The tale of the Shadows is long and still unclear in many respects. There are indications that some Shadows, particularly those of the more powerful Panumbris and Umbris types, predate the conversion of Ilservian into Bael'Zharon. Scholars believe this indicates the force that empowered the Hopeslayer has sought the conquest of Dereth for a far much longer time than is commonly known.
The first confirmed transformation into Shadows was that of Grael and his companions. Grael was a warrior of a tribe of Ruschk in the north of the Kingdomw of Haebrous, who called themselves Mukkir.In the fifth year of the reign of Braletain of Haebrous, Grael's tribe is slain and Grael is taking captive to serve as a slave in the gladiatorial pits. As time led on, Grael gathered an army of slaves, fought their way from the pits and savaged the kingdom for three days Because the slaves did not have any magical capabilities, and the Haebrous forces did, the Rebellion was suppressed quickly. Grael managed to flee, together with four other survivors, the brothers Farelaith, Baranaith, Hiranaith and Korogaith. Grael sought the help of "Darkness" to fight the Haebrous.
One night, Farelaith woke up, and found Grael and his brothers caught in some sort of dark magic. Grael seemed to undergo his transformation willingly, and swore oaths with the "Dark that speaks". Farelaith's brothers were wrapped in darkness and started screaming. The three brothers now serve, turned into Shadows and having lost their name, in the Temple of Stirring Shadows. Grael learned "to move within the Dark that walks and learned to devour the light" of the Empyreans. According to the Falatacot, Grael is, because he is not "pure-blood", i.e. Empyrean, incapable of wielding the full power, and a flawed and imperfect vessel for the energies of the Living Darkness. Grael however, possesses something that no Empyrean does: a transcendent and transforming rage, a heart filled with the kind of pure, perfect hate which made him a perfect conduit for the powers of war and destruction and despair. He could serve as an experimental subject for the "Dark Ones". They wrapped him in thorns, in a mantle of Living Darkness and gave him life everlasting within the Darkness, and they tought him to bring True Death and how to extinguish the light of creation. The "mantle" however,was not originally meant for him, slipped out of the grasp of the Nameless. He took the Gift, enslaved others as he had been enslaved, and fled from The Elder Spirits as he fled from his own slavemasters. Grael, now called the Black Spear of the Kemeroi, went on to the north. The place he chose to sleep was an isle north of Vissidal Isle. He fell asleep in a realm that was forbidden to the Shadow. The Black Spear is of the Shadow, but drifts outside of the domain of Shadow. His presence, "dreaming songs of rage", covered the island in Shadow, and the isle soon came to be called the Dark Isle. Those Falatacot who followed the Old One, N'cthail, took a chance and used ancient seals to sink the isle below the waves. It was their hope that none would ever wake Grael and that this world would be free of him forever.
Empyrean Shadow War
Three thousand years ago, during the invasion of the town of Daralet by Yalaini soldiers, a man of the village of Daralet named Ilservian Palacost, could endure no more the abuses of the village's elders. Iservian's son, Avoren Palacost, was deprived of access to food or water, resulting in his death, and the subsequent unfocused aggression of his father Ilservian was run out of town, though not before he vowed to find the edge of the darkness that hung over the eaves of the earth. He did not depart alone. His closest friends accompanied him. Elithra the mage, Ler Rhan the scribe, Omadin the farmer, Ferah the warrior and Isin Dule the friend of Ilservian since childhood. A small group of sympathizers also joined them.  They wandered far into the endless frigid mud of the wastelands, vainly seeking light. At last Ilservian called to the darkness in anger. But there was no answer. Ilservian pressed on, growing weaker, shouting his fury and anguish into the wind and rain. And then, something answered. 
Four hundred years later, Ilservian returned, transformed by some dark power into Bael'Zharon the Hopeslayer. This was called the Empyrean Shadow War. He led an army of shadow that brought death and madness in its wake. No force could stop it as it consumed armies and whole villages down to the last man, woman and child. While investigating the events, whole armies disappeared, and Lord Atlan was reported being ripped apart. 
