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Barrowland

Map of the area around the Barrowland

The Barrowland was a remote burial ground near the Great Tragic River, 100 miles into the Great Forest, north of the city of Oar. This is where the White Rose, at the end of her successful Rebellion, sealed away the defeated Dominator, the Lady, the Ten Who Were Taken, and "scores" of demons including Tracker and Toadkiller Dog.

After 370 years, the Lady and the Taken were freed by Resurrectionists, but the Dominator and his demons remained trapped. Then, after the climactic Battle of the Barrowland, the profoundly dangerous silver spike was intended to be locked away there forever, but it would be stolen and moved not long afterward.

The term "Barrowland" was also more loosely used to encompass the Eternal Guard's compound, the Blue Willy inn, and the surrounding community.

Before Croaker's Annals[]

Creation and features[]

Barrowland diagram by Blue Rook

Diagram of the Barrowland including the specified barrows of the Taken

The White Rose had the Barrowland surrounded by several features to keep its prisoners trapped and Resurrectionists out. One was a network of protective spells which formed an invisible enclosure around the burial mounds. Anyone who passed into the range of these spells would suffer excruciating, slow, and certain death. Another was a group of soldiers called the Eternal Guard and their leader, the Monitor, who were tasked to patrol the area to prevent tampering. The Guard, a hereditary group, had a limited number of amulets which would permit them to walk unharmed through the protective spells and trim the overgrowth. A third protection, and the most mysterious, was a giant subterranean dragon, an ageless demon which kept vigil silently and motionlessly for centuries. A fourth was a horde of lethal ghosts, the specters of White Rose soldiers who were bound by fetishes to haunt the area, screaming at intruders in TelleKurre, UchiTelle, and lesser-known languages. There was a fifth feature, a deep moat, but this had disappeared long before Croaker's lifetime.

Locations of the prisoners[]

The Lady and the Dominator were interred in the rectangular Great Barrow at the center, surrounded by the dragon. The Taken were individually buried in separate barrows. Five were entombed in the outer barrows arranged geometrically at the points of a star, and the other five were trapped in the inner barrows, arranged in a pentagon that surrounded the Great Barrow. The outer barrows, numbered oddly and starting at the northernmost barrow and moving clockwise, contained: 1) Soulcatcher; 3) Shapeshifter; 5) Nightcrawler; 7) Stormbringer; and 9) Bonegnasher. The inner barrows, numbered evenly and beginning at the right foot of the arm of the star pointing northward, contained: 4) the Howler; 6) Moonbiter; 8) the Limper; and both 2) and 10) containing the Hanged Man and the Faceless Man in unspecified order.

The spirits of the Ten Who Were Taken would manifest above their barrows every 37 years, when the Great Comet which appeared at their defeat completed its circuit and appeared in the sky.

Bomanz the Wakener[]

Beginning 333 years after the creation of the Barrowland, a wizard named Bomanz arrived, and he spent the next 37 years mapping place in utmost secrecy. His goal was to find a way to contact the Lady to learn her arcane secrets, and to do so without permitting the escape of any of the ancient sorcerers from the ground. He kept no physical evidence of his work except for a white silk map of the grounds, which he stashed inside a pole in a first-floor closet of the house he shared with his wife, Jasmine.

It was Bomanz's chart of the Barrowland, complete with notes about which Taken lay where, where fetishes were located and why, the puissance of protective spells, and a scatter of known resting places of minions of the Taken who had gone into the ground with their captains. A cluttered chart indeed. Mostly annotated in TelleKurre. Also noted were burial sites outside the Barrowland proper. Most of the ordinary fallen had gone into mass graves.

The White Rose chapter 8

Bomanz's son Stancil and a large, wealthy cell of Resurrectionists from Oar took advantage of Bomanz's work in bad faith. Upon the 10th return of the Great Comet, their leader, Tokar, damaged the spells keeping the prisoners beneath the ground. The Lady escaped, alongside the Ten to become her minions. She orchestrated her release such that her husband remained imprisoned in the Great Barrow along with his demons.

Bomanz himself became trapped in the Barrowland as he attempted to stop her escape; history would incorrectly attribute her liberation to him. The Lady wiped out the Resurrectionist movement that permitted her escape, to ensure the Dominator would stay buried. As she established her own empire, she incorporated the Eternal Guard as a special unit of her own armed forces to continue their watch over her hated husband's burial site.

Shadows Linger[]

The Barrowland experienced a resurgence of activity when the Lady and her new Taken realized that the Dominator was attempting to escape from the Great Barrow. In Shadows Linger, a small advance force from the Black Company was flown in by Whisper; Croaker spent a month and a half there researching the past of the Guard and the Barrowland. He drank with the Monitor, who bragged about the Guard's history, which was as old as the Company's.

The White Rose[]

Several years later, Raven attempted to access the Barrowland in spiritual form to determine the Dominator's status. His spiritual self became trapped there after he panicked from seeing the Dominator awake and grinning. The Dominator's servants Tracker and Toadkiller Dog were released, and Raven's disembodied spirit became trapped in their stead. The Dominator was manipulating the weather such that the Great Tragic River flooded and threatened to tear open the Barrowland and sweep away its protections.

Main article: Battle of the Barrowland

After this was exposed, the Barrowland became the site of a hellish battle. The Lady, Darling and their newly-allied forces systematically exterminated the demons, killed the Dominator, and trapped his powers in a silver spike. During the battle, the recently-awakened Bomanz slew the towering dragon that had guarded the Great Barrow. In the end, the silver spike was nailed into the Sapling – the son of Father Tree – atop the Great Barrow for eternal protection. With the barrows emptied, most of the people in the Barrowland trickled away to Oar or other destinations.

The Silver Spike[]

The ruins of the Barrowland remained inhabited by a small crew of Eternal Guardsmen. The area seemed quiet until the spike was stolen about a year later from the Sapling by the four spike thieves. The spike became an object of obsession for many sorcerers, including most prominently the Limper, who by this point was reduced to only his head. The few stragglers remaining behind in the Barrowland were killed off by the Limper, Toadkiller Dog, and their ragtag group of 50 coerced forest tribesmen. In the end, the spike was banished to a different dimension and the Barrowland was presumably reclaimed by the Great Forest.

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