The Second Child
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The Second of the Lost Children

Envy's Beacon, SCP-017, penumbra wanderer, The Second Child


The Second Lost Child1, a creature of shadow, is likely the most dangerous of the Lost Children. Even gods tremble with unease at its passage. It is held captive by the SCP Foundation, who knew not what they sacrificed to imprison it. Most Hand members feel this is for the best.2

The Second Child appears often in ancient texts, and is commonly used as a symbol of mystery, love, eternal hunger, and all of the above.3 During the Great Purge, the lore of the Lost Children was burned and shattered after the Edict of Karnath was proclaimed. A taboo against writing down further information grew out of this event. There seems to be a special taboo associated with the Second Child, though it is unclear why.4 Therefore most knowledge of the Second Child has been lost, though a few select tomes are said to exist somewhere in the Archives.5

The Second Child will attack and consume any thing casting a shadow upon it. Despite its role in many ancient stories, no recent accounts of it indicate attempts to take any other action or communicate in any way.



Recovered image of the Second Lost Child in its present cell.


Traits: The Second Child's appearance is that of a human-like child of one to two years in age. Many say now that its features are impossible to discern, though there are many flowery descriptions in literary sources. Of course, none specify gender, sex, ethnicity, or any similar details. The being seems as if it is almost entirely made up of the shadowstuff that cloaks it.6

Nature: The Second Child is a shadow being, which seems to be made up of god-stuff of unclear origin. There are many non-specific and contradictory accounts of the Second Child's makeup (perhaps made so by the old taboo against setting down certain pieces of knowledge about the being).

If a shadow is cast on the Second Child, it will leap through the air at the caster of the shadow, and consume the caster within its shroud. It is not known what happens to those consumed by the Second Child's shroud, but they vanish completely once consumed.

History & Associated Parties: The Second Child is strongly associated with the other Lost Children, but in most of the stories, the Second Child is shown choosing not to keep company with them, even before the Lost Children as a whole were scattered across the Earth. The reasons for this are not known. It does not seem to have been actively hostile to the other Lost Children, except the Fourth.

Many old scholars view the Second Child and all other Lost Children as inherently opposed to the Children of Dust7 by their very nature, and therefore the two must always be in conflict except when walking the pathways of the gods.8 This view has fallen out of favor in recent years, replaced by a more nuanced point of view on the remaining known Lost Children.9 However, modern views on the Second Child are mostly the same as the traditional views.

The Second Child was captured by the SCP Foundation approximately thirty years ago10, and imprisoned in a cage of glass, constantly illuminated by mundane light fixtures. It has escaped six times since and been re-caged each time. It is not known whether this was due to technical failures in its cage and lack of understanding on the part of the Jailors, or a deliberate escape attempt. Its cage is extremely well defended, having been brought to the Jailor facility guarding the abandoned White Heretic's City.11

The Cult of New Umbra12 believes that the Second Child wishes to be freed (by them) and to lead them to paradise. They have been hunting for a tome called the Book of Shadows within the Archives which is said to contain information that may help them13, but fortunately most of their Library Cards have been revoked due to various small yet foolish offenses.

Approach: The Second Child is extraordinarily dangerous. It is advised to not approach it at all if possible. If one encounters the Second Child and has a chance to react, one may keep it at bay with a sufficiently bright light (either mundane or magical), and call for help by any means possible. Do not ever cast your shadow upon the Second Child.

Thankfully, encountering the Second Child is presently unlikely. However, if they escape, they have been known to make use of Ways, and though they have never yet attempted to enter the Library14, many Hand safe houses are connected to Ways and would be at special risk.

If the Second Child permanently escapes Jailor custody, which may be inevitable, it is highly recommended that Hand members cooperate to capture and cage it ourselves. Escape could mean the deaths of countless thousands. Efforts to communicate with it and to pacify it are also presently being researched.

Observations & Stories

The Second Child appears referenced in many major magical and historical texts, accessible in the Wanderer's Library.

Information on the Second Child received from the Archivists can be found in the Lost Wanderers volumes (still undergoing transcription; the initial volume, The Wandering Boy and Other Captives, is currently being transcribed).

The Codex Ratigan claims that Second Child victims are not killed, but taken to a special afterlife of eternal shadow, said to be the same as the plane of love, and variously claimed to be a sort of paradise.

Elizabeth Dufree has been seeking out eyewitness stories of the Second Child; please contact her or the article maintainer if you have a story.


There has been much argument regarding what occurs to the victims of the Second Child. The Codex Ratigan story above is the oldest account we have currently accessed, but it specifically mentions that it is contradicting even older sources. Given the dubious nature of the Codex Ratigan, finding these sources could be very helpful.

As mentioned before, the Umbra Cult believes that the Second Child wishes to be freed and will lead them to paradise. This is contradicted by almost every existing authority upon the subject, even the Codex Ratigan, which portrays the Second Child as unwilling to bestow its favor upon anyone, and claims that the afterlife in question is due to the kind intervention of an unknown parental-god-figure.

I also object to calling Hand members who are part of the Umbra Cult "unstable". This is unnecessarily insulting and generally meaningless anyway. We should reach out to the Umbra Cult to discover where they believe they obtained their ideas from. Are we really so sure they are incorrect? —Jon S.

It's not meaningless if it accurately describes their strange worship of death, not to mention all the shenanigans they've got up to that got their Library Cards revoked. Best to distance ourselves from that nonsense as much as possible, especially if we want to keep on the Library's good side. And, even if they're correct, do you really want to take that risk, considering how deadly the Second Child is? I mean, really. —Ria I.

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