Shadowspinner (also known as Ashutosh Yaksha and Achoes Tosiak-shah) was one of the four Shadowmasters who established the Shadowlands in the far south of the homeworld. His headquarters was Shadowlight and he was the commander of the armies of Shadowlanders who trapped the Black Company during the notorious Siege of Dejagore.

Shadowspinner was personable and intelligent, and, despite his advanced age, he appeared as a middle-aged man, and had very pale skin, whiter than Goblin or Willow Swan. His magnitude as a sorcerer was significant, and he was powerful enough to be considered a genuine threat by his paranoid fellow Shadowmaster Longshadow. In addition to his command over shadows, he had access to spells of immense destructive power. For example, during the Siege of Dejagore, he hurled a spear of energy that dissolved several cubic yards of stone wall from ballista-range.

Before the Annals[edit | edit source]

In Hsien[edit | edit source]

Shadowspinner's origin was neither Hsien nor the homeworld. As an apprentice, he and his master Longshadow were the last of "a race of outsider sorcerers" who had traveled from one of the unknown sixteen worlds linked by the glittering plain into the world known as Hsien and conquered it. After generations of notorious abuse, he and Longshadow were overthrown and fled from Hsien, across the plain, into the world of Croaker and Lady.

In the homeworld[edit | edit source]

In their new world, Shadowspinner infiltrated the Nyueng Bao De Duang community using the alias "Ashutosh Yaksha" (Ashutosh being an old title or name meaning "Despair of the Wicked" and Yaksha meaning something like "good spirit"). Posing as a student who was eager to learn at the Vinh Gao Ghang Temple of Ghanghesha, he actually wanted to see if they still had their Shadowgate key and steal it. When he learned about the traditional pilgrimage the Nyueng Bao made each decade to the Shadowgate, he sent word to Longshadow and introduced him to them as "Maricha Manthara Dhumraksha".

Shadowspinner then went ahead alone to the Shadowgate, where he rendezvoused with 6 other wizards ("would-be Shadowmasters") whom Longshadow had presumably been training. Longshadow made the pilgrimage with the Nyueng Bao but did not have the opportunity to study their Shadowgate key closely: he did not realize it was a fake. When he, Shadowspinner, and the six others stole the fake key and attempted to use it, they were assaulted by an influx of shadows. Three of them were killed in the incident, and another, the Howler, was gravely injured and fled. Longshadow sealed the gate using the power of his true name, making him a target of shadows ever since that moment. (The real key, a golden pickax, would later be stolen by Soulcatcher.)

Afterward, Shadowspinner, Longshadow, and the only remaining two other Shadowmasters (Moonshadow and Stormshadow) carved out the Shadowlands, beginning with from a formerly peaceful city: Kiaulune, which they renamed "Shadowcatch". Shadowspinner himself became ruler of Tragevec, renaming it "Shadowlight". Stormshadow would go on to seize Dejagore, renaming it "Stormgard". But the Shadowmasters not remain unified, and soon they feuded among themselves.

Shadow Games[edit | edit source]

Siege of Dejagore: first day[edit | edit source]

During the Siege of Dejagore, Shadowspinner commanded the Shadowlander military encampment which had been built about four hundred yards outside Dejagore's southern city wall. He was estimated to have at least 10,000 men-at-arms. Croaker's Black Company and the 3 legions of Taglios under his command as Liberator arrived not long after their victory at the Battle of Ghoja Ford and set up their own camp. The next day, Shadowspinner came out, "seated in the lotus position, all in black, floating five feet off the ground", and went to the head of his disorganized but huge force. He was battered badly after being struck by several hits from ballista shafts loosed by Cletus, Loftus, and Longinus from Dejagore's walls, but his protective sorceries kept him alive. At the same time, his men were mauled by Croaker's war elephants, and they all retreated back into the military camp. Croaker considered his enemy Shadowspinner to be "useless as tits on a boar hog" regarding his lack of personal participation as a sorcerer in that fighting. (Croaker guessed that Shapeshifter was curtailing his sorcery, and it was later revealed that Longshadow was handicapping him as well.) Later that very same night, Croaker fully circumvented Shadowspinner's camp, seized the city itself, and killed Stormshadow.

Siege of Dejagore: second day[edit | edit source]

The next day, Moonshadow arrived with a relief army from the southern hills, which Croaker approximated to number about 15,000. Right after Croaker neutralized Moonshadow, Shadowspinner and his forces departed their camp and eventually turned the tide of battle against the Company and the Taglians. He first used several loud "killer spells" to frighten a force of armed prisoners Croaker had sent, but was next injured by another barrage of ballista shafts. Enraged, Shadowspinner replied with a spell that blasted Cletus, Loftus, Longinus, and their siege engines right off the wall. He then silenced the explosive sorcery which Goblin and One-Eye had started to use to protect Ochiba's legion. In the end, Lady surmised that it was the advent of Shadowspinner's troops from his encampment which "caused a shift in momentum that could not be reversed", and the Company was defeated and forced to retreat behind the walls.

Following the deaths of Stormshadow and Moonshadow, Shadowspinner besieged Dejagore alone with the combined Shadowlander forces.

Dreams of Steel and Bleak Seasons[edit | edit source]

Soon after, Shadowspinner was healed and made a brief alliance with Howler, who "cut Longshadow's webs of control" to help him recover his powers. He was also assisted by Soulcatcher who arranged for Longshadow to be distracted while the Howler rendered his aid. Spinner conjured a mist which would allow his Shadows to enter the city with little resistance. Murgen comments even Longshadow would have feared such sorcery. If it were not for Soulcatcher's intervention, the city would have almost certainly been sacked, and the Lady defeated. During the siege, he narrowly escaped death after One-Eye fired his newly created spear at the Shadowmaster from a ballista. It missed however, hitting and killing one of the Lady's surviving horses from Charm, forcing Spinner to flee on foot. Subsequently, Lady rebuilt the army of Taglios and tried to reclaim Dejagore. In response, Shadowspinner flooded the city so he was not forced to fight on two fronts with Mogaba. Shadowspinner was eventually killed and dismembered in his own tent during a night attack on his encampment by Lady (wielding a rumel) and her allies Narayan Singh, Ram, at least two other Stranglers, as well as Blade.

Shadowspinner's head, with the brains removed and destroyed, became the Company's temporary totem until the Black Company standard was returned by Croaker.

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