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Came the last night of sadness, and it was clear that she couldn't go on
The curtains flew and then he appeared
In nearly every mythology, he is there: the Grim Reaper, the ferryman Charon, or has a woman's face and goes by the name valkyrie or banshee. In some circles and lesser known cultures, however, he is a myth unto himself, and he is called The Shade. A minor death god, he collects his own souls and is known best for comforting the ones he claims. His appearance is a sign of impending death, unstoppable and unavoidable: he is seen, he speaks, and one week later those to whom he has spoken will die.
Some say he glories in the destruction of his calling, others say he is a fallen angel that has never shaken his benevolent nature. Real accounts exist from those left behind, and those before their end of the steadfast ally with sad eyes and a deep voice that brings not just warning, but solace in their final days. To the lonely, he is a friend. To the frightened and confused, he is a guide, leading the condemned through the terrible task of settling their affairs, and to those who question what comes next, he speaks of a place where life continues in a world of eternal twilight.
This world, whose name is never spoken, is a source of wild speculation for those who study the mythology of the Shade, and for the supernaturally gifted with an affinity for death...for while he lays visible claim on those about to die, it has been said that no soul he collects ever reaches the Other Side.
Though he has been connected to various existing myths associated with death deities and harbingers of death, the origins of The Shade can be traced back as recently as 116 years ago to the birth of a human named Josiah Cole in a small town just outside of Santa Fe in 1890, the son of an undertaker and his wife. Mrs. Cole, a woman of impossible beauty and pure heart, was from a well to do family that didn't look kindly on a marriage below her station. Still, it was a happy one that gave her two beautiful children, both sons. Ezekiel Cole was slim and fair haired like his father while Josiah, a branwy youth, took after his mother with his cold grey eyes and blood red hair that didn't quite match his mother's ginger coloring.
There was little question about Josiah's origins at first, the Coles were a happy family and the brothers were close as brothers ought to be. There was still no question when Josiah was orphaned at the age of seven, a sweeping fire destroying the Cole Mortuary and leaving only the eldest boy alive. No, the questions came later when Josiah was grown and quietly took up the family profession. The questions came when he would be heard by his assistant speaking quietly to the corpses he managed, or calling on people he rarely spoke to shortly before they passed away. The questions turned to suspicion when a red-haired stranger as big as Josiah and just as strange entered town to spend several weeks as the undertaker's guest.
Believing there was witchery or demons about, the townsfolk ran Josiah out of town along with his strange friend, never knowing that Josiah's visitor was Death itself...or that Josiah was a wild death mage, the first in an entirely human bloodline born with a spark of magic, one so powerful it could destroy him without proper instruction...or, with improper instruction, change his family's fate.
Josiah did just that with a little advice from Death, attempting to raise his parents and his brother from the dead. He didn't realize, however, that he'd been set up: his brother had not been destined to die, but his parents had. His brother returned, but his parents were forever lost, torn from Paradise and forced to wander the earth aimlessly until the end of time. Enraged, Ezekiel Cole, now a grown man's soul trapped in a boy's body, turned on his brother and killed him. In doing so, Josiah's soul was damned to Hell, where Death claimed him as his own. Rather than serve Death as his Grim Reaper, Josiah found power enough to break Death's hold upon him and claimed an uncharted part of the Underworld as his own.
Scarred by his actions, spurred by blind grief, Josiah gave up his quest for power. Meanwhile, rage festered in his brother as he grew to physical manhood, discovering his own mystical gifts in time. Over time, their power and their reach has grown, their story infecting mythologies that never knew them. Josiah as The Shade still wanders, as his parents do, comforting the lost and lonely dead in their final days, then giving their souls solace in a world of his own creation.
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boomtown, boomtown_logs, boomtown_ooc, boomtownmeme, dw_maintenance, dw_news, life_and_death, loveboard, medietas_comm, medietas_logs, medietas_ooc, souls_on_fire, tcnetwork, thecollectivebrain