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This article contains plot details from the latest book.

Shades have the special ability to control darkness with a substance called shadowvapor. This allows them to talk secretly, somewhat like transmitting to another person when their shadows cross. This is called shadow-whispering. A shadow-whisper is when a Shade's shadow carries their consciousness so only the receiver can hear the message. Shades can take a reading of a person's potential for darkness. They can also disguise people so that they are hard (but not impossible) to see, but this trick does not work close up. Shades also have the ability to disable force fields if the creator of the force field is not there to repair them.

Some shades practice the ability to control shadowflux, but most prefer to use shadowvapor. It is revealed in Flashback that almost everyone pretends that shadowflux doesn't exist, even Shades. Lady Zillah says that almost all Shades use shadowvapor, and that it takes incredible control to maintain shadowflux. If a person displays fear or weakness while handling shadowflux, it will not obey them. Tam is one of the only elves able to exert control over the substance. Shadowflux can be used to permanently used to disable Psionipaths’ ability to create force fields.

Shades are very talented with illusions, especially when working with a Flasher.

Known Shades[]

First mentioned in Book 4: Neverseen, Tam joined the Black Swan along with his twin sister, Linh, and is one of the most powerful Shades with amazing control. He is currently working with the Black Swan, though in Flashback, he was forced to join the Neverseen. He is no longer a part of them, though.

Umber was the Neverseen's Shade. Keefe described her as "freakishly powerful". Keefe also said that Umber and Trix often carried missions together. She showed to be an incredibly powerful Shade and could control shadowflux. She was killed by a falling door trampled by infant trolls in Flashback.

Lady Zillah is Tam's Shade Mentor at Foxfire. She is said to be very intense and takes pride in her ability.


“That's the problem with light," Umber said as Wylie struggled to shield himself inside a purple orb. "It will always be weaker than shadows.”

Umber and Narration, in Flashback