Shadows of the Past: Shadowheart’s Story (Baldur’s Gate 3 Lore)

Shadowheart confronts her past, and faces life-altering choices in a world where light and darkness collide.

Summary (TL;DR)

Shadowheart, formerly Jenevelle, is manipulated into abandoning her Selûne-worshipping family to serve the goddess Shar. After a dangerous mission, she gains unique powers and realizes her true past. She searches for her parents, and confronts her manipulator, Viconia. Shadowheart has various potential outcomes in her journey, including saving or ending her parents’ lives, embracing Selûne or Shar, or discovering her true self.


Shadowheart, originally named Jenevelle Hallowleaf, is the daughter of Emmeline, a human, and Arnell Hallowleaf, an elf werewolf. Their devout devotion to Selûne, the goddess of light, is a defining aspect of their lives. In accordance with the Selûnite tradition, individuals undergo a rite of passage: a solitary journey through the woods to find their way home. However, Jenevelle’s trial takes a dark turn when followers of Shar, Selûne’s twin sister and the goddess of darkness, disrupts the ordeal. Led by the formidable Mother Superior Viconia Devir, the Sharran group surrounds a wolf, which, unbeknownst to Jenevelle, is her father, Arnell, trying to protect her. As Viconia converses with Jenevelle, her father is gravely wounded. Jenevelle is separated from her father and eventually leaves with Viconia, embracing the teachings of Shar and adopting the name Shadowheart.

Little does Shadowheart know that her parents have also been captured and taken to the same place as her. Shar has obscured certain memories in Shadowheart’s mind, leaving only vague recollections of a menacing wolf. She’s oblivious to the fact that this wolf is her own father, who reverted to his wolf form to defend her. Shadowheart remains unaware that she unknowingly tormented her parents during her training, as their memories remained unaltered.

The Truth Comes to Light

Fast-forward to 1492 DR, Shadowheart has matured into an aspiring Dark Justiciar, joining a group of Sharrans assigned a perilous mission by Viconia. Their task is to retrieve a potent Githyanki artifact and deliver it to Baldur’s Gate. All members willingly allow their memories to be blocked for mission security, with the promise of having them restored upon its completion.

During the mission, Shadowheart falls into the clutches of mind flayers and has a tadpole inserted into her brain through her eye. Although she manages to escape, the tadpole gifts her with newfound abilities, including telepathic connections with others who share a similar fate. Strangely, the artifact thwarted her transformation into a mind flayer, leaving her the sole survivor.

In her quest to find a healer and remove the tadpole, Shadowheart begins to uncover the truths hidden by Shar. Learning that her entire life has been built on lies and that her parents are alive, she renounces Shar and embraces Selûne. She even changesher appearance, dying her hair silver-white to fully embrace her identity as Shadowheart rather than Jenevelle, understanding that darkness cannot exist without light. Determined to reunite with her parents, she returns to her old training grounds to confront Viconia.

Viconia spares no words when Shadowheart refuses to hand over the artifact, leading to a fierce battle. On the ground, Viconia delivers her message, revealing the extent of Shadowheart’s manipulation: “They [her parents] watched as we molded you. They watched. They wept. They bled—often at your own hand. It may not be a happy reunion, but it will be a memorable one.”

When Shadowheart inquires about her motives, Viconia replies, “Lady Shar commanded me. And I obeyed. I do not question—I merely act as she wills me to.”

Continuing, she discloses, “I had an enclave in Waterdeep, you know. Much grander than this. Shar ordered me to raze it, kill all who followed me—claim they betrayed me, when in fact I slew those who showed nothing but loyalty. You became my mission. To take a child of Selûne’s and turn her over to Lady Shar. To show that all light fades, and darkness will prevail in the end. All of this was to make you into what the Dark Lady needed you to be—the planning, the training, those deaths in Waterdeep. It was all to groom you to replace me at her right hand. And still, you threw it away.”

Shadowheart absorbs Viconia’s words and, no longer concerned with Viconia’s fate, yearns to see her parents. In the adjoining room where her parents are held captive, they recognize their daughter and admits they still love her. They’ve been praying for her return. Shadowheart is overjoyed to see them but faces a difficult choice—free them or release their souls.

As Shadowheart presses on, her confrontation with the Absolute, the sinister entity controlling the tadpoles, looms ahead. Her journey unfolds with a multitude of potential paths, each molding her destiny:

  • Betrayal at the Shar Training Grounds: During the face-off with Viconia, Shadowheart risks betrayal, leading to her capture by the Shar followers at their training grounds.
  • Embracing Selûne’s Light: Choosing to embrace Selûne, Shadowheart may save her parents, despite enduring the ongoing pain of her curse, even as her parents plead against it.
  • Granting Peace to Her Parents: Remaining devoted to Selûne, Shadowheart might opt to end her parents’ suffering, granting peace to their tormented souls.
  • The Quiet Life of Shar’s Devotee: Should Shadowheart continue to embrace Shar, she has the opportunity to save her parents and pursue a quieter life with her loved ones.
  • The Ultimate Sacrifice for Shar: In the shadow of Shar’s will, Shadowheart may decide to end her parents’ lives, fully dedicating herself to the dark goddess’s desires.
  • Ascending to the Absolute: Origin Shadowheart’s journey could lead her to ascend as the Absolute, wielding immense power over mind flayers and the menacing tadpoles.
  • Uncovering Hidden Truths: Remaining ignorant of parts of her past, Shadowheart perseveres on her quest, determined to unearth the secrets that define her true self, even after vanquishing the Absolute.
  • Embracing Love’s Promise: Infused with the power of love, Shadowheart and her partner envision a joyful future together following their victorious battle against the Absolute.
  • The Quest for Self-Discovery: Focused on her past and the removal of the tadpole, Shadowheart might remain unattached to romantic entanglements, prioritizing the quest for answers about her origins.
  • Independence Amidst Romance: While indulging in romantic encounters, Shadowheart may ultimately choose to pursue her personal goals, independent of any romantic relationships.
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