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Shadow Magic is an obscure but powerful form of magic. It was first harnessed by Azra Nightwielder, who was the first to discover that shadow was not simply an absence of light, but a reflection of possible worlds created by forces in conflict. Shadows can be produced by mundane forces such as light hitting a rock, or by more powerful forces such as nations at war. Shadow Magic involves the manipulation of shadows to affect the forces creating it. In this way, Shadow Magic rivals even the power of the Elder Scrolls themselves, having the power to potentially change the past, present, and future through the manipulation of shadow. At its strongest, it even has the capabilities of reaching into and affecting the multiverse. Shadow magic has the potential to carry a high price for its usage, for its nature is to turn on their casters, and shadowmages are often distrusted because of this. Shadow Magic is common around the Western Reach area, but is only occasionally used elsewhere. During the Second Era, it was harnessed by so-called "Nightblades".
One of the more common applications of Shadow Magic is in the creation of Shadow Gates. These are magical barriers often used to protect treasure, and can only be bypassed through use of daedric relics known as Shadowkeys. Only eleven Shadowkeys are known to be in existence. Shadows can also be absorbed to strengthen the mind, or can be coalesced into artifacts such as the Shadow Stabber, a blade made from shadow. Nightblades frequently used Shadow Magic to "step through shadows", teleport short distances, or drain other people's life force. It is possible for shadowmages to use Shadow Magic to visit shadow realms, alternate versions of the world, to aid a different version of themselves. Similarly, shadowmages can summon different versions of themselves to their own world. Death in a shadow realm is the only way to break the connection.
Azra Nightwielder's usage of Shadow Magic
Azra attempted to manipulate his own shadow to such an extent that he would meld all possible versions of himself, crossing over from a singular existence to all the existences in shadow. He disappeared after a battle with Redguard soldiers, so his experiment never came to fruition. During his absence, other shadowmages strove to take his place and continue researching the science of shadow, including Pergan Asuul and Skelos Undriel.
Shadow Magic played a central part of the War of the Bend'r-mahk. The large amount of conflict caused by the war manifested itself as an Umbra' Keth, or "Shadow of Conflict", a powerful entity. Jagar Tharn and Pergan Asuul competed to gain control of the monster for their own use. The Soul of Conflict, a questing hero under the guidance of Skelos Undriel and a returned Azra Nightwielder, used the power of the Star Teeth to destroy the creature.
Nocturnal's usage of Shadow Magic
In 2E 582, the Daedric Prince Nocturnal tried to take control of the Clockwork City. Using her shadow magic, she gave Sotha Sil's Shadow sentience, which then replaced him as ruler of the Clockwork City. Meanwhile, one of the Clockwork Apostles, Chancellor Gascone Dusant, sought to deliver the Skeleton Key, which had been accidentally found by a Factotum beneath the Brass Fortress, to Clavicus Vile, only for the Key to be stolen by the Blackfeather Court. The Vestige, assisted by Divayth Fyr and the Clockwork Apostles, unveiled the plot, but were unable to reclaim the Skeleton Key before it was taken by Sotha Sil's Shadow. Using the key, Nocturnal and the Shadow attempted to seize control of the Clockwork City, but were stopped by the Vestige, Divayth Fyr, and Proctor Luciana Pullo, who rescued Sotha Sil by defeating his Shadow. Sotha Sil then gave the Skeleton Key to Divayth Fyr for safekeeping.
Subsequently after, Nocturnal tried to take control of the Crystal Tower. Using a technique she stole from Sotha Sil involving utilizing life energy as a power source, she planned to use the life energy of Nirn, and then the energy of the other Daedric Princes afterwards, to amplify the Crystal tower to make her shadows limitless. If she succeeded, she would have spread her influence across the multiverse, and would have been unstoppable. Nocturnal's plan was foiled by the Psijiic Order and the Vestige, with the assistance by the two betrayed Princes (Mephala and Clavicus Vile) and the champion of Meridia known as the Golden Knight. The divine power of Meridia's Dawnbreaker was then used to restore the tower's stone, Transparent Law. Sotha Sil then made negotiations with both Mephala and Clavicus Vile and the two have agreed to a compact to put an end to their direct meddling.
Sea Sload usage of Shadow Magic
In 2E 582, the Welkynars, under the command of Relequen captured a Sea Sload named Z'Maja—a necromancer who was member of a group called the Abyssal Cabal, consisting of several Sea Sload that sought to sink all of Summerset. The Welkynar took Z'Maja to the Cloudrest Aerie, much to the dismay of the city's inhabitants. This proved to be their downfall when Z'Maja utilized dark magic to trap all of Cloudrest in a dense shroud of mist. The mist drained the life of the people, leaving the lower district completely intoxicated. The Divine Prosecution was forced to barricade the city until Z'Maja was dealt with, while Olorime of the Welkynar was able to keep a of people safe in the upper district. Olorime enlisted the help of the Undaunted to defeat Z'Maja. And so, each of the Welkynars that had been corrupted by Z'Maja's shadow magic were defeated, and the Sea Sload was slain. Olorime was the only one left of the Welkynars, and so she sought new initiates to continue the Order of the Welkynars.
- Shadow Atronach — A type of Elemental Daedra composed of pure shadow
- Shadowrend — A Daedric artifact formed from shadow.
- First Scroll of Shadow — Notes on what Shadow Magic may achieve
- Second Scroll of Shadow — A description of the end of Azra Nightwielder
- Shadow Draining: A Hypothesis by the Glimmering Foxbat — On the magical effect of absorbing another's life force
- Stepping through Shadows by the Glimmering Foxbat — On teleportation magic
- First Scroll of Shadow
- Events of ESO: Summerset
- Brown Scroll — Jagar Tharn
- Second Scroll of Shadow
- Events of Shadowkey
- Nightblades in ESO
- Shadow Draining: A Hypothesis — the Glimmering Foxbat
- Shadow Stabber in Shadowkey
- Stepping through Shadows — the Glimmering Foxbat
- Shadowkey multiplayer
- Events of ESO: Clockwork City
- Events of Woe of the Welkynars in ESO