Shadar 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 Gunni and Vehdna. They are the second largest of those groups, the Gunni being the largest.

At the time of the Black Company's arrival in Taglios in Shadow Games, the Shadar religious leader was Ghojarindi Ghoj. He was killed for attempting to assassinate Croaker, and a Company ally, Jahamaraj Jah, replaced him. After Jah's later betrayal and subsequent assassination, hundreds of other Shadar religious leaders were killed alongside their Gunni and Vehdna counterparts in the Massacre at Khadi Junction.

The Shadar traditionally had limited power in Taglios. But they became quite influential when Soulcatcher established the Protectorate and created a new police force, the Greys, comprised exclusively of Shadar. This force was initially directed by a foreigner, Willow Swan, and later a Shadar bureaucrat, Ghopal Singh.

The Shadar have a major holy celebration called the "Festival of Lights". The outlawed cult of the Stranglers also celebrate a Festival of Lights, with the same name and sharing other similarities with the Shadar variation, but which also includes human sacrifice. The Stranglers' Festival of Lights, despite being celebrated by a minuscule minority of the overall population, features much more heavily in the Annals.

Characteristics and doctrineEdit

  • Afterlife – Shadar believe in paradise and in hell. Neither the Shadar nor the Vehdna believe in reincarnation, as the Gunni do.
    • Croaker specifies in Soldiers Live that the Vehdna and Shadar paradises both have "rivers of wine and acres of eager virgins for the man who falls in battle [...] though originally that only meant warriors who perished in the name of God".
  • Deities – Shadar are polytheistic but have a primary god. This is in contrast to the Vehdna, who are strictly monotheistic, and the Gunni, who have a gigantic pantheon of deities each with various avatars. A major point of doctrinal contention between the Shadar and Gunni cults is whether Hada and Khadi are separate deities or just one with two faces. For the Shadar, Hada (goddess of death, destruction, and corruption) and Khadi (goddess of plagues, famines, diseases) are twin sisters.
  • Diet – Unlike the Gunni, the Shadar do not consider cattle and sheep to be sacred and will consume them. Gunni farmers have no qualms selling sacred sheep to Shadar for consumption.
  • Dress – Shadar wore white, simple shirts and pantaloons, whereas wealthy Vehdna wore kaftans and glamorous turbans and Gunni wore robes colored depending upon sect.
  • Hair – As noted by Murgen in She Is the Darkness, Shadar men typically grew exceptionally long beards. In Dreams of Steel, Lady records in her Annals that Shadar and Vehdna tended toward curly hair, whereas Gunni presumably had more commonly straight hair. While she noted that some Gunni men let their hair grow long and Vehdna men wore their hair short, she made no note about Shadar hair length.
  • Idols – Shadar have only one god of sufficient magnitude to warrant an idol, whereas the Gunni worship a considerable pantheon of deities and have a wide variety of idols and images in their temples, and the Vehdna are forbidden to have any idols at all.
  • Population – Shadar are more numerous than the Vehdna, and less numerous than the Gunni. All three groups each dramatically outnumber tiny minorities like the Nyueng Bao and the Stranglers.
  • Seating – Shadar use low chairs or stools to sit. Sleepy recorded in Water Sleeps that "not owning at least a crude stool is the truest mark of poverty amongst the Shadar". This is in contrast to the Vehdna, who favor sitting on the floor or on a cushion, cross-legged; and, both the Gunni and Nyueng Bao, whose fashion is to squat down on one's heels.
  • Travel – Shadar have a reputation for avoiding nautical affairs, with Croaker recording: "Shadar and large bodies of water had a relationship somewhat like that between cats and bathtubs".
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