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March 25, 2006, 1:22 am

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Mine Shades


Whispers of madness in the dark, a gentle breeze, and your lamp goes out. Relight it quickly, the whispers grow closer, and you begin to feel the cold, clammy touch deep within you, the touch of a thief after that immaterial, irreplaceable part of you, your soul.

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A Mine Shade is a used up soul, those souls that demons claimed, and used up, and flung back into the world, having no further use for them.

A Mine Shade cannot bear sunlight, it pains them greatly, and they will quickly seek shelter in mines and caves if they find themselves out in the open. Given the simplicity of mining caves, these are often one and the same.

They also have a hard time with other forms of light, and will try to avoid them. However, some do possess some small measure of magic that can protect against this, knowledge often gleaned during a life spent in the magical arts. Although all Mine Shades are dangerous, it is these ones, the ones capable of extinguishing torches from a distance, that are the true predators among their kind.

The Mine Wraiths babble endlessly, madly about the tortures they suffered at the hands of the demons they fell in with. They speak about what they lost. They lament, they wail, they scream at their memories. But all that the hapless miner hears is the whispers, and he can’t seem to make them out. Subconsciously, he tends to hear everything, and if he survives the encounter, will sleep restlessly that night, with all sorts of horrible nightmares.

A Mine Shade is drawn to the souls of the living. They possess varying degrees of intelligent, those who are ex-wizards usually survive death’s mental challenges better than others. They will attempt to ‘warm’ themselves against the souls of the living, draining the strength, and, eventually, the life from the victim. They are not by definition ‘evil’, but they cannot resist the lure, and do what comes naturally.

To die by the hand of a Mine Shade is a death that, while it will not destroy the soul, will prevent any sort of resurrection by weakening it enough to prevent it from being capable of enduring the strain such a process demands.

A Mine Shade possesses several advantages in a Mine. First, Mine workers are often easily replaceable persons, and are therefore not the sort of victim that would arouse too much attention to them.
Second, they are, to the un-enhanced eye, nothing more than a shadow, and there are plenty of shadows in a mine.
Third, by their nature they have usually unnerved their victim into a quavering, babbling, terrified wreck. It is only those few particularly bold few that will make any sort of stand against them.
Using a form of magic to reveal them will show them as pallid versions of their former selves, faces blank and uncomprehending.

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