Monastery of the Shadow
Deep within the Umbric Plains stands the House Keepers of the Eternal Shadow.
- 1 Clash of Dreams Era Beliefs
- 2 Lyra Era Beliefs
- 2.1 Tenants
- 2.2 House History
- 2.3 Alternate Beliefs
- 2.4 House Emblem & Other Symbols
- 2.5 House Facts
- 2.6 References
Clash of Dreams Era Beliefs
Plane: Umbric Plains
Prime Artifact: Heart of the Shadow
House Art: Shadow Step & Corrupt Essence
Rulers: Purple Lace
Lyra Era Beliefs
Between the edge of darkness and the rim of light, there exists the true meaning of being. We, the few who see the glimmer within this space have chosen to serve that purest of truth, to heed the omens and serve as messengers of the Shadow.
Within the Balance of the Shadow all things are seen in the truest of lights. We feel the spirit of all things rush through our very souls and fill us with strength and purpose. No illusions cloud our judgment as it is wisdom and courage that feed our cause. The Shadow is with us and we are of it. Its presence to be kept by we who hear the call.
Our Plight is not an easy one, the Path narrow, and difficult. Along the way, we encounter many obstacles. Some of these physical, some of these spiritual, but all conquerable. With the love and support of our family, we continue on day after day, no matter how rocky the Path becomes.
We are simply a house without walls at the moment but this hinders us not. We are a family bound by bonds much thicker then blood. We are bound by the Shadow. By the Balance.
- We believe the Dream to be an alternate state of consciousness. A world between that of the material and the spiritual which is a stepping stone to achieving Balance.
- All that we do within the Dream has an effect upon both worlds. We are making passage through our shadowed Dreams for our own spiritual evolution. Our thoughts and feelings are real, for they come from our mind and our soul. Through these, we create this realm capable of allowing us to experience them, thus we always "reap what we sow".
- We believe that Order is the positive force as Chaos is the negative. For us, Order and Chaos are relative to existence and the "Shadow" is combination of these two, which symbolizes us being formed from the good -Light- and evil -Dark- wills. To achieve true Balance, one must be willing to experience extremes of each.
- For us, orbits, arts, spheres and items are all products of our own experiences. They are the tools that we have created to use on our paths for reaching our goals.
- We believe that all Mares are the products of malicious will and disperse imbalance through the city. We believe that they are at their core composed of the elemental force of chaos and use for daily check to maintain balance. The extent to which they can be considered intelligent or not, is debatable. However, the essences are to be given to the Shadow, to feed up the House Prime Artifact to purify the City for maintaining the Balance.
- We desire the whole dream process to be an experience of constant spiritual evolution, continuous creation, and never ending expansion. Our beliefs and values form the structure of our dream and to loose them would be unravel the fabric of our experience. Consequently, we always hold and stay true to them, but still examining them one by one, review them piece by piece…
Keepers of the Eternal Shadow, and its members attempt to maintain the Balance between Order and Chaos. The Dream is in a constant state of flux, alternating in illusive ways between these two fundamentals.
The position of the Dream, as related to the Balance, at any given time, is the result of all Dreamer actions within the City. Hunting, tasking, training, interpersonal and political relationships, Dark Mares all affect the Balance. When the Dream is forced out of its rhythm towards one extreme, then the House of the Keepers of the Eternal Shadow considers what action should be taken to restore the Balance.
Many things may prompt the House to take action… Prolonged periods of war, periods when Chaos is called upon, rampant outbreaks of Dreamstalkers, personal conflicts that increase danger, and even the harassment of the Dark Mares, who mostly represent the purest source of the Chaos in the Dream.
The actions of the House to restore the Balance, can be either passive or aggressive, positive or negative, depending on the situation and the doctrine of the House Counsel and take the most effective action aimed at the restoration of Balance.
"The Balance of the Dream is in the Shadows, not all is Good or in the Light, nor all is Evil or in the Dark, but the Balance is in the Shadows, the swirling and omnipresent Shadows all around us."
