsh chill with it.
  CS: +208 - TD: +450 + CvA: +25 + d100: +32 - -5 == -180
  Warded off!
The mist leaves a thin layer of ice on XXXXX's lower half, but she easily shakes it off.
  CS: +208 - TD: +447 + CvA: +2 + d100: +20 - -5 == -212
  Warded off!
The mist leaves a thin layer of ice on your lower half, but you easily shake it off.

(3) Well

The well in "The Colour Out of Space" has some of "the color" still in it, and at the climax of the story it is shooting up into the sky. The sons had gone down into the well and died at one point, but the color was too horrible for the father to even think about going to look for them. The well gives off a "hateful current of vapour" which still gives strange hues in the light. When it is probed later in the story, the skeletons of the sons are down there, as well as a bubbling ooze with a fetid smell. There is a similar well on the Shadow Plain with grey mist coming out of it. The water around here is replaced with bubbling ooze.

"It  was the coroner, seated near a window overlooking the yard, who first noticed the glow about the well. Night had fully set in, and all the abhorrent grounds seemed faintly luminous with more than the fitful moonbeams; but this new glow was something definite and distinct, and appeared to shoot up from the black pit like a softened ray from a searchlight, giving dull reflections in the little ground pools where the water had been emptied. It had a very queer colour, and as all the men clustered round the window Ammi gave a violent start. For this strange beam of ghastly miasma was to him of no unfamiliar hue. He had seen that colour before, and feared to think what it might mean. He had seen it in the nasty brittle globule in that aërolite two summers ago, had seen it in the crazy vegetation of the springtime, and had thought he had seen it for an instant that very morning against the small barred window of that terrible attic room where nameless things had happened. It had flashed there a second, and a clammy and hateful current of vapour had brushed past him—and then poor Nahum had been taken by something of that colour. He had said so at the last—said it was the globule and the plants. After that had come the runaway in the yard and the splash in the well—and now that well was belching forth to the night a pale insidious beam of the same daemoniac tint.

[Shadow Plain]
A cold wind whistles through the crumbled walls of an ancient shrine.  Rising from the ruins is a magnificent silver statue of a large equine surrounded by a pool of dark murky water.  Several twisted skeletons litter the ground around the area.  You also see a small well.
Obvious paths: southeast, southwest

>look well
A dull grey mist seeps up from the battered well, twisting and turning in the breeze.

Near the climax of the story the investigators look back at the whole farm saturated in an unknown rainbow of color.

"Ammi shewed them the back door and the path up through the fields to the ten-acre pasture. They walked and stumbled as in a dream, and did not dare look back till they were far away on the high ground. They were glad of the path, for they could not have gone the front way, by that well. It was bad enough passing the glowing barn and sheds, and those shining orchard trees with their gnarled, fiendish contours; but thank heaven the branches did their worst twisting high up. The moon went under some very black clouds as they crossed the rustic bridge over Chapman’s Brook, and it was blind groping from there to the open meadows.
     When they looked back toward the valley and the distant Gardner place at the bottom they saw a fearsome sight. All the farm was shining with the hideous unknown blend of colour; trees, buildings, and even such grass and herbage as had not been wholly changed to lethal grey brittleness. The boughs were all straining skyward, tipped with tongues of foul flame, and lambent tricklings of the same monstrous fire were creeping about the ridgepoles of the house, barn, and sheds. It was a scene from a vision of Fuseli, and over all the rest reigned that riot of luminous amorphousness, that alien and undimensioned rainbow of cryptic poison from the well—seething, feeling, lapping, reaching, scintillating, straining, and malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognisable chromaticism."

There is a rustic bridge in the Dark Pasture over an acidic bubbling ooze stream. The Shadow Plain also has a large ruined barn and the well.

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
Sloping down to the edge of a stream bank, the trail ends abruptly at a rotten wooden footbridge.  The footbridge once provided passage over the large stream, but now has rotted to the point of being unusable.  The water has dried up on this side, but near the other bank, a black sludgy liquid moves languidly to the east.
Obvious paths: northeast, northwest
>look footbridge
This footbridge once extended across to the other bank, but it has rotted through and the passage of time has carried away most of what was left.

[Shadow Plain]
A decaying fel tree has smashed into the remains of a large rotting barn surrounded by a few smaller buildings.  A cold biting wind blows by, chilling you to the bone.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest

(4) Blight

The climax of "The Colour Out of Space" may provide various word choices in Shadow Valley such as "kaleidoscopic" with the exit, the "explosion" appearance of the ground on the Shadow Valley analog of Jaron Galarn's grave, and the phrase "shadowed valley" itself. The story has cases of horses whinnying and fleeing the well. There was also another horse which investigators found dead.

" Then without warning the hideous thing shot vertically up toward the sky like a rocket or meteor, leaving behind no trail and disappearing through a round and curiously regular hole in the clouds before any man could gasp or cry out. No watcher can ever forget that sight, and Ammi stared blankly at the stars of Cygnus, Deneb twinkling above the others, where the unknown colour had melted into the Milky Way. But his gaze was the next moment called swiftly to earth by the crackling in the valley. It was just that. Only a wooden ripping and crackling, and not an explosion, as so many others of the party vowed. Yet the outcome was the same, for in one feverish, kaleidoscopic instant there burst up from that doomed and accursed farm a gleamingly eruptive cataclysm of unnatural sparks and substance; blurring the glance of the few who saw it, and sending forth to the zenith a bombarding cloudburst of such coloured and fantastic fragments as our universe must needs disown. Through quickly re-closing vapours they followed the great morbidity that had vanished, and in another second they had vanished too. Behind and below was only a darkness to which the men dared not return, and all about was a mounting wind which seemed to sweep down in black, frore gusts from interstellar space. It shrieked and howled, and lashed the fields and distorted woods in a mad cosmic frenzy, till soon the trembling party realised it would be no use waiting for the moon to shew what was left down there at Nahum’s.
     Too awed even to hint theories, the seven shaking men trudged back toward Arkham by the north road. Ammi was worse than his fellows, and begged them to see him inside his own kitchen, instead of keeping straight on to town. He did not wish to cross the nighted, wind-whipped woods alone to his home on the main road. For he had had an added shock that the others were spared, and was crushed forever with a brooding fear he dared not even mention for many years to come. As the rest of the watchers on that tempestuous hill had stolidly set their faces toward the road, Ammi had looked back an instant at the shadowed valley of desolation so lately sheltering his ill-starred friend. And from that stricken, far-away spot he had seen something feebly rise, only to sink down again upon the place from which the great shapeless horror had shot into the sky. It was just a colour—but not any colour of our earth or heavens. And because Ammi recognised that colour, and knew that this last faint remnant must still lurk down there in the well, he has never been quite right since.
     Ammi would never go near the place again. It is over half a century now since the horror happened, but he has never been there, and will be glad when the new reservoir blots it out. I shall be glad, too, for I do not like the way the sunlight changed colour around the mouth of that abandoned well I passed. I hope the water will always be very deep—but even so, I shall never drink it. I do not think I shall visit the Arkham country hereafter. Three of the men who had been with Ammi returned the next morning to see the ruins by daylight, but there were not any real ruins. Only the bricks of the chimney, the stones of the cellar, some mineral and metallic litter here and there, and the rim of that nefandous well. Save for Ammi’s dead horse, which they towed away and buried, and the buggy which they shortly returned to him, everything that had ever been living had gone. Five eldritch acres of dusty grey desert remained, nor has anything ever grown there since. To this day it sprawls open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields, and the few who have ever dared glimpse it in spite of the rural tales have named it “the blasted heath”. "

