by whpearson 1 min read14th Mar 20186 comments


..only he saw the lump of shadow that clung to Ged, tearing at his flesh. It was like a black beast, the size of a young child, though it seemed to shrink and swell; it had no head or face, only the four taloned paws with which it gripped and tore.

A Wizard of Earthsea. Ursula K. Le Guin.

To name something is to gain power over it. So I am going to name another member of our pantheon. That is Shadow. Shadow exists in the creaking of the floorboards and the rustling of the leaves. They are the herald of all evil. To ignore them is

Shadow also known as the Black Cloak, often wraps around other nameless horrors obscuring their true nature. Insubstantial, they touch your heart and send you scampering or cowering, weakening you before the real Boss materialises. They have a cruelly whimsical side, sometimes they approach you alone or covering something harmless. Sometimes they appear to you alone, causing your fellows to doubt your sanity.

Moloch draws gobs of Shadow into itself as raw material. In the internal struggle that powers Moloch, Shadow is used to coerce conformity or convince people to buy worthless protective gewgaws.

The Group anoints the Other with Shadow that only the Group can see. Being a member of that Group is to see their Shadow. To spread the Group is to spread their particular Shadow. To question their Shadow

To fight Shadow there are weapons three. Sword, shield and lantern.

The Sword slices through Shadow, revealing clear arc of space and cleaving what is concealed. Sometimes you hit upon a monster, other times you find you are attacking an innocent as you were deceived by Shadow's inky tendrils. Or you slice and slice and slice until you are exhausted only to find nothing their at all.

The Shield will not hurt innocents. But it may not be enough to ward off what lurks beneath. Or fearing that you may build it too big and too heavy, so that you cannot move quickly enough.

The seering light of the Lantern burns away the Shadow, revealing what is beneath. This will allow you to strike true or get an appropriate shield. Some shadows are too inky black to penetrate with the Lantern you have. Hopefully you can find others to help shine their lights and dispel the yawning void.

Pick your weapons well.