The Domination was the empire which was established and ruled by Dominator in the northern continent. It lasted for about a century and was overthrown about 407 years before the events of The Black Company. The Domination was infamous for its cruelty, violence, and the Dominator's absolute despotism. The favored ethnic group of this empire was TelleKurre; after the Domination ended, the TelleKurre language became extinct (as did its regional vulgates, including UchiTelle). Centuries later, the Dominator's wife – the Lady – would establish a successor empire which would extend past the boundaries of the Domination and would become the setting for many of the events of the Books of the North.
The Dominator's reign[edit | edit source]
Starting his reign of terror, the Dominator entered into a political, unconsummated marriage to a beautiful sorceress called only the Lady. He then defeated, captured, and performed the Rite of Taking on his ten most powerful rivals, the wizards who then became known as the Ten Who Were Taken. Although the Dominator himself performed the Rite of Taking, the Lady also knew all of the names of the Ten, forcing them to be equally loyal to her. The first to be Taken was Shapeshifter. The oldest was the Howler. Another of the Taken was the Lady's own sister, Soulcatcher, who personally reveled in the "pomp and dark glory" of the Domination.
Few details of the Domination were recorded by Croaker in his Annals, as he believed many of the stories were tainted by later propaganda of the White Rose. The surviving reliable facts are as follows:
Mass execution of collected enemies[edit | edit source]
As his wife would recall centuries later during Dreams of Steel, the Dominator assembled a gathering of his enemies and somehow murdered them all at once. This occurred early in the Domination and was "one thing my husband had done to secure his rule". It succeeded "wonderfully" and served as the direct inspiration for Lady's Massacre at Khadi Junction.
Torture of captives[edit | edit source]
As Soulcatcher would recall in Soldiers Live, the Dominator had glassblowers create glass displays into which some of his "most important enemies" were deposited in public. Trapped, they were "kept alive and fed until they drowned in their own ordure". Also, as Lady would recall in Shadow Games, the Dominator had a man named Gastrar Telsar of Novok Debraken flayed for speaking out publicly against him.
Restrictions on magic[edit | edit source]
As the Howler would recall centuries later during Dreams of Steel, the Dominator always destroyed every magic relic and enchanted object he could find. He did this to prevent his Taken from becoming too independent.
According to Port of Shadows, it was illegal within the Domination to practice any form of magic without obtaining permission from officials in Dusk, and violating this law was punishable by death or worse. Necromancy was prohibited outright, presumably because uncovering the means to defy death would undermine the exclusivity of the Blessing, the arcane ritual the Dominator used to bestow semi-eternal life on his inner circle. The desire to be rewarded with the Blessing did much to ensure the loyalty of the Domination's most powerful and influential figures and keep the empire unified.
Shapeshifter's lover[edit | edit source]
During the Domination, a young woman who was Shapeshifter's lover carried on an affair with the Limper, another of the Ten. Outraged, Shifter transformed the woman into what became his infamous walking staff. He and the Limper carried an unmitigated hatred of one another for the rest of their lives. The staff would serve as a key focus of his power, and his reunion with the artifact in Shadow Games permitted the Black Company to survive being capsized in the needleteeth swamp on the great river.
Failure to defeat the Master[edit | edit source]
In an event which was erased from the historical record, the Dominator failed to kill (or Take) a sorcerer known as the Master, a rival at his own level of power who had his own group of Taken. Although the Dominator slew all but one (Blind Emon) of the Master's Taken, he could not conquer him. The Master escaped and remained in hiding afterward, independent for centuries after the Dominator's own downfall.
End of the Domination[edit | edit source]
The White Rose Rebellion[edit | edit source]
- Main article: White Rose Rebellion
The Domination was ended by the White Rose Rebellion, a popular movement led by a mysterious woman called the White Rose. She was the chief general of massive opposing armies operating out of the Great Forest. She achieved her hard-fought victory in a final battle while the Great Comet shone brilliantly overhead. Among the fatalities of this battle was King Broke of the TelleKurre, one of the Dominator's chief subordinates after the Taken. However, the White Rose was unable to actually kill any of the Domination's twelve chief sorcerers (the Dominator, the Lady, and the Ten), so she sealed them underground in a prison of sorcery called the Barrowland. Also imprisoned with them were the Dominator's "pets" (scores of demons) including Tracker and Toadkiller Dog. The dedicated ghosts of many of the White Rose's own soldiers were placed inside the Barrowland as eternal spirit guards. Finally, a dragon was installed around the Great Barrow itself, to consume any trespassers.
Aftermath of the Rebellion[edit | edit source]
After the Rebellion, the followers of the White Rose proved not to be gentle victors. They burned books and cities, forced migrations of women and children, and profaned ancient works of art and famous shrines. Even the language of the Domination itself, TelleKurre, became extinct. They also melted down any Domination coinage they could find. This made intact coins from the period incredibly valuable for collectors 370 years later, during a "Domination trend" in the lifetime of antiquities dealer Bomanz. After the immediate postwar violence, the centuries following the Domination were primarily peaceful.