Compare with the wording of Selias Jodame investigating Shadow Valley:

" As I reached the top of the hill, remembering this as the place the young Jaron had led me to as a child, I looked down into the valley and found desolation. The trees were dead, the flowing grass along the hillsides gone, replaced by a strange dark mist. And the equines... I turned away from the sight. The valley had the unmistakable signs of undead. The thought of those beautiful equines turned to such a fate tore at my soul. I returned to the city, found Tearhaut, and said it was time to go. "So soon?" he replied with a raised eyebrow. "Yes, there is nothing left in the valley except shadows. Shadows of what once was..." "

- "Tale of Silver Valley"; Selias Jodame

The first of these rooms shows skeletons littered around the well. Various other rooms of the Shadow Plain and the Dark Pasture show bones and more specifically horse skeletons and skulls. The barn might be Jaron Galarn's, but the ancient horse shrine is unexplained, and ruined. The following are rooms that have the skeletal remains in them, which are horses but conceivably also people from Velaskar.

[Shadow Plain]
A cold wind whistles through the crumbled walls of an ancient shrine.  Rising from the ruins is a magnificent silver statue of a large equine surrounded by a pool of dark murky water.  Several twisted skeletons litter the ground around the area.  You also see a small well.
Obvious paths: southeast, southwest

[Shadow Plain]
Ominous black clouds gather overhead, casting an imposing gloom that seeps into your soul.  Mounds of splintered bones protrude from the dying brown longgrass.  Atop one mound rests a large misshapen equine skull.
Obvious paths: northeast
>look skull
The empty eye sockets hypnotize you with their hollow gaze.

[Shadow Plain]
Smooth black sand swallows the few remaining patches of longgrass.  The sand is flecked grey with small bits of bone that have been trampled into a fine grit.  In the distance, dark barren hills shrouded in mist spring from the gloom.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest

[Shadow Plain]
A rotting stench wafts up from the dark surface of a decaying pond surrounded by dead pastureland.  Piles of large bleached bones dot the landscape, causing you to wonder what may have happened here.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
The bones of a mighty steed tell a grim tale of unsuccessful flight from danger.  The steed's skeleton looks to be laid out in full stride, struck down by some fell blow to the skull.  Some longgrass has sprouted up through the bones, a yellowish-green reminder of the life that once flourished here.
Obvious paths: northeast, southwest
>look skeleton
Laid out in full stride, this skeleton preserves in ghastly detail how this steed came to its end.  Cracked open like a melon, the skull lies at an odd angle to the rest of the body.

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
A wall of earth blocking passageway to the south slopes roughly to the northeast.  A few starched-white bones stick out from where the wall and the ground adjoin.
Obvious paths: northeast, west

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
Some ancient horse tracks have become barren patches of dry earth between the small clumps of yellowed longgrass.  A few starched-white bones stick up at odd angles here and there, like the shattered ribs of the pasture itself.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest
>look track
These tracks were obviously made by a horse of tremendous size.
>look bone
You see nothing unusual.

[Shadow Valley, Dark Pasture]
The vacant eye sockets of a horse skull bear silent witness to the desolation of the pasture.  Oddly enough, a small patch of green longgrass has sprouted up behind the skull.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast
>look skull
Weathered by the passage of time, this starched-white skull shelters a small patch of green longgrass that has sprouted up behind it.

The streams no longer exist and interestingly the trees have actually become petrified. In the Shadow Plain region everything is now dust with perpetual dust storms.

[Shadow Plain, Black Hills]
This small clearing provides a short respite from the constant duststorms.  You can see faint lines on the slopes of a stream where water may have once ran.  Petrified remains of once mighty trees lay broken around the landscape.
Obvious paths: southeast, northwest

[Shadow Plain, Black Hills]
The landscape transitions from low rising hills to a featureless flat plain.  Broken pieces of rock, the remnants of petrified trees, seem to be the only thing to slow down the wind and dark dust as it blows.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast, northwest

(5) Acid

"It must, I thought as I viewed it, be the outcome of a fire; but why had nothing new ever grown over those five acres of grey desolation that sprawled open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields?"

"Five eldritch acres of dusty grey desert remained, nor has anything ever grown there since. To this day it sprawls open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields, and the few who have ever dared glimpse it in spite of the rural tales have named it “the blasted heath”."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

The water sources in Shadow Valley are not water. They are a black caustic sludge, except for a case where it is colored, "a putrid greenish-yellow spring." These are all poisonous and highly acidic, instantly dissolving hands, or exploding out of your body if you swallow it. The sickly sweet odor is interesting as this language is also used throughout the Broken Lands, especially in the context of the vruul jars.

[Shadow Plain]
A putrid greenish-yellow spring oozes from a jagged outcropping, forming a small puddle on the ground.  The overwhelming stench of rotted flesh rises up from the puddle, filling the air with a sickly sweet odor.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast
>look puddle
An putrid smell rises up from the sickly puddle, causing you to wonder about its origins.

First Person:

>touch puddle
You reach out and touch a small puddle.  Right as you are about to touch the surface, the puddle rises up to meet your fingers and wraps itself around your hand, eating away at your flesh!

!S>health
You have a completely severed right hand.

Bleeding:
Area         Health per Round         Bandaged         Can Tend?         Tend Time

Right hand 1 No Yes 8s

(etc.)

Poisoned! Taking 5 damage per round. Dissipating 1 per round.


Third Person:

XXXXX screams in horror as he touches a small puddle and the flesh on his hand is eaten away by the puddle!

Not only does the ooze reach up and grab your hand, if you try to drink any of its forms, it burns you from the inside and explodes out your stomach.

First Person:

>drink puddle
You bend over and take a long drink from a small puddle.

You feel a burning sensation in your throat and begin to feel dizzy!  Your body starts shaking uncontrollably and your eyes start to bleed.

