Well, I wanted something more original than “A Shadow’s Trail”.
Okay, a more serious answer.
A long time ago, I joined my very first real RP with some people who are still friends of mine today. It was pretty much a cliched story, and its sequels still are. But the roleplays have a special place in my heart. I guess that’s why I keep coming back to the characters.
Anyway, the very first enemy we created for the RP were the Shadows. I think it was one of the other RPers who thought it up and we just went with it. Basically, they’re shadow creatures; undead beings twisted by Shadow Magic to become a walking shadow. We made them corporeal to make it easier to fight them, but I always gave the shadows a bit of a shimmer or something in my mind to give them a sort of ghostly look.
The first RP had the same consistent enemy, though the fact that there were good Shadows was touched on, especially after a certain turn of events within the RP. The second and third RPs have a different main enemy, with a completely different opposing force. The Shadows were initially not a threat, but it became clear that the Shadows were divided. Some of them are good Shadows while others have let their corruption get the best of them. Those that are in-between go with one side or the other. Unfortunately for the characters, most of the in-between Shadows end up with the Shadows that are still at war with the protagonists.
In any case, the Shadows gradually became not just an enemy force to oppose, but something more and more complex, almost human but with different needs and their own tendencies, like a greater tendency towards Shadow Magic. So writing for the Shadows became more and more fun to me, especially when I took the role of a major antagonistic force of Shadows. (As a result, most of the Shadows I write tend to be either evil, corrupted, have some sort of psychological issue that makes them fall to the other side, or just apathetic, but I know how to write non-evil Shadows, I promise.)
And since that major group is something I often write/wrote for in those RPs, I tended to think more and more about the nature of Shadows, figuring out things and clearing up plot holes and basically making them more defined. Especially considering another detail concerning Shadow abilities and other things that only a handful of people know. So when it comes to writing, I have a bit of a soft spot for Shadows.
(Although the irony is that I’m still not very good at coming up with abilities for Shadows. Often, I end up bugging one of my RP partners about it for ideas, or I just modify old ideas. And I say this even though one of my Shadow characters purely does Shadow magic, and she even had that power in her life. That ability just got more powerful after she died.)
So I tend to think of a lot of things for Shadows, and I often go straight into the shoes of Shadows. There are Shadows of all sorts. The ones that tend to stay alive are usually either mages or rogues. (Shadows are immortal. They also have a high death rate, as their immortality makes them quite quick to rush into battle hap-hazardly, or to abuse their power to too great an extreme. There are many warriors, but it is also mostly warriors who die. Another reason for their high death rate is the fact that they are often hunted by humans or other living. Sometimes legitimately, considering how much Shadows love war.)
Anyway, I tend to identify more with the mages and rogues of the Shadows, and I have characters for both types, as well as miscellaneous types. Enough that I sometimes picture my persona as a Shadow, and am willing to label myself with it. When I was thinking about making a title, Shadows were one of the first things to pop into my mind, since I tend to like to write them so much. And because it was prominent in my mind at the time, I was thinking of my assassin character, on the hunt for the protagonists. Namely, I was thinking of the path she was walking, and the path she will walk. Then I started thinking of the path any Shadow takes, and what they leave behind, be they a rogue who tries to cover their tracks, or a mage who indulges in grandeur, or just someone misunderstood.
A different set of track tells a different story. Here are some of mine. Someone who likes to lurk in the shadows, occasionally leaving something behind on her path.
And so, “A Shadow’s Tracks” was chosen.
And the train of thought in my head was actually pretty short and simple. I guess it takes longer to explain it.