The shadow vortex is a speculative object of pure chaos. To understand it properly, you must know about feedback. Feedback is the response to a force. It comes in two flavors. Negative feedback diminishes the effect of the original source.The day is hot so you sweat to cool yourself off. This is negative feedback. The result of negative feedback is homeostatis or equillibrium. Positive feedback, on the other hand, increases the original source. This can be seen, for example, in a highly infectious disease. Each person that gets sick makes it all the more likely that the disease will spread. Positive feedback results in explosions and viral effects. A Shadow Vortex is a speculative object that is pure positive feedback.
Feedback can be a quantitative physical measurement, or can be completely theoretical. Is human history dominated by positive or negative feedback? Here we ought to consider the nature of time travel. If someone went back in time and killed George Washington, how different would American history be? The popular notion is that absolutely everything would have been totally different. The Nazis would win the war, Russia would have used its nukes, etc.
The negative feedback is more difficult to see but more compelling. How could it be that England would hold onto its overseas colonies given the distance and technology at the time? If the patriots had lost the Revolutionary War without the leadership of Washington, would not some other conflict (like the Napoleonic Wars), eventually lead to independence? Or might some other general be fit to fill Washington’s shoes and win the war? There’s an old phrase that takes this negative feedback look on history: “No force can stop an idea whose time has come.” In short, try as one may to change history by eliminating its actors, the remaining cast will fill in the space. Time most likely has a mix of these negative and positive feedback features.
Here’s where the Shadow Vortex comes in. It is a speculative object that is completely dominated by positive feedback. By it’s nature it is untouchable. (The human body needs to maintain homeostasis and needs negative feedback to do it.) It might even be said to have an event horizon as one get can only get so close to the Shadow Vortex before it warps all matter. To survive any thing close must dance around it. Such a physical object should rightfully be called an idol. But there’s no need to limit the idea. A Shadow Vortex can also be a person.
The human Shadow Vortex always seems to be around when proposals are made, concepts are invented, photo-journalism is occurring, and of course suffers from a barrage of endless suitors. She may not understand her nature, lost to understand why she can’t have a normal life, why her life can’t have a break from all this plot. Many names might apply to her. Oracle, messiah, muse, godling. However she is called, being close to her is terrible danger–an enticement for some–that coils you with encounters unthinkable. Nothing in her life fits, but she remains. She survives. But like a siren she entices everyone else to the rocks and the depths below.