Introduction: Light Vs. Shadow Basics
It seems that most basic power courses in schools cover these, but just in case someone did not receive such training, did not understand it, or has forgotten it, I thought I would post some basic information about how Lights work in relation to Shadows and how the powers react to one another, specifically in a combat setting.
This will of course be very short, and no duels should be taken between people of any power unless both parties are properly trained so that no one is harmed.
Step 1: What Is a Light Truly Capable Of?
It seems best to start with a breakdown of the powers that are technically possible for Lights. Naturally, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and has put effort into developing further certain aspects of their powers, so you may find yourself more capable of some things, less capable of others, and completely incapable of things that you have not put a great deal of effort into.
The basic description of a Light's powers are the ability to manipulate photons by changing aspects of their wavelength. While that sounds very simple and limited the possibilities of such manipulation are actually nearly infinite.
For example, Lights can alter the energy in a wavelength, moving the light through the visible spectrum and into the infrared or ultraviolet spectrums. We can also control the direction of very specific wavelengths, enabling or inhibiting vision of one or more rays of light for ourselves and others. It is also possible for us to compact the photons within a wavelength to increase the light's mass until it becomes a solid object.
There are many applications of these different techniques, which I will not go into here. Lights tend to specialize in either working visually (altering how we or others see) or physically ("hardening" light to create solid objects.)
Step 2: What Is a Shadow Truly Capable Of?
It follows, then that Shadows are capable of manipulating places where photons are not. The exact matter they are capable of is still being researched. In the past it was believed that shadows had a sort of anti-photon substance that they were formed of or that Shadows were Winds that could only move air unaffected by light. Both of these, though, have been throughly disproven. The real answers are still, unfortunately, a mystery.
Despite this gap in knowledge, it is still well documented what a Shadow can do. Shadows manipulate areas of darkness, forcing light off of the surfaces they work on. They are capable of condensing the shadow so that it has a physical mass and can be touched by animate and inanimate objects. The full range of possible applications for these abilities is nearly infinite as well, so I will not bother to list them here.
It is speculated that powers of Shadows and Lights were once one and the same, and that slowly people evolved to become more and more specialized in one or the other to the extent we see today. Whether this is true or not holds no real bearing on this entry but is still interesting to ponder.
It is typically considered that Shadows are the most versatile and powerful of powers, at least as far as physical fighting and practical application goes, whereas Lights are the least. This may be true in many respects, but a trained Light is a Shadow's one great weakness, and the only power that can truly render them powerless.
Step 3: Effects of Shadows on Lights and Lights on Shadows
A. Shadows on Lights
No one is perhaps more intimately aware of the omnipresence of light than a Light. Shadows, however, work with the absence of light. They, in fact, remove light from an area where they are working their powers. Therefore, when a Light touches a Shadow's work, they are filled with panic and dread, for they are essentially touching a vacuum that renders them powerless. The panic of this contact, for an untrained Light, will intensely trigger instinctual responses of fight-flight-freeze. It will render untrained Lights thoughtless aside from escaping the contact of the shadow. For a Shadow to wrap an untrained Light entirely in their power is one of the cruelest tortures, and one of Shadow's most effective weapons against Lights.
In this day an age, one would hope no Light would ever need worry about such a thing. However, if the worst does happen, a Light can turn the tables by dragging the outside light into the shadow they are encased in and destroying it. This does require that the Light is stronger than the Shadow and can think clearly enough to put all their effort into this task. Adrenaline will aide them greatly, though, and a panicked, trapped Light is not to be underestimated.
For Lights, the best preparation is to have a trusted Shadow slowly desensitize them to being coated in darkness. Starting with fingers or toes, over the course of many sessions, the Shadow works to get the Light used to being distanced from their powers. The Light must focus and learn to think around their natural panic, to recognize the presence of light outside the shadow, and to manipulate that light to efficiently remove the offending darkness. This process is considered complete when a Light can calmly, quickly, and efficiently remove a full-body hold by a Shadow.
