Shadowshifters are a race created from the properties and appearances of a mix of others. During their original creation by Death, the immortal picked out properties of the races that he found favorable. They have a very basic, bred in look to them that can have certain variations depending on their lineage and the area they came from.
* Hair can be wavy or straight, sometimes it comes in curls. Most often it is black, but can have variations.
* Eyes will often either be completely black, or have black whites. Occasionally they will have normal pale whites
* Their skin is normally ivory white, but can range from pale peachy to dark, depending on bloodlines.
* Their lips can be either pink or black naturally. Sometimes a sort of lavender in between.
* Most shadowshifters are sleek and wiry, and average size. Some can get into the six foot range, though it is not often.
Shadowshifters, as do people, range differently in the ways they act. However, they can be very, very lusty creatures as well as violent.
They can be shy and charming, or dominating and cruel or anywhere in between.
A prude shadowshifter is rather rare. They are basically bred to desire contact and intimacy.
This, is a most delicate subject. The shadowshifters, at one point, where so feared as to be thought of as Death himself whenever one was seen. Their abilities were fearsome, but many of them have been forgotten by the younglings and are only remembered by the few ancients still alive. One explanation on this is the difficulty of mastering some of these skills.
They have the ability to shift, mainly through shadows, from place to place. They can form shadows into weapons and are quite fierce with them. They are born with distinct 'shadows' of their own, which are almost like extensions of themselves and can feel and think, the older they get, the more they learn and some can even learn to speak languages than shadowshifter. They are a fun thing to play with during sex or a good tool during battle.
And the most feared trick, the ability to rip the soul or gently suck it out of the body. It is one of the traits so unknown that many now believe it is myth.
It is probably one of the things that lead to their eventual destruction.
Mating and having babies:
All year round they love to have sex. Sex. Sex. Sex…however….
Males will go into heat at least once a year. During this time, which lasts about a month or less, they will become very agitated and upset.
Their libidos go crazy and they will willingly fuck anybody that desires them. However, if they find a receptive dominate male, they will hole up with him for three days. These days consist of wild, violent sex as well as grooming and bonding. This does not always end up in a mating.
Once the submissive male has been impregnated, his heat will end.
Females can breed whenever but are most receptive when handled by a powerful male or are in heat (female heat can be triggered by a dominant partner).
Shadowshifter pregnancy lasts about a month (sometimes more for females), the babies developing at very fast rate to make it easier for the parents to protect their young.
The male birth is extremely violent; when it is time for the babies to be born, a red seam will show down the middle of the stomach, which the male will pry open to 'birth' the young. Their bodies pump out hormones and numbing chemicals to help keep them conscious through it, and once the babies are out, the stomach seals right back up.
The babies first meal is their 'mother's' blood, to get the needed antibodies and first nourishment to insure survival.
Their minds grow much faster then their bodies, by the time they are eight, their minds are at the level of an eighteen year old, though they still will act much like normal children.
At this point, they begin to seek out potential 'mates', those that they might add to their harem as they grow older, since shadowshifters do not have only one mate.
At seventeen/eighteen years, the young are able to breed, and in the case of twins, they will go into heat at about same time do to the extremely tight bonds developed.
Although it is EXTREMELY rare, there are times when a male will give birth to a female. How and why this happens is unknown, but there are guesses it happens when there are too few females.
Humans and shadowshifters CANNOT successfully breed unless there is some serious magic going on in the process.
Because of the fact that they had quite a bit of Death's bloodline in them, some more then others, it makes it hard for a fetus to develop. Normally it will die before or a little after being developed. However, there are ways to get around it, though they can be very, very difficult and not always successful.
1. Shadowshifters don't really have a set sexual preference. When something clicks between them and a person, they will often times become mates, especially if that affection is returned. It's almost like a soul bond, so closely connected do they become. They're able to connect minds (some are better at this then others, all a matter of age and skill and it changes between individuals. ) and some can even feel the pain of their mates.
