The Shallow Guild is a society dedicated to the gathering of knowledge referring to the supernatural, and the transformation of that knowledge into power, influence, prestige, and independence. The guild received its name from the fifteenth century, when it was discovered that they paid a number of undertakers to dig especially shallow graves, which helped the guild no end in its pursuit of raw materials for the reanimation process (they claim that they no longer do this, having plenty of souls offering them their bodies after death in exchange for the multitude favours that they are able to offer in return). The second part of the name refers to the temporal, weather and light magic that certain members experimented with in the early seventeenth century, creating the twilight effect that illuminates much of the organization's land (an ostentatious tradition, and not particularly in keeping with its low-profile policy). The Guild has a particular obsession for animation and (re)animation; it seems that almost all creatures share a base desire to cheat oblivion.
It is the Guild's belief that the greatest knowledge exists outside the natural laws of the universe. Certainly, the amount of knowledge that the guild has gained over the centuries from its encounters, affiliations and negotiations is astounding, yet it is ever the guild's policy to quietly pull carefully chosen strings to affect situations; it rarely reveals itself, even when its machinations come to their conclusion.
This policy has seen the Guild safely through the centuries, while other secret societies have been diluted and destroyed. The arts of diplomacy and strategic recruitment are almost as well developed within the guild as the ability to manipulate and misdirect. This 'light touch' is necessary, as the Guild is often a welcome safe Haven for entities and individuals that are considered less than savory by many.
(OOC: The Shallow Guild of Bleak Sunrise (abbreviated as SG, or SGoBS) is an unofficial team that consists of supernatural/magical characters. These characters aren't usually just any run of the mill wizard/mage/D&D or WoW archetype. They tend to be a little... darker (think H.P Lovecraft or Clive Barker). Very wry, dry (sometimes British) humor is also common, and somewhat expected. It is important to note that not all members of the Guild are human per se; in fact, most are not. If there is one thing the Guild is not, its prejudiced.)
The location of the original Shallow Guild is an unknown, though there is much conjecture that the British Isles may have been its original home. Indeed, the Guildhall itself is actually a full reproduction of one of the many castles of Edinburgh. It looms menacingly from behind iron gates atop a grassy tor on the Western coast of Khazan.
The castle wasn't built in Khazan; soon after the island itself mysteriously appeared, the Guildhall was pulled along in the 'wake' created. It had been tossing in-between the Planes for nearly two hundred years, like a cork in the ocean. The Guild prefers not to discuss the events that lead them to create a wild gash in reality to teleport the Guildhall; such unplanned and desperate action is neither the hallmark of the guild nor its proudest moment. The Guildhall took advantage of the Khazan's distant relationship with the usual laws of physics and was simply inserted into the environment between the matter that was already there. The effect is not noticeable close up, but from a distance it is possible for the more perceptive to see a crease in the fabric of reality. This is, of course, far from the most unusual sight in Khazan, and the guild's arrival caused little additional concern amongst the panic that the sudden appearance of Khazan created.
One of the many advantages of the unusual situation of the Guildhall's physical presence in Khazan is the fact that the site can only be entered via the front gate. No matter how far you walk around the outside in either direction, you'll never find any part of the high wall that, from the inside, appears to ring the grounds completely.
The Guildhall itself has been crafted by numerous Brothers over millennia. It is neither a sentient nor living structure, yet it displays properties of both. Few except for the members of the Guild can successfully navigate its constantly shifting corridors, and only the Brothers can do so with complete consistency and safely. The interior and the exterior of the Guildhall are two separate 'pocket planes.' Brother Haver once calculated the energy required to fit the infinitely large interior within the finite exterior, and fully realized while Guild lore refers to the construction of the Guildhall with terms such as "stuffing," "jamming," "prodding," and "prying." The effect at work inside means that you can walk in a straight line for a half-dozen long bowshots without meeting an external wall (though it has to be said, you can sometimes meet an external wall, turn around, and see the opposite one within apparent arm's reach; such things are bound to happen when one mingles the mysticism of The Guild with the odd physical properties of Khazan). The building changes to suit the needs of its occupants. Rooms previously ignored (or non-existent) are revealed to contain the most impressively (and appropriately) furnished quarters. The staff, all zombies, always know where the right rooms are and move towards them unerringly and surprisingly quickly (the guild buildings have been considerably more efficient and sanitary since the introduction onto the open market of formaldehyde).
Decor tends to be, as one might imagine, theatrically gothic, with long velvet drapes hanging from every wall, concealing numerous alcoves and tunnels (some always there, some not), while huge, ornate iron candlesticks carry decades of overflowed wax on their shoulders. The look can sometimes change, depending on the nature of the visitor, but the atmosphere of darkness and secrecy always prevails. The only component that appears to be missing is any sign of a religious or arcane symbol; because the guild welcomes any and all supernatural beings into its robed embrace and purports to have discarded any petty notions of good and evil, it seeks to offend none and keeps all of it's items of arcane significance in the many private chambers of the castle. Life with the guild is full of surprises. One never knows who is going to visit.
The grounds themselves are covered in short, coarse grass which grows in tightly-packed tufts. There are only a few other plants, and all are of the most drab of colors. Roses with blood-red petals and thickly-thorned stems grow up the walls, while dark-leafed sculpted hedges surround the base of the tor, towering menacingly in the grainy twilight which continually lights the area (no matter what the actual time of day). There are a few oddities, like a giant Venus Flytrap that stands twice the height of a man, and grows beside the marble steps leading from the bottom of the hill to the castle door. It's completely harmless, despite the fact that it occasionally takes a snap at passers-by; Brother Dereleth insists that it merely has a playful sense of humor. These components conspire to create a rather bleak and sinister atmosphere. In truth, this seems to be, at least in part, a carefully-crafted facade which offers more protection to the guild than a thousand guards.
The many-spired and castellated building sports an enormous oaken door, which can be opened in a seemingly endless number of ways. Sometimes it swings inwards, sometimes out (from either side of the frame). A smaller door has been known to open out of the larger one to allow single visitors quiet and simple entry, while on other occasions it has raised like a portcullis or dropped out like a drawbridge to allow large numbers of visitors (or simply large ones) easy access to its dark halls.
The Guildhall and grounds were once much more tamed, but it is still 'healing' from the damage caused by the Guildhall's time betwixt planes (and perhaps, some suffered before the unplanned relocation). The Brother's are forced to rely on whatever arcane energies they can wrangle to repower the Guildhall, and Vyras is convinced that these 'jury-rigged' solutions, coupled with Khazan's own bizarre reality, are influencing the appearance and functionality of the once predictable Guildhall.