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The ancient Labyrinth is the setting for various plot lines across the entire Cradle series. We learn only a little about it in Book 1, Unsouled. Gradually the author reveals more about this mysterious place. In Reaper, we learn the most, and much occurs when the team explores the depths, led by Eithan Arelius and Wei Shi Lindon Arelius.

Also Known As

[What you call the labyrinth is also known as the western labyrinth, the Dreadgod labyrinth, the First Tomb, the forgotten maze, and several other titles that may or may not apply to this location.] (Dross, in Reaper, ch 8)

Beginning Report

[Records of its purpose and contents are incomplete and often contradictory. It is called the birthplace of the Dreadgods, but other claims dispute this, suggesting that it was a place where samples of the Dreadgods were studied. Records seem to agree that it was the birthplace of the lesser copies known as dreadbeasts. [Studies refer to an entity sealed in the labyrinth known as Subject One, though this individual’s true identity is unknown. Subject One is referred to alternately as “it” and “he,” implying it to possess intelligence and identity of some kind. He is always referenced in conjunction with hunger madra, and is either its source or its first host. [Inside, we should find creations of hunger madra, as well as relics and security measures left by the Soulsmiths of old, many of which will be extraordinarily dangerous.] (Reaper, ch 8)


Original Abidan Judges — “The original creators of the labyrinth. Seven pillars of order and structure.” (Reaper, bk 10, chapter 24).


It extends all over the world, but its largest — and presumably most
central — hub is located under the land you call Sacred Valley.

-Reaper, ch 8, Dross

The Labyrinth is huge. Most of it is underground. It runs beneath Sacred Valley and part of the Blackflame Empire. It spans the vast Ashwind continent and runs beneath the enormous Trackless Sea. And beyond. Far, far beyond. . . (Reaper, ch 24) It runs all over the world (Reaper, ch 8)

Spatial Shifting

The corridors can be rearranged. Spatial transportation is a significant part of the labyrinth’s function. Maze restructuring is controlled by scripts. It can zap entire groups of people away. See Control Authority section below. (Reaper).

Dread Wars

The apocalyptic Dread Wars occurred because the ancient black dragons left the doors to the labyrinth open for days or months on end, not knowing the consequences of this. The labyrinth is like candy to a Dreadgod. The monsters cannot resist its aura. When all four beasts arrived on the scene, battle raged, killing billions. Thus, it is against imperial law to open the doors of the labyrinth. See Ashwind Continent History


Huge Stone Doors
The door was marked with a familiar symbol. It was etched with four beasts:
on the top, a coiling dragon surrounded by rain and crackling with lightning.
On the bottom, a phoenix with feathers like drops of blood. To the right, an
armored warrior with the shell of a turtle and a sword so rough it was almost
a club. To the left, a tiger seated on treasure and crowned with light.
This was more than just a decoration. It was a warning.

-Skysworn, ch 2

There are several entrances to the labyrinth. In book 1, we learn about two entrances in Sacred Valley, the Nethergate and the Ancestor’s Tomb. In book 2, an entrance appears in the Transcendent Ruins in the Desolate Wilds of the Blackflame Empire. In book 3, Eithan Arelius mentions that there is access in Serpent’s Grave. In book 4, Jai Daishou illegally takes weapons (Archstone, etc.) from the Western Labyrinth (Skysworn, ch 2). Also, the Monarch Northstrider discovered an entrance at the bottom of the Trackless Sea.
Also, after the black dragons dug too deeply into the labyrinth and brought down the wrath of four Dreadgods, several doors were destroyed, or if not feasible, locked, sealed, and hidden. See Ashwind Continent History

Entrances in Sacred Valley

The labyrinth runs beneath the four holy peaks of Sacred Valley and underneath the valley itself. Sacred Valley has two known entrances to the Labyrinth, plus plastered over, hidden ones. The stone gates are marked with symbols of Dreadgods. The easiest to access is the Nethergate, a towering stone doorway at the base of Yoma Mountain. That gate opens once every ten years, allowing access to the sacred treasures in nearby rooms only.
The second gate in Sacred Valley is accessed via the huge Ancestor’s Tomb, near Heaven’s Glory School, high on Mount Samara.

Samara’s ring was a bright line in the sky when he reached the Ancestor’s Tomb. The Tomb predated their school by unknown centuries, a titanic monument to an age long past perched at the edge of the mountainside. Behind it was a sheer thousand-foot drop and a picturesque view of distant snowy peaks. The building itself was bigger than anything in Heaven’s Glory, a square mausoleum that stood proudly on vast pillars. Far above Whitehall’s head, a mural of four gigantic beasts locked in battle rose over the entrance.. . . The Ancestor’s Tomb was set with deep, ancient scripts that had gathered vital aura into those walls for centuries. They should be next to indestructible by now. (Unsouled, ch 18)

Labs & Libraries

There are numerous laboratories and libraries in the labyrinth. For example, the first generation Abidan conducted research and kept numerous files down here. So did the Founder of House Arelius, Ozmanthus Arelius. There were also researchers who meddled beyond their understanding, as Subject One learned to his cost:

