Paragon Vampire, The ShadowCrafter
The ShadowCrafter is the most feared Paragon vampire in existence. No one wants to draw the attention of this immensely powerful man, leading vampire society to turn a blind-eye to his existence and that of his clan. Most will openly avoid any physical contact with either the Paragon or his Descendants, fearing becoming infected by the corruption they house. Even other Paragon take measures to ensure their safety, making sure those they feed from are clean of his taint before accepting them as one of their donors – and they take great measures to keep them that way.
Blood That Corrupts or Kills
To be enveloped in the mist-like shadows created by the ShadowCrafter is to be burned alive by the hellfire like heat that emanates from them. Yet, the darker the soul of his victim the more easily they can withstand this power. It is rumored that to create Descendants the ShadowCrafter destroys the mind of the man he wishes to turn, corrupting him and turning him into something dark enough to withstand the force.
A worse fate waits for those the ShadowCrafter will not turn but has use for. By tainting their blood with his own, the Paragon makes them his slave. He can allow his power to sleep inside them, call upon it to take control of them, manifest himself through them, or simply kill them on a whim. Once tainted by the ShadowCrafter, even a Paragon will begin to die. Only his Descendants are immune and the clan of the Paragon god, Michael Bayne. Even the Paragon Selene de Luca’s ability to become immune to other bloodlines powers only gives her temporary reprieve.
The Clan of Nightmares
The Clan of the ShadowCrafter is made up of male vampires. Those who survive the transformation into one of the ShadowCrafter’s Descendants have been nicknamed ‘Shades’ by vampire society. At their most powerful, none of them have been able to manifest shadows as black or lethal as their Domina’s.
Women serve as little but entertainment for those of the clan interested in them. Some are Descendants from other bloodlines who have cast aside their own clan, or those who have made deals with either the ShadowCrafter or his Guardian. The majority of women who can be seen with them, however, are Innocents whose fate is left in how well they have performed in their duties. If lucky, the clan will return them to their homes with no memory of their encounters.
The ShadowCrafter does not turn women, considering them too fragile to withstand the process required to corrupt them. However, whispers range over what is believed to be the true reason. Some believe this is an act of compassion from an otherwise evil man – something left over from the man he was before the shadows took him.
An End to Peace
If one ever has the misfortune of talking to a Shade, they will hear their reverence for their Domina – the Paragon who made them. They speak of him with undying devotion and see him as a true god. It could be the shadows or perhaps a power of his blood itself, but once turned they would do anything for him, including die.
Shades live their life by the ShadowCrafter’s desires, bound to his will, as though a part of his own consciousness. Once corrupted, once infused by his darkness, not one man has asked to be free of it. Within the darkness they are free and they are whole. They are a brotherhood bound together with purpose and meaning beyond what an outsider could understand. Even were it possible, a Shade would rather be slain than be freed from their Domina’s control – and attempts to restore their mind have done just that.
One of the Descendants who manage the ShadowCrafter’s clan is his Guardian, Marcus Erikkson. The Paragon trusts him enough to have taught him an ability no other vampire knows – how to revoke the shadows from whoever contains them. If only a little is taken, the punishment inflicts a burn that takes months to heal. Revoking all the shadows within a member of the clan will reduce their body to ash, burning them alive from the inside.
In this clan, Marcus’ position is second only to the Paragon himself. Marcus is one of the oldest vampires in the ShadowCrafter’s clan, and while he can defend himself in a fight reasonably, it is his sharp tongue and cruelty that make him feared. The clan has little need for a Praefect to discipline Descendants that step out of line, but if one dares, it is Marcus that takes care of the punishment and he is not a forgiving man.
The name ‘the ShadowCrafter’ is one the Paragon reviles. He punishes any who would dare call him to his face.
Until recently, the ShadowCrafter’s clan has quietly remained out of the mind of vampire society. A few dreamers believed this because the clan was weak, but as it turns out, the ShadowCrafter was simply waiting and building his army.
This is perhaps my favourite character, aside from Estellia. He was incredibly hard to write and I took the approach that if I was not disturbing myself while writing him, than I wasn’t doing him justice. Perhaps the most difficult thing however, was creating a character that could be both evil and repugnant, and sensual and alluring.
One picture of the ShadowCrafter went viral, a cropped version of this here. It’s been posted on Pinterest inspiration boards by the likes of Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass series – Valg Princes) and Grace Draven (Radiance series – Brishen), which is super flattering. It’s also been put on multiple blogs about the Antichrist, which I find extremely amusing!