In one of my WIPs, I have this character who is creatively named Dark. He’s basically comprised of shadows, having been magically rather than naturally born. While he can seem stoic and content to stay in the background, he’s more of the type to try to herd everyone that he knows together to be sure everyone is safe.
As far as I’ve seen in the writing, anyway.
Dark’s followed around the protagonist to be sure said protagonist wouldn’t get himself killed because the protagonist really has no idea what he’s doing since it’s the protagonist’s fault that they’re lost. Basically, Dark just wants the protagonist to stay put while Dark tries to figure out how to get them all home. Each time Dark’s plans crack, Dark himself seems to crack as well.
It’s not until the third character — who happens to be a talking beagle — in their party explains to the protagonist, “Dark is made of shadows. He’s been doing better on his own but, like all shadows, he still needs his anchor,” that both the protagonist and I get a better understanding of the usually reserved Dark’s state of mind.
In a way, that tidbit about Dark made me think about how everyone is a shadow, following along in someone else’s footsteps, looking up to those they admire, while also being someone else’s anchor, someone else’s inspiration, someone else to help keep them grounded when they need it. It’s little moments like that that really make me enjoy writing. I’m lousy at getting plots to stay strung together — which I’m trying to be better about — but my characters and world building make me proud.