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Terra Cruentus Backstory


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This is a revised recap of the backstory for Halloween Horror Nights: Tales of Terror. I took notes from HHNYearbook’s album that contains I believe all of the photos of the site, the swf files, a playlist on youtube, and this.


I don’t know where I got this from, but I believe that originally the 2005 concept was originally going to be based on “Darkness” or “Fate”? If they did it was scrapped and the remaining pieces were  molded to create Terra Cruentus; a world that merged both Middle Earth and modern sensibilities. This was to be setting for 2005’ event and the Icon was to be the ruler of the Terra world, Terra Queen. Unfortunately, due to apparent budget restraints or something about the costume not being ready in time for the commercials, they came up with a new character called the Storyteller to helm the event and marketing. Terra Cruentus still was ultilized at the event, but now it is simply a story by an old hag.


Before I start, I should note of the logo of Terra Cruentus, according to the Fortuneteller known as Madame Sandra who resides in Maldaken, each stem of the symbol represented its own sigil in a card she marked the Circle of Death.



Simply, this is where the STORYTELLER enchanted guests ( or “pilgrims”) to approach the gates of the fiery hellworld, where of their own volition they would either leave or enter the world of blood and fulfill its conspiracy. Once inside the gate, pilgrims would come across a melting pot of the citizens who resided in the other lands.


At the very end sat the towering Gorewood Throne; born out of an ancient battlefield. All nights at the “Season of the Queen”, the Black Guard/ Bone Chopper Riders of Iron Bone Gorge would capture those who have survived the Maldaken epicenter dubbed Pure of Heart, bring them and the Blade to the Throne, where the Terra Queen and Eelmouth would order them to be sacrificed to the Gorewood Throne to procreate the revered Bloodberry fruit, which by itself would be used to create the signature drink of the Cruentian citizens Bloodberry Wine. This was called the “Rituale de Blud”. Also on hand were skimpy stilt walkers; one of the videos referred to them as Dark Princesses I think.


This was the setting for the Port of Entry and the zone and show “Terra Guard Run” and “Terra Throne”. The concept called “The Gauntlet” stated that these were the characters supposed to be showing up: CHAINSAW SKULL CUTTERS, KNUCKLE GRUNTS, ORE MONGERS, TERRA GHOULS, NIGHT CRAWLERS, UNDER GOONS, CRAZED LURKERS AND BONE CRUSHERS. 


Fittingly, this was marked with the Ritual sigil of Madame Sandra’s Circle of Death and the chosen artifact was the Blood Vessel, used to, well, collect blood. 




When the Hollow was one, it was the only place in Terra Cruentus that was free from the burden of bloodlust and torment. Rather it was a realm filled with the light of hope. But the world changed and a awful rift split the realm in half causing them to be smothered with the waters of lust (Lach Slaven).  What remained was two realms of the night.


North Hollow was home to Maldaken (or according to Guderalle; just right next to the path). According to notes from theorists/researchers, beyond the passageway known as Maldaken Pass bequeathed an epicenter that contained the most basic elements of Primeval Terror. In the epicenter there was a suburban house where the Storyteller resides in the attic (could this be her house then?) among childhood terrors like werewolves and maniacs. Also on hand was the C.B.T. Site, a cavern (going by a quote in the ARG GAME that said “All caverns connect below Terra Cruentus”) which was hard to navigate as the cavern was freezing cold, either too dark or blindingly too bright, and explorers had the misfortune of disturbing the sleep of terrifying creatures. 

The epicenter beyond Maldaken was apparently used as a “Testing Ground” by “various Tribes, Clans, and Races throughout history”. The Terra monarchy deems the survivors of Maldaken’s epicenter to be Pure of Heart and sends the Black Guard to retrieve the Pure of Heart and take them to the Gorewood Throne to be sacrificed as it is their blood that can nurture the roots within the Throne (it is also a Gorewood Tree) to produce Bloodberry. According to Guderalle of Dragon Forge, A species called the Gnomerats apparently have knowledge of Maldaken and the “tests”.


The fortuneteller Madame Sandra resides in Maldaken Pass, where she would inform pilgrims of the knowledge before venturing in to the epicenter, and held the “Circle of Death” card.


North Hollow was the setting of Seuss Landing and from Seuss is the location to the entrance of Maldaken. For those who don’t know, the owners of the Seuss estate were fiercely protective of the Seuss IP and demanded that nothing be too intense about the way it is treated at HHN, so the little scare area doesn’t have the same amount of gore as the other realms. According to this review, they would use the same creatures in the South (more below).


According to the HHN 15 Guidemap, Maldaken Pass was located between North Hollow and the soundstages which held the houses Cold Blind Terror and Where Evil Hides (the icon house?) and it was also labeled as a Dining Area. I remember reading a trip report which said there was a D.J. and a rock climbing game there, but the source is lost. I also remember HHNCRYPT had image galleries of all the events including this one which showed that it might have been located where Field of Screams was the previous year and held carnival games but unfortunately their albums all disappeared so IDK.  


