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Shades are the most powerful variety of undead in the world of Myth, and as such they display many properties that set them apart from the usual ranks of the walking dead. This distinction from their brethren is evident even from the moment of their creation; while most undead in Myth are little more than unthinking zombies raised from corpses in various stages of decomposition, Shades are frequently living persons who willingly exchanged their humanity in order to achieve the immortality of undeath. The process through which a living person becomes a Shade carries with it several advantages over necromanctic resurrection, not least of which is the fact that all of the cognitive faculties and abilities of the target are retained upon successful conversion. Though few among the Light know specifics of the dark ritual from which a Shade is born, it presumably requires a significant investment on the part of the Shade's creator. Indeed, Shades are relatively rare among the ranks of the Dark despite their clear superiority over other types of undead, as it is likely that only the most powerful of individuals are deemed worthy of the effort necessary to create them.
After undergoing the transformation, a Shade will typically assume a notable role within the armies of the Dark, and may even be given command of their own contingent of troops. Apart from the Fallen Lords, Shades are given more autonomy when fulfilling their goals than perhaps any other minion of the Dark. This may be due partially to the fact that all Shades harbor an intense hatred for all things living, and therefore require very little encouragement when eradicating the human civilizations from whence they came. In particular Shades seem to greatly enjoy inflicting prolonged suffering on their foes rather than merely killing them, and as a result many stories of heinous acts committed by Shades have circulated amongst the Province, making them one the most despised and feared of the Dark's vile implements. Their apprehension surrounding them is also bolstered by their unnatural appearance, as Shades float several inches above the ground at all times, with a shadowy black miasma trailing them wherever they go.
Role in the Series
The Shade is an elite unit in the Myth franchise that possesses knowledge of the Dispersal Dream spell, which causes a massive chain explosion that can decimate whole formations of units. This can be cast through use of square-cut green stones (called "energon cubes" in the GURPS Myth source book) that each Shade possesses in finite quantities. The threat of Dispersal Dreams can only really be mitigated by spacing units far enough apart that the spell will not be able to jump between targets, though in single-player Shades can be distracted from using the spell through other means. When resorting to melee, a Shade is a solid if unremarkable fighter. They can win most one on one encounters, though they won't be able to cause much damage to a group without a Dispersal Dream. For reasons which are never fully explained in the Myth games, Shades display a vampiric aversion to water which prevents them from crossing even shallow pools without a bridge.