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"But he could not hide away from the people for too much longer. The calls for an attempt to rescue the Shadowlands slaves were becoming louder."
Cavern of The Fear

Liberation of the Shadowlands slaves
General information

Shadowlands invasion


During reign of King Lief




Deltoran slaves freed and returned to Deltora
Reformation of the Pirran Pipe


Shadow Lord
Hundreds of Deltoran slaves
Shadowlands Resistance

First appearance

Cavern of The Fear

Last appearance

The Shadowlands

The liberation of Shadowlands slaves was the emancipation of Deltoran slaves taken by the Shadow Lord during the Shadowlands invasion. Through finding the three pieces of the Pirran Pipe, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine travelled to the Shadowlands, using the magic of Pirrans to transport the slaves back to Deltora.[1]


During the Shadow Lord's rule over Deltora, it sent its enforcers, the Grey Guards, to collect people from Deltora and bring them to the Shadowlands. It also took control of the Rithmere Games to steal away Deltora's best fighters, and subjugated the surviving members of the Jalis tribe.[2][1] The reign of the Shadow Lord saw the vast majority of farms in the north and east and coastal fishing villages of the west emptied on people and many Palace guards who had survived the day of the invasion and Resistance fighters captured in battle were also taken to the Shadowlands.

Many of the people taken to the Shadowlands were sent to the Shadow Arena to fight Vraal or forced to work in mines, but others were used in experiments in the Shadow Factory. These experiments often failed and resulted in the creation of Wild Ones.[1]

After Lief remade the Belt of Deltora and banished the Shadow Lord, it used its captives in experiments to perfect the Conversion Project. Several test subjects were sent back to Deltora in an attempt to assassinate Lief, but none were successful. The Shadow Lord also ordered its servants, the Ra-Kacharz, to force the people of Noradz into the Shadowlands as well.[1]

Preparing for liberation[]

Upon Lief's coordination as king of Deltora, his people, enflamed by the whisperings of Shadow Lord agents, pleaded to him to rally an army and rescue the slaves from the Shadowlands. Though Lief wanted to help his people, he knew that the Shadow Lord could not be combated in its own land without a particularly powerful magic and the Belt, which was made for defense, not attack, would be no use. The various assassination attempts against Lief also caused him to realise that, should he die prematurely, the Belt of Deltora would be left without an immediate heir.[2]

To rectify these problems, Lief spent weeks in secret with his chief adviser, Doom. The two of them searched through the palace records to track down another descendant of Adin's bloodline. This leads the two of them to Marilen, a Toran woman around Lief's age descended from Adin's second son, making her and Lief distant cousins. The two travelled to Tora in secret to bring Marilen back to the palace, though rumours quickly spread through the palace that Marilen was to be Lief's wife. Lief gave her the Belt of Deltora to wear while he wore a perfect replica Doom created.

During his time with Doom, Lief tried several times to destroy the crystal, a magical device the Shadow Lord used to talk to its minions in the palace. Nothing he did could damage the crystal, so Lief had its room sealed up.

Unknown to Lief, the Shadow Lord had used his attacks on the crystal to learn about the young king and discovered his deep love for Jasmine, who's mind it also examined in great detail. As the assassination attempts failed, it realised that, to kill Lief, it needed him to come to the Shadowlands. To do this, the Shadow Lord lured Jasmine—who was having trust issues with Lief—to the crystal's room. The Shadow Lord, knowing that Lief's love for Jasmine would urge him to follow her, spoke to Jasmine through an illusion of a girl named Faith, who claimed to be Jasmine's sister that Lief never told her about. Faith begged Jasmine to save her and the other slaves from the Shadow Lord, claiming that it was preparing to kill them all in an act of vengeance for its defeat.[2][1]

In the Deltora Annals, which Jasmine had rediscovered along with the former palace librarian, Josef, she found the story of The Girl with the Golden Hair. The story told the tale of two people who fled into deep tunnels underneath Deltora, which Jasmine believed could take her to the Shadowlands. She also decoded a secret message detailing the caverns written by Doran the Dragonlover. She travelled to the Os-Mine Hills with Glock, the last Jalis in Deltora. When Lief discovered her absence, he and Barda followed after them, and brought Jinks, a palace acrobat, and his fighting spider Fury, to track Glock. Before leaving, Josef was able to tell Lief about the Pirran Pipe, a magical artifact from the ancient land of Pirra that could combat the Shadow Lord in the Shadowlands.[2]

Treachery within the palace[]

In Lief's absence, Doom and Queen Sharn took over the ruling of Deltora. They kept Marilen confined to the upper levels of the palace to keep her safe. Though she hated the confinement, the young Toran frequently visited the library to speak to Josef and his assistant Ranesh, whome she quickly developed feelings for. Josef still believed Marilen was to be Lief's queen, so he sent Ranesh away on some errands in order to buy time for Lief to return from his mission.

