Lurking in the Shadows
A short story featuring Gloom, shadow hound.
The summoned often encounter creatures that appear to be native to the shadow plane of Between. Of those creatures, none is encountered so often as the one they have named Gloom.
Between is a plane shaped by will and as such the native denizens are able to shift their appearance to forms that most reflect their intent. When hunting, Gloom takes on the appearance of a fierce wolf-like creature. Whether this is due to the origins of Gloom herself, or a mere case of her reflecting the fears of others back upon them is unclear.
Gloom finds the voracious consumption of souls by the Everlasting and through their proxies, the summoned, to be a despicable act of greed and so she challenges their presence at every opportunity.
The summoned have never seen her in any form other than her lupine one, so they assume that there are many such wolves; “shadow hounds”, common to the plane. In reality, Between owes its nature to time itself, and as such the beings that dwell there can often be in two places almost simultaneously, since they do not treat time and distance in the manner those of Athien are familiar with.
Due to her personal crusade, Gloom appears in more contests around shrines than any other creature of Between. She has clashed hundreds of times, driven the outsiders back hundreds of times, been defeated hundreds of times.
Death in Between is, if not impossible, at least extremely rare. Gloom is often defeated and driven off by the summoned. In their mind Gloom is destroyed and another wolf often appears, and they assume some sort of unseen pack structure. In truth the damage done to her form simply drives her back, it takes time for her to reconsolidate her form, recover her will and return to the fray.
She is a vicious fighter, without fear of death and she attacks in a whirl of claws and teeth, rending the summoned apart as she seeks to deny them souls for their summoner. She has even been known to strike at the Effigys used to summon, though rarely is she able to disrupt such a powerful artefact.
Although her true origins are unknown, it is clear that Gloom has some reference points for her hunting form; forests materialise around her to conceal her movements in shadow and it is this darkness that she always lurks in which led to her name among the summoned.
- Colin "BoBliness" Hill -