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The black castle, site of the Battle of Juniper

The castle formed the base of a fountain of fire reaching miles into the sky. A vast figure twisted in the flames. Its lips moved. Long, slow words echoed down the Port. "Ardath. You bitch." ... The figure's hand rose slowly, lazily, pointed toward Duretile. "They got enough bodies inside," Goblin squeaked. "The old bastard is coming through."

The Battle of Juniper, also known as the Battle of the black castle, was fought between the Lady (commanding the Limper; her new TakenWhisper, Feather, and Journey; the Black Company; Imperial regulars; and armed locals) and the castle creatures, the demon denizens of the black castle loyal to the Dominator. It took place within the far northwestern city of Juniper during Shadows Linger. The goal of the castle creatures was to deposit enough bodies to finish a portal so they could summon their master from his tomb-like prison in the Barrowland; the Lady's goal was to eradicate them.

Shadows Linger[]

The battle took place over several days, but the fighting was not continual. While the Dominator's creatures were besieged in their castle, they often initiated the first attacks. In one of the first days of fighting, one of the new Taken, Feather, was killed by their magic blasts. (Feather's outraged husband, Journey, would arrive days later and behave recklessly in his attempt to avenge her.) During this event, Whisper struck at the enemy structure from her flying carpet, and the Limper left the battlefield to put out a terrible blaze that had erupted in the Buskin where Feather had crashed.

After a respite of a few days, last day of the battle began. The castle creatures sent a sortie to kidnap as many victims as possible, but they were stopped at first by the ballistas, catapults, mangonels, and trebuchets that had been installed by the Black Company's Lieutenant. The castle was repeatedly plastered with a long-range sorcery fired from the palace of Duretile clear over the Port River, first by the new Taken, and later by Silent. The Taken also dropped different kinds of dread sorceries from the air, aboard their flying carpets. However, many hundreds were still killed in combat with the structure's demon defenders.

Shadows Linger black castle 2 by Vladislav Asadullin

The Black Company besieges the black castle. Art by Vladislav Asadullin, from the interior of the 1993 unauthorized/pirated translation of the Shadows Linger (Огненная тень)

Whisper led a group of Company men and armed laborers into the castle below the ground, via a sapper's tunnel that was opened by One-Eye and a sergeant called Shaky. At ground level, the Limper grabbed a sword and led the counterattack, leading a force of Company veterans like Elmo along with many armed locals into the structure. A towering, fiery representation of the Dominator rose from the castle, and he attempted to use the true name of the Lady to disarm her. However, he incorrectly guessed "Ardath", which was actually the name of one of her sisters. The Lady finally joined the battle herself, and struck back with a massive sorcery counterattack from Duretile. The portal was successfully destroyed.

Aftermath for the Black Company[]

This was the last battle of the Black Company in service of the Lady. The Captain discovered that his employers were planning to kill them, so he had Silent round up many of his senior men in the midst of the battle to flee. The Captain died during their ocean escape when he attempted to pilot the Lady's personal flying carpet. The Lady later confirmed to Croaker that it was not she, but rather her minions Whisper and Feather, who had tried to betray them both. The Company refused her offer to return, however, and instead they would go on to become the nucleus of Darling's New White Rose Rebellion... the Lady's sworn enemies.

Aftermath for Juniper[]

After the battle, the Lady ordered that Juniper's sacred Catacombs be looted to restore her depleted coffers. As the Catacombs were central to the city's ancient religion, the outraged locals, led by their senior Custodian, Hargadon, staged a very bloody revolt against the Imperials. In response, the Lady personally struck back with her tremendous powers, reportedly leveling most of the city.