Maldaken might have also been used to send guests from TERRA to Universal Studios Florida on peak nights. You see 2004 wasn’t the only event to utilize both parks.* In this event, they opened part of Universal Studios Florida- up to the New York area- where they had people in Halloween costumes dancing around and a chain link mini maze called Rat Run. One video from the playlist linked above showed that Jack the Clown was on top of the chainlink tower for some reason?. One other thing from the Guidemap said that the reward for beating the maze was another Dining Area simply called Rat Run Area where they sold Bloodberry Rum and some sweets.

*Although I guess you could say 2004 was the only one to REALLY utilize both parks as this didn’t have any real houses in the studios. According to HauntVault, 2006 opened Marvel Superhero Island at peak nights to help with guest crowds, other than that no other event to my knowledge utilized IOA. 

North Hollow was marked with the Rite of Passage sigil of Madame Sandra’s Circle of Death (most likely to the status of “Pure of Heart” for survivors). The chosen artifact of this realm was the Chime; when the Hollow was one the sweet instrument’s soft harmonious noise was heard all throughout. But when the realm was split, so was the Chime, one side tarnished by the winds of the South, it’s other corroded by the sea of the North.




A land where the sky is red and clouded in ash and flames. 

The Ore Mongers smeltered ore gathered from Gorewood Forest in the Tangleroot Fire Pits, and then used the materials to create various types of weaponry and shields for The Cruentus People and attend special care to the Terra Blade, which is tempered through large vats filled with Manslave Blood, always filled to the top. The Queen’s Black Guard would then pick up the Blade and ride the Bone Choppers to Maldaken to capture the Pure of Heart and deliver them both to the twisted roots of the Gorewood Throne. 

The sick and injured were attended to at Blood Abbey, the hospital for the Cruentus people built by the Manslave and watched over by zealous Blood Abbey Monks standing eternally in liege to the Terra Queen. It also served as a brutal prison for lawbreakers and recusants, and punishment was delivered swift and ”just”. Meanwhile at Terror Mines, the miners of Dragon Forge attempting to discover the supposed true source of power in the Abysmal Deep find themselves under siege by the Gnomerats, strange subterranean creatures awakened rudely from their sleep.

There lies in the forge Guderalle of Gnomerat Birth.  According to someone who worked that year she was one of the Queens Elite Black Guard, 4th in Command and the Terror and Cemetery Mines Representative.   As such she is aware of  some of the secrets of Terra Cruentus, such as the way to and the tests of Maldaken (or its epicenter), as well as the recipe for Bloodberry Wine, and theorizes that there is something in the drink that corrupts the mind; possibly giving a reason to how most of the people in Terra Cruentus are horrible degenerates. She won’t tell anybody about her knowledge though, as traitors don’t fare well in Terra.


Dragon Forge was the setting for the Lost Continent and the locations of the scarezone Tangleroot Fire Pits and the houses Blood Ruins and Terror Mines (which was basically Poseidon’s Fury but with the lights of). Fun Fact: The Book of Amun-Ra from 1999’s Mummy was seen in the Blood Ruins. One of the playlist vids show what I believe to be one of those skull masked things from Bayou of Blood originated in the Tangleroot Fire Pits zone.

The Enchanted Oak Tavern was renamed Burning Oak and featured Bloodberry Rum.


(As an aside, anyone else miss the old Enchanted Oak Tavern? I still remember the stained glass ceiling.)


Dragon Forge was marked with the Assembly Sigil of Madame Sandra’s Circle of Death and the chosen artifact was the Terra Blade, forged with aged Gorewood ore, tempered with Manslave blood, and it’s hart crafted with Manslave femur and decorated with teeth, bone and hair.




A blackened forest where the soil is soaked in literal blood.


The Black Guard descended from South Hollow to drop the blood-drained Maldaken-Throne victims off at a huge operational facility so that the Body Collectors would begin processing their corpses and render their flesh to gather the bones and parts such as ulna, radius, humerus, fibula, tibia and femur (The Black Guard also delivered the remaining blood from the sacrifices for unknown reasons). Their guidebook the Rendering and Collection of Bone, Flesh and Effluence showed that for such a gruesome line of work the Collectors took a lot of meticulous care and detail to it. It was important that no body part be damaged during the rendering procedure lest they feel swift punishment. The most sacred part of the procedure was that of the skull, no assistant or sibling of the collectors were allowed to partake in the removal and cleansing of the skull.


After the work is done, the skull and internal body parts are sent to the Cemetery Mines to be buried; which somehow causes the bone to mold into iron, and flesh to mold into stone (probably due to the fact that again, magic blood soaked soil). They were to rest for years until transformation was complete. Then the miners would harvest the Gorewood Ore so that the Black Guard would pick up and deliver it to Tangleroot so that the Ore Mongers could create the Terra Blade as well as other Cruentian weapons. Some of the Black Guardsmen would also trade a barrel of Bloodberry Wine from the Cantina in Iron Bone Gorge with the foreman Edmond in exchange for the revered Gorewood Skull, which the Black Guardsmen would put on their motorcycles the Bone Choppers for show.