2.Royal Shadowshifters have wings. Whether or not they are aware of them or are able to use them is the question at hand! They really have no use for them, but it was a display of power for those of royal blood in the olden days. Angelic hybrids with sometimes have them as well.
3. There are a large number of noble rankings, all of them basically the same as human. Most of the nobility was either destroyed or driven out/ enslaved. The highest bloodlines of course, would be royalty. As an example, Exodus is not royalty, but he is a high ranking noble, which was the main reason he was grabbed to create younglings with Lazarus, whom was of pure royal bloodlines. Since shadowshifters have any number of skills, there was a much larger middle class then there was of noble.
4. While Shadowshifters can breed with just about any magical race, they breed best with those that some of their races characteristics were based upon! They breed especially well with angels/death angels and those unions can often create a very powerful child that can work with both magic and shadows.
5. Shadowshifters are not the best at magic, in fact, very few can work it. Necromancy is something they were very good at, though that skill is hard to learn and few knew it. Dream scrying is another skill that some were very good at, able to get into the head of one asleep and rattle about in their mind. It is a rather lost art among the shadowshifters and very few can do it anymore.
6. Poisons and excessive drinking are two of the things that can spell death for a shadowshifter. While their bodies heal fast, poisons and alcohol poisoning can make it so hard for the body to heal, that a person would be able to hack a shadowshifter to death before they could recover. Poisons were one of the most successful agents in the near destruction of the race. Many shadowshifters can not cope with much drink. It goes to their heads pretty fast. However, over the years, some immunities have been bred in ( hybrids have a much easier time with alcohol then a pure blood) to both alcohol and certain poisons.
7. Shadows are part of the shadowshifter. Though they are part of them, they also have a mind of their own in ways. Shadowshifters can manipulate their shadows to create beasts or even, as Exodus has perfected, create a sort of 'beast form' with his shadows, which he uses to protect his body and also makes it easier for him to fight multiple enemies. Very useful in huge battles and was once a very feared aspect when shadowshifters were hired for wartime.
I had Repsychus help me come up with some proper titles for the noble houses that were once a big part of shadowshifter society before the genocide. They consist of the Royal house, various noble houses, the soldier/necromancer houses Merchant houses, and the entertainment houses, the last three while not necessarily nobles, were of a very high ranking among the social elite.
Those without noble title often had last names, though they are very many and of such a variety that it would be pointless to make them all up on my own!
The houses are as such:
Nobles: Massone, Lansoi, Melusinea, Silvai, Sidonie, Vienneau, Steldia, Marivere
Merchant: Vanier and Vavasseur
Soldier/necromancer: Vymare and Archilic
Entertainers: Celle and Balmoreal
Before the eventual abandoning of Mordaine, the homeland of the shadowshifters, these classes were seen throughout the land and the palace that the first two ruled from. Currently, Faust and Doll have been rebuilding said homeland and helping it flourish again.
The Varnas'erroia and Courtesans
As the shadowshifters used to call themselves back in the day. A bastardization of Basque and Lithuanian words for Raven, they took it and made it theirs.
Why you ask, did they choose ravens?
Starting out as carrion eaters in their first few generations, they took amusement in the mysticism surrounding the dark carrion eating birds. There is a lot of power in the raven's presence, both good and bad. Good omen and bad, even having the audacity to steal the very sun from the gods.
The name is making a come back in Mordaine, looked upon with fondness.
Another bit of their culture returning is that of the Courtesans.
It is tradition among their houses to dye all the hair on their body red, as it is a most sought after and valued color among their people. The profession is looked highly upon, for though they are prostitutes, it is their skills in other arts and their company that is most valued. Similar in usage as a geisha, save they actually perform in the bedroom as well.
Training starts at 8 years of age, though the sexual arts are not taught until teen years are reached. All will lose their virginity to their mentor or close companion in training. All houses have their own symbol, which their members receive upon their debut, by scarification. Usually this is located between the shoulder blades for women and beneath the clavicle for men.
