The opposition of light and darkness is a false dichotomy. Light is a positive presence, but it is not opposed by darkness. Rather, darkness is but an absence of light. Put another way, darkness, as most understand it, does not—and by definition, cannot—exist.
But light is opposed by something. The ignorant model of light and darkness places light on the positive end of a spectrum and darkness on the negative. To correct this model, one must instead place darkness in the exact center of the spectrum, neither positive nor negative. Beyond this neutral point, one enters the realm of mvadhre.
Mvadhre goes by several names: anti-light, dark matter, et al. The term mvadhre comes from the Nacdrel, one of the few cultures in which this “negative light” is both known and more than just an obscure bit of jargon. The term is derived from the augmentative form of the Nactlylvh word for darkness, literally translating to “great darkness”.
Mvadhre is similar to light in most respects; it travels at similar speeds, reflects off surfaces, and refracts through non-opaque substances. However, mvadhre is far rarer. While light sources tend to be fairly constant (the sun, the moon, fire, etc.), mvadhre sources are virtually unknown. Where mvadhre does naturally occur, it is bound by magic in ways that make it impossible to ascertain its natural qualities.
In cases where the binding magic is dispelled, the mvadhre and the surrounding light destroy each other. Although it may seem that only the mvadhre is destroyed, this is not the case; light only seems to persist because its source (often the sun) constantly renews it.
Theoretically, if a constant mvadhre source was ever set up near an equivalent source of light, the resulting environment would appear perfectly dark; the light and the mvadhre would cancel each other out. Incidentally, to most mortals, this would give the appearance that the mvadhre had won. This is because most creatures are incapable of seeing mvadhre. A region “lit” only by mvadhre would appear black, indistinguishable from neutral darkness.
Nacdrel claim to be able to see mvadhre in the same way that most beings see light. However, their attempts at description have proven impossible to interpret.
While mvadhre’s natural state is poorly understood, its magical state is well-documented. Mvadhre may be infused with soul energy to bind it in certain forms. Not many beings are capable of this, however. Nacdrel are the most common examples, but there are also the Drae and the Ynds. The obvious connection between these beings is that they all have strong connections to themes of death or darkness.
In this case, mvadhre behaves much like a physical substance. Water, for instance, may take the form of ice when robbed of all thermal energy, while an infusion of thermal energy turns it to steam. Likewise, the addition and subtraction of soul energy alters mvadhre’s state—albeit in an opposite way. Higher amounts of soul energy result in solid mvadhre, while lesser amounts result in a gaseous form. The same, of course, can be done with light, and experiments in the magical binding of light have led to the development of many theories on the nature of mvadhre.
Most of the world’s direct studies of mvadhre have come courtesy of the Nacdrel, whose most striking biological quirk is that their physical bodies seem to be made of mvadhre. The reigning theory is that Nacdrel souls produce such powerful auras of soul energy that the mvadhre surrounding them is held in stasis throughout their lives. Where this initial mvadhre comes from, no one knows. But when a Nacdrel dies (death defined, of course, as the departure of the soul), the absence of soul energy allows the mvadhre to return to its natural state and, consequently, destroy and be destroyed by any surrounding light.
Thin pieces of magically solidified mvadhre appear translucent, like dark, unreflective crystals. As thickness increases, the mvadhre becomes utterly black. Most eyes cannot ascertain its three-dimensional form due to its lack of reflectivity; it appears as a bizarre, two-dimensional cutout.
Liquid mvadhre displays the same variation in appearance from translucent to opaque. In behavior, the liquid mvadhre is much like liquid mercury.
Mvadhre’s gaseous form is similar to a black, oily smoke. Some have compared its behavior to that of ink dropped into water.
Regardless of its state, magically bound mvadhre is described as “frighteningly cold” to the touch. In rare but extreme cases, those who touch it are stricken with instant frostbite. However, as light has no temperature, it is assumed that mvadhre is the same, and therefore that the cold is an effect of the magical binding.
Another odd phenomena is observed when mvadhre is unbound: a sense of fear. Reports are few and far between, most often coming from those who were close at hand upon the death of a Nacdrel. The initial feeling is infinitesimally brief, but the memory of it leaves a lingering terror. It has been speculated that this is the result of unbound mvadhre, in its natural state, striking or passing through the observer before being destroyed.