At long last, I've found it. I've found the Cradle of Shadows.
It was well hidden to be sure. The exterior is naught but a pile of overturned masonry, covered in lichens and old cypress roots. The Imperials took great pains to conceal it, but an assassin's eye misses very little.
The structure itself is unremarkable—a simple stone bastion, assembled in the tedious Colovian style. But you need only scratch the surface to find the truth of this place. Quiet horror hangs over the Cradle like a shroud. Mephala's servants lurk in every dark corner, just out of sight but always watching. Waiting. I've never felt more at home.
Mephala's presence only grows stronger as you descend. The fort's bleak stone walls give way to great caverns, where shadows dance like mad scamps and massive spider-webs glisten in the torchlight. Mephala's servants, the Spiderkith, stalk these chambers, whispering dark secrets to one another in a tongue no mortal understands. But this is still a pale reflection of what's to come.
Beyond the caves, the very fabric of reality begins to fray. Somehow Mephala's dark realm, the Spiral Skein, has claimed this place. Its inky tendrils stretch out in every direction, seducing pilgrims and prey alike--claiming them with a cold, chitinous embrace. This is what drove the Imperials to destroy the fort. They found this nexus and sought to hide it from the world. Shortsighted fools, the lot of them. How could someone turn their back on this sublime darkness?
After walking these gloomy hallways for a week or more, I feel the weight of it—the horror, I mean. It's as if all this dark beauty could collapse in on itself at any moment. Someone is holding open the nexus by will alone. I hear her in my dreams, urging me deeper and deeper into the Cradle, promising me glory, passion, and terror. Her name is Velidreth, the Lady of Lace. In time, I shall become her servant, and together we will bring this world to heel. All will fear Mephala. All will love Mephala. All will worship Mephala.
Our grim work begins here, in the Cradle of Shadows.
This book is part of the Loremaster's Archive.