Ilservian's followers were changed into Shadows. The first Shadows, then, were Empyrean, corrupted by the same force of chaos that empowered Bael'Zharon. These Shadows fought a vicious war against the ancient Empyrean and nearly destroyed them. Only the actions of the Yalain Mage Council and Asheron saved the race from absorption or destruction. Three of the companions of Ilservian Palacost, Isin Dule, Ferah and Ler Rhan survive the [Empyrean Shadow War]], two (Omadin and Elithra of Daralet) are slain.  During the final imprisonment of the Hopeslayer, the council was slain, the earth was scorched in a 3 miles radius. A place today called Obsidian PlainsThe trap set for the Hopeslayer burst into six fragments, but the Empire was only able to recover five. The last piece was never seen again by living eyes. That should have been the end of the tale, save for the Gelidites.
Portal Year Era
Since then, the Shadows have captured and corrupted many humans into members of their ranks. One of the first Isparians known to be turned into a Shadow was Hamud ibn Rafik, a member of the Shagar Zharala on Ispar and founder of the Tenebrous Edge on Dereth.
The Fourth Sending of Darkness
Thousands of years later, after the Olthoi drove the Empyreans off of the planet,during a digging by the Gelidites, a young mage named Frisirth found a beautiful, sparkling crystal. The locals called it “Great Work”. A human expedition slaughtered the Gelidites, and destroyed their “Great Work.” So, the Isparians were unwittingly duped into freeing Bael'Zharon from his crystal prison. Thus in Portal Year 11 began the Fourth Sending of Darkness. The Shadows attacked from all sides, the Hopeslayer roamed the land, and the rivers ran red. 
Ilservian's surviving friends became corporeal once more and raised the Thorns, using them to alter the patterns of magic in the world. Ferah, by now called Black Ferah, and Ler Rhan attacked the Isparian population and kidnapped some of them for individual trials.  The Shadows launched their invasion during the Thorns of the Hopeslayer patch. Their armies poured into the Direlands under the leadership of general Black Ferah. After being defeated a few times, she moved her command post into one of the Shadow Spires where she was overwhelmed after a coordinated attack of the Isparians. The invasion of Ler Rhan's forces started in A'mun Desert. Unlike Ferah, he elected to directly establish his headquarters in the Spires. After he was slain there, he moved on to the plains in the Aluvian-settled regions of Dereth. Again, he was tracked and defeated. Once more he moved, into the Spire found in the Blackmire Swamp. Once more he fell. The conquered Spires held keys to the Nexus Crystal, which was defended by an army of Undead and Shadows (See als Nexus Shadow Armor Quest). 
Until the To Raise a Banner of Flame, the Spires moved over the landscape, but their army and their generals remained unseen. The Spires of Ferah and Ler Rhan's Spires attacked Cragstone and Arwic. Ler Rhan's forces invested Anadil's garrison at the Fenmalain Vestibule, but the battle ends indecisive, partly due because Isin Dule withheld his forces. Before any action could be taken by the divided Shadows, the Isparians interfered again and destroyed all three of the Vault Crystals. After five of the Soul Crystals were destroyed, only the Shard of the Herald kept Bael'Zharon imprisoned. The destruction of the 6th and last Crystal, the Shard of the Herald, took place with help of the generals Black Ferah and Ler Rhan and their Isparian allies. The Shadows of Ler Rhan disturb the parlay of the forces of the Empyreans, the Virindi and the Shadow faction of Isin Dule, and the Senechal of Chalicmere, Lord Amarand perishes. In the month of Frostfell, P.Y. 11, a desperate alliance formed between Asheron, the Virindi, the undead Dericost, Isin Dule, and the Isparians. After the second time the Hopeslayer is defeated, the Shadows retreat. Ilservian Palacost is finally weakened and his physical form destroyed, however, Ferah and Ler Rhan] are not. Isin Dule retreats to "somewhere in the lonely wastes". Bael'Zharon was driven off of this plane of existence but he was not destroyed.
