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The Shadow Snake refers to a Tortallan legend, which was told to children to make them behave. If they disobeyed, adults would tell them that the Shadow Snake would take them.[1]

In 243 HE however, Deirdry Noll, a prosperous baker in the Lower City of Corus, takes advantage of this legend. When she notices a family has an object of some value which she desires, she kidnappes a child of this family - with the aid of her son Yates Noll - and leaves a message signed as the Shadow Snake in which she tells the parents what she wants and where to leave it. If the parents don't do as they are told, they don't see their child again or find it dead.

In 246 HE, Deirdry Noll tries to blackmail Ammon Lofts, known in the Lower City as Crookshank, this way because he has very valuable fire opals. When he doesn't pay up, his grandson Rolond Lofts is murdered. Crookshank accuses the Rogue Kayfer Deerborn of being the Snake. Rolond's mother is Beka's friend Tansy Lofts and when she tells Beka about it, Beka begins investigating and finally brings the Snake down.

Victims of the Shadow Snake

All in all there were over twenty known cases in which the Shadow Snake took children. Some of which are:

  • February 1, 243 HE: Calum Painter, which was presumably the first victim of the Snake because he was taken in the earliest date known, the shakiest of the note and the MO of kidnapping of children out of the safety of their own homes was not followed, was taken from the Nightmarket while he and his mother was out shopping. The Shadow Snake demanded Amaya Painter to hand over her ruby pendulum. She didn't believe the notes as the Shadow Snake was just starting thus the fear hadn't started yet, thus she hadn't doesn't hand over the ruby pendulum. Calum Painter was never found and presumed dead at this point.
  • December 23, 243 HE: A little girl was taken and the Snake demanded in exchange a lily pendant which the father had given his wife for her birthday. To pay for it, the man had worked on a second job for weeks. The father paid up and they got their daughter back, although she was quite distressed afterwards and the family left not long after for Barzun.[2]
  • August 31, 244 HE: A boy was taken and the Snake demanded a sandalwood box with mother-of-pearl inlay. When the family didn't pay, the child was found murdered in his own bed and their second son was taken. After paying they found the boy on the doorstep the next moring.
  • January of 245 HE: The Snake demanded a spell book, the only inheritance. The price wasn't paid and the four-year old daughter taken. The mother didn't see her child again.[3]
  • May 8, 245 HE: 3 Yamani silver coins were demanded in exchange for the kidnapped boy. The family didn't pay and their daughter was taken, too, after they had found their son's corpse. She wasn't found.
  • Autumn of 245 HE: A little boy was taken out of his crib. The Snake demanded a pair of garnet earrings. As the parents weren't even able to read, they had to get a priest to read the note to them. After payment they got their boy back.[4]
  • December 5, 245 HE: The Snake demanded 8 silver nobles of the inheritance and took a little girl. Her mother didn't pay. The girl was found dead in the garden the next morning.
  • February 16, 246 HE: A girl was taken and 20 silver nobles in savings demanded. Two days after the parents had paid the child was found in the shrine where the payment had been left.[5]
  • March of 246 HE: The Shadow Snake demanded fire opals from Ammon Lofts. When he didn't pay the demanded price the Snake killed his three-year old great-grandson Rolond Lofts and raised the price. When Crookshank still didn't pay the Snake took his grandson Herun Lofts, who was saved by the Provost's Guard.
  • date unknown: The oldest girl taken was in her teens, because her mother had a gold brooch and no other children to take.[6]
  • further prices the Snake demanded: [7]
    • six silver nobles;
    • a gold ring left by a cousin;
    • a charm guaranteed to cause a wife to birth sons;
    • three magical curses done up as pendants and ready for use;
    • Brass Box
    • Lily Necklace
    • Book


  1. Terrier, April 2, 246 (p. 127)
  2. Terrier, April 9, 246
  3. Terrier, April 3, 246 (p. 166)
  4. Terrier, April 14, 246 (p. 324/325)
  5. Terrier, April 12, 246
  6. Terrier, April 14, 246 (p. 329)
  7. Terrier, April 21, 246 (p. 350)
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