Forging a world: Shadow and Light

In today’s post, I will return to sharing the details behind the creation of my fictional universe. Today, it’ll be focused on how I employ the Shadow vs. Light theme and its background.

Despite being a fantasy universe, and using a cliché that favors creationism over evolutionary theory, I’ve used both in the creation of my fictional universe, along with some other scientific theories as well as fictional and mythical elements. However, so far, these elements aren’t described much in the main trilogy simply because I’ve found very few opportunities to do so without info dumps. Hence, this is quite a unique look into my mind, and see the background that isn’t really visible in the first book (the sequels will reveal some bits, how much, that’s still in question).

The Big Bang and magic

The background of my story utilizes the Big bang approach, with a twist: the excess energy also led to the existence of magic. While most of this energy is neutral (and utilized by species that can wield magic), parts of it coalesced and became sentient – the Shadow and the Light. These two superpowers are eternal manifestations of sentient energy, bestowing their champions the ability to wield their power, and able to communicate with other sentient beings (including denizens of the world in which my story is set).

The area exposed to the formation of Shadow then became the birthplace of the first archdemons and their homeworld, now used as breeding grounds for ordinary demons. These archdemons set out to travel across the universe to search for species that could be, with sufficient magical alteration, turned into various troops of the demonic army (more on individual demons some other time).

On the other hand, the area exposed to the Light became the place where the first worlds with complex ecosystems came into existence, and the source of the oldest sentient life forms. On those worlds, the Light has been blessing their most stalwart denizens with its power, to defend themselves, especially against the demons searching for worlds to conquer and recruits to gain.

Both Shadow and Light choose their true champions carefully, often requiring specific traits. Some of them (intelligence and curiosity necessary to wield magic, ambition to put it to use) are shared while others are in direct opposition. The Shadow looks for traits that are typically seen as sins or vices while the Light looks for traits typically seen as virtues. However, neither power is infallible. Sometimes, the gift can be too subtle to be noticed, sometimes, it can be overwhelming.

The Shadow

When it comes to servants of the shadow, the main bulk is the demon army. Its members can be divided into four groups – three types of troops (which I will get back to some other day) and the archdemons or demonlords; beings of immense power and the leaders of individual army groups. They’re tasked to scour the universe to find new species to be transformed into demons and worlds rich with magic they could use to power this transformation – and, in some cases, both combined.

However, the Shadow can offer its powers to mortals who would, with their deeds, further this agenda – willingly or not, though the former is preferred due to the direct effect. Those can serve as collaborators on worlds the demons are attacking (or considering to).

When a species is transformed into a demon, they’re suffused with magic that alters them to no longer need sustenance typical for a mortal (such as sleep, food, and drink). Likewise, their procreation is altered to a hive-like method with broomothers on conquered worlds. Demons “born” are then magically aged to maturity over the span of months at most, and the energy used to alter them can power them for a couple of years, after which, they need to sustain themselves with magic – though most, being disposable troops, don’t live long enough.

The Light

The Light is more subtle in its power and tends to nurture and support growth rather than forcing things. Hence, in most cases, it bestows its champion abilities that could be considered defensive or restorative – such as bolstering their affinity for healing or protective magic instead of bolstering offensive talents. The Light creates no creatures of its own but it will urge its champions to intervene should the life on their world be in danger.

Those the Light considers the noblest souls are offered the most-direct gift – deep insight into the Light’s magic. Those champions – the paladins – use their formidable powers to protect their world, especially if facing direct invasion of Shadow’s demon armies.

The Light may also seek different ways to support, nourish, and preserve life – such as subtle interventions in the natural evolution of species or affecting the magical flows of a world rich in magical energy to prevent it from becoming too destructive.

Failure and punishment

Of course, those wielding either power can end up not fulfilling the expectations.

The Light tends to be quite forgiving when it’s simply not managing to complete something and may offer chances for returning to their favor should their champion go astray, but given its benevolent nature, it will not bear misuse of its power lightly. The Light tends to be more preventative in those aspects, being very careful in choosing its most-powerful champions in the first place.

As for the Shadow, this differs based on how important the follower in question was – a minor collaborator may be simply left to their own fate (and usually a harsh sentence from those seeking justice), especially if some damage was already done. However, powerful champions – especially high-ranking demonlords – may face unpleasant consequences should their fail especially if this leads to wasting troops. Because, contrary to what mortals may believe, the demon armies aren’t completely endless.


It’s a bit harder for me to track what, exactly, helped me the most to shape this underlying system. I tend to know more where my inspiration for specific creatures came from, but the background of the Shadow vs. Light system and how I use it was in flux for quite a long part of the drafting process. And I think many books I read during that time nudged me here and there, helped me to find out what elements I liked or not, and thus shaped the final state of things in my story.

So, that’s another (unexpectedly long) look into the background of my project. Feel free to ask if there’s something you’d like to know – and just the same, I’ll welcome your thoughts on this story element as well as your own experience in using it in writing.

10 thoughts on “Forging a world: Shadow and Light

  1. Sounds very European. I know that sounds a little vague, but that’s the vibes I’m getting. I love creationism stories with dualism. It interests me. However, you started with a cliché—are you going to elaborate and make it more nuanced or make it more cliché (that’s not a bad thing)? I think both ways would be very interesting.


    • I do agree it’s a common theme, and it’s hard for me to objectively judge how “clichéy” it may be – there are several sources of inspiration combined, with my own perception of things and personal preferences baked into it. To be honest, I’d say the only people who could accurately judge that are my beta readers – and maybe only after they’ve read the whole story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It doesn’t sound very cliché to me, just based on one. It’s original everywhere else. I was asking though how it was going to turn out, not call it anything.


      • Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding. But I think what I said is still the answer – I get inspired by something, and use that to build a story I would like with the theme, element, etc. in the form I like the most. Some may like it, some may hate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gotcha. I do it the same way. I don’t think you should write down your basis as cliché. It’s not cliché, you used a trope and one you could write on and be original. Don’t sell yourself short. I wouldn’t have thought it to be cliché, you had that in a paragraph.😭


      • Sorry for coming to you back a lotlater, but I had to sleep on my next reply. I guess what affects me a lot is that the very first version of this story comes from a 12-year-old me, and that was quite terrible and cliché-y. It has improved a lot over the years, but because I know what the story was before, the fear that I havent been good enough in improving the story is still there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhh, okay. I get you. I’ve been writing (not really writing, just building) on a story since I was eighteen and I get those feelings so often that it makes hard to write and draw some days.

        I’m sure you improved a lot and if you look at them side to side, they probably are much different in quality.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Light vs Dark is a common conflict in fantasy universes. I make use of it, but more from an order vs chaos theme in Ethereal Seals.

    The “Light” in my multiverse also represents order and restriction; the “Dark” represents freedom and chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

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