You contort violently as your stomach explodes spraying everyone in the room with black sludge!

You gurgle one last time and die!


Third Person:

XXXX bends over and takes a long drink from a small puddle.

XXXX reels back and turns a putrid green.  XXXX starts to shake violently and blood starts pouring from her eye sockets!

XXXX contorts in agony as her stomach explodes splattering you with a slimy black sludge!

XXXX gurgles one last time and dies!

 * XXXX drops dead at your feet!

(Note: You get a 5 per round poison when you get splashed from someone else drinking it.)

The skeletal vestiges of the sons were found in the well, as well as bones of other animals. Instead of water it was an ooze slime that was bubbling.

"Ammi would not have told the men about the well if he had thought they meant to do anything then and there. It was getting toward sunset, and he was anxious to be away. But he could not help glancing nervously at the stony curb by the great sweep, and when a detective questioned him he admitted that Nahum had feared something down there—so much so that he had never even thought of searching it for Merwin or Zenas. After that nothing would do but that they empty and explore the well immediately, so Ammi had to wait trembling while pail after pail of rank water was hauled up and splashed on the soaking ground outside. The men sniffed in disgust at the fluid, and toward the last held their noses against the foetor they were uncovering. It was not so long a job as they had feared it would be, since the water was phenomenally low. There is no need to speak too exactly of what they found. Merwin and Zenas were both there, in part, though the vestiges were mainly skeletal. There were also a small deer and a large dog in about the same state, and a number of bones of smaller animals. The ooze and slime at the bottom seemed inexplicably porous and bubbling, and a man who descended on hand-holds with a long pole found that he could sink the wooden shaft to any depth in the mud of the floor without meeting any solid obstruction."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

The look description on the decaying pond is the exact same as the stream in the Dark Pasture, which is probably a mistake as the pond is not a stream.

[Shadow Plain]
A rotting stench wafts up from the dark surface of a decaying pond surrounded by dead pastureland.  Piles of large bleached bones dot the landscape, causing you to wonder what may have happened here.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest
>look pond
You see a viscous black sludge masquerading as a stream.  Small bubbles pop on the surface of the sludge as it oozes slowly east.  As each bubble pops it release a noxious smelling gas into the air, forcing you to hold your breath until the gas passes.

The black stream has forms of black viscous liquid, black sludge, and black murk. The messaging is the same when you touch or swallow it.

[Dark Pasture, Black Stream]
Silence rings heavily in your ears, as even the thorny tangles evident elsewhere avoid this area.  Protruding from the black sludge, masquerading as a stream, are the remnants of a wooden footbridge.  The stream bank dips down here, scooping up a trail that begins where the footbridge was swallowed by the murk.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, southwest, west

>look footbridge
The broken remnants of a wooden footbridge stick out of the thick black sludge like the flailing arms of someone drowning.

[Dark Pasture, Black Stream]
Walking down the bank into the stream bed, you notice that it's not as dry as you thought.  Instead of water, a black viscous liquid oozes slowly beneath your feet, a ghastly echo of the water that once ran here.
Obvious paths: east, southwest, northwest
>look liquid
You see a viscous black sludge masquerading as a stream.  Small bubbles pop on the surface of the sludge as it oozes slowly east.  As each bubble pops it release a noxious smelling gas into the air, forcing you to hold your breath until the gas passes.

(6) Horses

There are multiple examples of horses freaking out or stampeding over the otherworldly horror in "The Colour Out of Space", and the investigators find a dead horse at the desolated farm with the well. This could conceivably be a point of inspiration, separate from the mythological theory, for the premise of the Silver Valley equines clashing with the "great evil entity" and all the horse skeletons. The horses have a portentous ability to sense the horror. The following are excerpts of every instance of the horses reacting to the entity in "The Colour Out of Space" to illustrate the point and for the sake of completion.

  • Skittish Horses and Folklore
"In February the McGregor boys from Meadow Hill were out shooting woodchucks, and not far from the Gardner place bagged a very peculiar specimen. The proportions of its body seemed slightly altered in a queer way impossible to describe, while its face had taken on an expression which no one ever saw in a woodchuck before. The boys were genuinely frightened, and threw the thing away at once, so that only their grotesque tales of it ever reached the people of the countryside. But the shying of the horses near Nahum’s house had now become an acknowledged thing, and all the basis for a cycle of whispered legend was fast taking form.
     People vowed that the snow melted faster around Nahum’s than it did anywhere else, and early in March there was an awed discussion in Potter’s general store at Clark’s Corners. Stephen Rice had driven past Gardner’s in the morning, and had noticed the skunk-cabbages coming up through the mud by the woods across the road. Never were things of such size seen before, and they held strange colours that could not be put into any words. Their shapes were monstrous, and the horse had snorted at an odour which struck Stephen as wholly unprecedented. That afternoon several persons drove past to see the abnormal growth, and all agreed that plants of that kind ought never to sprout in a healthy world. The bad fruit of the fall before was freely mentioned, and it went from mouth to mouth that there was poison in Nahum’s ground. Of course it was the meteorite; and remembering how strange the men from the college had found that stone to be, several farmers spoke about the matter to them.
     One day they paid Nahum a visit; but having no love of wild tales and folklore were very conservative in what they inferred. The plants were certainly odd, but all skunk-cabbages are more or less odd in shape and odour and hue. Perhaps some mineral element from the stone had entered the soil, but it would soon be washed away. And as for the footprints and frightened horses—of course this was mere country talk which such a phenomenon as the aërolite would be certain to start. There was really nothing for serious men to do in cases of wild gossip, for superstitious rustics will say and believe anything. And so all through the strange days the professors stayed away in contempt. Only one of them, when given two phials of dust for analysis in a police job over a year and a half later, recalled that the queer colour of that skunk-cabbage had been very like one of the anomalous bands of light shewn by the meteor fragment in the college spectroscope, and like the brittle globule found imbedded in the stone from the abyss. The samples in this analysis case gave the same odd bands at first, though later they lost the property."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft
  • Horses Stampeding and Going Mad
"It was a little before this that the horses had stampeded. Something had aroused them in the night, and their neighing and kicking in their stalls had been terrible. There seemed virtually nothing to do to calm them, and when Nahum opened the stable door they all bolted out like frightened woodland deer. It took a week to track all four, and when found they were seen to be quite useless and unmanageable. Something had snapped in their brains, and each one had to be shot for its own good. Nahum borrowed a horse from Ammi for his haying, but found it would not approach the barn. It shied, balked, and whinnied, and in the end he could do nothing but drive it into the yard while the men used their own strength to get the heavy wagon near enough the hayloft for convenient pitching. And all the while the vegetation was turning grey and brittle. Even the flowers whose hues had been so strange were greying now, and the fruit was coming out grey and dwarfed and tasteless. The asters and goldenrod bloomed grey and distorted, and the roses and zinneas and hollyhocks in the front yard were such blasphemous-looking things that Nahum’s oldest boy Zenas cut them down. The strangely puffed insects died about that time, even the bees that had left their hives and taken to the woods."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft
  • Horse Flees House
"Commencing his descent of the dark stairs, Ammi heard a thud below him. He even thought a scream had been suddenly choked off, and recalled nervously the clammy vapour which had brushed by him in that frightful room above. What presence had his cry and entry started up? Halted by some vague fear, he heard still further sounds below. Indubitably there was a sort of heavy dragging, and a most detestably sticky noise as of some fiendish and unclean species of suction. With an associative sense goaded to feverish heights, he thought unaccountably of what he had seen upstairs. Good God! What eldritch dream-world was this into which he had blundered?' He dared move neither backward nor forward, but stood there trembling at the black curve of the boxed-in staircase. Every trifle of the scene burned itself into his brain. The sounds, the sense of dread expectancy, the darkness, the steepness of the narrow steps—and merciful heaven! . . . the faint but unmistakable luminosity of all the woodwork in sight; steps, sides, exposed laths, and beams alike!
     Then there burst forth a frantic whinny from Ammi’s horse outside, followed at once by a clatter which told of a frenzied runaway. In another moment horse and buggy had gone beyond earshot, leaving the frightened man on the dark stairs to guess what had sent them. But that was not all. There had been another sound out there. A sort of liquid splash—water—it must have been the well. He had left Hero untied near it, and a buggy-wheel must have brushed the coping and knocked in a stone. And still the pale phosphorescence glowed in that detestably ancient woodwork. God! how old the house was! Most of it built before 1670, and the gambrel roof not later than 1730."