The miners at Cemetery Mines suffered horrible working conditions, as the Foreman insisted on putting rogue Knuckle Grunts (Or Knucklegrunts) as guards of the mines, I guess to keep the miners from rebelling, but they had an obnoxious habit of escaping from their chains and attacking anybody they can, although they could be held back by light and Bone Choppers. There was a man called Mik Llomorg who got killed in Mine Shaft 12 and this was actually part of the ARG game. 

Since Terra Cruentus is still a monarchy all things considered, they still needed to instill education onto its citizens so they set up the Skool in Gorewood Forest where the children of Terra Cruentus would attend and receive a teaching into its history. They even had their own pledge of allegiance like most schools and has their own demented versions of Children activities such as Dead Man’s Wishes, Last Picnics, Visitor Burials and Foul Feast Friday. 

Gorewood Forest was the setting for Jurassic Park, and it held the scarezone Cemetery Mines, as well as the houses Body Collectors and the Skool; both again returning three years later (the latter in a thematic sense). According to this review, the Body Collectors could also been seen walking in Gorewood Forest. 

Gorewood Forest was marked with the Transformation sigil of Madame Sandra’s Circle of Death; befitting to how the leftover remains of the Pure of Heart are turned into iron and stone and one could make a case for how the children are warped into the Terra Queen’s sense of order; and the artifact is the Gorewood Skull, sown by the Collectors, buried, reborn, and harvested by the miners of Cemetery Mines. 



The other side of a once peaceful land ruined by darkness.


South Hollow was home to and ruled by the jesters William of the Preston Clan and Theodore of the Logan (?) and the ghouls who “each bear the mark”. Where clouds of confusion swirled overhead, The Black Guard would carry the Maldaken-Throne corpses to the fog-enshrouded groves so that they could be cleansed of blood before delivering them to the Collectors. They also ordered William and Theodore to host a special Halloween adventure at the South Hollow Amphitheater to honor the Terra Queen.


South Hollow was the setting of Toon Lagoon.
So for South Hollow, they would simply cover the area with green lasers on the top to create the illusion of a mystical sky, and they adorned the Hollow with weird creatures. I think they may be either the NIGHT CRAWLERS OR TERRA GHOULS, IDK. The report I linked above said the same creatures also appeared in North Hollow as well. 
This is the backstory on the weird specters that haunted South Hollow from this comment:


i was a scareactor in 2005, one of the faceless souls within the south hollows. the story behind our role was simple- we were the souls of those sacrificed, seeking a warm host to escape terra cruentus. hearing this just knocked me back, and it's so good to hear this again- thought it was lost forever with flash being gone.


South Hollow was marked with the Cleansing sigil due to how the Pure of Heart are cleansed of blood.



Here in the realm of the Black Guard the mindset of might makes right is in full force. Under the Blood Creed of the Cantina Demon, the “strong” are to be respected, revered, and scarred with honor while the “weak” are nothing more than butchered bucks. 

Ever so loyal to the Terra Queen, the Black Guard enforces this creed in the streets where they would gleefully run over screamers with their prized Bone Choppers, set to blaring rock tunes. 

Only a idiot would think it’s a good idea to willfully walk in the Demon Cantina, a bar which is the home turf of said Black Guard. Enthralled by the spell of the Bloodberry Wine, they party with a barrage of seducers dancing and idiots being executed as they drink one last barrel to celebrate the last Season of the Queen. 

Iron Bone Gorge was the setting of Marvel Superhero Island and the location of the scarezone Blood Thunder Alley where bikers and strippers roamed the streets and the house Demon Cantina based on From Dusk till Dawn. There was another Dining Area named the Fatted Calf. Here’s a fun little tidbit about the final scene of Demon Cantina: 


Egad. They don't even mention the finale scene. The last scene of that house was a giant demon feasting on the flesh of those lured into the cantina. It was a heck of a set piece.


Iron Bone Gorge was marked with the Celebration Sigil of Madame Sandra’s Circle of Death, and the chosen artifact was the Goblet which was forged from used Terra Blade remains. 

The whole mythos behind Terra Cruentus is one of my favorite pieces of HHN Lore. The little tribute in 2021 looked really lame.



Edited by pumpkinbot343
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For what it's worth, The Storyteller was used as the Icon that year not due to budget or costume issues. It's because the marketing department is seperate from the creative department that designs HHN. Marketing came to the designers and said, "Here's the Icon we came up with for this year. Figure out a way to fit it in." Although there were some costume issues with the Terra Queen that year. They say that the Terra Queen design from HHN 30 was what they originally picture for her look, I really hated the mask. I thought her being able to show her face and have expressions was much better

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