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.
Longshadow's origin is unknown. He and his apprentice Shadowspinner were the last of "a race of outsider sorcerers" who had traveled from one of the unknown sixteen worlds linked by the Plain of Glittering Stone into the world known as Hsien and conquered it. After generations of notorious abuse, he and Shadowspinner were overthrown and fled from Hsien across the Plain into the world of Croaker and Lady, where he trained two new Shadowmasters (Moonshadow and Stormshadow) and carved out the Shadowlands from a formerly peaceful region. His first conquest was the southernmost city of Kiaulune, which he renamed "Shadowcatch".
At some point prior to the events of the third chronicle, he ventured out onto the Plain of Glittering Stone and learned to gain a measure of control over the Shadows. In the "home" world, he joined together with the Shadowmasters, who were planning to use controlled shadows to conquer the world. However, when the less-experienced Shadowmasters tinkered with the gateway onto the Plain of Glittering Stone, damaging it to the point where the Shadows could escape freely. To save the world from being overrun and destroyed, Longshadow repaired the gate, tying his own true name to it. In doing so, he ensured that if he died it would cause the Gate to break open.
Against the Black Company Edit
Upon the arrival of the Black Company in Taglios, the war quickly turns against the Shadowmasters. 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 shadows and specially bred spies who can control them to monitor the actions of the Company. He also coveted the knowledge that Lady possessed, and attempted repeatedly and unsuccessfully to kidnap her.
Longshadow acquired several allies to replace the defeated Shadowmasters in the form of the traitor, Mogaba; the Living Saint of the Stranglers, Narayan Singh; and Howler, one of the Ten Who Were Taken who the Company discovered had survived the Battle of Charm. The Howler would eventually head up Longshadow's final attempt to capture Lady, but kidnapped her sister Soulcatcher instead. Although Longshadow hoped to gain information, or even cooperation, from Soulcatcher, she easily escaped from Overlook and worked against the Shadowmaster afterward.
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 launcher artillery developed by Lady, however, the shadows proved largely ineffective as a fighting force, and failed to halt the advance of the Company.
In the end, Longshadow was captured by the Black Company at Overlook, and subsequently became one of the Captured, a group of hostages beneath the Fortress With No Name at the center of the Plain of Glittering Stone. Once the Captured were freed and the Company journeyed to the Land of Unknown Shadows (Hsien), they used Longshadow as a bargaining chip to gain the cooperation of the authorities there, buying the time they needed to recover and re-arm for battle against Soulcatcher.
|Longshadow • Moonshadow • Shadowspinner • Stormshadow|