"But that was all. That which spoke could speak no more because it had completely caved in. Ammi laid a red checked tablecloth over what was left and reeled out the back door into the fields. He climbed the slope to the ten-acre pasture and stumbled home by the north road and the woods. He could not pass that well from which his horse had run away. He had looked at it through the window, and had seen that no stone was missing from the rim. Then the lurching buggy had not dislodged anything after all—the splash had been something else—something which went into the well after it had done with poor Nahum. . . .
     When Ammi reached his house the horse and buggy had arrived before him and thrown his wife into fits of anxiety. Reassuring her without explanations, he set out at once for Arkham and notified the authorities that the Gardner family was no more. He indulged in no details, but merely told of the deaths of Nahum and Nabby, that of Thaddeus being already known, and mentioned that the cause seemed to be the same strange ailment which had killed the livestock. He also stated that Merwin and Zenas had disappeared. There was considerable questioning at the police station, and in the end Ammi was compelled to take three officers to the Gardner farm, together with the coroner, the medical examiner, and the veterinary who had treated the diseased animals. He went much against his will, for the afternoon was advancing and he feared the fall of night over that accursed place, but it was some comfort to have so many people with him."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft
  • Horses Panic Over The Colour
"All three horses outside, tied to a pair of shrivelled saplings by the road, were now neighing and pawing frantically. The wagon driver started for the door to do something, but Ammi laid a shaky hand on his shoulder. “Dun’t go out thar,” he whispered. “They’s more to this nor what we know. Nahum said somethin’ lived in the well that sucks your life out. He said it must be some’at growed from a round ball like one we all seen in the meteor stone that fell a year ago June. Sucks an’ burns, he said, an’ is jest a cloud of colour like that light out thar now, that ye can hardly see an’ can’t tell what it is. Nahum thought it feeds on everything livin’ an’ gits stronger all the time. He said he seen it this last week. It must be somethin’ from away off in the sky like the men from the college last year says the meteor stone was. The way it’s made an’ the way it works ain’t like no way o’ God’s world. It’s some’at from beyond.”
     So the men paused indecisively as the light from the well grew stronger and the hitched horses pawed and whinnied in increasing frenzy. It was truly an awful moment; with terror in that ancient and accursed house itself, four monstrous sets of fragments—two from the house and two from the well—in the woodshed behind, and that shaft of unknown and unholy iridescence from the slimy depths in front. Ammi had restrained the driver on impulse, forgetting how uninjured he himself was after the clammy brushing of that coloured vapour in the attic room, but perhaps it is just as well that he acted as he did. No one will ever know what was abroad that night; and though the blasphemy from beyond had not so far hurt any human of unweakened mind, there is no telling what it might not have done at that last moment, and with its seemingly increased strength and the special signs of purpose it was soon to display beneath the half-clouded moonlit sky."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Color Kills The Horse
"The veterinary shivered, and walked to the front door to drop the heavy extra bar across it. Ammi shook no less, and had to tug and point for lack of a controllable voice when he wished to draw notice to the growing luminosity of the trees. The neighing and stamping of the horses had become utterly frightful, but not a soul of that group in the old house would have ventured forth for any earthly reward. With the moments the shining of the trees increased, while their restless branches seemed to strain more and more toward verticality. The wood of the well-sweep was shining now, and presently a policeman dumbly pointed to some wooden sheds and bee-hives near the stone wall on the west. They were commencing to shine, too, though the tethered vehicles of the visitors seemed so far unaffected. Then there was a wild commotion and clopping in the road, and as Ammi quenched the lamp for better seeing they realised that the span of frantic greys had broke their sapling and run off with the democrat-wagon.
     The shock served to loosen several tongues, and embarrassed whispers were exchanged. “It spreads on everything organic that’s been around here,” muttered the medical examiner. No one replied, but the man who had been in the well gave a hint that his long pole must have stirred up something intangible. “It was awful,” he added. “There was no bottom at all. Just ooze and bubbles and the feeling of something lurking under there.” Ammi’s horse still pawed and screamed deafeningly in the road outside, and nearly drowned its owner’s faint quaver as he mumbled his formless reflections. “It come from that stone . . . it growed down thar . . . it got everything livin’ . . . it fed itself on ’em, mind and body . . . Thad an’ Mernie, Zenas an’ Nabby . . . Nahum was the last . . . they all drunk the water . . . it got strong on ’em . . . it come from beyond, whar things ain’t like they be here . . . now it’s goin’ home. . . .”
     At this point, as the column of unknown colour flared suddenly stronger and began to weave itself into fantastic suggestions of shape which each spectator later described differently, there came from poor tethered Hero such a sound as no man before or since ever heard from a horse. Every person in that low-pitched sitting room stopped his ears, and Ammi turned away from the window in horror and nausea. Words could not convey it—when Ammi looked out again the hapless beast lay huddled inert on the moonlit ground between the splintered shafts of the buggy. That was the last of Hero till they buried him next day. But the present was no time to mourn, for almost at this instant a detective silently called attention to something terrible in the very room with them. In the absence of the lamplight it was clear that a faint phosphorescence had begun to pervade the entire apartment. It glowed on the broad-planked floor and the fragment of rag carpet, and shimmered over the sashes of the small-paned windows. It ran up and down the exposed corner-posts, coruscated about the shelf and mantel, and infected the very doors and furniture. Each minute saw it strengthen, and at last it was very plain that healthy living things must leave that house."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft
  • Dead Horse In The Dust Desert
"Ammi would never go near the place again. It is over half a century now since the horror happened, but he has never been there, and will be glad when the new reservoir blots it out. I shall be glad, too, for I do not like the way the sunlight changed colour around the mouth of that abandoned well I passed. I hope the water will always be very deep—but even so, I shall never drink it. I do not think I shall visit the Arkham country hereafter. Three of the men who had been with Ammi returned the next morning to see the ruins by daylight, but there were not any real ruins. Only the bricks of the chimney, the stones of the cellar, some mineral and metallic litter here and there, and the rim of that nefandous well. Save for Ammi’s dead horse, which they towed away and buried, and the buggy which they shortly returned to him, everything that had ever been living had gone. Five eldritch acres of dusty grey desert remained, nor has anything ever grown there since. To this day it sprawls open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields, and the few who have ever dared glimpse it in spite of the rural tales have named it “the blasted heath”.
     The rural tales are queer. They might be even queerer if city men and college chemists could be interested enough to analyse the water from that disused well, or the grey dust that no wind seems ever to disperse. Botanists, too, ought to study the stunted flora on the borders of that spot, for they might shed light on the country notion that the blight is spreading—little by little, perhaps an inch a year. People say the colour of the neighbouring herbage is not quite right in the spring, and that wild things leave queer prints in the light winter snow. Snow never seems quite so heavy on the blasted heath as it is elsewhere. Horses—the few that are left in this motor age—grow skittish in the silent valley; and hunters cannot depend on their dogs too near the splotch of greyish dust."

