The Elder Shaedia
Darkness. Emptiness. A maelstrom of shadows.
Whispered of by the wise and by those who delve where they should not, the Elder Shaedia remains the most dangerous mystery in all of existence. With hushed reverence, it appears in mythos and barbarous legend in realm after uncanny realm, yet ultimately, these tales fail to relate the horrific majesty of the Shaedia.
Never have I heard it named the same twice. In no fragment of alien song, nor any comprehensible tongue does the Shaedia bear a universal name for the seething hordes that dwell within the Myriad.
Yet I have delved deeply. The wise can behold hidden patterns.
In some realms, it is described as the chaos that came before existence, seen as a dark and seething ocean. In more than a few it is an unnamed realm of living shadows that possess the power of prophecy or a dire nightmare of ashes and madness.
In others yet, the Elder Shaedia is the realm of the unquiet dead.
Both Eldred's Cantologies and the Tynwyr Scry-songs have a great many references to what I consider the Continuum Primus. That is to say, these two peoples, from vastly different worlds, tell a strikingly similar tale within their mythos. Having spent considerably effort distilling these bizarre tales to their core, I have come to the following conclusions.
The Ur-Ghudan themselves burst from that baleful pit of midnight secrets, aflame with madness and the shimmering fires of creation. Each crystalline realm they dreamed into existence arose from the Shaedia, infinite worlds drifting along within an greater infinity of vast, maddening eternity.
If one pores through fragmented tales that discuss the Ur-Ghudan, they find that the Eld Shaedia existed before all other realms, a shadowed darkness where only depraved abominations dwelt. Within, nameless elder horrors skitter in the darkness, bent miscreations, remnants from another Aeon.
Yet, something else lay there. Hidden throughout the Eld Shaedia burned faint embers of Ariis, the fires of creation. They remained hidden for long, meandering millennia, faintly burning within a realm of ash and shadows.
Scholars who study the lore of the Ur-Ghudan believe that these smoldering bits might be detritus from some great conflagration, shards of infinity left from another terrible and unknown epoch of existence. In the Oerikk Cycles, it is theorized that the Shaedia and the Ariis within it might be husks from some dim and ancient cataclysm which ended some forgotten shape of creation.
We shall likely never know.
Librii IV, 122.8
Even today, we understand little about the Shroud and the gloaming storms. After five hundred years of darkness, we remain as children before it.
The Shroud spawns the storms, casting them out to savage the surrounding countryside. In some far flung places they were once called "Bloodstorms" , likely for the physical remnants left in their wake. It is just as possible, however, that this term arose from the horrors that the storms wrought.
When a storm passes, monstrous abominations are often left behind. These are unlike anything found within the natural world.
The materia of the Shroud, a substance that contains the traits of both mist and shadows, has proven to be unending. Early scholars had hopes that perhaps the power of the Shroud would fail, that like so many other things, it would prove finite.
No expedition ever sent forth from Teredon has returned, which is telling.
As far as can be determined, the wrathful twilight within Shroud remains infinite. What it's source is, none can say.
Elder Scrive Dun'kais of Teredon