The First Days
During the days of the first Dreamers, long before "The Great Loss," a time of great change within the Dream City had happened. The great Houses of the Dream were being built stone by stone... fortresses with their beliefs carved into the very stone foundations. Scores of Dreamers banded together to aid in the construction of the Great Houses in standard mundane fashion, except for one, the House of KoES, The Keepers of the Eternal Shadow. This is the story of the construction and formation of this great mystical House and what it brings to the Dream.
The "enlightened" masses of the Dream were quite content in all that they "knew," and considered the followers of KoES, Lost Souls. Though assuming an enlightened state, Dreamers saw little more than their immediate surroundings. Yet, this did not disturb the Keepers. The Keepers understood and accepted it as each Dreamer's method to determine their place in the Dream.
Once, a Dreamer upset by what he was told he could and/or could not do, went to the highlands of the Dream to seek peace, to think, to meditate. Aquiela Val'Des, FreeSpirit, held in question beliefs of all the Houses as they conflicted with his own.
By seeking and exploring, Aquiela Val'Des found a cave high in the lands he traveled. For days, he tried to meditate, however, his mind was so clouded and troubled that he knew he needed to cleanse his spirit. In a Vision Quest he found a place of clarity of mind that none had ever seen before. With a shudder and flash of Insight, he then knew the truth, his mission, and what he must do. This was the birth of KoES as an ideal, for he knew and understood the Dream was truly a separate realm of existence. The House must be of the Shadows of the Dream, a House of mystery, a House pondered and spoken of in secret, for as he understood that this was what the Dream was, part of the Shadow that enraptures all.
The Dawn of the Shadow
Before Threshold, the Caudal Rift, the Courtyard of Awakening, and the Hall of Voices, lay the beginnings of the "Shadow." As the very first Dreamers started to enter the City of Dreams, alone and unprotected, each sought their own way of thinking about the Dream.
Here is the story of but one. Aquiela Val'Des, a Dreamwright, whose search for a non-constrained way of Dreaming led him to isolation within the very heart of City. In this realm, between the Ordered direction of the City and the utter randomness of the Chaos, Val'Des attempted to remove his soul from either, and progressed into what we know today, as the OverSoul. He knew that infinite knowledge and consciousness without restriction lay somewhere outside the mortal shells that they had wrapped around themselves.
During his seclusion, Val'Des experimented in magickal arts, alchemy and other unconventional workings. It was during one of these experimentation’s that he had a revelation that would change his way of thinking forever. He recorded the details of this experience in a personal journal which would eventually become what we know now as the Book of Val’Des or, the Book of Shadows. When Val'Des looked out upon the City, he noticed a thin and transparent reflection. As if seen through colored glass, he glimpsed an underlying existence that fed both sides of the spectrum. It was then, that he perceived a thin line between the two planes and a place between light and darkness, positive and negative, along with the Balance of the two. As with his spiritual beliefs he could see it all clearly, the iconized dualism and polarities coming together to form one separate. Not two becoming one as most would perceive, but the combining of two, balanced to perfection, giving birth to the third, The Shadow. Not an easy concept for most to grasp and this is where his struggles began.
He called this place of Balance, "The Shadows" and the Entity within in it he hoped to find "The Shadow."
The time was set, the place was here, before him, Val'Des knew what he must do. The Dream was in need of the great knowledge he then had, the truth of the DreamState, but how could he tell the others? He knew that they would scoff and snicker behind his back, as all do of one whom have a different idea.
Val'Des set out on his task to find ones he could trust, all the while recording his journies. They were to be of the Shadows, as he was - the Hidden. So began the first members of KoES, the Keepers of knowledge, Shadows, and Balance of the Dream. Many of the ones he found were looking for power, negative power, which they felt, he knew of, yet others looked to him for answers he did not have. Val'Des was a seeker and a learner. All of what he held within him, he held in Honor, and shared it with a trusted few and those of like mind.
