Collected from the Tome of Scarlett Reed:
6114.2.21 – The forests of Zexen grew thicker than I’ve seen it anywhere before, so we were almost unable to see sunlight at all. Only the thinnest sliver of light meeting the forest floor. It was this point where the voice of Lady Beatrice rang out into the darkness. A shriek that I never thought I would hear come from our knight protector. My husband Sean was already there, helping Beatrice to her feet as she shook her head. She looked straight at me and only said the following words – “We found your next creature”.
We set up camp nearby, but where the shadows didn’t overtake the sunlight. As I set out to cook our dinner, Beatrice finally let me in on what she saw– her late wife. What sort of creature are we dealing with?
6114.2.27 – After a few days of observation, I suspect the creatures are shades. They can create a more ideal living area by using the trees to block out the light. Whatever creatures they are, we are unable to see whatever their true form, unfortunately. We continue to see glimpses lost loved ones when we wander too far into their territory. They seem to be not aggressive, we have not encountered one that has done more than to take an uncomfortable form at a distance.
Today Sean and I were together when we saw a perfect duplicate of his mother, who passed a few years back, with the exception that she had a well-trimmed white goatee beard. The exact beard that my grandfather used to have. Of course, we laughed heartily, scaring the creature away. I wonder if these creatures are changing their physical form, or if they are showing some kind of illusion magic.
We can’t be certain yet, but we’ve seen some birds, rodents, and lizards that all seem to have been picked at. At this moment, it looks like shades are scavengers, picking off creatures as they start decomposing. Oddly enough, it seems like once a shade touches it, maggots and other insects leave their food alone. Another odd thing of note is that these creatures don’t have bites taken out of them as I would imagine. It looks more like mouse bites instead of a person-sized bite.
6114.2.35 – Yesterday Sean and Beatrice went to the nearest town to find a magic scroll that can see through illusions. Apparently, the closest town is one called “Harm’s Way”, and it sounds absolutely wretched. Thieves, Rogues, and Adventurers are the only ones brave, reckless or stupid enough to visit. Well, and us I guess. Sean thought that one of the salesmen “Seemed honest enough” (Honestly, that man drives me crazy sometimes), and purchased “Scroll of Real Sight” as he called it.
Clearly, we all know that he clearly overspent on it, but it saved about a day of travel, and it seems to be working. All in all, it wasn’t the worst find. We were correct, the creatures do give off an illusion of their shape.
However, Shades are nothing that I imagined them to be at all. It seems that they are small creatures about the size of a fist with four short legs. They grab on from one leg to another, like a couple holding hands in order to create structures of a larger creature. It looks like 10-15 hold themselves together to form a larger leg. This leg paired with another (made of another 10-15) supports a body made of many more of these shades. From here, I suspect that each of them tries to determine threats and come up with an image to help the creatures not to be attacked, which may contaminate the images if the shades are looking into more than one source of the image.
6114.2.40 – As the last of our scroll was used up and ran out of power, we decided to move on. Here we don’t have the magical resources to devote to watching these creatures for an extended period of time, although one day I do hope to encounter them again. From what we’ve seen, these creatures are not hostile, and generally, prefer to be left alone. Their power tends to set us at ease by showing us calming people from our past, which I believe may be their defense.
–Tormund Amendment: Most that encounter Shades find them in caves, dungeons, and catacombs. In these places, Shades have been known to be extremely aggressive. It is my guess that they create a perfect breeding ground for shades, but are scarce in food. The exact opposite of the forest, where your Shades were scavaging, which could explain their difference in demeanor based on location. —