When Shadow was born, he inherited his mother’s ability to channel the elements though his own body, but he did not have full control, so he had to be fitted with inhibitors to regulate how much flowed out, or in.
Shadow also inherited some of his father’s strength, and all of his father’s Iron Will to keep ‘fighting’, and to never give up. Shadow would train endlessly to strengthen his body, and his abilities. This helped him become physically stronger than most unicorns were at that age, and his magic was also strong and controlled.
Shadow excelled in classes, and eventually made it into Celestia’s newly founded school for gifted unicorns at very young age (Celestia was still very young at the time, just getting into her 20’s about). However, it was not to stay that way. When Shadow was home for a holiday, Timberwolves/changelings/dragons attacked his home, and destroyed everything. And when he found his parents…they were already dead. It was on that day that he first learned how to use Dark Magic. His studies had taught him what the after effects of Dark Magic could do, so he was able to stop before he went to far. Shadow tracked down the ones who destroyed his home, and made them pay. After that, he never returned to the school. Shadow stayed in the wilderness, learning to slowly master his mother’s ability to channel the element’s energies, even the ones his mother never dared to try, namely, Light and Dark.
As the years passed, Shadow grew stronger, but despite having his father’s will to keep pushing himself, he always stayed within his limits. Shadow never forced himself with Dark, and instead focused on mastering Light first. Only after mastering Light did he begin to truly focus on Dark. It was the decision to master light first that kept him from being corrupted by Dark, and allowed him to master it without losing himself. And after that, he gained both his Cutie Mark, and Alicorn-hood, a feat that had never been done before, and has yet to occur again. His Cutie Mark is 7 elemental orbs in a circle. All 7 orbs joined together at the center to form an 8th orb, which was a union of the other 7. Symbolizing his mastery over the elemental energies, the energies of Light and Dark and even electrical energy itself.
Shadow also found that once he became an alicorn, he aged much slower, to the point where it seemed he stopped aging at all. After looking into it and doing tests, Shadow found that his aging had slowed to the point that for every hundred years that passes, he will only age the equivalent of one year.
After finding this out, he began to see the many opportunities and draw backs to his new situation.
On the one hand, he now had the opportunity to make a difference and be around long enough to see his efforts “bare fruit” as the saying goes. He wanted to protect others from the pain he felt on the day his home was destroyed and his parents died, and he would see that goal through to the very end.
On the other hand, Shadow realized he now had to live with the curse of a GREATLY prolonged life. The curse being that he will have to watch all his friends grow up, have kids, eventually die of some cause and then watch as those children grow up to have kids of their own; All while he remains almost the same age.
While his life is greatly prolonged, he is NOT immortal. Shadow is still able to become sick, get hurt and bleed, or die of the same causes as anyone else. The only difference is that death by old age will no longer take him for millenniums upon millenniums to come.
To this day, Shadow still has to wear the inhibitors he was given during childhood because the ability he inherited from his mother was stronger than anyone realized. Even to this day, he cannot PERFECTLY control it. At the most, he has gained enough control to be able to take the inhibitors off for a total about 5 minutes before he begins to lose control.
If he has them off for to long, his body takes the toll of it all. Shadow tried it once and his body started to break down from the level of power he was made to channel. It took repeated daily sessions of healing, about 3 sessions a day for 5 years to fully undo the damage, and some of the scars still remain.
It is from this experience that Shadow has come to the conclusion that, if the situation ever called for such measures, if he was to use all the power at once, even for the 5 minutes he has, his body would not be able to withstand it all, and he will die.
(The details of how are too gruesome to go into detail about.)
Over the centuries, Shadow also learned how to wield various weapons in self-defense, and combat. He has become well trained in hoof-to-hoof combat, and has mastered various fighting style know to all 3 races. He has learned styles from the modern day versions of (pony versions of karate, tae kwon do, and jujitsu) to ancient fighting styles lost to time by the modern day.
Shadow has also learned how to use a wide variety of weapons, both modern and ancient. His favored weapons being either the bo-staff or the sword.
Shadow has also fashioned a small number of suits of armor over his life; all of them inspired by ancient stories, fairytales, folklore, myths and legends.