Because of the occasional disappearance of its rulers, and the significant resources those rulers devoted to finding a way to reach the Throne of the Architects, the Portalist Empire soon became fractured and weak. The final straw that broke its back was the rise of the tribes of Sendak to the south. The tribelands had been a source of slaves for a millenia and the brutal oppression of the Architect Priests ensured that no power ever rose in the south. Freed from their yoke it was not long before Sendaki tribes united and moved to take revenge for generations of misery. One of their invasion routes was through the Jade Mountain Pass. The soldiers stationed there put up a fight, but they were sorely outnumbered. The southernmost keep fell on the first day and the rest of the soldiers could only watch from their walls as it burned. Within three days the tribes had overrun the walls of the main stronghold but already there were mutterings in the invading army of spirits on the mountain slopes, and they soon departed once the Empire's soldiers were slain. One of the mausoleums had been slightly damaged, but fear of vengeful spirits discouraged the Sendaki tribes from tarrying. They erected a totem to keep the spirits from leaving the pass and then left, never to return. In the years that followed the Jade Mountain Pass and the necropolis it harboured passed out of memory as the Empire was reduced to warring states that no longer looked beyond the mountain borders.
Though the rule of the Architect Priests had ended some three centuries earlier, a cult had persisted in secret, dedicated to the worship of those undeniably powerful sorcerers. Members of the cult still sought the power of the priests and a few followed old writings to rediscover the necropolis. Over a hundred years after the invasion a small cult temple had been raised within the crumbling walls of the old keep, and the cultists had begun to excavate the ancient tombs in hopes of finding a way to follow their long-dead lords into another world or, at the very least, to uncover the powerful artifacts buried with them. For their cult was always viewed with suspicion and not a few of the petty rulers of the former empire's provinces had instituted inquisitions against them, so they kept their work secret and looked for ways to defend themselves.