In the Year 49, the Jara brought down the Araj Empire (842 HE - 49). Its people, mostly Theegans were concentrated in two parts. Those in the south, around the burning capital Zînin-Gulc, fled south into the Maegorion forest; eventually ending up in Skycius. Those on the other side of the Ithen river were safe for a time. To reach what Araj's city-dwellers liked to call Singarban's tribe-folk, the Jara had to build heavy barges and other craft to get across the area's waterways.
Most Jara are afraid of the water. They are centaurs, part-equine, yet unlike horses they don't seem to have the natural instinct of animals to swim, their emotion takes over and they flail about, sinking like a rock.
- Zig, Theegan ranger of the Singarban Reapers, from a scroll found in Marakellûth - "Jara and Water"
For three decades, Singarban's holdouts were under constant threat. This came to a conclusion in the Year 77 with the formation of the first Jara Horde. United under one leader, they swept into the forest with nearly 12,000 hooves. They crossed the Ašetal lake on a fleet of heavy barges and made pontoon bridges to cross the rivers north and south of this lake. The "tribe" that led the retreat towards what was then still called Synnbarri was the Calijoth. It proved a good choice, for the Jara feared the tight confines and often treacherous paths descending into the canyon. When they did dare to attack, the Jara suffered badly. Synnbarri became the new home for the Calijoths and others lucky enough to escape the Jara.
In the Second Epoch, the Shadow Curse (1302 - 1317) swept the area. This left a dark stain on the land, with areas of perpetual shadows even on the brightest of days, and turning many into creatures of shadow. The canyon sprung leaks, conduits to Bal-Kriav's dark moon Deaths Kindle. Long known as Synnbarri, a Giant word given to it by Glangveif's chief cartographer, after the curse it became better known as the Shadow Rift.
Shadow Rift snakes along Sava'loth's northeastern tracts. It is 244 miles long. The longest stretch begins north of the Howling Halls and ends near the Monger Desolate. There are hundreds of smaller chasms off the main tract. The main tract is deepest at Gaudrith. This city, at a depth nearing three thousand feet, is more a place of the Underdark than the surface. Some of its streets become cavernous passages into Vorleif.
The rim of Shadow Rift and beyond is an untamed, rugged land. The northern rim is flanked by the deep woods of Arinthil. The west by the lycanthrope haven of Singarban and east the looming peaks of the Giant Steps.
Shadow Rift is loosely ruled by the Ink-Shad. The two city-states that make-up this federation are the largest holds of the rift. They compete for trade and influence in the Nînilzar; Ink-Shad's magocracy government. With accusations of favoritism for one city over the other, conflict is always present. Shadow energy, its evil origins, is in many of the rift's inhabitants, leading to bloody conflicts and vendettas without end.
Since the time of the Shadow Curse, thirty-three rifts have been opened to the moon Deaths Kindle, tapping into its shadow energy. There are protections in place, vaults around them, some even have well-garrisoned keeps defending the rift, yet alien incursions still happen quite often. Enough that over the last five centuries Shadow Rift has seen dozens of conflicts with undead and petty tryants seeking to uproot the system. The larger-sized rifts are used to traffic goods between Bal-Kriav and its dark moon. Two of the most notable goods that come by way of these rifts are Goomstar and Kindlite.
The eerie shadowy nature of Shadow Rift is always being enhanced by magic. Guilds working at the behest of powerful Ink-Shad shadow wizards work to keep the rift in a state of low-light. As a result, Underdark races can be found in Ink-Shad's holds or wandering the canyon.
Ink-Shad's cities are gateways to the Underdark, so lot of trade and traffic flows in and out of the area. In addition to rare stuff from the moon, Shadow Rift has long been known for its mineral resources. Glangveif mined the upper tracts in the Horgon Era. All the slave miners went deaf from this work. Today, Ink-Shad mines areas south of The Deafening. Both mortal miners and constructs pound and dig for copper, salt, platinum, and other resources. The use of constructs for this work concided with the arrival of a rogue modron named Tetretz. In 1531, he found the rift's high concentration of shadow energy a godsend for making mass numbers of automations like hammers and pulverizer constructs.
Shadow Rift is a Focus for Shadow Energy. This gives all shadow spells a +2 DC. Shades, shadow mastiffs, and other shadow creatures have +1 divine enchantment to their armor class and +10% temporary hit points while in the Shadow Rift.