Narayan Singh was the most influential jamadar of the cult of the Stranglers during the time of the modern Annals. Dedicated to bringing about the resurrection of his goddess Kina, he ingratiated himself to Lady, only to betray her and kidnap her newborn infant at the end of Dreams of Steel. This sparked a years-long chain of manhunts and violence, marking him as a key antagonist of the Black Company during the Books of Glittering Stone.
Before the AnnalsEdit
Narayan Singh, although he had a Shadar-sounding name, was a Gunni man from a town called Gondowar. He was a vegetable peddler whose wife, Yashodara, bore him one daughter (Khaditya) and three sons (Valmiki, Sugriva, and Aridatha). As a black rumel man, a jamadar, every other summer he would lead his secret band of Stranglers out on their murderous rampages. When the Shadowlanders captured Gondowar, he fled (or chose not to return), leaving his family behind to dedicate himself completely to his holy mission.
Dreams of SteelEdit
Narayan first appeared in the Annals alongside his companion, Ram, after the Battle of Dejagore. He was a short, unkempt man who surprised Lady by watching over her after the disastrous battle. Lady had been separated from her soldiers and Singh escorted her to safety. They linked up with Sindhu and others, and he began acting as Lady's advisor.
Lady was surprised that Narayan, while clearly being from a lower caste, was immensely respected and obeyed by men who were not even Gunni. Later they revealed to her that he was secretly one of the "living saints" of the Stranglers, or Deceivers, a cult that worshiped the god Kina. His strangling rumel was black, which signified that he belonged to the highest ranks of the cult and that he had personally killed over 100 people.
Narayan Singh pretended to serve Lady for nearly a year. His cult eliminated some of her enemies (most prominently, Shadowspinner) and political opponents, and even welcomed her into their temple at the Grove of Doom, permitting her to join the cult. Once Lady gave birth, she was betrayed by the cult. The Stranglers attacked the palace and kidnapped her newborn daughter, who was presumed to be the Daughter of Night, a partial reincarnation of Kina.
Bleak Seasons Edit
Singh acted as a mentor and father-figure for the Daughter of Night for several years. Through his ingenuity and with Kina's help, he continually evaded and escaped captivity. At the Grove of Doom, Murgen and the Black Company ambushed the Stranglers assembled there, killing them all except for Narayan and the Daughter of Night, who escaped only with the help of the Howler.
Narayan was captured by Sleepy, the Captain of the Black Company which was at this time an underground organization embedded in Taglios. She and Ky Sahra had sent subordinates far and wide to collect Narayan's personal history. In an effort to gain his cooperation, Sleepy recounted his early life and even informed him of the status of his children, and now, his 5 grandchildren. His wife had recently died and one of his sons was dead. But his other children, despite being ashamed of their now-infamous father, were alive and well. She even personally introduced him to his grown son, Aridatha, whom he had not ever seen before, not even in infancy. Eventually he agreed to turn over the golden pickax, an ancient and extremely holy relic of his cult. Narayan retrieved the hidden relic from deep inside the cult's temple at the Grove of Doom, and turned it over to Sleepy in exchange for the partially-transcribed Books of the Dead. Narayan escaped with the manuscript after he realized that at least six of his fellow Stranglers had been killed in an ambush by Sleepy's subordinate, Slink. He was captured after this by Soulcatcher's Protectorate forces.
Narayan was captured the last time by the Black Company after its return to the homeworld from the world of Hsien. While no one was looking, he was approached by Goblin, who was possessed by Kina's servant, the Khadidas. Speaking in Deceiver's Cant, the Khadidas assured Narayan that he was Kina's favorite servant throughout all history. The Khadidas then quietly granted Narayan a holy death with a rumel, and replaced him as the guardian of the Daughter of Night.
Narayan's body was the object of severe abuse after it was discovered. Croaker (the Daughter of Night's father) initially had the corpse dumped in an old cesspit and built a new latrine over it. When Lady learned that Narayan had been killed before his time, she was bitter that she could no longer exact vengeance upon him for the kidnapping of her daughter. She was also suspicious that perhaps he faked his death, so she ordered that his body be recovered. After dissecting the corpse, she was satisfied it was truly Narayan's. Lady then scattered his remains widely for the buzzards, but kept his head, heart, and hands in a jar of pickling brine.