Activities on Caul
The first mention hereafter of Ler Rhan is during the Mirror, Mirror event. The island of Caul undergoes a radical change due to experiments of Aerbax in cooperation with Ler Rhan, also referred to as "The Mirror". Aerbax discovered an “Energy Source”. where it found a companion  which it called its Mirror. It was later revealed that Aerbax's Mirror was Ler Rhan, and the Energy Source was a Kemeroi, one of the great evil beings hidden deep within the world, which further twisted it towards Shadow and destruction.Together, they were responsible for taking over Caul Island from the Directive and the once Virindi dominated island now shows a strong Shadow influence. Not only did the island physically change (ridges becoming higher and more pronounced, and the plateau in the middle changed into a crater, Caulcano), but also the flora, and for all, the fauna. For some time Aerbax and Ler Rhan were rather inactive, with their only major activities on Dereth being the creation of the creatures which now populate the Valley of Death, such as the shadow-touched Virindi They used the Energy Source to augment creatures and Virindi to new strengths.   Some were less successful than other, like its experiments on Mosswarts (referred to as "croakers").. The experimentations on Shadows however, were more promising.
Ferah is responsible for the creation of the Shadow Stone During the A Perfect Paradox event, she orders a raid on Anadil's Tomb to steal the pieces of the Staff of the Nomads. Her forces obtain one of the pieces and hide it in the Lightless Catacombs. Forces loyal to Anadil relocate the other piece to the Abandoned Observatory.
The three generals, Ler Rhan and Black Ferah on one side, Isin Dule on the other, concentrate their activities on Caul, where Isin Dule keeps a close eye on the whereabouts of the other two.  To that goal, Isin Dule raises a Shadow Spire on Caul.
The War of Blood and Shadow
The Shadows become active again during the The War of Blood and Shadow Story Arc.
During this arc, the disappearance of the armies of the Viamont and New Aluvia on what is now known as the Shadow Marsh occurred. Many of the forces were turned into Shadows, some willing, some unwilling 
This was caused by the release of dark powers, because both the Raven Hand and Dardante tried to summon Grael and get him under their control. Also, High Archon Lucane Kraest of the Raven Hand got a vision of a presence of a being not unlike his master, the Hopeslayer. and in the hope to find an ally or a puppet to control, he destroyed the first of the crystals, hidden by the Dericost in the Nightmare Gate on Caul.
Isin Dule finds out about the activities of the Raven Hand, notably High Archon Kraest, trying to summon Grael and orders his forces to interfere. Some members of the Raven Hand have willingly embraced the Shadow and joined Isin Dule's cause.  Others, such as Archon Merille he does not trust.
The summoning of Grael did not go as planned, and both Pontifex Maegris and Count Dardante's main assistant, Archmage Aigonne, were turned into shadows. The experiments with Grael having gone awry, Grael became now Dardante's master instead of the other way around. . Dardante, being corrupted by Grael, was turned into a Shadow.
When Isin Dule cannot prevent Grael from being summoned, he calls in the help of the Isparians to rise the Dark Isle. and to prevent the Dark Isle from being sunk again. During Toward Ancient Shores patch, he opens the way to the Dark Isle, the "island where Grael once slept".
Grael was finally defeated by splitting him in three aspects by destroying the White Totem on the Halaetan Isles (Ruschk Aspect), the Black Totem on Caul (Shadow Aspect), and the Abyssal Totem on Dark Isle (Mukkir Aspect). Oswald brought the Ordina Rossu Morta and Whispering Blade together to fight against Grael. Queen Elysa and King Varicci II decided to cooperate and slay each one of those aspects separately.
