What is a shifter?

We’ve all heard of shape-shifters.  (Well, at least, my fellow nerds and I have all heard of shape-shifters.)  Typically, shape-shifters can change from human form to that of another creature.  Think werewolves.   Or Animagi.

But, Maya Price is not a shape-shifter.  She is just a shifter.  Shifters are half-human and half-onyx.  (Onyxes are beings from the dimension Leets.)  Shifters are able to travel, or “shift,” between dimensions.  Maya is one of many shifters, all of whom have abilities that we mere mortal humans do not.

When I started writing Identified: The Maya Price Story, I was calling my main character a mover, since she is able to move from one dimension to the next.  However, thanks to my good friend Ben Lamm, CEO of Chaotic Moon Labs, I changed the name from mover to shifter.   Below, I have included an excerpt from Identified: The Maya Price Story to explain shifters in detail.  In this scene, Victoria, a mentor and teacher to my protagonist, explains to Maya what she is:

“Because humans and onyxes are so genetically similar, they are able to reproduce. When an onyx and a human have a child, that child is able to move between dimensions. We call them “shifters” in English. These shifters are not only able to manipulate the senses, but the elements as well. They can control earth, water, air and fire. Shifters are able to do this in both dimensions, on earth and in Leets. They are physically stronger than both humans and onyxes, which makes them less susceptible to illness in either dimension and less likely to die from an injury. Depending on their genetic make-up some, like you, blend in easier with humans and others, like me, blend in easier with onyxes. Each shifter is different; some are talented in sensory manipulation, while others are adept in controlling the elements. Some are merely adequate in sensory and elemental manipulation, while others are physically superior. There are a few, very few, that have other, rarer, abilities. ”

Like humans,  all shifters have the ability to control the four elements ( air, earth, fire, water)  and to manipulate the five senses (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch).  Yet, like humans, not all shifters are equally adept in controlling the four elements and manipulating the five sense.  For example; I have the ability to play basketball, but I suck at it.   The same is true for shifters, not every shifter can control fire easily, or manipulate sight.  The list below describes several of the main characters in Identified: The Maya Price Story and their varying abilities:

Maya Price: Physical strength, earth manipulation, sound manipulation.   Maya is unaware of any of these powers until she finds out she is a shifter in Chapter 4 of  Identified: The Maya Price Story.

Lamar Elkins:  Air manipulation, sound manipulation.  Before he comes to Leets, Lamar is a drummer in the band Eddie and the Underwriters.  He uses his abilities in sound manipulation to play the drums.

Ivan Gorshkov:  Physical strength, smell manipulation.   Ivan is, unfortunately, not very talented when it comes to sensory and element manipulation.   On the other hand, he is built like a rock and is much stronger than the other characters.

Akins Okpara: Sight manipulation, sound manipulation, smell manipulation, taste manipulation.  While Akins is not as talented as  some of the other characters in controlling the four elements, he is very well-versed in sensory manipulation.

Luz Rodriguez: Physical strength, fire manipulation, sight manipulation.  Before her arrival in Leets, Luz was on the run from the New York Police Department for causing several fires  in Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx.

Esperanza Rodriguez: Water manipulation, sight manipulation.  Espy is Luz’s twin sister.  When Luz was running from the New York Police Department, Espy was able to make her sister invisible to  law enforcement officials.

Nathaniel Smith: Physical strength, earth manipulation, water manipulation, sight manipulation, touch/feeling manipulation.  Nathaniel is quite a bit older than some of the other characters and is thus more practiced in his abilities.

Paige Sullivan: Touch/feeling manipulation.  So far, Paige’s other abilities are unknown.  Also, her ability to manipulate sense of touch, or feeling, is quite unstable, as is her emotional state. Paige is much younger than the other characters and part of her emotional distress has to do with the death of her parents at the beginning of Identified.

Now, does all of this make sense?


About Faith Rice-Mills

Librarian. Writer. I teach my students, but they also teach me. Married to my best friend from high school. Mommy to the most cutie patootie I've ever seen (AB, we call her. Though the husband likes to say "little monkey"). Owner of Simon and Fitzgerald (Not Paul and F. Scott, my dogs). My parent's daughter, in every sense of the word. Siblings-Yes! They are some of my best friends. Afraid of snakes, elevators and cotton balls. Love having coffee with my best friend. Yoga=yes please! Developing a sense of style. Interested in playing with verb tenses. Oh! And point of view! Would love a delicious chicken fried steak followed by a chocolate chip cookie. Love my red pants, my pearl necklace, and my sparkly gold shoes. Wish I was fluent in Buffyspeak and that Harry Potter was my friend. And so that's me...
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One Response to What is a shifter?

  1. Josephine says:

    Perfect sense.
    And you don’t suck at basketball, its just that you’re husband is an exceptional athlete.

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