They are privy to the lives and secrets of the noble class and in some cases, are even used as spies. Some go on to be scholars on the hidden history of the nobility and that of their own houses. They are very well known as story tellers as such.
Created originally from bits of Death himself, these creatures were the first life forms that the immortal made once his task became too much for one to perform. Unlike their 'siblings' the shadowshifters, they are a little more subdued in nature, but bright in appearance.
* Hair color can be just about anything. From the most bland to the brightest out of there color you could think of.
* Much like hair color, eye color is just as varying.
* Skin ranges from milky white to deep dark ebony and everything in between.
* Lips are normally pink or off pink with hints of other colors.
* Their builds range from short to very tall and skinny to buff. Some of them have a bit of pudge, but they do not get fat.
* Caretakers - These are your everyday, normal death angels. They come and pick up most of the souls and are a huge percentage of the population. Because of this they are trained in battle as well in case of warfare. They make up a lot of Death's 'army' and servants.
* Shepherds - These are the angels that deal with the souls of children. They are usually smaller and more androgynous. Typically they will have a calming, warm feeling about them that helps in their task. The souls of children are flighty and easily frightened, so they must be able to keep their attention and keep them from becoming frightened. They are a rather common class.
* Muses - These death angels handle the artists, the musicians, the scientists, the great people in the world that have done things that have inspired and changed the world drastically. They are often very good in various branches of the arts and sciences. They are not as common as the other classes.
* Reapers - The top and one of the deadliest classes. These angels deal with the evils in this world and they do it very well. They handle murder victims, lost souls, murders, rapists, the worst of the worst and the most damaged of adult souls. They are the least common class, but one of the most important.
Much like normal people, they have issues and personalities as varied as their colors.
All of them are able to capture souls and can kill. In fact, they are much more dangerous than shadowshifters, but have never lived on the other planes of existence like shadowshifters have, so they are not exactly a threat that can be dealt with. Like shadowshifters, they can heal rather quickly, but do not have the same issues with poisons and alcohol that a shadowshifter would have. They can get sick, but their bodies will fight it violently till they are better. They do scar much easier then a shadowshifter however and Reapers will often be riddled with scars and old wounds from fights.
They can weave a sort of energy net for catching spirits as well as being able to pluck up spirits and hold onto them. They use weapons that have been charmed to deal with beasties as well as violent, dangerous spirits.
They all have wings and can fly. They are able to pass through surfaces when they are invisible during their 'reaping'.
Death angels go through a very intimate courtship. Unlike their shadowshifter 'relatives', death angels take a different approach to courtship and love. When one has affection for another, they will quite often quietly court their chosen person with small tokens of affection or love. They will trade small feathers when they would like to be bed partners.
The tokens become bigger and more elaborate as time goes on and their courtship becomes more intimate. Often they will make beautiful jewelry out of their feathers and give those to their lover or soon to be mate. The more beautiful and elaborate the token, the more likely they will win over the affections of their fickle lovers. They will usually have a bonding ceremony with their mate (shadowshifters have these as well, though much less often) to celebrate their mating.
Death angels usually only couple with a single person, though there are some that will have more.
Mating and having babies:
Much different than shadowshifters in this regard. They are completely sterile unless granted permission by Death to breed. The immortal actually has to fiddle with their parts to make them fertile and in the case of a male desiring to breed with a male, they will have a brand new shiny uterus and vaginal passage. The reproductive organs they originally had will go dormant. Depending on what they ask of Death, they will either have only a vagina, or they will have a cock, but the balls will have shrunk back into the body and in their place will be the vaginal opening.
When the babies are born, after a little under half a year, they are tiny and can fit perfectly in the palm of a grown man. Their wings will be tiny and underdeveloped and the babies will not be able to hide them into their body until they are at the very least a year of age. They mature mentally a little slower then shadowshifters and are less likely to fiddle around sexually.
Death angels breast feed their babies milk for a few months.