|“||He was tall and thin and twitchy, given to flights of rage and subject to sudden spells resembling malarial shakes. He wore a sort of loose black floor-length chemise that concealed a deathly gauntness. He ate infrequently and then only picked. He could have been a famine victim. Threads of silver and gold and glistening black, embroidered or woven into his robe, protected him with dozens of static sorceries.||”|
Longshadow (also known as Maricha Manthara Dhumraksha and Merika Montera) was a sorcerer who dwelt in the extreme southern reaches of the world. He was the leader of the Shadowmasters and the main antagonist of the Books of the South. He played a major role in both bringing the shadows into the world, and also in keeping them contained to the Plain of Glittering Stone.
Before the Annals Edit
Conquest of, and exile from, Hsein Edit
Longshadow, his apprentice Shadowspinner, and a number of other men of their race originated from one of the unexplored, unnamed worlds linked by the Plain of Glittering Stone. Bringing "no wives", they departed their world, crossed the Plain, entered into the world known as Hsien, and conquered it with shadows and sorcery. During their tyrannical reign, a group of families sought to escape the Shadowmasters' tyranny. They created a shadowgate key, fled from Hsien, crossed the Plain, and entered into the "homeworld" of Croaker and Lady. They emerged south of Kiaulune and became known as the Nyueng Bao De Duang. Back in Hsien, after generations of notorious abuse, Longshadow and Shadowspinner, the last two members of the "race of outsider sorcerers", were finally overthrown. They fled from Hsien back onto the Plain. Following the footsteps of the fugitive Nyueng Bao, Longshadow and Shadowspinner entered into the "homeworld" of Croaker and Lady as well.
In the homeworldEdit
According to Uncle Doj, Shadowspinner infiltrated the Nyueng Bao community using the name "Ashutosh Yaksha". They had no idea he was one of their ancestors' tormentors. Meanwhile, Longshadow was training 6 new apprentices from the homeworld, including at least two members of the Ten Who Were Taken (the Howler and Stormbringer). Spinner soon introduced the Nyueng Bao to his master, Longshadow, who used the name "Maricha Manthara Dhumraksha". Longshadow accompanied the Nyueng Bao on one of their ceremonial pilgrimages to the shadowgate, where he led them into a trap. Shadowspinner and the 6 new apprentices were waiting, and they stole the shadowgate key from the Nyueng Bao elders. However, they did not know that the relic was a false key. When they attempted to tinker with the shadowgate, they were rushed by an influx of killing shadows. Three of the apprentices were killed, and the Howler was "cruelly injured" and fled (to the faraway swamps between Gea-Xle and Thresh). In desperation, Longshadow used the power of his own true name to help seal up the shadowgate. This meant the shadows knew his name and would hunt him if they leaked through. But a benefit was that his apprentices would dare not kill him: his death would break the shadowgate, bringing an onslaught of death from the Plain into the homeworld.
Longshadow, Shadowspinner, and the two remaining apprentices (Moonshadow and Stormbringer, using the new alias "Stormshadow") became the 4 Shadowmasters. They took over a place called Pityus, but their first major conquest was the southernmost city of Kiaulune, which Longshadow renamed "Shadowcatch". They went on to carve out the Shadowlands from a formerly peaceful region. Eventually they planned to use their control over the shadows to conquer the world. As their conquests grew, the group often fractured and feuded. They reunited to conquer Taglios but their Shadowlander forces were defeated by Cordy Mather, Blade, and Willow Swan who had been hired by the Taglian prince, the Prahbrindrah Drah.
Upon the arrival of the Black Company in Taglios, the war quickly turned against the Shadowmasters again at the Battle of Ghoja Ford. Longshadow spends the war hidden away in his fortress, Overlook, mostly trapped inside his own fears through the manipulation of the goddess Kina. His only real contribution to the early war effort is dispatching small groups of shadowweavers, specially trained men who used small shadows and animals like bats as spies to monitor the actions of the Company. He also coveted the knowledge that Lady possessed, and attempted repeatedly and unsuccessfully to kidnap her. His fellow Shadowmasters are all eventually killed at Dejagore: Stormshadow and Moonshadow during the Battle of Dejagore, and Shadowspinner during the Siege of Dejagore.
Dreams of SteelEdit
Longshadow acquired several allies to replace the three killed Shadowmasters. The most powerful was the Howler, to whom Longshadow had sent emissaries in his swamp kingdom. The Howler and three solders headed up Longshadow's final attempt to capture Lady, but kidnapped her sister Soulcatcher, who was masquerading as Lady, instead. During the kidnapping, Croaker stabbed the Howler with the Lance of Passion, unintentionally inflicting a "poisonous sorcery of tremendous potency". Longshadow spent six days, without any sleep, curing the Howler at Overlook. But he did so only because he feared the power of the Lance and still needed strong allies; otherwise, the Howler was expendable to him. Meanwhile, Soulcatcher easily escaped from Overlook to work against Longshadow afterward.
Longshadow would also recruit the Company's worst traitor, Mogaba, and the Living Saint of the Stranglers, Narayan Singh, as a key ally. As the Company pushed south, Longshadow seemed to regain some measure of his confidence (which had previously been badly sapped by Kina's meddling) and sent larger and more powerful groups of shadows to attack the Company. Due to the fireball projector artillery developed by Lady, however, the shadows proved largely ineffective as a fighting force, and failed to halt the advance of the Company.
She Is The DarknessEdit
Longshadow was captured by the Black Company after the Siege of Overlook. The Company sewed his mouth shut and sewed his fingers together so he could employ no sorcery. When he realized he was being brought to the shadowgate, the source of all his fear, he tried screaming through his sealed mouth continuously. But Croaker was unmoved, and he was brought along as key members of the Company and their allies marched out onto the Plain of Glittering Stone in search of fabled Khatovar. Longshadow and about 34 others from that party subsequently became the Captured, a group of hostages placed by Soulcatcher in the Cave of the Ancients, beneath the Fortress With No Name, at the center of the Plain. He would remain there for at least 15 years.
Longshadow was spotted by Sleepy upon her first entrance into the Cave of the Ancients, untouched with most of the other Captured. She made certain not to disturb his magic stasis, because this would result in his death. Since his true name was tied to the homeworld's shadowgate, his death would cause the shadowgate to fail... an event that would bring about the end of the world. She looked forward to the day when the shadowgate could be properly restored, so they could finally execute him. She changed her mind mere days later, however. Upon entering the world of Hsien – the very same world Longshadow had conquered before ever entering the homeworld – she learned that many of the warlords there were still itching for revenge against the man who tyrannized their world.
Sleepy liberated him on one of her later expeditions back and forth between the cave and the Abode of Ravens in Hsien. Although freed, he was kept on a very tight leash, and was forced to participate in Tobo's extensive training in sorcery.
The Company used Longshadow as a bargaining chip to gain the cooperation of the authorities in Hsien. They did this to buy the time they needed to recover and re-arm for the eventual battle against Soulcatcher. He was later surrendered, as promised, to face the bitter justice of the rulers of Hsien.
|Longshadow • Moonshadow • Shadowspinner • Stormshadow|