"With this Shard, we send you to the Darkness. With this Shard, we purge you of the Light. With this Shard, we pierce the veil that keeps us from our Destiny. Blessed be the Bringers of Midnight. Blessed be the day when the Shadow reigns eternal."
"I am calling to the Shadow and it hears my humble pleas. I am calling with my heart oppressed; I am calling, I am calling. I am calling to the Shadow for my eternal rest."
– Chant and response from a sacrificial ritual
From the dark shrouds of prehistory emerged the cult of the Devoted Children of Midnight. Heeding the call of Darkness as its tendrils crept into their dreams, a people from long ago learned to worship the Lords of Midnight, the Bringers of Eternal Night. Some day, the dreams foretell, Night will stalk the day. Out of the blackness will come creatures of nightmare, devouring the light bit by bit until the Shadows rule all. Whispers of these promises have ever plagued the minds of the men who dwelt upon the plains wherein lies Shardis, the Shining City today. The City of Light, whose beacons blaze forth light every hour of every day. Perhaps the founders of Shardis also feel the touch of Midnight in their dreams and in their fear attempt to beat it back with a combination of holy and arcane magics.
The Children have survived numerous purges by the hand of justice. Whenever too many followers heed the call, whenever the cult becomes too bold and the sacrifices too many, men of light attempt to stamp them out. One can never eradicate all shadows, however much light they shine, and the Bringers of Midnight continue to gather followers willing to heed the call of dreams.
Immortality is the promise the Shadows make. To be devoured by a shadowbeast is to live forever, say the dreams, and the greatest honor a Child of Midnight can hope for.
Lost to time are ancient attempts to bring about eternal night. But ever before have such attempts failed for lack of power against the hated light. Yet slowly the Children have managed to accrue items of power which will aid them when next the sun is blotted out by the moon. There are the Shards of Midnight, pieces of shadowbeasts which have been hardened into obsidian-like knives. A life taken by a shard during the proper rituals weakens the veil between this world and the Hell of Primal Shadows. With enough lives taken and the proper alignment of the planets, stars, and moons, that veil may be weakened enough to let in the darkness and start the beginning of the end of light.
The most sacred and precious item, and the key to victory, is the skull of a Priest Hunter. Appearing as a large skull of bleached and fire-blackened bone, the Skull holds enough power to take on any source of light and turn it into power for Shadows. When the day comes, when that vaunted eclipse happens, so then shall the skull be used to ignite the flame of darkness and put out that cursed light, which even the Bringers of Midnight can not stand. Only a few of the cultists know of its existence and would never betray such knowledge, for its existence required the sacrifice of a Priest Hunter, the second most powerful beings of the Hell of Primal Shadows.