As time passed, Val'Des found two others. This struck him as ironic but held more meaning then that of the Trine he had always known, the Triple Moon, the Three-fold Goddess. Why this number yet again, with counting himself, another Trinity. As he meditated and pondered this, it came to him, the Light, the Dark, and the Balance... the "Shadow" was coming together with the other two. This was a great realization. At a meeting of the three, Val'Des, explained his thoughts, and set the first order of The Keepers, the side of Light, or Positive, the side of Dark or Negative, and himself, the Balance. The one, who he set to control the Light was to learn and seek the knowledge, the one, who was set to control the Dark side, was to be the fighters and defender, which later became the "Assassins" of lore, from KoES. Little is known of these times, for as all was done, as it was set to be deep within the Shadows of the Dream.
The Days of Growth
Val'Des, and the other two Keepers, Bellenter and Lorthodolic, began to wander the Dream. Their passage went unnoticed by most, except for those discontented with their Dreams, those whom dreamed for themselves, those with different ideas, and those who did not follow the norm. At last, the trio came upon an isolated sector of the Dream. As Val'Des came to it, he knew at once that he had been meant to find this place. It had realms of great height, raising high above the clouds, and revealing in the Light. It had realms of deep Dark caverns, plunging straight into the sewers and caves burrowing under the City. Moreover, it had passages between those two realms where the road would wander off in any direction, allowing the travelers to choose their own path. Val'Des knew he was home.
The House of the Keepers did not start out as the other Houses, as huge projects where scores of Dreamers gathered, and worked tirelessly day and night, creating a huge House. Instead, the House of the Keepers started out as a small cave. Val'Des, Bellenter, and Lorthodolic stopped to rest here while traveling, and when they stepped out front after their rest; they were confronted with a small group of Dreamers. At first, Val'Des thought they had come to confront them, and withdrew into the cave. After a moment, one of the Dreamers stepped forward into the cave, and knelt down before Val'Des. The Keepers had their first followers.
As the time passed, the cave slowly began to grow as more and more people of Like Mind trickled in to join the movement. Unlike the other Houses, the Keepers did not see it right to try to recruit others to their cause. Instead, they concentrated on the ideology that each Dreamer chooses his own path, and if that path led to their front door then, so be it. However, it was not their place to alter a person's path from its destination, towards their door. As such, the Keepers consisted of those strictly devoted to the belief that the Dream is in a state of Balance, and that it was their duty to maintain that Balance.
Each member that sought entry into the House and to learn the Secrets of the Shadow were welcomed. They were not set upon by Val'Des to "do this, or you may not belong to the House." In fact, unlike many of the Houses, Val'Des did not seek to control his followers. Moreover, he reveled in the fact that they were able to study as they chose, without criticism or being attacked by those outside of the House.
In time, almost every follower had chosen to follow one of the original three Keepers. Those studying under Bellenter named themselves, "The Ashen Edge." Bellenter had dreamed as an outcast, and had learned early the advantage of being able to hide realizing that sometimes, violence was the only answer to some problems. Val'Des had known that there must be a group of Dreamers to strike with. However, in wars, innocent Dreamers get collapsed, and in all, it is the whole Dream that is damaged, instead of that which one tries to strike at. If there is a weed in a garden, do you plow up the entire garden? No. You go straight to the weed, and yank it out of the ground. Knowing this, and knowing Bellenter's talents, Val'Des sought him to train his followers into a group of elite Warriors. They would be able to strike hard, fast, and directly at the problem, and that there would be no wars, where innocents were caught in the crossfire.
Lorthodolic founded a group devoted to assisting their brethren in the Dream calling themselves the "Brothers of the Cloud." This group wandered all over the Dream, restoring, teaching, telling stories, and helping other Dreamers in any way that they could. The most selfless Dreamers in the House gathered to this group, because they helped all with no wish or desire for anything in return.
Finally, there were those who joined neither group, who chose to hold, and maintain the Balance. Scholars, Alchemists, Historians, Artisans, Mystics and many others stood as one. They were the true Keepers of the Eternal Shadow.