One night, while visiting the kitchen, Josef met with an old friend, Amarantz, who had housed him and Ranesh for a time after the invasion and been a member of a failed Del resistance before she and her entire family were taken by a pod of Grey Guards. Amarantz explained that she was never taken to the Shadowlands, but was instead beaten by the Grey Guards and left for dead. Though she survived, the incident left her deaf and wandering the north until word of Lief's ascension reached her.

Amarantz told Josef that she came to the palace to talk to Lief, and was distraught to learn that he was away. Though Josef told her that Lief would return, Amarantz wasn't convinced, so the old librarian, wishing to comfort his old friend, told her about Lief's Toran bride. The two were then interrupted by the arrival of Lindal of Broome, who was dragging Jinx behind her.

Jinks told Doom, Sharn, Lindal, and Josef that he, Lief, and Barda had been attacked by Granous. Jinks was able to escape, but Lief and Barda were most likely dead. Doom and Lindal left to search for Lief while Sharn tended to Jinks, who was faking his injuries. When Sharn fell asleep, Jinks began to loot the various rooms for anything of value before either the Shadow Lord invaded Deltora again, or Lief returned and had Jinks arrested for his cowardice.[2][3]

Meanwhile, as Marilen was about to enjoy her lunch, she noticed the great Amethyst had dulled, which signaled the presence of poisoned food. She woke Sharn to tell her of the danger, but when the two returned to Marilen's room, they found Jinks sprawled out on the floor, having unknowingly eaten the poisoned cake. Sharn rushed into the kitchen where she managed to stop Doom, Lindal, and Steven, whom Doom and Lindal had met searching for Lief, from eating more of the poisoned cakes.

At that point, Amarantz spoke to Doom and said that while she had failed to kill them, she had succeeded in killing Lief's bride, and that there would be more like her coming very soon. Before anyone could stop her, she ate one of the poisoned cakes herself and collapsed. As Sharn held her and comforted Amarantz, who had returned to her senses as she died, a scarlet worm wriggled out of Amarantz's ear and was quickly killed by Doom.[3] This revealed the existence of the Shadow Lord's new plan to the Deltorans, but they were unable to inform Lief,

Reforming the Pirran Pipe[]

After Jinks abandoned Lief and Barda, a flock of vine-weaver birds rescued them from the Granous, allowing the two to continue following after Jasmine. They eventually found their way into the cave of a sleeping topaz dragon, which lead to an underground ocean. The two of them were captured by the Plume Tribe, descendants of the old Pirran tribes, who had also captured Glock and Jasmine. The Plumes planned to saccrifice the four of them to a monster called The Fear so that it wouldn't destroy their village. The companions convinced the Plumes to let them kill The Fear, which they agreed to after a time. The resulting battle ended with Glock killing The Fear at the cost of his own life, and he gave his family's talisman to Jasmine, which unknowingly contained the mouthpiece of the Pirran Pipe.[2]

The Plumes gave the companions a boat to take them to the island of Auron, though they were stopped by Aurons and redirected to their new home. There, the companions learned of the rift that happened between the Auron tribe, and how their piece of the Pirran Pipe is still on their island beneath a magic dome designed to keep out invaders. The companions eventually discovered a weak point in the dome and penetrated it, which brought them into contact with the last of the Dome-dwelling Aurons, Auris. Since the companions didn't believe in his illusion of the land of Pirra, the dome collapsed and Auris was eaten by an Arach, allowing the companions to recover the second piece of the Pirran Pipe.[3]

The Auron historian, Penn, escorted the companions to the pathway that lead to the island of Keras, where the final Pirran tribe lived with their piece of the Pirran Pipe. The companions were nearly killed by a swarm of flying leeches on their way through, but the Kerons killed the leeches with light and accepted them as a gift. Tirral, the piper of the Kerons, gave Lief the end piece of the Pirran Pipe willingly and became the first piper in centuries to play the instrument.

Afterwards, the companions told Tirral of their mission to rescue the slaves from the Shadowlands, and requested the Pirran Pipe from her. She agreed to lend them the pipe, but demanded the Belt of Deltora be given to her in exchange. Lief complied with her terms and gave her the fake belt he was wearing, causing Tirral to believe the belt lost its powers by being underground. Her son Emlis also agreed to accompany the companions into the Shadowlands, since he was curious of the lands outside of Keron, and because none of the companions were skilled enough musicians to bring out the full power of the Pirran Pipe.[1]

Infiltrating the Shadowlands[]

Thanks to the Kerons' magic, Lief, Barda, Jasmine, and Emlis were transported onto the Shadowlands' side of the barrier mountains. They watched the Shadow Lord's brand rise into the sky at sunset, before a swarm of carnivorous beetles crawled out of the rocks and attacked them. They escaped the beetles by travelling onto the Dead Plain, but Elmis was seperated from the companions and captured by a pack of Wild Ones, who used him as bait to attract more beetles. Lief, Barda, and Jasmine were able to rescue him, but were pursued by the Wild Ones until they encountered a stinger and its young, who killed most of their pursuers.

