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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 the Gunni and the Vehdna; despite their distinct differences, all three share the same tongue: the Taglian language. The Shadar are the second most numerous of those groups, the Gunni being the most numerous. Shadar men are recognizable for their massive beards and are taller than their average male Gunni and Vehdna counterparts. The surname "Singh" is very common among the Shadar, but not exclusive to them.

Sleepy the Annalist asserted unequivocally that the Shadar faith "is an extremely heretical and Gunni-infected bastard offshoot of my own One True Faith". A comparison of Shadar customs to their Gunni and Vehdna counterparts supports Sleepy's assertion.

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.

Customs and doctrine[]


Shadar believe in paradise and in hell. They, like the the Vehdna, reject the Gunni concept of reincarnation. But the Shadar, like the Gunni, do believe in supernatural torments for evil people who are still alive. These are meted out by a demon chief named Niassi.

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".


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

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.

The demon chief named Niassi is a widely-feared devil among the Shadar. Niassi punishes very evil people during their lifetimes and imagery of Niassi was used by the Black Company to antagonize the Shadar police force known as the Greys during Water Sleeps.


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.


Typical Shadar men dress in grey-colored clothing and wear turbans which define their status. Their chief priests were seen to wear white-colored clothing, simple shirts and pantaloons when they attended the bloody Massacre at Khadi Junction. This is in contrast to the wealthy Vehdna who wear kaftans and glamorous turbans and Gunni wear robes colored depending upon sect.


Shadar men typically grew exceptionally long beards, as noted by Murgen in She Is the Darkness. In Dreams of Steel, Lady records 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.


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


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 forbid themselves to have any idols of their single deity at all.


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 Deceivers.


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.


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".

Shadar individuals[]

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