The Battle of Charm was the final confrontation between the Imperial armies of the Lady and the Rebel armies raised by the Circle of Eighteen. Fought beneath the light of the Great Comet over a period of several days, this battle was the climax of The Black Company and was the largest battle of the modern Annals.
The Rebel besieged the Tower at Charm – the headquarters of the Lady and her generals, the Ten Who Were Taken – with a massive force of over a quarter of a million men, while the defenders were only roughly 21,000 strong, including the mercenaries of the Black Company.
The Black CompanyEdit
The Lady's order of battle Edit
The Tower had only one approach in a small pie-wedge, while the rest was full of debris from the Tower construction for a full mile outwards from the Tower. The pie wedge had been constructed with three deep trenches, three walls of increasing height, and a large earthen pyramid, in order towards the tower. Archers, soldiers, and siege equipment were stationed on the walls and the trenches prevented siege equipment from being brought forward initially. Eight of the Ten Who Were Taken, as well as Whisper (the first of the new Taken), were initially given spots on these walls. Feather and Journey, brand new members of the new Taken, as well as a rehabilitated Limper, would join in toward the end of the battle as well.
For the Empire, the defensive order of battle was as follows:
- On the first level were 9,000 soldiers, the least experienced defenders, who were from the north and from garrisons of cities abandoned to the Rebel. They were grouped into 3 divisions and commanded by Stormbringer in the center, and Moonbiter and Bonegnasher on the wings
- On the second level were 6,000 veteran archers from the east. They were also grouped into 3 divisions, and were commanded by the Howler in the center, and the Faceless Man and Nightcrawler on the wings.
- On the third level were 6,000 soldiers. Whisper commanded 1,500 eastern veterans on the left; Shapeshifter (later, Lord Jalena) commanded 1,000 western and southern troops on the right; Soulcatcher commanded 2,500 soldiers including both the Tower Guard and allies from the Jewel Cities in the center.
- On the pyramid itself, the Captain commanded the 1,000 sworn brothers of the Company.
The battle Edit
The Rebel siege lasted for several days in a row. Despite the continual infantry engagements, hails of arrows, and vicious battlefield sorcery from the Imperial defenders, the Rebel slowly filled the trenches to advance their infantry and siege equipment. The Taken and the Circle fought against one another personally during the night, unleashing nightmarish hellscapes of sorcery that engulfed soldiers on both sides by the hundreds.
When the besiegers had all but taken the first wall, the Lady signaled her new champions Feather and Journey, who caused it explode outwards. Newly-exposed compartments revealed armored war elephants that had been brought up beforehand from the Jewel Cities and, presumably with the aid of sorcery, kept secret. Ridden by mahouts, the elephants rampaged to devastating effect throughout the Rebel ranks, and destroyed many of the siege towers, before they were eliminated.
The Lady took little part in the battle. She had the Howler fly his carpet over the Rebel forces and drop metal balls containing a fast-acting sorcery disease. On the Howler's return flight, Soulcatcher betrayed the Lady and caused the Howler to crash his flying carpet and plummet hundreds of feet. Riding black stallions, Croaker and the Lady chased after her and cut off her head. By the time Croaker and the Lady returned, countless thousands of Rebels had been killed by the supernatural disease spread by the Howler. But still the battle continued, now within the Tower itself, with the Imperial forces led by the newly restored Limper.
In the end, all the remaining Rebel generals of the Circle of Eighteen were killed, and their armies were obliterated, hampering Rebel operations for years. Four of the remaining nine Taken were killed (Bonegnasher, Nightcrawler, Moonbiter, and the Faceless Man) and four others were believed killed (Shapeshifter, Stormbringer, the Howler, and Soulcatcher). Many of the casualties among the Taken were due not to enemy action but to internal betrayal orchestrated by the Dominator, who had been guiding the most senior Rebel generals.
During the battle, Darling's null and her identity as the reincarnation of the White Rose was discovered by the Black Company. She was hustled into hiding by Raven with the support of Croaker, Silent, and a handful of other Company sympathizers.
Six years after the battle, the opening events of Shadows Linger began. During the 6-year gap, the modern narrative of Port of Shadows occurred, but, these events were wiped from the memories of the Black Company and most other participants.
The infamous Battle of Charm would be mentioned several times throughout the subsequent Annals. In Dreams of Steel, Croaker used plant material to recreate the landscape of the battle during his time in Soulcatcher's captivity at the Grove of Doom. As he planned, his wife Lady discovered this and interpreted it correctly: her insane sister was indeed alive, despite being beheaded so many years ago.