The shade-touched are a sorry bunch. Their minds have been broken by too long spent in the Dark, and look at them now, miserable creatures, the lot of them! In my day, we used to let them sleep at the base of the village Lamp, and give them food or drink when we could spare it. Now, those pampered fools living around the Spires tell us to treat them with "dignity" and "compassion"! Ha! When has anyone ever treated me so well? I say treating them softly makes them soft - and makes the rest of us look weak! What do I stand to gain from treating those wretches with anything other than pity? Compassion is for fools! Now, where's my ale?
Danithorpe Castor, drunkard, Amberfell Sanctuary, sixth Lamp East, second Lamp South from Amberspire.
Trauma often associated with the Thramorri, or long-term absence from Spirelight. Those who spend too much time in the Dark come back changed.
The shade-touched suffer from a very specific form of post-traumatic stress. They have been too long in the Dark, or perhaps they have come face to face with the monsters that live there. They are quick to startle, and detest the presence of shadows. Some shade-touched are so affected that they are sent to live in special communities, where the buildings are designed to offer the most protection with the least amount of shadow. Shade-touched are terrified of the Dark, and often distrustful of those who spend any time in it. They worry constantly about the presence of Thramorri "parasites" beneath their skin, some even fear that exposure to the Dark might turn them into Thramorri.
While mental health care is somewhat rudimentary, a growing number of magi and other learned scholars have begun to call for a new treatment regime, consisting of slowly re-introducing shade-touched to "normal" life. Shade-touched, once recognized, are often houses in brightly-lit homes filled with sunstones to remove as much shadow as possible. Over time, the sunstones are removed, one by one, until the shade-touched are able to handle being in a room with shadows. In extreme cases, they are sent to live in brightly lit sanctuaries where staff try to help them overcome their fears.
With time, care, and attention, many shade-touched are able to learn to cope with their fears. Some even venture back into the Penumbra to prove to themselves they can handle the presence of shadows. While no treatment is ever perfect, with time and a bit of luck, many shade-touched are able to return to their former lives, if they so choose.
The shade-touched are often met with pity, and occasionally with derision. Historically, the shade-touched were thought to have been permanently altered by their experiences in the Dark, though this attitude is beginning to change - in the larger cities at least. In smaller communities, shade-touched are sometimes seen as 'unclean' and ostracized. Most end up huddled in make-shift huts or camps at the base of Lamps or Spires.
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