Shade Ways

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Shades follow the customs of their Human parents, and have yet to develop any true culture of their own. Indeed, despite almost a century of persecution, most Shades still dwell among the Sons of Men. It is far easier to measure the impact Shades have had upon Human culture than it is to define any kind of unique ways of life practiced only by Shades.

Immediately after the Turning, an entire host of rituals and traditions sprang into being to eliminate Shades, who most of Humanity viewed as abominations. Once the Sons of Men discovered that Shades remained Shades no matter how many exorcisms were worked upon them, and returned to life no matter how often they were burned, banishment became the preferred solution. Today Shades -are tolerated, if not accepted, and most cities allow their Shades to dwell among them, though few Humans will admit to liking their company. An entire subculture of Healers and Magicians has arisen, who try to prevent the transformation of unborn into Shades. Strict regimens of fasting or prayer, exotic candles and incense, foul smelling potions, and magical talismans all figure into their methods, which they claim can keep the shadow of Death at bay. Surprisingly, these so-called "Shadow Chasers" number many Shades in their ranks and claim to bring a personal insight to the problem. Whether the Shadow Chasers' methods are truly effective remains uncertain. Some consider them to be well-meaning philanthropists, others see all Shadow Chasers as greedy charlatans.

While Humanity has been quick to weave a tangled web of superstitions around Shades (it is considered bad luck to drink from the same cup as a Shade, be unexpectedly touched by a Shade, cross a Shade's path, etc.), Shades themselves are, for the most part, a pragmatic people. They have no fear of Death: indeed, some Shades claim a unique understanding of it. Shades who work as Assassins or Rogues are quick to use the widespread dread of Shades to their advantage, cowing and intimidating their victims. When not "working," however, Shades do not embellish their macabre appearance the way an Irekei might.

The oldest Shades, born immediately after the Turning, are also the most eccentric. They bore the full brunt of persecution and inquisition, and as a result many have come to hate Human civilization. These grim specters lurk in the shadows of Human cities, spreading whatever madness and terror they can to avenge the cruelties and tortures of the past. Some of the Aberrant Shades, whom whispered rumors call Shadow Lords, are said to be able to speak with spirits long dead and manipulate the very stuff of darkness. The Shadow Lords, it is rumored, often go mad, haunted by visions and nightmares of times long gone, memories that are not their own.

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