The Aria of Shadows Cycle is the popular name for a cycle of Ven operas, either by one author or several authors in collaboration. Digs around the Eastern Mediterranean have independently uncovered 4 Operas that most scholars say are obviously contemporary and from similar if not the same authorship, with similar plots and recurring characters from previous works. More than 8 other Operas are considered contenders for being included in the cycle, but it is unclear whether these works are contemporary, since noticeable shifts in character and in writing occur, and their timelines are not as clearly connected. It is believed that the initial cycle was extremely popular, and that later authors added their own prequels, sequels and additions to the popular story arc.
The Aria Cycle is noted for being a penultimate expression of Ven tastes. The stories involve overlapping stories of betrayal, romance and some of the most hideous expressions of vengeance in Ven literature. The overall theme is one of secrets, lies and darkness. Indeed, parts of it read like a Ven primer for intrigue, as well as giving insight into how the Ven managed, or did not manage, to keep the difficulties of Romance secret.
The cycle takes its name from one of the more memorable lines of the first Opera, the Tragedy of Janarra -
"Some Truths cannot be spoken between dawn and dusk
some Betrayals are too deep to be confessed in the Sun,
some Loves are too great to be professed except by the Moon,
so let us tread in the night, and listen to the Aria of Shadows."
The reputation of the cycle during its time is unknown. Some insist that the work represents an influence on Ven society equal to Shakespeare. Others believe it may just be a popular work that followed already set Ven concepts.