Another of their actions was the establishment of an imposter of Lord Kresovus in Linvak Tukal and the alteration of Lugians into Shadow Lugians  and therefore, indirectly, the kidnapping of Balor. The Shadow Kresovus, the Prodigal Lugian, was discovered and the real Lord Kresovus was rescued from the tunnels below the fortress city of Linvak Tukal. Balor's pelt was found below the city, but the fate of the beast was still a mystery. 
Joining the Ranks of the Isparians
Isin Dule finds a way to remove the "taint" from those following him by studying the work of Aerbax. Asheron sends him one of his Lifestones, and the Shadow faction of Isin Dule joins the Isparian people. 
The UMBRAEN and PENUMBRAEN are a people born from the other Isparian heritages, who sought to join with the chaotic powers of the Shadow, and were then transformed into the Umbrean or Penumbraen. Those who have undergone the transformation into Umbraen or Penumbraen have forgotten and released their pasts into the winds. They are children of the Shadow, now and forever. Most Umbraen and Penumbraen come from the followers of the Shadow, Isin Dule. Isin Dule only asks that his new children embrace the chaos and potential they have been given, and use it to raise themselves to greatness. What follows is in Isin Dule's own words to his children.
'Folk remember the dark times, when destruction roamed the land. They think of war... death... torment. They blame those of us who walk in the shadow, call us evil. But we are not. We were deceived by the one who ruled us. To understand us, you must first understand him. Hopeslayer, they call him. Bael'Zharon, the fallen lord. He craved power, and gave himself to chaos. His obsession nearly destroyed the world. The shadow's path runs along the sword's edge. On One side, untold strength. On the other... madness. The Hopeslayer strayed - and fell. Look on his face, and swear: I will not follow.' 
The Tou-Tou Shadow Invasion
During the Hidden In Shadows patch, a Shadow Spire appeared near the town of Tou-Tou. This was the starting point of a new wave of Shadow activity, led by Ler Rhan and Black Ferah, both now in their true forms, and not as aspects. Though it seems their goal is to bring back Bael'Zharon to the surface, this was merely a test of theories.. In fact, they are collecting information on the ley lines around Tou-Tou in the hope of bringing the Hopeslayer on for a prolonged time, to defeat Isin Dule and to spread the corruption all over Dereth. The Shadows started the attack Tou-Tou and many of the townsfolk decide to evacuate. The siege of Tou-Tou succeeded and the town, and the inhabitants that stayed behind, was corrupted and pulled toward the shadow. The remaining townspeople were turned into shadows, be it weak and unwilling. The event culminated in the reappearance of the Hope-Slayer, and its subsequent defeat by the combined forces of Asheron, Isin Dule, the golem Deewain and even Ulgrim left his favorite drinking spot to give a wack or two with his sword. The forces of Ler Rhan and Black Ferah retreated, though the town of Tou-Tou remains devastated and occupied by the shadow forces and their leaders will keep trying to collect crystals to keep trying to summon the Hopeslayer.
There are only three Shadows known by name. Ler Rhan and Black Ferah are “generals” in the service of Bael'Zharon. They are extremely powerful entities that do not seem to fully exist in our world. Instead, they send aspects of themselves into Dereth. Isin Dule was once a fellow Shadow general, but rebelled when his master was freed in P.Y. 11. When Bael'Zharon was defeated, he exiled Dule and his forces from the ranks of the “true” Shadows. 
Religions and Beliefs
Customs and Traditions
Umbraen and Penumbraen tend to take names either along the lines of the other Isparian Heritage groups, or names that epitomize their newly-embraced chaotic nature. They are naming themselves anew, in celebration of what they have become, and are thus only restricted by their own creativity. Examples of female names are: Leikny Shadowsworn, Leila, Kurayami Mika, Elda du Nerezza. Examples of male names are: Uor Darkbound, Sariyah, Kurasa Fudo, Vittore di Nerezza. 
