Bomanz, born Seth Chalk, was the notorious wizard who was historically held accountable for releasing the Lady and the Ten Who Were Taken from their charm-bound prisons in the Barrowland 37 years before The Black Company. Believed dead for decades, his name was regarded with universal disdain for releasing an evil that he could not control back into the world. He was, in reality, a good man who had been used as a pawn by the Lady and the Resurrectionists alike.
The self-described "stubby-legged fat man" was a key player in The White Rose, and several of its chapters were a "flashback" biographical narrative about Bomanz's actions leading up to the liberation of the Lady. After faking his death at the Battle of the Barrowland, he participated in several actions against the rampaging, insane Limper in The Silver Spike.
Before Croaker's Annals[edit | edit source]
Origins[edit | edit source]
Bomanz was born in Oar, the largest city and capital of Forsberg (at that time an independent kingdom). He attended the Black Campus of the city's university, where he excelled in the studies of sorcery. He married Jasmine, a woman also from Oar, whose mother did not approve of their union.
Life in the Barrowland: 37 years[edit | edit source]
Although they could have stayed in Oar and lived lives of consequence, Bomanz had persuaded his new wife Jasmine of his dream of learning arcane secrets from the entombed Lady. In the summertime merely one month after their wedding, Jasmine moved with him north, to the Great Forest, into the community of the Eternal Guard just outside the Barrowland. On that first summer they stayed up late one night to watch the Great Comet in the sky, and witnessed the disembodied spirits of the Ten Who Were Taken. They remained there for a total of 37 years – one full cycle of the Great Comet – during which Bomanz would have no success in fulfilling his dream. Jasmine's disappointment for having misspent her life with Bomanz in the frigid forest caused her to endlessly nag her husband. However, she genuinely loved him and never betrayed him to the Guard.
Bomanz masqueraded as an antiquities dealer who spent his time digging around the barrows for Domination-era artifacts. His true mission in life was to map out the barrows, allowing him to project his spirit into the Great Barrow and learn long lost secrets of magic and history from the Lady herself. He was convinced that he had a safeguard, the Lady's true name, and spoke her native language, TelleKurre, in addition to his native tongue Forsberger.
Bomanz spent decades mapping the Barrows, and the only physical evidence he kept of his forbidden activity was a secret map of the terrain. On this map he marked less than a dozen of the scores of "lesser evils" (demons) who were buried there alongside the Taken. To maintain a respectable front, he always dug up artifacts outside the boundary of the Barrowland to sell them in his shop, where his best customer was Tokar, a trader from Oar. In this effort he was frustrated for years by the "thief" Men fu, a rival antiquities seller with no scruples. Bomanz's public persona succeeded in deceiving the Guard, but the group's leader, the elderly Monitor named Besand, never quite fully trusted him.
Stancil's betrayal[edit | edit source]
After coming to a dead-end in figuring out safe paths to the center of the Great Barrow, Bomanz was close to giving up his life's work. However, a visit from his son Stancil (his only child) provided the help he needed in completing his goals: the location of Moonbiter's barrow. With the Great Comet in the sky again after 37 years, and at his son's urging, he proceeded. He placed his body into a deep trance, and walked in spirit-form into the Barrowland. He made it all the way to the center, and spoke with the Lady who had been subtly guiding his progress over the course of many years. He claimed the knowledge of her true name (which he believed to be Ardath Senjak) but she seemed more amused than frightened. The weak connection to his body allowed him to overhear the conversation that Stancil was having in the room with his fiancée Glory (Tokar's sister). Bomanz now learned that Stancil, Glory, Tokar, and their comrades were all secretly Resurrectionists, a group which sought to release the Dominator and return to the black age of the Domination.
Outraged by his son's betrayal, Bomanz rushed back to his body to stop Tokar from opening the Great Barrow. Back in his body, Bomanz stated to Stancil and Glory that he would attempt to stop the awakening. But the two drew knives and went to kill him, exposing his son's true loyalty. Failing to talk sense into his son, Bomanz was forced to kill both Glory and Stancil. When Corporal Husky and some Eternal Guard men rushed in, he killed them also. After saving Jasmine and Tokar's very young sister Snoopy from a dangerous situation, he created "a killing sending", a spell to kill Tokar from a distance. But it was too late, as Tokar damaged the enchantments at the Great Barrow. Rushing out into the night, Bomanz attempted to use what he thought was the true name of the Lady to disarm her, but failed in his task, as he had the wrong name. He was surrounded by the dragon's flames and became buried, trapped in the Barrowland, alive but frozen like the Dominator himself. His survival was unknown even to the Lady who presumed, like everyone else, that he died.
