See also: Shadow Touched
In a word, anything considered to be Shadow-Touched is considered to be related to the forbidden art of 'magic'. The term stems from the great Cataclysm that plunged the world into a dark age, perpetrated by powerful magic-users and referred to as the Shadow's Touch. However, Fastheldian understanding of magic is far from perfect, resulting in many abnormalities being associated with the Shadow. It is the belief in the current time period that a lack of devotion to the Light and its tenets (truth, honor and toil) can make one more succeptable to falling prey to the Shadow, and thus becoming Shadow-Touched. If one was discovered to be Shadow-Touched within Fastheld, they would have been either be subjected to Lessening or put to death, depending on the severity of corruption. However, in the year 626, Emperor Zolor Zahir announced a shadow amnesty in response to the weakening of the Church of True Light. Shadow-Touched who register with the imperial government are tattooed with a mark on one cheek, a half-white, half-black circle. Any Shadow-Touched mage caught practicing his or her craft without the mark is still subject to Lessening or death.
Those who are Shadow-Touched in Fastheldian lore come in many varieties, many displaying a wide variety of symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Birth deformities, such as cleft palate, albinoism, additional digits, hunchback, etc.
- Acquired deformities, such as burned-looking skin without being burned, random patches of white hair on an otherwise brunette head, or the bulging of eyes.
- An acceptance of the Shadow, and the spread of this belief.
- Taking on a Shadowed surname.
- The ability to lure others and force them to the Shadow's will.
- Having command over Shadowed creatures, such as rock wolves and vultures.
- Possessing magical powers (many varieties).