Real World Basis
Art & Images
Click image for full size version.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 2001/10 Dark Majesty - AC:DM CD Lore/Bestiary/Derethian Bestiary
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2005/09 - Under Cover of Night - Book of Xik Minru
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 2005/08 - Friend and Foe - Account of the Spear of Mukkir
- ↑ 2005/08 - Friend and Foe - The Grael Rebellion
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 2005/08 Friend and Foe - The Song of Grael
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 2005/12 Through Sacrifice, Strength - Our Bitter Winter
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 2006/04 Shining Runes and Shadowed Hands - Translated Elder Spirits Tablet
- ↑ 2005/12 Through Sacrifice, Strength - Shade of Farelaith#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 2006/06 Toward Ancient Shores - Kiriel Shadowborn#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 2004/04 - On Bended Knee - Pack Bael'Zharon
- ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 2000/11 - Should the Stars Fall/The Child of Daralet--Leafcull to Frostfell, PY 11 / (November to December, 2000)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 2010/06 Shifting Gears - Shadow (Town Network Painting)
- ↑ AC:DM CD Lore/Bestiary/Derethian Bestiary#Shadows
- ↑ 2000/02 - Shadows of the Past - Imperial Missive
- ↑ 2000/02 Shadows of the Past - The Fallen Master of Shagar Zharala
- ↑ 2000/02 Shadows of the Past - Precepts of the Tenebrous Edge
- ↑ 2000/04 Thorns of the Hopeslayer - A letter to Devana
- ↑ 2000/05 Heroes' Respite - Hamud's Last Testament
- ↑ 2003/12 Waking From the Abyss - Bewren's Journal
- ↑ 2003/12 Waking From the Abyss - Jaeget's Journal
- ↑ 2003/12 Waking From the Abyss - Proselytic Shadow#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 2000/05 Heroes' Respite General History of Dereth Vol. V
- ↑ 2000/08 Taste of Twilight - General History of Dereth Vol. VIII
- ↑ 2000/09 Twilight's Gleaming - Shadow Dispatch
- ↑ 2000/12 The Child of Daralet - Announcements - 2000/12 - The Child of Daralet#Letter to the Players
- ↑ 2001/04 A Reign of Stone - Scrawled Note (Aerbax Laboratory)
- ↑ 2007/10 Masked Memories - Delving into Claude's Mind#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 2006/05 - The Price of Loyalty - Isin Dule's Orders
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 2003/01 The Slumbering Giant - Energy Source
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 30.2 2003/01 The Slumbering Giant - Destructions and Beginnings
- ↑ 2003/11 Visions in the Darkness - The Mirror
- ↑ 2008/05 Introductions - Pack Aerbax
- ↑ 2004/01 Mirror, Mirror - Teaser
- ↑ 2003/11 Visions in the Darkness - Town Crier Rumors
- ↑ 2004/01 - Mirror, Mirror - Announcements - 2004/01 - Mirror, Mirror#Teaser
- ↑ 2007/10 Masked Memories - Shadow-touched Virindi Paradox Kill Task#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2003/01 The Slumbering Giant - Teaser
- ↑ 2003/02 That Which Is Ours - Teaser
- ↑ 2003/03 A Perfect Paradox - Teaser
- ↑ 2007/10 Masked Memories - Virindi Paradox Kill Task#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2003/01 The Slumbering Giant - Research Notes: Mosswart
- ↑ 2003/01 The Slumbering Giant - Research Notes: "Children of Darkness"
- ↑ 2006/08 - Shattering the Dark - Varetha#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2003/03 A Perfect Paradox - Note (Abandoned Observatory)
- ↑ 2003/03 A Perfect Paradox - Note (Anadil's Tomb)
- ↑ 2006/01 Reprisals - Instructions (Shriveled Lump)