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

(7) Dust Beetles and Miners

There is a thin case for relating the dust beetles, which were an early part of Shadow Valley, the spectral miners to "The Colour Out of Space". These are not terribly convincing. Research:The Broken Lands suggests a possible influence of "The Shadow Out of Time" on the giant fog beetles, and the page above makes a separate argument for the phasing miners based on the climax scene of "The Mound".

"In May the insects came, and Nahum’s place became a nightmare of buzzing and crawling. Most of the creatures seemed not quite usual in their aspects and motions, and their nocturnal habits contradicted all former experience." 

"It happened in June, about the anniversary of the meteor’s fall, and the poor woman screamed about things in the air which she could not describe. In her raving there was not a single specific noun, but only verbs and pronouns. Things moved and changed and fluttered, and ears tingled to impulses which were not wholly sounds. Something was taken away—she was being drained of something—something was fastening itself on her that ought not to be—someone must make it keep off—nothing was ever still in the night—the walls and windows shifted."

"No bites of prowling things could have brought the virus, for what live beast of earth can pass through solid obstacles?"

- "The Colour Out of Space"; H.P. Lovecraft

Whisperer in Darkness

"The Whisperer in Darkness" has only minor if any relevance at all. It is when Lovecraft had adapted his Yuggoth to be the recently discovered (now former) planet Pluto. It is the origin place of the Shining Trapezohedron in "The Haunter of the Dark", which was later possessed by the Serpent Men of Valusia. In this story Lovecraft refers to "black rivers of pitch" on Yuggoth, and he refers to Tsathoggua residing in N'kai under Yoth and K'n-yan from "The Mound". This kind of cross-referencing between subtexts is highly dubious, as explained below, even if the basic theory a given story was used is correct.

"     “There are mighty cities on Yuggoth—great tiers of terraced towers built of black stone like the specimen I tried to send you. That came from Yuggoth. The sun shines there no brighter than a star, but the beings need no light. They have other, subtler senses, and put no windows in their great houses and temples. Light even hurts and hampers and confuses them, for it does not exist at all in the black cosmos outside time and space where they came from originally. To visit Yuggoth would drive any weak man mad—yet I am going there. The black rivers of pitch that flow under those mysterious Cyclopean bridges—things built by some elder race extinct and forgotten before the things came to Yuggoth from the ultimate voids—ought to be enough to make any man a Dante or Poe if he can keep sane long enough to tell what he has seen.
     “But remember—that dark world of fungoid gardens and windowless cities isn’t really terrible. It is only to us that it would seem so. Probably this world seemed just as terrible to the beings when they first explored it in the primal age. You know they were here long before the fabulous epoch of Cthulhu was over, and remember all about sunken R’lyeh when it was above the waters. They’ve been inside the earth, too—there are openings which human beings know nothing of—some of them in these very Vermont hills—and great worlds of unknown life down there; blue-litten K’n-yan, red-litten Yoth, and black, lightless N’kai. It’s from N’kai that frightful Tsathoggua came—you know, the amorphous, toad-like god-creature mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon and the Commoriom myth-cycle preserved by the Atlantean high-priest Klarkash-Ton. "

- "The Whisperer in Darkness"; H.P. Lovecraft

The story also refers to the serpent Yig, and the Hounds of Tindalos, which exist outside the angles of time. The Mi-go alien race in the story is fungoid. Similar to "Out of the Aeons" it has an indirect kind of being buried alive in it. The story cross-references placenames from many other stories, including those of other authors. But its main interest is the black rivers of pitch with the Cyclopean bridges.

"Never was a sane man more dangerously close to the arcana of basic entity—never was an organic brain nearer to utter annihilation in the chaos that transcends form and force and symmetry. I learned whence Cthulhu first came, and why half the great temporary stars of history had flared forth. I guessed—from hints which made even my informant pause timidly—the secret behind the Magellanic Clouds and globular nebulae, and the black truth veiled by the immemorial allegory of Tao. The nature of the Doels was plainly revealed, and I was told the essence (though not the source) of the Hounds of Tindalos. The legend of Yig, Father of Serpents, remained figurative no longer, and I started with loathing when told of the monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space which the Necronomicon had mercifully cloaked under the name of Azathoth. It was shocking to have the foulest nightmares of secret myth cleared up in concrete terms whose stark, morbid hatefulness exceeded the boldest hints of ancient and mediaeval mystics. Ineluctably I was led to believe that the first whisperers of these accursed tales must have had discourse with Akeley’s Outer Ones, and perhaps have visited outer cosmic realms as Akeley now proposed visiting them."