B. Lights on Shadows
It is no surprise, then, that Shadows are adverse to the contact of light, but not to the extent that Lights are adverse to the absence of it. Most Shadows are naturally night owls, some even going so far as to be nocturnal. Ancient tribes of Shadows apparently most frequently lived in caves. They crave darkness, and often have one piece of a limb or its entirety coated in their element for comfort. But, being human, they cannot completely go without light, and thus frequently are not as panicked by being wrapped in a Light's physical power. However, a full body wrap of light on an untrained Shadow is still considered a form of torture, and will send the Shadow into a similar instinctive panic mode. A panicked, trapped, Shadow is, if anything, even more dangerous than a panicked, trapped Light and should not be put in that position in the first place.
Shadows can go through a similar desensitization process as Lights, but most just seem content to force themselves to spend more time outside during the summer or inside tanning beds, which I have heard works just as well.
Shadows are the lucky possessors of weapons that cannot be burned, frozen, buried, put out, strangled, or otherwise inhibited by any other power - except for Lights. Lights can render shadow work non-existent if they are properly trained, hence why they are Shadows' one and only weakness. Naturally, though, this only works if the Light is of greater strength and concentration than the Shadow, and can render most battles between them into stagnant staring matches with a confusing ball of light and darkness twitching in the middle.
Step 4: Some Useful Techniques
If you are a Light and you do find yourself in a struggle with a Shadow (hopefully a planned and friendly duel, but potentially a dangerous, violent, unsolicited altercation) these are a few basic tips that may help you.
1. Practice before hand
If you are a member of some form of dueling arts, then you already do plenty of this, and most certainly know more than me about everything covered in this topic.
If, however, you live in a dangerous area and are untrained, it is important to remember to be prepared. Find a friend who is a Shadow to give you desensitizing sessions. Work daily or weekly on your abilities so that you know your strengths and weaknesses and can call them up when frightened. Take self-defense courses that do not rely strictly on your powers. After all, it is more likely that your assailant (if you ever have the misfortune of encountering one) is some other power rather than a Shadow and you should be prepared to protect yourself from anyone.
2. Focus on prevention
If you do happen to be in an altercation with a Shadow, your energy should be concentrated on preventing the Shadow from touching you with their power so that you may escape unharmed. This does require a direct struggle with their powers, which is why it is important to practice your own frequently. Do not expend energy on trying to take down or injure your attacker with your powers unless you have no other option. Attempt to get help or get away safely first and foremost.
3. If you are forced to attack use your strengths
Every Light has a different skill set. For some, it may be easiest to render themselves invisible and get away. For others, they may be forced to harden light into weapons and immobilize their attacker so that they might flee. Some may try to distract and confuse their opponents with startling illusions. Others may attempt to wrap the Shadow in a cocoon of light so that they are frozen and immobile. Each strategy (including combinations thereof and unwritten options) will only work if the Light is more capable of what they are attempting then the Shadow is at the attacks they are attempting. It is a difficult and dangerous guessing game but the more you know about yourself and your powers the more wisely you will be able to play it should the need ever arise.
Step 5: Final Notes and Disclaimers
Firstly, because I am a Light I am focusing on Light vs. Shadow encounters from a Light's perspective. Even though their powers are opposite ours and our culture is obsessed with light=good, dark=bad metaphors, it is important to remember that a person's powers do not make them good or evil and that no power is more noble, moral, etc. than another. There is no excuse for either power initiating attack on any other person and this instructable was not written with the intention of defaming or maligning Shadows.
It is also important to note that while I have a close friendship with a Light and a Shadow power instructor, I am not a teacher of powers or of self-defense, so everything in this article should be taken with a grain of salt. Please use common sense and caution with any techniques mentioned.
And finally, please always be careful to know your own personal limits in regards to your powers. Never over-exert yourself in an attempt to impress someone or learn a new technique. Everyone's limits and abilities are unique and you should never feel inadequate due to not being able to use your powers in the same fashion as someone else. All techniques presented in this article are learned from personal experience and should be utilized with necessary caution.