- "These strange creatures seemed to manifest from the very shadows."
Lesser Shades were a Shade variant enemy encountered in Legacy of Kain: Defiance by both Kain and Raziel. They could be found in both Nosgoth's early history and the Blood Omen era and were often associated with Darkness and shadow.
Lesser Shades were the smaller of the two Shade variant enemies encountered in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. They were first encountered by Kain at the end of the first chapter Infiltrate the Stronghold - where Kain confronted Moebius in a cavernous chamber beneath the Sarafan Stronghold only to be incapacitated and ambushed by a group of Shades serving as something of a mini-boss for the level. Thereafter Shades would be encountered as a regular enemy for both Kain and Raziel in both Nosgoth's early history and the Blood Omen era and in both realms - notably they were summoned by the Original Guardian of Conflict in his boss battle.[Defiance][Defiance/1][Defiance/6]
In contrast to their predecessors from Soul Reaver 2 the Lesser Shades were less humanoid - with an appearance resembling a purple cloud of smoke. At their sides were a set of large claws with a single pink eye atop the 'head' of the cloud. Shades were often aggressive and would 'swim' through the air towards the protagonist before attacking with a range of claw swipes. In combat the shades were fairly weak enemies and they were not particularly quick or strong, but they made up for their weaknesses by hiding in darkened areas where they were often difficult to see and attacking in large groups. [Defiance][Defiance strategy guide]
Like other Shade variants the Lesser Shades were explained as remnants of malicious, partially consumed souls that had coalesced together to form a shadowy mist-like form with a glowing eyes. They were native to the Spectral Realm, but could be encountered in either the Spectral or Material Realms as the breakdown of the Binding weakened dimensional boundaries. Shades were resistant to ordinary weaponry, but were particularly vulnerable to magic such as telekinesis or certain Reaver enhancements. They also appeared to be attracted to shadows or darkened areas.[Defiance strategy guide]
- Like other Shade classes, the Lesser Shades are not directly named in game and are only vaguely referred to as "strange creatures" in dialogue.[Defiance][Defiance/1] Scripts reveal that the class is referred to in stage directions as "Shades" while the Bestiary section of Legacy of Kain: Defiance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide uses this as the overarching creature designation with two sub-classes: the smaller "Lesser shades" and larger "Greater shades".[Defiance/1][Defiance strategy guide] The Lesser Shades are identified as "Shade_s" in game files.[Defiance]
- Shades are likely derived from the shades of mythology - shadow-like spirits of the dead hailing from the underworld. Their appearance may also, more literally, be linked with Shade - the absence of direct (sun)light; as well as Shades - mixing a color with black to darken it.
- The Shades in Legacy of Kain: Defiance were quite different from their predecessors in Soul Reaver 2. Unlike the previously seen humanoid shape, shades had become more cloud-like and no longer stole elemental energy or used projectile attacks.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- The official guide to Defiance gave more background to Shades than had previously been known - describing them as remnants of malicious, partially consumed souls that had coalesced together to form a shadowy mist-like form. Presumably this explanation also applied to other Shade variants and explained their realm crossing abilities.[Defiance strategy guide]
- Lesser Shades can be seen in pre-release imagery for Defiance and are also depicted in concept art from Daniel Cabuco's portfolio. In the concepts they are named as "shadows" and are able to combine together to form a larger Shadow master form.  The name used also potentially relates them to the Shadows from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - dark spots that could coalesce into a humanoid cloud not unlike the Shades of Soul Reaver 2 - and the Necromancers who summoned them.[Blood Omen]
- The summoning of Lesser Shades by the Original Conflict Guardian potentially suggests the inner conflict inherent to their coalesced forms. Their summoning and attacks in the battle against the Conflict Guardian was given its own special attack title - Call Shadows. Given their origin as souls they may also be considered to be related to the principle of Death - which would also fit the previously deathly association of Shadows.[Defiance][Defiance/6]
- Shades (Soul Reaver 2)
- Greater shades
- Dark Reaver (Defiance)
- Shadow masters