- ↑ 2006/02 A Change in Tactics - Instructions (Shadowfire Stone)
- ↑ 2006/03 Down Twisting Paths - Lore of the Dark Spiral
- ↑ 2006/03 Down Twisting Paths - Lord Marsan's Log Book
- ↑ 2006/04 Shining Runes and Shadowed Hands - Translated Bound Falatacot Fragment
- ↑ 2006/04 Shining Runes and Shadowed Hands - Announcements - 2006/04 - Shining Runes and Shadowed Hands#Rollout Article
- ↑ 2005/08 Friend and Foe - Journal of High Archon Kraest
- ↑ 2006/05 - The Price of Loyalty - Isin Dule's Instructions
- ↑ 2006/06 - From the Darkest Depths - Grael's Summoning Chamber#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/08 - Shattering the Dark - Town Crier Rumors
- ↑ 2006/06 From the Darkest Depths - Soul Crystal of the Dark Isle Live Event
- ↑ 2006/06 From the Darkest Depths - Raising Grael's Island#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/07 - Toward Ancient Shores - Lanaith#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/07 - Toward Ancient Shores - Town Crier Rumors
- ↑ 2006/07 Toward Ancient Shores - Letter to the Players
- ↑ 2006/06 From the Darkest Depths - Grael's Shadow Lieutenant#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/06 From the Darkest Depths - Shadow Breach Quest#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/06 From the Darkest Depths - Translation of the Torn Letter
- ↑ 2006/08 Shattering the Dark - Splitting Grael (Low)#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/08 Shattering the Dark - Splitting Grael (Mid)#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2006/08 Shattering the Dark - Splitting Grael (High)#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2007/09 Dark Materials - Teaser
- ↑ 2006/09 Come What Follows - Town Crier Rumors
- ↑ 2006/08 Shattering the Dark - Solclaim#Unique Globals
- ↑ 2007/09 Dark Materials - Translated Shadow Artifex Shard
- ↑ 2007/09 Dark Materials - Translation of the Pulsating Bony Lump
- ↑ 2007/09 Dark Materials - Description of Scrap of Shadow Essence
- ↑ 2007/09 Dark Materials - Aerbax's Prodigal Shadow
- ↑ 2007/04 Strange Sightings - Bur Recall Quest#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2007/11 Children of the Prodigal Lord - Hidden Note
- ↑ 2005/02 Infiltration - Coda
- ↑ 2005/02 Infiltration - Balor's Rescue#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2005/02 Infiltration - Announcements - 2005/02 - Infiltration#Teaser
- ↑ 2007/11 Children of the Prodigal Lord - Aerbax's Prodigal Lugian#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2010/04 - Shedding Skin - Announcements - 2010/04 - Shedding Skin#Teaser
- ↑ 2010/04 - Shedding Skin - Town Crier Rumors
- ↑ 83.0 83.1 83.2 2010/04 Shedding Skin - Character Creation/Racial Lore#Shadow
- ↑ 2010/06 Shifting Gears - Letter From Home (Shadow)
- ↑ 2011/03 Hidden In Shadows - Teaser
- ↑ 2011/03 Hidden In Shadows - Shadow Communication#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2011/04 Dark Deliveries - Teaser
- ↑ 2011/06 Stirrings in the Dark - Teaser
- ↑ 2011/06 Stirrings in the Dark - Fate of Bael'Zharon#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2011/07 Shifting Shadows - Ulgrim Rumors
- ↑ 2011/07 Shifting Shadows - Teaser
- ↑ 2011/08 A Rising Darkness - Teaser
- ↑ 2011/08 A Rising Darkness - Shadow Assault#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ 2011/09 Loss - Announcements - 2011/09 - Loss#Teaser
- ↑ [2011/09 Loss - Tou-Tou Blockade
- ↑ 2011/09 Loss - Jeweler Lo Dai-Ou (Creature)#Notes
- ↑ 2011/10 Cloak of Darkness - Announcements - 2011/10 - Cloak of Darkness#Teaser
- ↑ 2011/10 Cloak of Darkness - Stop the Rebuilding#Lore & Dialog
- ↑ Character Creation/Naming#Shadow