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The Sheut is the mark someone leaves on the world. If someone has no shadow, they have no effect on the world, therefore they can not exist. It is also like a backup copy of the soul, so if a person's ib is eaten by Ammit the Devourer, but new evidence comes to light, then Osiris can return the soul from oblivion using the sheut. Sadie Kane uses this magic to return Bes to full life after his ren was devoured by Khonsu by reversing an execration spell on it. When encased in a shabti of the person they represent, they can be used in an execration ceremony that is infinitely more powerful than the standard spell. Execrating a sheut destroys whatever being its used upon from gods to Apophis himself. As such, knowledge of this magic and about the true nature of the sheut itself is a major secret to the extent that the gods aren't even allowed to talk about it with mortals.
As a form of protection, the gods hide their sheuts away from themselves, and usually only they and the person they are closest to know where it is.
After the Kanes figure out that Apophis' sheut might be the key to defeating him, Anubis approaches Sadie Kane to tell her about the sheut and how it can be used to destroy Apophis. With the help of Thoth and the evil ghostly magician Setne, the Kanes track down and bind Apophis' sheut which Setne claimed was extremely difficult but actually turned out to be rather simple. They are then able to destroy Apophis by execrating his sheut in his presence with a normal execration used on the sheut rather than a representation of Apophis.