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This was a new thing but a thing we had feared for years. Shadows attacking in waves and a flood instead of sneaking around like spies and assassins... This was the nightmare tide we had dreaded for so long, the hellpower of the Shadowmaster unleashed.

Murgen, She Is the Darkness, ch. 15

The Battle of Lake Tanji was a major battle in the Shadowmaster wars detailed in She Is the Darkness. It was fought by the Black Company and the Taglian armies under their command against a horde of shadows enslaved by Longshadow, the last survivor of the four Shadowmasters.

She Is the Darkness[]


Croaker, the Black Company Captain, approached Lake Tanji with the armies of Taglios under his command as Liberator. They captured the villages in the area from the Shadowlanders, and then set up a large camp on Lake Tanji's northern shore. The Company and their Taglian forces fortified their position with wagon-mounted fireball projectors invented by the Company's Lieutenant, Lady. These shadow-hunting weapons, and the various smaller hand-held models, would prove absolutely indispensable in the battle that ensued. Lady's own left wing division was advancing east of the lake through very rugged country.


The Howler – Longshadow's most powerful wizard ally – was hidden either on a rock outcrop on the lake or somewhere on the southern shore. From there he unleashed a nightmarish avalanche of Longshadow's killer shadows upon the Company. Having anticipated this possibility beforehand, Croaker had his fireball projectors firing at periodic intervals to detect the shadows. Once the warning fireballs revealed the presence of the deadly entities, the Company opened up with a massive barrage that lit up the night sky.

The shadows were mindless entities compelled by Longshadow's sorcery, incapable of retreat. They crossed in untold numbers (potentially millions) over Lake Tanji's waters, undeterred by the fireball bombardment which was wiping them out in the thousands every moment. The relatively small number which made it to the northern shore killed an unspecified number of their human enemies, but, these fatalities were apparently minimal.

The battle was over quickly and the dead were burned or buried in narrow gulches that same night. The Howler – wounded by fireball projector strikes from Lady's division – fled straight to Overlook on his damaged flying carpet to report the defeat to Longshadow.

The Lance revealed as a shadow-repellent[]

One shadow actually reached Murgen the standard-bearer, but it was unexpectedly repelled by the nearby Lance of Passion:

That killer slice of hell's breath strained to get at me but could not. It was as though the thing, at the last instant, had encountered some invisible and unbreakable barrier.

This was some of the earliest evidence noted by the Company that the Lance was more than simply a mundane relic. (As a shadowgate key, it generated a shadow-proof field.)


Rocks all along the shore of the lake were utterly melted in the heat of the fireball blasts which exterminated the shadows. As Murgen recorded the next morning: "there was no shortage of tormented landscape, it looked as though small lightnings had been on a year-long rampage around the lake". The damage to the landscape would still be clearly visible 15 years later to Sleepy, during the events of Water Sleeps.

The decisive defeat of Longshadow's supernatural horde at Lake Tanji forced him to commit to conventional (human) armies at the subsequent Battle of Charandaprash. After his defeat there, his capture at the later Siege of Overlook would mark the end of the Shadowmaster wars.