When Gerrin showed me the latest proof of the Palanthas Herald, I was surprised to read fan mail from a fellow named James asking for a return of the Shadow Sorcerer. I had written several articles on this enigmatic figure, but didn’t think for the life of me that anyone actually read them. What little I knew!
But who is this Shadow Sorcerer anyway? Originally, the Shadow Sorcerer was a mysterious figure set during the Fifth Age era of Dragonlance who was one of the champions of wild sorcery. She hung out with Palin and the Master of the Tower, even accusing the Master of secretly being Raistlin. While this was never revealed officially, the Fifth Age design team envisioned her to be the human form of Malystryx. She could, of course, assume either a male or female form, but I always envisioned the Shadow Sorcerer as female. During the Fifth Age, she taught the secrets of sorcery to none other than Theo Drawde, who would take that knowledge and bring back the Knights of the Thorn.
The truth behind the Shadow Sorcerer wouldn’t be unveiled until the War of Souls. It was revealed that the Shadow Sorcerer was actually an aspect of Takhisis. Yet with the death of the goddess came the death of the aspect. The Shadow Sorcerer was no more.
While I love the works of Weis and Hickman, I have to admit to being let down by this one. Here was a character with potential that would never be seen. And so, I decided that it was my solemn duty to bring her back.
But who is this Shadow Sorcerer anyway? That was, and is, my task to figure out. I knew that I wanted to keep the female persona. I also knew that her magic must be the stuff of shadows. Her feet never seem to touch the ground. You can see through her form along the edges, as if there isn’t a body there. Was she an aspect of Takhisis who survived and became self-aware? Was the Shadow Sorcerer actually a new player who decided to take on the mantle of the old one? Or was there something more?
The 4th edition rules added to the mystery surrounding her. Perhaps she was a mage who studied the school of nethermancy. If so, was she a Shadow Sorcerer or a Shadow Mage? Perhaps she was a warlock, once in the service of Malys who then came to serve Takhisis.
The truth may never be known. Yet we may see her again. For where there is light, there is always shadow. And we all know that the shadows are where our umbral mistress lies.