Friday, January 29, 2010

Divers: Shadows

I was originally going to try and review all the remaining disparate elements of Diver's concept that I'd come up in the initial brainstorm several months ago. But I've been building alot on the concept since then; this isn't to say that things are set in stone, but I do have a full post worth of info on each of the two main topics I haven't covered: Spirits and Shadows.

AS mentioned before, one of the fundamental principles of Divers is that the Depths are given form by the experiences humans have on the surace. Shadows, then, are formed by the parts of those experiences that consist of other people. Naturally, this means most shadows match the role most people play in the experience we're having at any given moment- a part of the background that we're not really focusing on. As such, when you're not deliberately focusing on them, their presence hardly registers- the same way you maintain a token awareness of someone in the same room of you, without taking the time to consciously keep an eye on them. They can often make passable small talk, though it'll be difficult to recall substantive detail regarding how they looked or what exactly they said.

When faced with a situation that doesn't fit within the patterns of interaction that spawned them, shadows might adopt the closest behavior- if two Divers do battle in the depths of a city block that was recently the site of a violent protest crackdown, the resident shadows might react to the destruction as though they were riot police. Most of the time, though, any close interaction with a shadow will cause them to waver and disappear. They're not sentient; just vague composites of similar memories.

Of course, that doesn't mean a diver takes shadows lightly. As you dive deeper, the number of shadows will usually diminish; but those that remain tend to have much stronger presences. These shadows are intricately connected to the nature of their location, and in many cases will respond fiercely if provoked. The patterns of interaction they represent are much more significant- a beloved child, an abusive partner, a trusted friend. Strong instances of bonds like these tend to plant the seeds for a corresponding shadow; that 'echo' then feeds back into similar bonds over the months and years, a mutual influence that refines the shadow into a stronger form which emphasizes parallel aspects of all the surface bonds it's resonated with- in other words, a transformation from specific memory to a universal archetype.

Though they'll readily describe it as playing with fire, many experienced divers regularly interact with shadows as a way of investigating a given location's depths. If you've done your research right, you might be able prod them into providing you with re-enactments of critical, formative moments in that location's history. If not. . .the event you pegged as the birth of a trend might turn out to be a part of something much bigger, triggering a response far beyond anything you were ready for. And there's an even bigger threat- that seemingly-normal shadows may be under the influence of something more sinister, perhaps even something with a definite mind of its own. . .

As how you tell whether you're looking at shadows or something more real, why, that's so obvious it hardly bears mentioning. You will never see a shadow's eyes. Perhaps they're turned away, perhaps they have their hood up, perhaps they just wear dark sunglasses. There are even some areas where the shadows have black censor bars appearing over their eyes. No one's quite sure why.

Art by Manamaraya.

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