Every light casts a shadow, and a light as strong as the Pyre must casts an equally strong shade. The Shadow is found within and throughout the city of Pyre’s Hope, sometimes even moreso than the Pyre. While the Pyre sits up in his glorious courtyard, busy being a symbol and hunting down the guilty and all that, the Shadow quietly goes around town, involving herself in the daily life of it’s citizens. She is everywhere and nowhere; there is no place in the city devoid of shadow, and no place her eye cannot see.
What is the Shadow? Where did it come from?
The Shadow has been associated with the Pyre from the very beginning. The few individuals who have gotten a straight answer out of her report that she came up with the idea of Pyre’s Hope. While the shining stone masonry and forthright wheel-spokes design of the city are clearly the Pyre’s handiwork, the Shadow’s influence is felt almost everywhere else, from the design of the houses to the curving district parks to the sinuous backstreets and alleys. It seems strange to some that a town designed by an entity of justice would include houses of sin like bordellos, festhalls and the rowdier sort of taverns1, but then again, the Pyre likely didn’t have anything to do with their inclusion2.
What does the Shadow do?
The Shadow exercises less outright control over the city than the Pyre, but definitely makes her presence known. Like the Pyre, she rarely speaks to mortals directly, preferring instead to leave notes and soft whispers for her chosen servants, the Shadowguard. As the Pyrewardens patrol the day, so do the Shadowguard safeguard the night. They are the open secret of the Wardens, a rival organization that everyone knows is in full cooperation with (and may even be an offshoot of) the authorities of the city.
The Shadow has no official court, but if one wishes to contact her, the Shadowhaven district is the place to be. The only place in the city not reached by the light of the Pyre, even on its brightest days, the Shadowhaven has long been the domain of those who would prefer to hide from the eye of the law and the day. Somehow, the Shadow managed to construct thin ripples in the Otherworld Veil around Shadowhaven, removing it ever so slightly from the world and hiding it from the Pyre’s sight. (Sunlight and magical light still work fine, however. The Otherworld reflection of Shadowhaven is extremely bright.) That which is out of the light is often out of the Pyre’s mind. There is some debate as to whether he even realizes that Shadowhaven exists, but it is likely that he is aware and has merely chosen to allow the Shadow to have her fun.
Although the Pyre occasionally shows mercy in its pursuit of justice, it is most often only in the Shadow that the burned find comfort and forgiveness. Again, it seems odd to some that an entity who sometimes encourages her charges to commit crimes and indulge their vices might also be an agent of redemption, but such is the nature of the Shadow.
The Shadow is an implacable foe to the incursions of chaos that try to thrust into the city, and to a lesser extent the domain at large. Her power and influence is enough to keep most of the larger pockets from erupting spontaneously in the domain – a feat many single-Power domains cannot manage – but even she cannot completely hold back the flow.
Okay, I’ve heard so much about her, but what can the Shadow do for me?
Like the Pyre, the Shadow is an intensely powerful spirit entity in her own right. She’s more than willing to pact with any warlock who shares her overall worldview, or at the very least any warlock who looks good in a low-cut bustier and a leather skirt3. The Shadow grants Dark pacts (as described in the FPRPGRPF, but without all that frilly drow-flavored “I luv the taste of your pain muahahaa now I cut myself” stuff. That is to say, you can’t pick the powers that damage your allies, and if someone is actually interested in this, we can go through and rename the powers to slightly less gothy equivalents. Slightly. She is the Shadow, after all.) To those lucky recipients of a pact or any who simply asks nicely, she offers additional training as a Shadow Guard (a yet-to-be-written™ Paragon Path).
The Shadowguard operates more as an extension of the Shadow herself than a semi-autonomous body like the Pyrewardens. As such, they are always interested in the comings and goings of adventurous sorts, and ordinarily more than willing to pass around a few extra badges when something dangerous is going on. The Shadowguard are the city’s specialists for dealing with political and moral concerns, despicable thieves (as opposed to tolerable thieves), and threats that take the guise of ordinary sentients, ostensibly beyond the Pyrewardens’ reproach. (Even if they are ordinary sentients. No one ever said the Shadow was nice, after all.) Keep an eye on the Shadowguard station and an ear open in the Shadowhaven taverns if you’re looking to pick up some work that might get the Shadow’s attention. She’s very free with her affections for those who please her. Just don’t expect her attentions to last very long.
1 The Shadow is fond of burlesque dancing. It might be better to not ask why.
2 Also, for the record, so long as the transactions are completed honorably and no mistreatment occurs, the Pyre has been suspiciously mum on the morality of prostitution and associated services.
3 Which, as you may well know, is every warlock. Even the guys.