Sleek, cat-like hunters, shadows stand about three feet tall at the shoulder and stretch eight feet, including the tail. They are quadrupeds with light paws, slender bodies, and narrow snouts. The hair running down their spine stands up and back slightly, like a horse's mane, angled away from the head. Their fur is jet black and, aside from the crest on their spine and a tuft at the end of their tail, hugs tight to the body. They are only partially corporeal, with solid skeletons and organs but flesh and fur that gradually shifts into animate darkness.
Shadows consume magic. In their natural environment on the islands of Tempest, they are often content to raid nests of Birds of Paradise for æther, only hunting other forms of magic (namely, other fae) once a month or so. Those that have been taken away from Tempest, however, have to find new sources of magic to consume, and often this leads them to hunt mages. They can consume mages, gaining some sustenance from inert magic in the flesh, as well as any spells cast their way, enchanted items, innately magical beings, constant magic (like wards), or residual magic from recent castings. The best way to keep them away from a mage is to offer them æther - but, seeing that the stuff is illegal nearly everywhere, this is rarely an option. Barring that, they can be appeased with a sufficient amount of magic thrown at them. Of course, few mages are able to actually give them enough magic to keep them occupied long enough to get away, but it's the best option other than avoiding them entirely.
Because they are barely sentient (some would argue that they aren't sentient at all), they are very easily manipulated by the gods. As such, those that are brought out of Tempest often find themselves hunting mages on behalf of the gods without realizing it. Under the command of a god, they will break their normal solitary hunting methods for pack hunting, to ensure they overpower their prey. Shadows enthralled to a god cannot be turned away by æther, as the god sending them ensures that they are wholly focused on the target they were sent after.