- "The Whisperer in Darkness"; H.P. Lovecraft

Other

The Cthulhu Mythos is complicated by the fact that H.P. Lovecraft cross-pollinated with the fantasy and horror worlds of other writers. These "Lovecraft Circle" writers include Clark Ashton Smith, who was the creator of Tsathoggua, and Robert Howard who made Conan the Barbarian. Beyond this there are also later authors who developed the concepts and there is no "canon" as such. In these research pages it is the texts of Lovecraft himself that are focused upon and not later relations with other stories. It is treacherous to interpret "meta-references" as relevant even within the context of only Lovecraft stories.

When other source materials are used as underlying references, there is no way to control the ways those sources relate to each other. In "The Mound" there is the material world Vaults of Zin above N'kai still deeper underground, for example, while in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" the Vaults of Zin are deeper in the Underworld of the Dreamlands. If the one is a major subtext for Shadow Valley, and the other the Broken Lands, it is highly dubious to then speculate this as a relation between Shadow Valley and the Broken Lands. The same holds for Kadath, Leng, and any number of other placenames.

(1) Mount Voormithadreth

Mount Voormithadreth is a passageway deep underground where Great Old Ones such as Tsathoggua and Atlach-Nacha the spider god are residing. This is illustrated in "The Seven Geases" by Clark Ashton Smith. Lovecraft first used Tsathoggua in "The Mound". Meanwhile, the Serpent Men of Valusia from Robert Howard's King Kull stories once possessed the Shining Trapezohedron and worshipped Lovecraft's serpent Yig, and when their kingdom was destroyed they fled underground to Yoth. Yoth is the ruins of the older civilization in a cavern below K'n-yan in "The Mound", and the downfall of the Serpent Men was when they began worshipping Tsathoggua with idols they found still deeper in N'kai. The few remaining Serpent Men who escaped the wrath of Yig are under Mount Voormithadreth.

This can be twisted as a parallel to the path through tomb spiders, past the icy maze tunnels of Bandur, to the analog of where the serpent men once dwelled (assuming "The Mound" parallel is correct):

(1) Giant Spider

" At last, on the verge of a chasm whose farther shore was lost in darkness, the night-flying bird hung motionless with level wings and down-dropping tail. Ralibar Vooz went close to the verge and saw that great webs were attached to it at intervals, seeming to span the gulf with their multiple crossing and reticulations of gray, rope thick strands. Apart from these, the chasm was bridgeless. Far out on one of the webs he discerned a darksome form, big as a crouching man but with long spider-like members. Then, like a dreamer who hears some nightmare sound, he heard his own voice crying loudly: "O Atlach-Nacha, I am the gift sent by Tsathoggua."

The dark form ran toward him with incredible swiftness. When it came near he saw that there was a kind of face on the squat ebon body, low down amid the several-jointed legs. The face peered up with a weird expression of doubt and inquiry; and terror crawled through the veins of the bold huntsman as he met the small, crafty eyes that were circled about with hair. Thin, shrill, piercing as a sting, there spoke to him the voice of the spider-god Atlach-Nacha: "I am duly gratefui for the gift. But, since there is no one else to bridge this chasm, and since eternity is required for the task, I can not spend my time in extracting you from those curious shards of metal. However, it may be that the antehuman sorcerer Haon-Dor, who abides beyond the gulf in his palace of primal enchantments, can somehow find a use for you. The bridge I have just now completed runs to the threshold of his abode; and your weight will serve to test the strength of my weaving. Go then, with this geas upon yeu, to cross the bridge and present yourself before Haon-Dor, saying: 'Atlach-Nacha has sent me.'" "


(2) Antehuman Sorcerer

"Though the third geas was heavy and compulsive upon him, Ralibar Vooz followed Raphtontis none too willingly over the night-bound depths. The weaving of Atlach-Nacha was strong beneath his feet, giving and swaying only a little; but between the strands, in unfathomable space below, he seemed to descry the dim flitting of dragons with claw-tipped wings; and, like a seething of the darkness, fearful hulks without name appeared to heave and sink from moment to noment.

However, he and his guide came presently to the gulf's opposite shore, where the web of Atlach-Nacha was joined to the lowest step of a mighty stairway. The stairs were guarded by a coiled snake whose mottlings were broad as buckles.and whose middle volumes exceeded in girth the body of a stout warrior. The horny tail of this serpent rattled like a sistrum, and he thrust forth an evil head with fangs that were long as billhooks. But, seeing Raphtontis, he drew his coils aside and permitted Ralibar Vaoz to ascend the steps.

Thus, in fulfilment of the third geas, the hunter entered the thousand-columned palace of Haon-Dor. Strange and silent were those halls hewn from the gray, fundamental rock of Earth. In them were faceless forms of smoke and mist that went uneasily to and fro, and statues representing monsters with myriad heads. In the vaults above, as if hung aloof in night, lamps burned with inverse flames that were like the combustion of ice and stone. A chill spirit of evil, ancient beyond all conception of man, was abroad in those halls; and horror and fear crept throughout them like invisible serpents, unknotted from sleep.

Threading the mazy chambers with the surety of one accustomed to all their windings, Raphtontis conducted Ralibar Vooz to a high room whose walls described a circle. broken only by the one portal, through which he entered. The room was empty of furnishment, save for a five-pillared seat rising so far aloft without stairs or other means of approach, that it seemed only a winged being covld ever attain thereto. But on the seat was a figure shrouded with thick, sable darkness, and having over its head and features a caul of grisly shadow.

The bird Raphtontis hovered ominously before the columned chair. And Ralibar Vooz, in astonishment, heard a voice saying: "O Haon-Dor, Atlach-Nacha has sent me." And not till the voice ceased speaking did he know it for his own."


(3) Serpent Men

"For a long time the silence seemed infrangible. There was no stirring of the high-seated figure. But Ralibar Vooz, peering trepidantly at the walls about him, beheld their former smoothness embossed with a thousand faces, twisted and awry like those of mad devils. The faces were thrust forward on necks that lengthened; and behind the necks malshapen shoulders and bodies emerged inch by inch from the stone, craning toward the huntsman. And beneath his feet the very floor was now cobbled with other faces, turning and tossing restlessly, and opening ever wider their demoniacal mouths and eyes.

At last the shrouded figure spoke; and though the words were of no mortal tongue, it seemed to the listener that he comprehended them darkly:

"My thanks are due to Atlach-Nacha for this sending. If I appear to hesitate, it is only because I am doubtful regarding what disposition I can make of you. My familiars, who crowd the walls and floors of this chamber, would devour you all too readily: but you would serve only as a morsel amid so many. On the whole, I believe that the best thing I can do is to send you on to my allies, the serpent-people. They are scientists of no ordinary attainment; and perhaps you might provide some special ingredient required in their chemistries. Consider, then, that a geas has been put upon you, and take yourself off to the caverns in which the serpent-people reside."

