This article contains plot details from the latest book.
|This article is about shadowflux. You may be looking for Shades, fire, wind, quintessence, or water. |
The page for all the elements is Elements.
Shadowflux, the sixth element, is a certain type of shadow which most elves, especially Flashers, prefer to pretend doesn't exist. Many choose to avoid the subject and think it's easier to focus on shadowvapor because elves understand it. Shadowflux doesn't like to obey and requires a tremendous fight to control. On rare occasions, shadowflux allows itself to be contained, respecting another Shade and seeing them as an equal. It is a very powerful shadow that can penetrate things such as force fields. Shadowflux can mix with blood and will begin to "change" whatever area it touches. It will quickly start taking over that part of the body and will cause it to need to be amputated. Under a Flasher's light, it appears murky and undetectable.
It is said to be an element, such as water or earth, as it dreams, hovering high above, waiting for someone to capture its interest. It is distant, has to be called for and convinced that it wants to respond, and even then, is still a rebel. It is all things, waiting to discover how it will be wielded.
When encountered, shadowflux leaves behind an echo as a remnant. Echoes from shadowflux are a burden to bear but will eventually fade with time. Shadowflux is loaded with emotion, and the emotion is what leaves behind an echo. The nature of the echo is determined by the emotion the wielder was feeling when they used the shadowflux. For example, Sophie's echo is described as feeling angry, as that was how Umber was feeling as she attacked. Fitz's echo is described as containing a hint of pride, as he was hurt to punish Sophie, and Umber took pride in that. Tam's echo on the other hand, doesn't contain any emotion, as he was in control of the shadowflux and was learning how to wield it with no negative emotion driving him.
The echoes haunt the victim in the area struck. For example, if a heart were to be struck, the pulse and emotions would be affected, whereas, for the head, certain thoughts would be affected. The specific emotion would change the toleration level and the time period it lasts. When the conscious isn't in control, the echo takes over, controlling thoughts, memories, and emotions. Though eventually fading, some tiny remnant will always remain of the echo.
In Flashback, Sophie was hit with spears of shadowflux by Umber, a Shade of the Neverseen, which caused the shadows to sink into her skin, shredding muscle and nerve. Fitz was also hit with shadowflux arrows. It didn't listen to any of Tam's commands and he had to wrap shadowvapor around the shadows to control them, resulting in them slithering away instead of fading.
Later, throughout many lessons, Tam gains control of this pure darkness, although he is often shown to be afraid of this strong power. It is revealed that he had let a bit under his skin, leaving an echo that was much calmer then Sophie or Fitz's.
Umber and Tam are the only known elves to be able to control shadowflux. However, since Umber was crushed by the falling door at the illegal troll hive in Everglen, Tam is the only known living elf who can control shadowflux.