The battle was fought between the Dominator (with the help of his minion demons and a group of forest tribesmen) against a league of very unlikely allies. The Lady's Imperial forces (primarily the new Taken and the Eternal Guard) entered into a brand new alliance with their hated enemies, the New White Rose Rebellion. The Rebels were led by Darling, who wielded a formidable and unique anti-magic "null" field. Darling also commanded hordes of Plain of Fear monsters which followed her at the behest of Father Tree, as well as about 50 haggard but dedicated brothers of the Black Company.
This league organized a carefully-choreographed attack on the enchanted Barrowland, deep within the Great Forest, before the Dominator's plan to flood the Great Tragic River could free him. Despite the incredible force assembled by the league, the risks were genuinely grave, as the Dominator would regain immediate access to unrivaled, nearly godlike powers if he escaped the null for even a moment.
While the combined forces accomplished their goal of ridding the world of the Dominator, the victory was a bittersweet one for the Black Company, the Lady, and Darling.
The White RoseEdit
Prior to the battle, the Lady confided to Croaker the Annalist that the Great Comet had returned to the sky over the northern continent. It was, inexplicably, somehow about 23 years early. The Lady took this illogical break in the comet's astronomical cycle as a terrible omen for her future. Croaker agreed to keep silent about it. The comet was not yet visible to the naked eye by the time the battle began.
Eliminating the lesser demonsEdit
Following their rehearsals, the Imperials and the Rebels used a strategy of moving Darling's null close enough to the minor barrows to break the protection charms over each one, allowing them to strike down the Dominator's monsters contained within, one at a time. This strategy was successful, allowing them to destroy these lesser minions with minimal losses. After the minor barrows were cleared, only the Dominator himself, and the giant dragon which guarded him, remained.
Toadkiller Dog and the tribesmenEdit
In the midst of the operation, Toadkiller Dog, the Dominator's loyal demon-hound, led a surprise attack with a horde of savages native to the Great Forest. The new Taken drove off Toadkiller Dog with their formidable sorcery, and the Eternal Guard kept the poorly-equipped tribesmen at bay. This was all simply a diversion to buy time for the Dominator to effect his escape and get out of Darling's null.
The dragon vs. BomanzEdit
Additionally, during the endgame, the 50-foot-tall dragon that guarded the Great Barrow was released. The dragon, unlike the lesser demons that had been wiped out, was not loyal to the Dominator. However, the monster perceived the Imperials and the Rebels to be intruders, and attacked them. The formidable wizard Bomanz was able to draw the dragon off and keep it occupied outside the null. Meanwhile the remaining forces went after the Dominator. The dragon was soon killed, and Bomanz went missing, presumed to have been swallowed by the giant monster.
The Dominator broke free of the Great Barrow during the fiery chaos of the dragon's rising. Submerged in the nearby floodwaters, he swam desperately toward the Great Tragic, where he stood a good chance of escaping Darling's null and regaining his full power. But the windwhales were prepared for this eventuality, and used their tentacles to sweep through the waters. One of the beasts found him, and lifted him too high up. He was briefly lifted out of the null and for a brief moment had access to his devastating power. He let off an explosive spell that detonated the windwhale and killed "scores" of people on both sides of the fighting, laying waste to much of the area. As he plummeted back into the null, he shouted down, attempting to close the Rite of Naming on his wife, the Lady, to strip away her powers. But, just as he had during the Battle of Juniper, he guessed the incorrect name. Before he struck the water, Croaker shot him in the side with an arrow. A second windwhale pulled the Dominator out of the water, but this one made the exact same mistake. The Dominator's next spell killed the giant beast as well, but was much less powerful in comparison to the first air burst. A third, final windwhale retrieved him from the floodwaters, but this one knew not to raise him out of the null. It dropped him in front of a waiting party of heavily-armed Imperials and Black Company men.
Despite being back in the null and seriously wounded, the Dominator was still a force to be reckoned with. In physical combat he delivered blows that sent armored men sailing through the air. In this way he killed the two highest ranking Company officers, the Lieutenant and Elmo, as well as numerous others. Tracker, in his true form and now bound to the will of Father Tree, next attacked his former master. This distraction allowed Silent and many other soldiers to stab and slash at the Dominator, wearing him down slowly. He was eventually dismembered, decapitated, and incinerated with a silver spike embedded in his head. The Dominator's evil essence was trapped in the spike, which was driven into the trunk of Father Tree's Sapling son to guard for all time.
The Limper's betrayalEdit
Toward the end of the battle, the vengeful Limper betrayed the Lady and tried close the Rite of Naming just as the Dominator had. But, he chose the wrong name too, and paid for his mistake. Croaker flew into a rage and hacked him apart, eventually decapitating him. The Limper's body was incinerated with the Dominator's, but his head could not be found as it had been buried in the dragon's trench. (The Limper's insane head would survive and would go on to be the driving force for many of the events of The Silver Spike.)
As the fighting died down, Darling attempted to help the wounded Lady. But the Lady took the opportunity to name her true name, Tonie Fisk, permanently robbing Darling of her null. Enraged, Silent broke his namesake vow and Croaker heard his voice for the first time. By process of elimination, Silent knew the Lady's true name, Dorothea Senjak, and used it to erase her powers in retaliation. Raven next arrived at the scene, and moved to kill the now-helpless Lady in a public show to win Darling's affection back. But Croaker stepped in to protect her, shooting his former Company brother in the hip with an arrow.
The Black Company departsEdit
The Black Company was now reduced to merely 10 men: Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Silent, Otto, Hagop, Murgen the standard-bearer, and three others who had enlisted in the eastern portion of the northern continent, the Torque brothers: Stubby, Paddlefoot, and Brother Bear. After they all gathered at the Blue Willy inn, Otto voted for Croaker, and with no opposition, Croaker became the new Captain. His first act was to announce he would fulfill his vow to return the Company Annals to their fabled origin, Khatovar. Silent and the three Torque brothers were released from the Company to travel south with Darling. Raven remained behind with a young Eternal Guard soldier, Case. Lady, now mortal and without magic, and realizing that she cared deeply for Croaker, expressed a desire to join the Company after setting the affairs of the Empire in order. Thus ended the Dominator's shadow looming over the world, and opened a new chapter in the adventures of the Black Company.
- The Lieutenant: slain by the Dominator in hand-to-hand combat
- Elmo: slain by the Dominator in hand-to-hand combat
- 2 windwhales: detonated by the Dominator's spells
- Tracker: slain by the Dominator in hand-to-hand combat
- The Dominator: succumbed to countless wounds
- The dragon: killed by Bomanz
- Benefice: by process of elimination, he was killed after plummeting from the sky
- Scores of Eternal Guard soldiers
- Scores of Great Forest tribesmen
- Approximately 40 (out of 50) Black Company brothers
- Bomanz: presumed dead after apparently being swallowed by the dragon. He had staged his death, however, allowing him to relocate to Oar incognito and without repercussion.
- The Limper: struck down by Croaker after guessing the Lady's name wrong and shooting her with a crossbow bolt. His head lived on and caused thousands of deaths in The Silver Spike.