Obeying this injunction, Ralibar Vooz went down through the darkest strata of that primeval underworld, beneath the palace of Haon-Dor, The guidance of Raphtontis never failed him; and he came anon to the spacious caverns in which the serpent-men were busying themselves with a multitude of tasks. They walked lithely and sinuously erect on pre-mammalian members, their pied and hairless bodies bending with great suppleness. There was a loud and constant hissing of formulae as they went to and fro. Some were smelting the black nether ores; some were blowing molten obsidian into forms of flask and urn; some were measuring chemicals; others were decanting strange liquids and curious colloids. In their intense preoccupation, none of them seemed to notice the arrival of Ralibar Vooz and his guide.

After the hunter had repeated many times the message given him by Haon-Dor, one of the walking reptiles at last perceived his presence. This being eyed him with cold but highly disconcerting curiosity, and then emitted a sonorous hiss that was audible above all the noises of labor and converse. The other serpentmen ceased their toil imnediately and began to crowd around Ralibar Vooz. From the tone of their sibilations, it seemed that there was much argument among them. Certain of their number sidled close to the Commorian, touching his face and hands with their chill, scaly digits, and prying beaeath his armor. He felt that they were anatomizing him with methodical minuteness. At the same time, he perceived that they paid no attention to Raphtontis, who had perched himself on a large alembic."

- "The Seven Geases"; Clark Ashton Smith

This illustrates the issue of using the wider Cthulhu Mythos to interpret the same placenames. In "The Mound" what happened to the civilizations in deeper Yoth, which is red-litten instead of blue-litten above lightless N'kai with its shoggoths, is left ambiguous. In the works of other authors it is explained as the serpent men of Valusia, who Lovecraft himself referenced in "The Haunter of the Dark". Worked together as a whole it is possible to travel down Mount Voormithadreth, past the spider god Atlach-Nacha and the ancient humanoid sorcerer Haon-Dor, and reach the misty plain from "The Mound". The web of Atlach-Nacha over a vast chasm of darkness in turn is bridging the waking world and the Dreamlands, though the earliest explicit statement of this might not be until 2007. The logic of the parallel is clean, but its intentionality is almost inconceivable. However, Tsathoggua the bat-toad being under the waking world Vaults of Zin in "The Mound" is curious, as the myklian are like the reptilian quadrapeds of Yoth.

(2) The Dark Eidolon

"The Dark Eidolon" by Clark Ashton Smith is an interesting case that is probably not relevant. It is focused on a necromancer with giant skeletons, and refers to Hyperborea from "The Seven Geases". The story features "horses from Hell" and burning lamps in the shape of horse skulls. The climax of the story has "the rumbling of a swift-driven storm the thunder made by the macrocosmic stallions" of a dark god trampling and destroying the palace of necromancer. The premise is that he has just lost his memory into oblivion, which is mildly reminiscent of the Shadow Valley story but almost certainly coincidental.

(3) The Fall of the House of Usher

"The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allen Poe is set by a foggy tarn with sick family members and features a sub-story of a man slaying a dragon with a mace, which ultimately derives from the Indo-European serpent slaying myth. This is one of the Poe stories that features burying someone alive, a trope he used in a number of stories. The trope is used for the burial of Jaron Galarn in the Silver Valley story, but it is far too common to identify with any certainty. It is worth mentioning simply because Lovecraft stories sometimes refer to Poe, and even Roederick Usher himself in the climax of "The Haunter of the Dark". By the end of "The Fall of the House of Usher" the fog and the house are glowing, which is thematically consistent with Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" and the mist of Shadow Valley.

This excerpt illustrates the unnaturally glowing clouds hanging at fog level, which leads into telling the story of the dragon slaying:

" The impetuous fury of the entering gust nearly lifted us from our feet.  It was, indeed, a tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty.  A whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity; for there were frequent and violent alterations in the direction of the wind; and the exceeding density of the clouds (which hung so low as to press upon the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving the lifelike velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each other, without passing away into the distance.  I say that even their exceeding density did not prevent our perceiving this--yet we had no glimpse of the moon or stars--nor was there any flashing forth of the lightning.  But the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the mansion.

"You must not--you shall not behold this!" said I, shudderingly, to Usher, as I led him, with a gentle violence, from the window to a seat.  "These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in the rank miasma of the
tarn.  Let us close this casement;--the air is chilling and dangerous to your frame.  Here is one of your favourite romances. I will read, and you shall listen;--and so we will pass away this terrible night together." "

- "The Fall of the House of Usher"; Edgar Allen Poe

The climax of the dragon slaying romance corresponds to hearing the shrieking of someone buried alive and the light of a blood red moon:

" Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement--for there could be no doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh, protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound--the exact counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.

Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of the second and most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the sensitive nervousness of my companion.  I was by no means certain that he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes, taken place in his demeanour. From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber; and thus I could but partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast--yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile.  The motion of his body, too, was at variance with this idea--for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant and uniform sway.  Having rapidly taken notice of all this, I resumed the narrative of Sir Launcelot, which thus proceeded:

"And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it, removed the carcass from out of the way before him, and approached valorously over the silver pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall; which in sooth tarried not for his full coming, but fell down at his feet upon the silver floor, with a mighty great and terrible ringing sound."

No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than--as if a shield of brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver--I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation.  Completely unnerved, I leaped to my feet; but the measured rocking movement of Usher was undisturbed.  I rushed to the chair in which he sat. His eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole countenance there reigned a stony rigidity.  But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there came a strong shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.  Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words.

"Not hear it?--yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long--long--long--many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!--I dared not--I dared not speak!  We have put her living in the tomb!  Said I not that my senses were acute?  I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them--many, many days ago--yet I dared not--I dared not speak!  And now--to-night--Ethelred--ha! ha!--the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangour of the shield!--say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault!  Oh whither shall I fly?  Will she not be here anon?  Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste?  Have I not heard her footsteps on the stair?  Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart?  Madman!" here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul--"Madman!  I tell you that she now stands without the door!"

As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell--the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws.  It was the work of the rushing gust--but then without those doors there DID stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher.  There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame.  For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold,--then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.

From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway.  Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me.  The radiance was that of the full, setting, and blood-red moon which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure of which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction, to the base.  While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher". "

- "The Fall of the House of Usher"; Edgar Allen Poe

(4) Horror in the Burying-Ground

"The Horror in the Burying-Ground" is another story ghost-written for Hazel Heald by Lovecraft that was included in "The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions" anthology. In this story there are people being buried alive after being temporarily paralyzed to make them seem dead. This is only worth mentioning because it is an example of H.P. Lovecraft himself using a straight "buried alive" motif.

