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Gunni is the name of one of the three major religious/racial/cultural groups of the massive city of Taglios and its surrounding regions. The other two are the Shadar and the Vehdna; despite their distinct differences, all three share the same tongue: the Taglian language. The Gunni are the largest and most politically powerful of the three groups. They are known for their innumerable cults and internal disagreements over their sprawling pantheon of deities and spirits.

The royalty of Taglios (carrying the titles of princes and princesses, never kings or queens) was always Gunni. At the time of the Black Company's arrival in Taglios in Shadow Games, these were the Prahbrindrah Drah (the Prince) and his influential sister, the Radisha Drah. Also at this time, the chief Gunni priests were Chandra Chan Tal and his rival Ghapor. Other important political and religious figures in subsequent years were Gunni, like Chandra Gokhale, Arjana Drupada, and Aridatha Singh.

Customs and doctrine[]


Gunni believe in karma and the Wheel of Life, a system of reincarnation through which a soul is reborn until the good actions outweigh the evil. Then, the soul reunites with the cosmic generative force of light. They do not believe in a permanent paradise, as the Vehdna do, nor do they believe in a posthumous, punitive hell, as the Shadar do. However, the Gunni do believe in Swegah, which is where the soul visits after death and prior to the next reincarnation. If a soul has not accumulated enough good karma to finally exit the Wheel of Life, it receives doses of a temporary heaven and/or hell before reincarnation. Swegah is very similar to the Nyueng Bao concept of cao gnum.


For a list of deities, see: Category:Gunni and Shadar gods and demons.

Gunni are polytheistic and have a gigantic pantheon of deities, each with various avatars. The Gunni deity which is the most commonly-mentioned in the Annals is Ghanghesha, the god of luck with two elephant heads. The Shadar are also polytheistic like the Gunni but have a more prominent main deity. The Gunni and the Shadar all stand in stark contrast to the Vehdna, who are strictly monotheistic.

According to Lady in Dreams of Steel, the Gunni do have a chief god known as the "Lord of Lords of Light". An archaic name for this Gunni deity is "Sheda" and one of his major omens are comets, called "Shedalinca" or "Tongue of Sheda". Sheda's comets are greatly feared by the Deceivers, the practitioners of a tiny, separate religion from Gunni who nevertheless share some of their mythology.

A major point of doctrinal contention between the Gunni and Shadar is whether Hada and Khadi are separate deities or just one with two faces.

Some Gunni myths tell the stories of nagas, legendary evil serpent people who emerged from deep underground to plague humanity from time to time.


Gunni are vegetarians and consider cattle and sheep to be sacred. But Gunni farmers have no qualms regularly selling their sacred sheep to the Vehdna for eventual consumption.

Disposal of the dead[]

Gunni burn their dead, to purify the soul for reincarnation. But the major bones are commonly not consumed by the flames, causing them to pile up when they cannot be deposited in a nearby river. (Vehdna bury their dead.)


Gunni men wear robes colored depending upon their sect, whereas wealthy Vehdna wore kaftans and glamorous turbans, and Shadar wore white, simple shirts and pantaloons.


Gunni do not believe in ghosts, unlike the Vehdna and the Nyueng Bao, who do.


In Dreams of Steel, Lady records in her Annals that some Gunni men let their hair grow long, whereas, Vehdna men wore their hair short. Shadar and Vehdna also tended toward curls.


The most important Gunni holiday is Druga Pavi.

During Water Sleeps, the ranking Black Company officer Sleepy ordered Kendo Cutter and Runmust Singh to abduct Purohita Chandra Gokhale, a high-ranking member of Soulcatcher's Privy Council. Kendo staged the abduction by mounting a frightening, bloody assault on the steps of the Kernmi What during the priestly preparations for the Druga Pavi holiday. Sleepy's ally Ky Sahra struggled to contain her anger when she learned that Kendo shed so much blood on sacred Gunni ground.


Gunni have a very wide variety of idols and images in their temples. This is in contrast to the Shadar, who have only one god of sufficient magnitude to warrant an idol, and the fiercely monotheistic Vehdna, who forbid themselves to have any idols at all.


Gunni are the most numerous religious group in Taglios, with the Shadar being next, followed by the Vehdna. But even the Vehdna dramatically outnumber tiny minorities like the Nyueng Bao and the Deceivers.


Gunni fashion is to squat down on one's heels. It is the same among the Nyueng Bao. Whereas Vehdna favor sitting on the floor or on a cushion, cross-legged; and the Shadar, who use low chairs or stools.

Gunni individuals[]

For a list of Gunni individuals appearing in the Annals, see: Category:Gunni