The Keepers are quite the mystical house indeed. The Keepers are a FreeSoul house who uses the the mare essences for occult purposes. They do not banish, imprison, nor drain the essence, but instead use them for rituals as they draw upon the energy of the essence and direct it to a more useful purpose.
They also seek to one day create a city as if should be; out from under the oppressive thumbs of Dreamwrights who sought to subject all dreamers. They speak a method that will allow them forever within the embrace of the dream, no longer forced to the incontinence of CloudBreak.
Alternate History 1
Many moons before the dreaded battle of Spiked Crossing, before The House of KoES fell into corrupt and power hungry hands, we were at peace. We had little interaction with any other houses and kept to our own works, our own quest for Balance within the Shadow.
Aquiela Val'Des gathered us. He was the true Father of the Keepers and teacher to us all. By us all, I include our nemesis Asmodan Kytain. Asmodan was not the man he is today then. He was an eager student full of hope and promise, much like I was. I dare say I once called Asmodan 'friend', though I know now this was not so.
Asmodan and I sought to learn from Aquiela just about everything and anything that he was willing to impart upon us. The Magick and the Alchemy was like an addictive drug that neither of us could quite get enough of. We were devout to the Keepers and served Aquiela with honor for a very long time. That is until our own blind ambitions made us stray from our oaths and lead us to our inevitable demise.
Though the story of my folly is long and one of it's own, it bares a small mention here as I fear my works accelerated Asmodan's corruption. With Aquiela's restraints on how the Secrets were to be used and what was "right for the Shadow and the Balance," both Asmodan and I grew impatient and anxious. I turned my back on my oath as a Keeper to pursue the works and creation of the Entropy Coalition, which ultimately lead to the leaks of Chaos into the City. But Asmodan, his plans were of total domination of the Keepers. I fear that the Chaos the EC unwittingly allowed into the Dream clung to Asmodan like a second skin. He thrived on it and wanted more. I was so lost in my own taint and darkness that I did nothing but stand by and watch Asmodan destroy the Keepers. I allowed the beauty and truth to be buried under his greed and deception for far too long.
Aquiela's favorite word was "Tolorance" in his day to day works. He allowed us all the room to err and flounder but was the first to help us off the ground when we did fall. He gave us too much room in retrospect, with allowing us access to the Secrets, the Book, all of it. While I was no more then a common thief in stealing the formulae, Asmodan was a traitor of the worst kind. His lies and conspiracies against Aquiela, Bellenter and Lorthodolic to\ overthrow them stopped at no lengths. But Aquiela foresaw all of this, even my betrayals were shown to him. They knew and they prepared.
Asmodan raged at Aquiela and his brother's actions. He gathered his followers and convinced them that Aquiela had grown weak and feeble minded with his actions of burying the Truth and the Wisdoms of the Keepers. Now Asmodan was completely barred from access to the Secrets and used it as a power play to seize the House from Aquiela and the True Keepers. It was not long until Asmodan gathered his own Circle of Rulers and lead them all under his dark cloud of tyranny. It was a tragedy like no other, paled only in comparison by the Great Loss itself.
I lost track of much of Asmodan's actions after Aquiela and the others went into seclusion and eventually Cast Adrift. I do know that though small in comparison to the other Houses, Asmodan's House of Shadows was one of great wealth and power. It was not the House that was meant to stand at all. It was tainted by evil greed and lies. Asmodan had succeeded in removing all traces of what the House was built on and what the true Keepers stood for with his new reign as the Dark Lord of KoES.
Now I feel it important here to interject that my own corruption and imbalance took great pleasure in seeing The Keepers turn. Perhaps it made me feel justified in some twisted way. I wanted the Truth to die along with my own goodness. I was not "myself" though, you must understand that. My own hands helped bury the True Keepers to justify my own corrupt pursuits. I, am not who I was then. I am now who I was when I first took Aquiela's hand and vowed my soul to the true Shadow. . . NOT the man that Chaos tainted and twisted through my works. For whatever reason, if but to tell this tale, I have been given a chance to redeme myself and make amends. With that, I continue. . .