"At the same time a wild-eyed figure rounded the corner of the house, removing all mystery from Sophie’s dramatic cry. It was, very obviously, the face’s owner—poor crazy Johnny, who began to leap up and down, pointing at Sophie and shrieking, “She knows! She knows! I seen it in her face when she looked at ’em and talked to ’em! She knows, and she’s a-lettin’ ’em go down in the earth to scratch an’ claw for air. . . . But they’ll talk to her so’s she kin hear ’em . . . they’ll talk to her, an’ appear to her . . . and some day they’ll come back an’ git her!“
     Zenas Wells dragged the shrieking half-wit to a woodshed behind the house and bolted him in as best he could. His screams and poundings could be heard at a distance, but nobody paid him any further attention. The procession was made up, and with Sophie in the first hack it slowly covered the short distance past the village to the Swamp Hollow burying-ground."

“Don’t ye bury him, don’t ye bury him! He ain’t dead no more nor Lige Hopkins’s dog nor Deacon Leavitt’s calf was when he shot ’em full. He’s got some stuff he puts into ye to make ye seem like dead when ye ain’t! Ye seem like dead but ye know everything what’s a-goin’ on, and the next day ye come to as good as ever. Don’t ye bury him—he’ll come to under the earth an’ he can’t scratch up! He’s a good man, an’ not like Tom Sprague. Hope to Gawd Tom scratches an’ chokes for hours an’ hours. . . .”

"Whenever he administered to his silent charge he would repeat that eternal rambling about the good luck of having a first-class undertaker. What—he would say as if directly addressing the body—if Tom had had one of those careless fellows who bury their subjects alive? The way he harped on the horrors of premature burial was truly barbarous and sickening."

- "The Horror in the Burying-Ground"; H.P. Lovecraft

Grand Design

Shadow Valley exists in some kind of mirror state with itself. This is another spatial location or possibly even a parallel dimension. The existing evidence does not allow us to discern which is the original intent, though this might have been made more clear by the in game story events for the release of its parts. The plains have been blight stricken, dehydrated, and reduced to dust. There is magical mist. The monsters will generally spawn out of the mists, or decay into them when dead. The fog itself can be a poisonous environmental hazard. The miners were somehow phased into the walls.

Layout

The Shadow Valley part of Zepath's 1/31/1996 map of The Graveyard. Red room numbers correspond to quoted rooms.

The valley itself exists in almost identical forms in two different places, which are linked by some kind of portal. One way involves shouting Jaron Galarn, and the other jumping in a dark abyss. The color scheme of grey or white and black are swapped between the two sides. It is unclear if the equivalent of the Dark Pasture and Shadow Plain exist outside the Secluded Valley. These were not released until later in 1996, when the wyrm manifested and the shadow steeds trampled it. This was also when the mine shaft was expanded, though it is unclear if all of the mining tunnels were released simultaneously.

The dust beetles were present in the valley before the shadow mares appeared according to player accounts. These were essentially giant fog beetles, which is suggestive of a Broken Lands relation. When the sky portal opened and the wyrm was defeated, the shadow mares were made more powerful and acquired their characteristic spells. The following illustrates the "coexistent" valley, almost identical rooms, with corresponding numbers added to the map.

The Shadow Valley part of Tsoran's 8/9/2004 map of The Graveyard. Red highlights are expansions or modifications after 1/31/1996.
(1) Gravestone of Jaron Galarn

[Secluded Valley]
A rough granite gravestone stands against the west wall of the valley.  The torn and broken ground beneath the marker leads you to believe that whatever was buried here chose to leave.  Strangely, the thick mists circle the area, carefully avoiding the gravesite.  You also see a night hound and a night hound.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast

[Shadow Valley]
A thousand tiny particles of shattered wood cover a mottled clay ramp which descends into the ground before you.  Torn and broken earth indicates that the opening may have been caused by an explosive force.  Strangely, odd black mists twist and flow around the entryway, as if trying to conceal it.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: northeast, southeast


Third Person: Yelling Jaron Galarn

(1) Exiting Secluded Valley Side
XXXXX opens his mouth as if to say something, but his movements slow and he becomes visibly transparent.  Then a gust of wind blows in, washing away the image of XXXXX as if he were never there!

(2) Entering Shadow Valley
You hear a strange whispering sound, and feel a rush of wind across your face.


(2) Sounds of Hooves

[Secluded Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  From somewhere in the distance, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest

[Shadow Valley]
A sea of grey clouds fills the sky above.  Coming from all around you, the sound of pounding hooves echoes across the valley.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: east, southeast, south, southwest


(3) Dead Trees and Mist

[Secluded Valley]
Dead trees reach out of the mist towards the sky, seeking to grasp some remnant of hope.  A few large black rocks break the surface of the chalky vapors, marking the surroundings.
Obvious paths: southeast, south, southwest, west

[Shadow Valley]
Dead trees reach out of the mist towards the sky, seeking to grasp some remnant of hope.  A few large white rocks break the surface of the charcoal vapors, marking the surroundings.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southeast, south, southwest, west


(4) Trail to Dark Pasture

[Secluded Valley]
Steep rocky walls rise high above, squelching any thoughts of climbing out.  A cold biting wind blows across your face, stinging your eyes and lips.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, west, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
Steep rocky walls rise high above, squelching any thoughts of climbing out.  A cold biting wind blows across your face, stinging your eyes and lips.  You also see some scattered rubble, some large cracks in the ground and an ancient dusty trail that winds up past the rubble and out of the valley.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, west, northwest


(5) Lack of Color

[Secluded Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the mist thins.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
The lack of color throughout the valley creates an odd feeling of unreality within you, as if you were reliving a long forgotten memory.  Sharp grey stones mark the ground in the few spots where the black mist thins.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, northwest


(6) Crevice Entry

[Secluded Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick white mist, lending the land an eerie glow.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest

[Shadow Valley]
The walls open wide and high forming a small valley forgotten by the waking world.  Covering the entire range is a low layer of thick black mist, lending the land an eerie demeanor.  Near the base of the wall, you see a crevice leading down into darkness.  You also see a shadow mare and some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious paths: southwest, northwest


(7) Dark Crevice

[Dark Crevice]
You strain to keep clear of the rough outcroppings of rock in this dark space.  The floor continues its steep incline causing you to lean severely to remain upright.  In the dim light, you can just make out a trail of flowing mist moving slowly downward from a small opening above.
Obvious exits: down

[A Dark Crevice]
You are perched on the ledge of a dangerously steep crevice which juts out from the wall hanging over a dark abyss.  The odd mists within it glow with an ethereal light as they lash about in their chaotic dance.  From above, the sound of thundering hooves reverberate throughout the chasm, seemingly vanishing into the bottomless pit below.  You also see some large cracks in the ground.
Obvious exits: up