The Forces of Light and Dark in SotC
Light and Dark IV
While we only have Dormin and the Colossi to provide examples of how the magic in Shadow works, we see each in such detail that they nonetheless present the opportunity to learn more about the magic, Dormin in particular. Having examined each in detail we can now have a closer look at the magic itself.
Neither the Colossi nor of course Dormin tell us a whole lot about Light Magic. One thing that is notable however is that Light Magic never shows up as anything more than an unusual form of energy in the environment. While we see beings which are composed of Dark Magic, all of which are part of Dormin, Light Magic is found only in the environment. This seems to suggest that Light Magic is more restricted in scope than Dark Magic, in that it is merely a power which can be used by people, and obviously was used by the people who sealed Dormin. However Shadow offers no clues on where Light Magic comes from, or how it harnessed or controlled.
Dark Magic, as I have mentioned elsewhere, is a more 'magical' kind of magic. Dormin's powers simply affect the environment, with nothing as mundane as a visible cause. What we see of Dark Magic is actually exclusively the physical forms of Dormin. When Dormin is still sealed, the only manifestations it can manage are the humanesque ones which appear before Wander. These ones seem to force themselves from the floor in the Shrine - since it is unlikely they live in the floor, it is probable that this is the partially free metaphysical aspect of Dormin forcing itself into the living world. When this supernatural power forces a physical presence upon the living world, it manifests more or less as an abscence of anything else - pure darkness.
As for how Light and Dark Magic relate and interact, Light Magic always seems to dominate Dark Magic. It is possible that this is only because it was being used to seal Dormin, which is a Dark Being. However, while this makes sense for the abstract part of the seal I discussed in The Colossi , the physical restriction of movement of Dark Magic by Light Magic, and the very raw force with which the pool in the shrine disintegrates Dormin suggests that impeding or harming Dark Magic may be an intrinsic feature of Light Magic. We even see the humanesque manifestations of Dormin retreat as the sight of the Ancient Sword, even though the sword is only seen damaging the Light Magic seal. It is as if the Light Magic within it is a threat to them by its very presence. This suggests that, if we see Dark Magic as the imposition of a supernatural power on the natural world, Light Magic is somehow able to undo that external influence, either trapping the Dark Magic or destroying it outright.
Written by Crumplecorn