one animal out of thousands will form a connection with one individual and be their companion for life, gaining the ability to speak and guide; like a witch's familiar of old. once bonded, these animal's life-spans will be extended to almost unheard of amounts, their intelligence will skyrocket, and they turn into fully sentient beings with opinions and ideas. once that bond is formed and the animal is connected to their chosen individual, it is only until death do they part. a strange magic ties them together--its called a 'connection'--and they will never be separated; sometimes it even causes physical pain and grief when they are. these animals will serve as a guide and protector, living forever alongside their other half. emotions and physical feelings can be transferred as part of the bond; speaking to a shadow via telepathy is also possible, whether or not you have that power. all shadows will have a drive to protect their counterpart, despite what species they are. a shadow's personality is totally independent of their chosen bonded half, and sometimes they may not get along, but that need to protect is there whether you are a lion or a butterfly.
YOU DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR SHADOW, NOR DO YOU MAKE YOUR SHADOW'S IMAGE. AS WELL, LEGENDARY AND ANCIENT CHARACTERS DO NOT RECEIVE SHADOWS.