"To bite off your own shadow is neither easy nor painless. It demands a single-mindedness that is almost unknown in this day."

A familiar Shadow wandered through the late morning light, hiding behind poles, trees, behind other shadows, slipping between every two points it could find that prevented the light of the sun sourching his aged frame. He'd been torn from his Master so long ago that he'd not been able to perfectly mirror the new form when he'd finally found him again. Still, people recognized Facilier for the shadow more than the man, and many of the people that caught glimpses of him spun around, as if expecting to see the practitioner of voodoo behind them.

It was rare that a deity would ever reincarnate. Usually they faded or died for good.

The shadow was just a shadow, a shadow of a once-deity, shadow of Leib-OlMai. He'd called himself Omar. OlMai. Leib-OlMai.

He'd been given that name by a bear that was once a man that was once a Sami deity.

That bear had lived as nothing but a bear until it had died. It had taken a new form in a new life, and it had taken ages to find him again.

A man without a shadow, a friend of the shadows, Facilier, the Shadow Man.

But now Facilier was lost to the darkness, lost to the shadows that he'd claimed as friends, and Omar was alone.

That simply would not do.

Noon was fast approaching. Soon, there would be no shadow permitted in the full heat of the noonday sun.

He'd become a man again, then, something he'd not done since the bear that was once a man that was once a god had died, and he'd known that he was simply a Shadow once again. Despite all he'd been told, that he was Leib-OlMai, that his fate was to be his and his alone, he'd still known he was just a Shadow.

And he still knew it even when the sun warmed his skin just as it did for any other human. When the sun touched him without erasing his very being. Even then, he was still the shadow of the Alder Man.

He would be that yet again, he swore, as he walked the earth as just another man . . .

. . . Stepping tenderly on feet that still remembered the power and tearing and edge of sharp bear teeth.