Researching Hunger

Some time after Ozmanthus Arelius ascended, a laboratory deep in the ancient maze saw the origin of Subject One, a researcher who developed hunger madra and, testing his theory on himself, unexpectedly became the first Dreadgod, followed by four more Dreadgods. Ever since then, the powerful “Slumbering Wraith” has been imprisoned in the Labyrinth beneath Sacred Valley. The suppression field keeps him too weak to escape.
(See Reaper, see Subject One and see Dreadgod

Other Visitors

According to book 8, Wintersteel, some time after the rise of Dreadgods, the researcher who later became the Sage of Red Faith went into the labyrinth to study the Phoenix and promptly went off the rails and founded Redmoon Hall, the first Dreadgod cult, whose acolytes follow The Bleeding Phoenix.
Much more recently, Yerin’s master, Timaias Adama, Sage of the Endless Sword, entered the labyrinth to learn how to remove her Blood Shadow. (See Wintersteel). He stored copious notes about the Dreadgods in his void space, which were found recently by Wei Shi Lindon Arelius, thanks to Elder Whisper (see Bloodline, and Reaper ch 1).


Eithan Says So Himself!
“This labyrinth contains tools from some
of the greatest Soulsmiths of all time,”

(Reaper, ch 8)

“It is a repository of ancient truths, as well as the home and workplace of the greatest Soulsmiths in history. You could study there for the next five hundred years and never reach the depths of their understanding.” (Reaper, ch 1)

The Labyrinth has a long history of advanced soulsmithing. “Hundreds of generations ago” (prolly more than 5,000 years ago), Ozmanthus Arelius ascended, leaving a soulsmith inheritance in the maze for his descendants. Even earlier, the original Abidan court used a forge in the labyrinth — (some chat groups say more than 20,000 years ago).

Weapons & Artifacts

Some of the most powerful weapons and artifacts on Cradle were forged deep in the labyrinth and are locked away in the same place. For example, Ozmanthus made numerous iterations of the weapon Penance in the labyrinth.

“The dragons of the first Blackflame Empire.. . plundered weapons from the depths of the labyrinth. At first, they only took Highgold or Truegold devices, wanting to study them, but they became greedy for more when they learned that the weapons had such miraculous effects.” (Skysworn, ch 7)

Also, in book 2, Jai Long sought his clan’s ancient Ancestor’s Spear in the Tanscendent Ruins and his Patriarch Jai Daishou opened the western labyrinth on Jai land in the western desert, taking the Archstone. Emperor Naru Huan sanctioned his entire clan for this breach of trust; opening the Labyrinth can attract the deadly Dreadgods, which is how the first empire of black dragons was reduced to ash so long ago. (See Skysworn, ch 7 and see Ashwind Continent History and see Dread Wars.

Control Authority

As Dross quickly realized, there is an intelligence and scripting that controls the labyrinth, opening its Nethergate periodically, for example, or suddenly uplifting the Transcendent Ruins. The intelligence can use spatial transformation to rearrange the labyrinth, suddenly moving its corridors, laboratories, and libraries —- like a maze. And it can instantly zap people away. (Reaper, ch 24)

Four Levels of Authority

Reaper, ch 24: As Wei Shi Lindon discovers, to gain control of the labyrinth, one must first win the trust and approval of four different historic layers of authority, almost like four ghost-beings. Each layer of historic authority asks a prospective controller, “Who Are You?” If the answers aren’t accepted, authority is not allowed. Northstrider had tried for years to win control of the labyrinth. Lindon did gain full control because of his personal connection to the four sources of authority:

  1. Hunger madra authority — the most recent layer of authority, based on experiments by/with Subject One, who virtually brought hunger madra to life. (Subject One is sometimes called “The Father of Hunger” according to Elder Whisperer (Reaper, ch 1)) Lindon’s arm is based on hunger madra and he employs hunger techniques.
  2. Soulsmith authority — some of Cradle’s most advanced soulsmiths forged amazing weapons and other artifacts in the Labyrinth. Some soulsmiths in the maze researched hunger madra and unintentionally developed the Dreadgods. Some could even be Lindon’s ancestors. Lindon recently used his new soul-forge, a gift from Eithan, in the Labyrinth
  3. Ozmanthus Arelius authority —- He gained the trust of the Labyrinth several thousand years ago and conducted research down here, worked his soul-forge, kept libraries, etc. He left an inheritance here before ascending to become Ozriel The Reaper. Lindon is his apprentice.
  4. Original Abidan Judges — “the oldest and most powerful layer. The original creators of the labyrinth. Seven pillars of order and structure.” This presence feels similar to the marble Suriel gave Lindon.

Authority Granted
That presence felt him, felt his connection to this marble, and approved of him. Just like that. And that simply, the labyrinth was his. It snapped into place around him, and he could sense every room. He stretched his perception through it, finding corridors snaking throughout the earth for.. . His mind boggled at the scope. Dross giggled softly in his mind. [You see? You see how it stretches to distant corners unknown?] Spatial transportation was a significant part of the labyrinth’s function; he had obviously known that throughout their entire journey. What he hadn’t known was that only certain pieces of the labyrinth were actually in Sacred Valley itself. Other branches were far away. Some very far. Now he could not only feel the powers in Sacred Valley, but the script that controlled the surrounding lands. It was his, now. His property. His domain.

-Reaper, ch 24