The Shadow Realm
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This document is written in the Dragonkin language, but uncredited.
The So-Called Shadow Realm
In my research expeditions to the mainland I have spent some time studying the sorcerers of the empty god's empire. Their so-called 'dark magicks' come in five schools, and it is the school of shadow which most interests me, not least because of their misconceptions. I have read them describe it as a 'coterminous dimension' and though there is an element of truth to this, they quite fail to see the full picture.
These sorcerers are adept, to an extent, and turn their power to inventive ends. They can summon forth shadow as a raw corrosive force, but they also use that same energy to reanimate the dead, in both sapient and non-sapient forms. The most learned can even shadow walk, stepping into what they call the 'shadow realm' to walk unseen. What they seem quite unaware of is that everything that they experience is but that tiny part of it which coils around Gielinor.
The shadow realm may be a place, but it is not a part of any plane or world. It stretches from the very pit of this universe, below even the lowest planes, and reaches all the way to the highest, to Gielinor itself. Along the way its tendrils reach out and touch many worlds, wrap around them, and those worlds too are said to have 'shadow realms'. In these furthest planes the shadow is merely a thin, invisible membrane that clings to the outside of the planets that it touches.
It is possible to navigate the rivers of this interplanetary network, but as one travels lower into the universe, the shadows become thicker and denser. What are rivers in the transcendent planes become great seas in the catalytic and elemental planes, surrounding the planets with a huge, amorphous halo beyond the edge of normal sight. A shadow walker on these worlds could soar up into the sky, beyond the atmosphere and out into planar space.
Just as the abyss and void hold their own forms of life, so too does the shadow, and such beings can be found occasionally in these shadow seas, far from a world's surface. They are twisted and elusive creatures, more formless than definite. They are suffused utterly with shadow energy, composed I believe of the same matter as the sea they swim in. While within their realm they are quite invisible from beyond it, and when brought forth into real space, they expire rapidly.
Further down, in the lower planes, the stuff of shadow near fills the planar bubbles with its unseen presence. Shadow walking in those places, one finds oneself floating in a purple sea, the 'shadow realms' of the planets merely dots in a limitless ocean. Beyond Freneskae at the utter end of the universe are the true depths, where the realm grows thicker and darker still, such that even gods must turn back. In even this place there is life, of a sort.
The shadow leviathan, a great wyrm large enough to coil around worlds. It hunts through the dark, seeking any pinprick of light to devour. If it has a mind, it knows only hatred of the living. Planes not filled with the shadow cannot sustain its bulk, and so seem safe from its predations.
What none can see whose lives do not span the breadth of eons as ours do, is that the shadow realm is spreading. When first we were subjugated by the stone, the shadow barely reached the lower planes. With each millennium that passes, the planes gradually fill with shadow, until it spills out across the universe covering more and more worlds. Having reached even Gielinor, I do not know what if anything can stop it from filling the universe entirely.