Shortly after escaping the stinger, the four were captured by the Shadowlands resistance members Claw, Gers, and Brianne. They accused the four of being spies, but were eventually able to win their trust by telling them of Glock, who was Gers' older brother, and returning to him his family talisman. Lief then told the resistance about their mission, which they agreed to help with.

With the resistance's help, Lief, Barda, Jasmine, and Emlis were able to make their way towards the Shadow Factory, but they were separated from their allies by a wild Vraal attack. Inside the factory, the four overheard a conversation between the grade 3 Ol 3-19 and Tira, a friend of Lief, Barda and Jasmine's from Noradz. The two talked about an announcement the Shadow Lord was going to make in the Shadow Arena before leaving.

As the companions continued to explore the Shadow Factory, they found a Dread Gnome named Pi-Ban, who was a member of the Shadowlands Resistance (a group that also included the imperfect Conversion Project victims Pieter and Moss) but had been captured, and a swarm of red worms. Pi-Ban explained that he was going to be used in the upcoming demonstration alongside Faith. Before the companions could rescue him, a pod of Grey Guards entered to retrieve the Dread Gnome's cage. The four tried to hide, but were eventually spotted, and Lief, Barda, and Jasmine were captured while Elmis was able to hide on the bottom of the cage.

Inside the Shadow Arena, thousands of slaves were gathered alongside Grey Guards, Ra-Kacharz and other human Shadow Lord servants, Ols, Wild Ones, and the seven Ak-Baba to witness the unveiling of the Conversion Project. Lief managed to get in contact with Claw and told him and the resistance to spread the word of a rebellion once they saw the sigh. Once the cage stopped, Tira and a former resistance member, Hellena, told the crowd about the Conversion Project, and how they both were being controlled by perfected worms. They presented Faith to the crowd and prepared to infest the companions and Pi-Ban with carrier worms.

At that moment, Emlis revealed himself and the slaves began their revolt. Jasmine tried to reach Faith, only for the girl to reveal itself as an illusion of the Shadow Lord, used to lure Jasmine to the Shadowlands, knowing that Lief would followed her without hesitation. The Shadow Lord itself then appeared to quell the incident, but Lief played the Pirran Pipe and held it back for a time before passing the pipe to Emlis. The music of the pipe killed all the scarlet worms, releasing Tira and Hellena from the Shadow Lord's control, and was heard by the Pirran tribes, who combined all their magic to bring the companions, Emlis, the resistance members, and the Deltoran slaves into the underground sea.[1]


When Tirral played the Pirran Pipe for the first time, its music was heard all throughout the underground sea. The Plume and Auron tribes set out in their ships to follow the sound, and for the first time in centuries the Pirran tribes interacted with one another. They put aside their old hatreds and combined their powers to rescue the Deltorans from the Shadowlands and return them to their own land.

Thanks to the magic of the sea, none of the Deltorans remembered seeing it, thus keeping the Pirran tribes existence a secret. Lief, Barda, and Jasmine were given Soul-stones by Penn, which allowed them to keep their memories of the Pirran tribes.

Tirral returned the fake Belt of Deltora to Lief in exchange for the Pirran Pipe. The Pirran tribes had decided that the Pirran Pipe would be given among each of the tribes on a yearly basis, and played every morning, noon, and evening by their respective piper. Emlis also declaired that, inspired by his adventures on the surface, he would become an adventurer and explore new areas in the underground sea.

Upon returning the surface, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine found themselves outside the palace of Del, where Lief finally explained to his friends the truth about Marilen.[1]


The liberation of the slaves was a major blow against the Shadow Lord. With the Conversion Project destroyed, and the slaves gone, the Shadow Lord lost its chance at a stealth-based invasion of Deltora, as well as the chance to gain thousands of new followers. This forced it to rely on its backup plan, the Four Sisters and their guardians, to continue to weaken Deltora.

Several discoveries made during the liberation would become key components in the companions' quest to destroy the Four Sisters. The Deltora Annals were used by Josef to write his book Tales of Deltora, as well as decipher the location of the grey tide, while the dragon Lief and Barda found would be the first of the dragons they would discover and awaken.[4][5]

During the decades following the emancipation, the palace of Del became a refuge for those severely injured, both physically and mentally. Those who weren't too damaged returned to their homes and families, or joined the palace guards. The surviving members of the Jalis tribe returned to their lands and restored their culture.

Decades after their release, many of the former slaves became superstitious, believing themselves to be constantly watched and followed.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Rodda, Emily. The Shadowlands. Scholastic Australia. May 1, 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Rodda, Emily. Cavern of The Fear. Scholastic Australia. February 1, 2002.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rodda, Emily. The Isle of Illusion. Scholastic Australia. March 1, 2002.
  4. Rodda, Emily. Dragon's Nest. Scholastic Australia. November 1, 2003.
  5. Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. October 1, 2004.
  6. Rodda, Emily. Shadows of the Master. Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia. 2015.

See also[]