Embrace of the True Shadow: The Revelations of Sister Serata MacDermott
Having spent much time in contemplation on the subject of our rather limited mortality and the nature of that which binds us together and to this very world, I have come to a series of rather simple conclusions that are things which must be shared with the community of so-called Forsaken at large in order to strengthen and better us as a people; revelations which will succeed in spreading our influence and power base out from Lordaeron.
Firstly, it should be considered a universal truth among us that we are creatures of the Shadow. We are born from it upon our ressurections; drawn from the very void itself and thrust to our somewhat rotted shells once again. The Light that once loved us when we were mortals shows no care for our existence anymore, offering little more than burns and agony at its touch and oppression at the hands of those who still wield it. The Shadow, however, is different. The great coalesced darkness embraces us wholly and infuses every aspect of our being – it offers healing and succor where we receive none, grants us the ability to stay hidden from our enemies when we require it, and to those who show it they are worthy? The Shadow offers us far more power and ability than we ever had when we had the Light on our side.
The Light, for all its talk of granting strength, never once offered the kinds of boons Shadow now holds out for us. Yes, there were healing magics and some strengthening ones, but with the Shadow coursing through us in our new lives, we are unkillable beings of unimaginable power. We are capable of shrugging off far more damage and pain than we ever could under the so-called protection of the Light; I have witnessed members of our kind lose limbs and continue fighting like the demons our foes think we are until their enemies are little more than pulp. I have seen the enemies of our people flee in sudden horror based on nothing more than the mental suggestion they do so, placed in their heads by a quiet Shadow-whisper. Those strong in faith of the Shadow horrify and terrorize their foes because their foes are aware of the true power of the Shadow, on a base and fundamental level. In their minds, they know we are stronger than they are. That the Shadow is greater than the Light. That our true power, when harnessed correctly, will allow us to destroy that which they hold dear, if we simply choose to.
The Church of Light has stated the Light reaches everywhere; this is not true. There is always darkness, there is always Shadow. It is there before the Light touches anything, and it is there when the Light inevitably leaves again. The Shadow is waiting, the Shadow embraces all of us, and the Shadow is our path to true survival and thriving in our new lives. To deny this would be to deny what we are within.
Secondly, there is a path to true and unimaginable power granted to us as a people by the Shadow itself. This power is attainable by any among us who work for it – the Shadow does not merely grant great power to those who are unable to take it for themselves, or to those who would be unable to control themselves with it. The Shadow is far more fickle than the Light, which is a desperate element that grants it’s so-called power to any who ask for it. This is why things such as the Scarlet Crusade exist; the Light has no wisdom or consideration for who should use it. It simply doles out power to any who ask, even if they are clearly ill suited and easily destroyed by it.
True power within the Shadow requires a honed mind, a razor’s edge of raw thought and brutality, to weild properly. It is not, as the Light is, a blunt force instrument – it is precision strikes, targeted deadliness and the ability to turn a foe’s mind against him. Without self-control, without respect for the power itself, without tenacity in the form of study and continued practice of these other ideals, a so-called Forsaken is more likely to obliterate themselves than their enemies.
I know this from personal experience.
I began my calling as a novice under the Forgotten Shadow with no memory, no proper mind to back up my power. As a result, my faith was strong but my connection to the Shadow was weak – I could easily produce effects with the basic power afforded me, yes, but there was no direction to them, and enemies of the Cult would frequently escape our grasp if I was involved. Until I regained strength of mind and purpose, I was unable to direct the Shadow and it was of little use. It was only when I was healed in mind – by the good grace of the Shadow, I might add – that my abilities began to show true, directed power and the Shadow became what it could truly be: My guiding force and a font of proper power in the service of our people.
Thirdly, there already exists a way for all of us to attain a stronger connection to the Shadow itself than we are already born with: Faith in the tenets provided by the Cult of Forgotten Shadow and practice of their ways. Admittedly, this is quite a lot to take in; while the concepts put forth by our Cult forefathers seem simple on the surface, there is much to be considered on each point they gave us and even more to do in order to live by their examples.
The basics are thus: Respect, a matter of knowing your place in the ranks and holding yourself in check around those who deserve it and not denegrating the universe-creation that they provide us through their collective wills. Tenacity, the will to survive and push yourself forward in the face of things that would destroy your enemies and to shape the universe to your will rather than theirs. Power, the accumulation of your personal strength and prestige, balanced so that others do not destroy you in jealousy or because of your foolishness.
There are underlying facets that must be delved into in all three of these tenets, as well as two other less frequently taught ones – a respect for the power of death and the correct and timely application of it to deserving targets, and compassion for your brothers and sisters among the Forsaken. The compassion is essential; none of us have another outside our own who truly understands what it is to be among our kind and we are anathema to many of them. We must be strong together or we will all fall as lone entities.
When these things are in place and properly and one is in harmony with the Shadow, it’s power will be fully unlocked – the Forsaken will ascend beyond their body and become what we are meant to be: Shadow Ascendant.
Fourthly is that very thing – ascendancy. Given proper following of faith, strength of will and belief, and the exercise of personal power upon the world, it is possible for us to become what we were meant to be: Beings of pure, concentrated, unending and eternal Shadow.
A Forsaken’s body is, as most of us are aware, a replaceable shell that not a one of us is attached to anymore. We routinely replace limbs and skin, blood and bone as we are required to in order to hold our physical bodies. Many of us accepted long ago that our bodies were things that we would not be keeping, and thus things that we were willing to shed at a moment’s notice. Few of us consider, though, that this was the plan the Shadow had for us when we were brought back.
As it turns out, with a deeper connection to the Shadow it is possible to force the disconnection of mind and body, and allow a Forsaken to become a creature of void and indistinct form. As a butterfly leaves a cocoon and spreads its wings, so a Forsaken may shed their skin and become a being of pure power and a beacon of what we are capable of if we simply exert our wills.
This is the true power of the Cult of Forgotten Shadow, and what we are most feared for: When we realize what we really are, we become unstoppable forces unto ourselves.