I organized this post into several categories for more readers. If you haven’t read Port of Shadows yet, you never saw this close your eyes.
.The Characters Theory
Mischievous Rain is Lady from the future. And Ankou is Croaker-God (Shivetya golem has three eyes, the cat has three eyes). However, they are possessing other bodies when they go back to that time period in Aloe. Ankou, Baku, Shin are shadows. Mischievous Rain is being possessed by the future Lady’s shadow. The two hunter girls near the stories end are likely being possessed by Shukrat and Arkana.
We see Two Dead being possessed at some point when he has a complete change in personality. Croaker-God definitely possesses him when we see his witty remark about Silent, which is custom of his dialogue.
-“All right. Good to know he isn’t just all *talk*.” Again with a surprise. That was an amazingly clever remark for Shore Chodroze-
Of course Croaker would think that’s a clever remark.
The question, though, is who is Baku and Shin; they are most likely entirely new characters. Just like how Shivetya thought up the Nef, Croaker-God thought up kids for him and the Lady. So Shin and Baku likely aren’t human at all. Explains why they’re so smart while at the same time look like kids. This will probably be revealed in A Pitiless Rain. In fact, A Pitiless Rain is foreshadowed in this book:
“Really? What was happening? This was the kind of silly shit that went on inside real families, or so I inclined to imagine. It had gone on inside mine when I was Firefly’s age, before shit commenced it’s pitiless rain. There were few good days, then, however determined we were.”
Some mysterious reference to Croakers past? Colour me intrigued when the Lady ends the book with saying Croakers true name (this is also confirmation that she is indeed the Lady from the future bc the only time she learns Croakers true name is in Shadow Games-in the pages when the Lady was giving imperial titles before they left the Tower at Charm).
.Travel Back in Time theory
Croaker-God also made sure to control the specific time periods they looked into. This is seen with the Necromancer and Croaker when they couldn’t recall anything outside of what they were doing. So the thing that is obvious is that Croaker-God can distort and manipulate everyone’s memories, and take possession over people in the past.
When Murgen went back in time to Dejagore, he also had trouble recalling anything else outside of the time period. What Shivetya was looking for in Murgen’s shadow, though, I am not sure. (we really can’t know what Shivetya did in Murgens shadow for sure bc there isn’t enough information imo). If I had to guess, Shivetya was only spying on what Soulcatcher/Lisa was doing. They probably became allies in Dejagore, and warned Murgen of them near the ending in Bleak Seasons when he learned what he could. Shivetya could predict future events, but I’m guessing he couldn’t see into the future only the past. Murgen in the beginning in each of his dreams would be self aware that he was dreaming of the past. Here we see the opposite case with Croaker, as he slowly becomes aware that he understands TelleKurre near the novels end. This means one of three things; it is also anyone’s guess what condition they are using Croakers shadow from. Perhaps from Croaker-God himself, Croakers body while sleeping or Croakers body’s corpse (which would mean a dead Shivetya).
.Expansion on time travel theory
Part of my theory is that they needed Croaker to always be around to do what they were doing bc they were using his shadow to time travel. This is probably why Mischievous Rain wouldn’t go to Ghost Country without him when he got too drunk and couldn’t travel. This also explains Mischievous Rains prolonged absence and when she finally came back, wasn’t possessed by the future Lady (completely different personality). When Croaker questions Baku where her mother went she even says that she’s likely watching from the ‘other side’. The Lady in this time period didn’t know what was going on, but knew something was definitely wrong and turned Gurdlief Speak into a spy (also said a chunk of this in the comments). It also explains the use of Shin’s shadow pots which helped them stretch out where they could actually go when far away from Croaker.
I am comparing the Port of Shadows to the story with Murgen, because Shivetya indeed time traveled back to Dejagore. It is not extreme to think Croaker-God would time travel too, the only difference from Shivetya is that he has a family. We see the majority of the main characters forgetting the events in Port of Shadows with there being some exceptions. What this likely means is that Croaker-God purposely casted a memory spell so that the future he is currently in is preserved. Why did he want to preserve the timeline he’s in is anyone’s guess, but can be speculated to be the “best timeline”. It is also possible that he (Shivetya/Croaker) cannot foresee the specific futures, and can only change events in the past based on probability.
.The ‘Hidden’ Plot theory
I am guessing here what the Future Lady was looking for, and why the past story is connected. She was looking for a Necromancer to restore Booboo-Daughter of the Night-back to life. As we learn in Soldier’s Live, Lady believes there’s no longer any necromancers in the world, and the little she did know about she picked up from “Papa”. But why did she decide to go back to this time period and not the present day, to find out? Likely because they were using Croakers shadow to go to that time period, and because he was closer to Ghost Country way back then.