A primitive psychologist struggling to surpass the alchemists.
Dancing, he dances to awake his shadow, to turn life into it, making it a living being. He relies on magic knowledge.
He knows it ain’t true, magic isn’t real, but there is truth within its teachings. A tiny bit. There is no other knowledge, so he needs to start somewhere. Alone he is nothing. Without accepting any knowledge he knows nothing.
To cover his weakness he embraces the knowledge that is highly questionable, but he gains another weakness. He is dependant on teachings that are also misguiding. One has to start somewhere and overcome the wrongdoings of their teachings. In a now far distant past there might have been real knowledge. Now it’s just voodoo magic.
What he does know, is his shadow would come to life only if infused with energy. Through an organized appliance of life power the shadow will live. What of his accepted knowledge was unscientific? What was merely magic?
Was it his brewing? Every household in the village has its own cook. They weren’t magicians, just food artisans also concerned about esthetics of their dishes. Food would transform when cooked, it would change. Taste. Colour. Smell. All different. Nothing miraculous happens when cooking. Does this imply other materials are needed? Would those materials serve to transmute the finishing product or would it be just another step? He had to consult the alchemists of the land, but they were self-considered to high and noble. They wouldn’t bother with the likes of him, a mere village shaman!
Could the dancing be magic or a way to transfer energy to his shadow? Dancing was performed during rituals, festivities or for amusement. What could it have to do with anything related to reviving a shadow? A shadow was considered like the individual’s twin, born dead due to being detached from the person at birth. It would only get bits of energy escaped from the body. Enough to keep it alive and barely enough to help it follow around, cling to the body so it could keep on feeding on the exhausted power.
Could dancing enliven it? Dancing was merely tiring and just like any other activity would drain one’s strength. Perhaps nothing was lost, but fed into the shadow instead. Was that waste not nutritious enough? Is that why the shadow lingered unconsciously on the floor?
Rituals would be performed with and within markings. Each ritual would require different markings, circles, networks of lines connected perhaps into meaning. But did it have any meaning aside from trying to impress and inhibit a feeling of strong magic power? There were claims that results depend on the material used to do the marking. Often blue and red coloration would do the charm; it’s what the mages claimed. The paints were poisonous and could lead to death if handled without care.
One would get their paints near the places were metals were extracted. The same metals were claimed to spark energy at times. Alchemists claimed the earth’s energy would enchant them.
Could it be that paints found near metal ore were also enchanted? Do they contain tiny bits of metal which would attract nature’s blessings upon them? Perhaps they could be enchanted metal itself or even a combination of various types of enchanted metal, which might be a material necessary to transmute the shadow’s state into a more vigorous form. One it supposedly lost at birth.
At least it could be a crucial step towards the one thing that would help the shaman to reach his goal. Often times paint would be marked over the walls and floor.
Within circles they laid the object upon which to act their magic. Sometimes transmuters drew lines upon their own bodies or those of a patient. These circles weren’t restricted to paint from the metal mines. Each healing or empowering ritual would require an assortment of plants, plant extracts and muds at times applied upon certain areas of the patient’s body, depending on the disease or the empowering to be bestowed on the body.
As a self proclaimed Shadow Dancer, he had studied and glanced upon all transmutation and ritualistic markings, getting to know their meaning and structural effects. Of course the villagers who were either unaware or ignorant of his research still viewed him as the man that was taking care of people’s moods, mental wellbeing and brewing of stress relieving cures. After all that’s what shamans were for.
Regardless, he was convinced he would succeed. At least if anyone would succeed it would be him. Anything that wasn’t known to him would be the current research and most recent experiments done by the alchemists. But for him their results wouldn’t matter. He knew they were heading in the wrong direction. It would be him to bring forth new breakthroughs.
He brewed together his compounds and collected his valuable chemicals.
Throughout study of the transmutation circles’ geometry expressed in simple mathematics; the analyses led him to great revelations. Dancing and ritualistic sequential moves would exhaust his energy, which wouldn’t be completely lost, but instead applied to his surroundings. The chanting and mental concentration would bring forth his body’s spirit power in higher amounts, to then release it onto the enchanted metallic paint, which he used to draw lines upon the ground where his shadow lay in wait to be awakened.
Plant mixtures and drinks would aid him to bestow more energy than anyone could hope to get out of a single human, in theory.
It would wear him out. Drain him dry.
Even his body was covered in markings to better deliver his life force into the complex drawings on the ground. He flexed his hard worked body, furthering the outline of his muscles. It gave him the feeling of invoking more energy.
Kneeling down he placed his palms on his shadow, which was forced into side shadows through the candles positioned all around. But the shadow right in front of him was the most intense, more dark and better contoured.
Being closer he noticed even the darkest shadow was blurry towards its edges.
It was gaining depth. Shape was emerging with stronger details. The shadow was organizing the bits of life poured into the circle.
The shaman stepped back.
His shadow stood up. It was standing like a man, but it was entirely darkness soaking up the light of the candles. It didn’t make any move of it’s own. It would only do what the Shadow Dancer expected. No will of it’s own.
Perhaps the constantly dependent life it had lived on the ground and lack of food, made it too enfeebled to develop a consciousness of its own.
He admired the materialized being from top to bottom. At their feet shadows were completely missing. As if the atoms of it’s existence were restructured and redirected into the transposed being in front of him. It had density. It was a solid warm to touch homunculus.
The shaman didn’t want to be viewed as a sorcerer, nor any other kind of lunatic. Rather a man of science. But neither would he want to be viewed as an alchemist, for he had by far surpassed them alone through his skill of combining elements.
The shaman was now the Shadow Dancer.