Asmodan came to me often after the Battle at Spiked Crossing in search of any knowledge that I still held from our pure days. He used bribes, threats and whatever else he could summon to get me to spill all I knew that would aid him. Evil begets evil they say, and my heart was black as the pitch spawned from Chaos at that point. The Dreamstrike Masters were my foe and I could see nothing else but their demise. I aided Asmodan, I admit this freely as part of my penance now. I knew of his plot to kidnap Kiroko Lambent Kayarhara and I reveled in the thought of Turgin's suffering. I was corrupt, my Keeper's soul buried deep beneath the Chaos I so desperately sought to harness and control. Despite that, I had no taste for Asmodan's MindFlay or other tools of torment. Though I dished out my own evil, I can take some solace in knowing that I never directly inflicted the pain and suffering that Asmodan took pleasure in dispensing. But it was when I learned that Asmodan sought to possess the very art that I and my comrades were fighting to destroy that Asmodan and I became mortal enemies. I had no clue that his abduction of Kiroko was for the bargain of Dreamstrike. When I did learn of this, it was far too late.
I watched from a safe distance past the Shadow Steps, chameled and Mind Blanked, I watched it all. I heard Kiroko's cries after Asmodan shattered Contessa to oblivion. I witnessed it all first hand. I retreated away from the House in horror, an odd sensation for me at the time I admit. The Truth was indeed dying. Bittersweet. It was a full week of silence outside my laboratory before I felt the strange twinge. Aquiela often spoke that the Shadow was in all things, a single thread that binds and the Keepers tap into it as if a sixth sense. I knew this to be true then. On my instincts I raced to the Gathering and watched once again. I saw Mi'raj and knew at once, as if intuitively, what was to take place. I did not stay. I walked back slowly and heard the screams of Asmodan as the Dark Rite was performed against him. I felt the smile cross my lips as the image of the Shadow take it's divine justice out upon him. Then I stopped dead in my tracks, knowing my time would be next, knowing that my own betrayal to the Shadow, to Aquiela would be upon me. I too would reap what I had sown. Oddly, this is the last bit of "feeling" I carried for many moons, until the last Full Moon before the Great Loss. I felt Aquiela leave this place forever. It was then I knew the Truth was indeed dead within the City. That I would never see the prophesy play out in my lifetime.
And here I am. Brought back to this place as I was before. With my heart free from the evil that twisted me into the hideous creature that wrought havoc not much unlike Asmodan. But I have been gifted a second chance. To make things right with my 'father' Aquiela Val'Des, to help the true Keepers banish the evil cloud of Darkness that is called Asmodan from their lives forever. To help Asmodan's children find peace. This is my path, thus is the tale.
Written By: Fenr'al
Alternate History 2
Keepers of the Eternal Shadow was a Dreamstriking House, one which DreamStruck essences, for some strange reason. She states that she does not know of the illuminate/FreeSoul polarity of the House yet, but I suspect heavily that it will be Illuminate. In their History, they speak of the Shadow, which they keep. Apparently, they convert 'mare essences into some sort of nutrition for the Shadow, which is contained in their Ruler areas and in turn, the Shadow provides the House with guidance. The Entropy Coalition had some roots in KoES, but not enough to be fully associated with them. The group that wishes to open up the Keepers of Eternal Shadow call themselves the Shadow Alliance. This group is dedicated to the study of KoES' history. They are hoping that once they discover the true beliefs of KoES that they will find them acceptable, and can use them. The leader of this group is Sabriana, she says that she is apprenticed to the houses current ruler Lord Xenus. She says that he also is seeking to regain the history of KoES because he lost his memory after the great loss. Sabriana says that the members of the SA are forbidden to engage in random violence and dishonorable acts. She also says that the true beliefs (FreeSoul/Illuminate) will come when they find out more information about the houses history. In my search for what the KoES used to do with essences I was told that they used to feed them to an entity called the Shadow, via an artifact called the "Shadow Sphere". I was told that the reasoning behind this house was that of balance. The City is made up of a balance, everything chaotic and to some "evil" on one side and everything organized and of the "light" on the other. The SA believes that this balance must be kept even or fatal consequences will occur. They believe that the city is dangerously tipped towards the light, and that it is their job to ease it back to a delicate balance. I also heard from a very reliable source that this house maybe a house of assassins and that it's underlying purpose is evil.