The White Rose[edit | edit source]
Revival[edit | edit source]
About 51 years later, upon traveling to the Barrowland to stop the Dominator from breaking free of his prison, members of the Black Company discovered that Bomanz was still alive, interred near the barrows. He was removed from the earth by the Lady, her new Taken, and Croaker. His "withered" but still living body was flown a short distance away to the Eternal Guard compound on one of the new Taken's flying carpets, where he was restored back to normal consciousness. When he awakened, he pushed forward a few steps, believing he was still warding off the dragon from decades earlier. The Lady immediately showed her dominance over Bomanz by revealing that she had knowledge of his true name, Seth Chalk.
Privately, Bomanz later confessed to Croaker that he was unaware that there were four Senjak sisters. He had thought that Ardath must be the correct name because it was the only one he had found. He also confirmed that while the papers Raven had found in his former home rung true, they were not written by him, but most likely by his wife and also possibly Snoopy, the young sister of Stancil's fiancée.
Battle of the Barrowland[edit | edit source]
Bomanz took part in the planning and execution of the Battle of the Barrowland. When Darling's null freed the dragon that guarded the Great Barrow, Bomanz led it away from the rest of the soldiers and distracted it so they could deal with the Dominator. The dragon was killed but Bomanz was nowhere to be found. He was presumed to have been swallowed, and to have killed the monster from within. However, in this apparent death, he finally restored his reputation.
The Silver Spike[edit | edit source]
Bomanz actually had staged his own death during his fight with the dragon. He secretly made his way to nearby Oar, and lived there, incognito, as an astrologer for about a year.
Seeking Darling's help[edit | edit source]
Then, one year after the battle of the Barrowland, the Limper's still-living head was retrieved from the ruins of the Barrowland by Toadkiller Dog. Bomanz and Raven – now drunks living elsewhere in Oar – were the only two persons to detect the threat. Understanding the incoming danger to the world, Bomanz sought help to stop it. Unsure whether to look for the Lady or Darling (the White Rose reborn), Bomanz waited to see which one Raven and Case would go after. After Raven went south after the Lady and the Black Company, Bomanz sought the White Rose. He found her, and her small band of loyal followers (Silent and the Torque brothers), in the Windy Country. The old sorcerer was invited aboard their windwhale but to his chagrin was not afforded much trust. He endured the comical harassment of a talking buzzard called Virgil throughout their subsequent travels in the skies over the northern continent, across the Sea of Torments, and through the southern continent.
Besieging the Temple[edit | edit source]
In the sky outside the Temple of Travellers' Repose, the windwhale that Bomanz, Darling, and Darling's followers were riding was fatally wounded by the Limper's fire-eater. Silent was helpless against such a powerful demon, so it was up to Bomanz to defeat it. Despite the chaos around him, he took command of the fire-eater and sent it soaring back to attack the Limper. They survived the windwhale's fiery crash into the ground, and were pulled from the wreck of the beast by Raven and Case, who had traveled there overland.
Bomanz, Darling, Silent, the Torque brothers, Raven, Case, and the creatures of the Plain of Fear next besieged the Temple. They fought Toadkiller Dog outside the Temple, but, they failed to kill the Limper. Bomaz conjured a bizarre demon to chase Toadkiller Dog when it fled the Temple, described by Case as follows: "a shimmery something that looked like an elephant with a nest of tentacles for a head".
The silver spike confrontation at Oar[edit | edit source]
Bomanz and the others all rushed north to Oar to track down the silver spike on urgent orders from Father Tree. They outsmarted Brigadier Wildbrand and her Nightstalker Brigade, but, were defeated several times by Smeds Stahl and Old Man Fish (the last surviving members of the spike thieves). They eventually faced the Limper again, when he arrived at Oar with a new clay body to claim the spike for himself. Unable to stop the freakish abomination Limper had become during this confrontation, Bomanz sacrificed himself to buy time for the others to take the spike away.