“I envy shadows with every fiber of my being. To shapeshift is the ultimate freedom, the ultimate power. But where are they? Surely they cannot all be gone,” – Naktol’s Journal
Shadows are spirits that can change shape, be it animal, spirit, or human. There is no telling that they are shadows unless their transformation is witnessed. Once human, they look and act fully human, or animal, or spirit.
A shadow’s weakness is that their minds change as they change shape. They were known to lack individual personalities, as what they changed into could greatly influence them. There are even stories in which they would forget that they are shadows in the first place if they transformed into an un-thoughtful creature for too long.
Due to their nature, shadows never built a society of their own. They had no original forms and could only copy the forms of people and things around them. Those who valued identity and roots blended in with a chosen race. and started families. Those who valued freedom and power would run with wolves one day, and sleep with a human the next.
Shadows often kept their identities secret. Some of them were known as “body snatchers” who would murder a person and then take their victim’s form. This gave all shadows a bad reputation and created much paranoia in Awei.
However shadows were eliminated from Awei by the deviants, just like the horned beings before and winged beings after. Even their ability to change shape could not save them from mind control.
It is widely believed, even by the deviants, that shadows were not completely killed off. They are masters of disguise after all. They probably stand among men, fly among birds, and sleep with the deer. Now they just never let a soul know that they still exist.
Another matter is how shadows are born. They are neither wind nor blood-born. Instead they are a consciousness that’s formed in an inanimate object, like a wedding ring or sword, that has absorbed enough emotion to awaken a being. Since their “extinction” the word and process for how they are born is forgotten by many. For those that do know though, they tell their children to not get too emotionally attached to any object, for fear that it may turn into a shadow one day.
For those who have a lot of knowledge and books at their disposal, they know that a shadow’s heart is shaped by what kind of object they came from and how it was treated. A blade that has tasted the blood of many could turn into a shadow that enjoys killing. A teddy that a little girl talked to every night could turn into a shadow with a lot of empathy.
When an object is in-between becoming a shadow and being an ordinary item, it can because “cursed” or “blessed.” Such items sell for a lot and are known to have powers of luck.