“Ok, Mind Blanking... Its complicated and there are a lot of parts to it.. "
“But they study as outsiders. We never are of the people we study no matter how much we wish to be. And not being of them, we can never really grasp some things. Consider this. You were raised in Chicago. Say when you were young you fixated on Japan. Loved it. Listened to the music. Watched the movies. In school you took 4 years of early Japanese language study, another 6 in college. Then moved to Japan. Got a job there. Married a man, had children with him. All your friends were Japanese. You lived your whole life there. Almost never speaking english.. All right?” “After all that, they would still call you Sijan's American wife. They would comment how good your Japanese is. You would never understand the country or its people the way a native will. You will always be an outsider. And as an outsider, your appraisal of them will always be skewed by being an outsider. “ “So...” He takes several heavy chugs.. “So a shadow traveler seeks the place he wants to study. To embrace. Sure he could shapeshift and no one would know but he would still be an outsider. So.. He finds the place and time. Then he shifts to find someone who looks like him in the place and time. Then he shifts again to find someone who looks like him in the place and time but who dies at a young age. 3, 4, 5... Then...He finds a shadow where that person just died. Has enough life yet to take mental engrams recording all his memories..” “ Then he Mind Blanks.. He shapeshifts to the appearance of the dead person as a child. He has his team cast spells that make him forget everything he ever knew. They take the engrams and place them in him. Then they help him replace the dead child. He has no memory of life. The parents accept him as their child never knowing their real child has died. His shapeshift spell is keyed to change periodically to mimic growth. He grows up as a native. Learns as a native, lives as a native. Then after 30, 40, 50 years, the spell snaps. He remembers who he is. “ “At that point he can leave the world or stay remembering who he is, but also remembering having lived as a native. I have done this several dozen times. I am old, Alvah. Older then many of the elders. Immortality can be lonely.. Sometimes forgetting and growing up as someone else is the only way to not be lonely.”