Written by Sabriana
House Emblem & Other Symbols
The Crest of the Keepers of the Eternal Shadow is in itself a shadow of the World Triad symbol. It's spokes may be interpreted in three manners:
1) The three hands of the Fates;
2) Representing the threefold nature of reality; and
3) The Triple Goddess symbol, Maid, Mother, and Crone.
The spokes being evenly spaced signify balance and they being encompassed by the sacred Circle representing its significance being eternal, with no beginning and no end. . It is believed that the spokes are not straight, reflecting the understanding that the Rituals (Chaos, Dark or negative), Knowledge (the Light or positive), and Laws (Balance of the two) of the House are not static. They flow, as does the dream, they must change, adapt and grow to support a Dream that is constantly being altered. What worked yesterday may not tomorrow and the House must remain flexible or risk falling out of Balance with the Dream itself.
The clock is significant in conjunction with the meaning of the Crest. Its meaning lies in the symbol of time & its eternally spiraling cycle (see Crest). It can also be said that the Clock is a reminder that time is a limitation to the spirit. Bottom line, the image of the clock represents the passage of time and the need to take action and to not waste any. A quote to sum this up: "Time is of the essence and precious to us all." The time shown upon the clock of 4:05 is believed by many sources to be the first moment the Chaos breached the City walls and the House sealed shut as it remains today.
The moon is a feminine symbol, universally representing the rhythm of time as it embodies the cycle. It is the middle ground between the light of the sun and the darkness of night, and thus often represents the realm between the conscious and the unconscious. The phases of the moon symbolize immortality and eternity, enlightenment or the dark side of Nature herself. It might reflect inner knowledge, or the phases of wo/man's condition on earth, since it controls the tides, the rains, the waters, and the seasons. In astrology, the moon is a symbol of the soul, and in the horoscope it determines the subject's capacity for reflection and adaptation. It also provides analogy for the stages of human development: the new moon is infancy, the crescent is youth and adolescence, the full moon is maturity and pregnancy, and the waning moon represents the decline of life, sleep.
The Green Leaf
The green leaves are repetitive throughout many spaces of the house. It is a depiction of hope, renewal, and revival. In general, leaves are symbolic of fertility and growth. The leaf symbolizes plainly that present problems are only temporary and there is always an impending change. Green is a dualistic color. It can represent envy, evil, and trickery, and/or growth, renewal, and life. The relevance of the color is necessary because the leaves appear twisted in their usage. This can only be meant as a reminder of the duality in the polarities associated with this color.
It must be noted that In some places the leaf takes one a human-like quality. It could possibly resembles a person in certain angles. Once again we see a link between us and the Cycle of Nature here, as well as our connection to the Cosmos.
'Common denominators within all four primary symbols:'
- Cycles of Time/Life
Here is where we see the Crest overlay on the slightly skewed Earth symbol. The moon take's it's place at the 11 o'clock position and another image takes the place at the 4 o'clock position. The are balanced to one another yet what is the red image? It seems to have an eye? Is it the Shadow? At 4 o'clock? Is it a metaphorical symbol of the Sun? This is something I was unable to decipher but intend on pursuing my investigation. One thing we do know is that the Moon is a primary symbol of this house along with the other three.
Plane: Umbric Plane
Prime Artifact: Heart of the Shadow
First Elder: Val'Des
Previous Elders: ?
First Rulers: Patro, Berkana, flagg
Previous Rulers: ?
First Guardians: Sett, Chryseis, Rathis Tarn, Ghalleon, Aphestius
Previous Guardians: ?