The world of Hsien, also known as the Land of Unknown Shadows, is one of the 16 worlds linked up by the Plain of Glittering Stone. The various peoples there refer to themselves as the "Children of the Dead". Inexplicably, the physical geography of Hsien very closely resembles the topography and features of Croaker's homeworld. However, Hsien has two moons, and contains animals that are not identical to those found in the homeworld. It was the world from which the original Nyueng Bao emigrated.
Before the Annals Edit
The civilizations in Hsien lived in a golden age at first. Then, "a race of outsider sorcerers" came from one of the unknown sixteen worlds linked by the Plain of Glittering Stone, crossed their shadowgate, entered into Hsien, and conquered it using their power over shadows. These conquerors were excessively cruel and destructive. A group of families fled across the Plain into the Southern Continent of the homeworld, where they became known as the Nyueng Bao. They promised to return to Hsien and overthrow the conquerors. But over the generations, they abandoned this promise and instead simply feared that they would be recalled back to their accursed home world.
After a time, the last two surviving "outsider sorcerers", Merika Montera (later called Longshadow) and Achoes Tosiak-shah (later called Shadowspinner), were somehow overthrown and exiled, and they escaped Hsien by fleeing into the Plain. (They then entered Croaker's homeworld, deceived the Nyueng Bao, and soon established themselves as the first two Shadowmasters. There, they would carve out the Shadowlands.) The peoples of Hsien, although now free, still lived with the mental scars of their subjugation and subsequently referred to themselves as the "Children of the Dead".
Hsien was ostensibly ruled by the File of Nine, which was a council of anonymous warlords. They always attempted to gain additional power but would gang up on and destroy anybody identified as gaining too much power. The File of Nine sought to re-establish the golden age that existed before the arrival of the Shadowmasters. Other significant organizations in Hsien were the Court of All Seasons and the monks of Khang Phi.
The Black Company retreated to Hsien after rescuing the Captured at the end of Water Sleeps. There, they built up their strength, recruiting thousands of experienced young men from the local populace, building a small organized city called the Abode of Ravens, and training their newest wizard Tobo (son of Murgen and Sahra). Tobo quickly befriended the Unknown Shadows, mysterious entities native to Hsien. The Company vied for the knowledge to repair the shadowgates so they could return to their world and destroy Soulcatcher. They infiltrated the great library of Khang Phi and stole the knowledge.
The File of Nine formed an army to attack them and prevent them from reopening the Shadowgate. The File feared that Shadowmasters might return to subjugate them, and also they wanted custody of Longshadow, the Company’s prisoner, to take revenge upon him. Tobo used the Unknown Shadows to torment the advancing army, while the Shadowgates were repaired and their own Shadowgate disentangled from Longshadow's control. The Company left Hsien, and Shivetya sent Longshadow back once it was safe to do so, so that the File of Nine could enact justice upon him. Thousands of soldiers recruited by the Company left under a multi-year contract.