The Will will reign triumphant.

Lady quoting the Dominator, Dreams of Steel

The Dominator was the great evil of the northern continent, the ruler of an infamous empire called the Domination. He controlled a large portion of the continent through sorcery, fear, sheer force of will, and most importantly: massive armies led by his enslaved generals, the notorious Ten Who Were Taken. The strategic genius of his wife – known only as the Lady – also played a key but historically forgotten role.

After about a century, the Dominator's cruel reign was overthrown by the mysterious White Rose and her Rebellion. He was imprisoned within the Barrowland alongside the Lady and the Ten about 407 years before The Black Company. His attempts to escape were the driving forces behind most of the events of all three Books of the North as well as the interquel Port of Shadows.

The Lady described her husband as one of only two humans she had encountered who was superior to her own magnitude (the other being the prehistoric prisoner beneath Father Tree). The Dominator succeeded in erasing his true name from history by a merciless extermination campaign against his own place of origin, but he was potentially known by the alias Erin NoFather in his earlier years.

Before Croaker's Annals[edit | edit source]

Origins[edit | edit source]

Little is known of the Dominator before he established his Domination, some 500 years before the Battle of the Barrowland. In The White Rose, he is discussed in connection to a mysterious pre-Domination man called Erin NoFather, an unlanded priest of the god Vancer, from the town of Slinger in the kingdom of Vye. To conceal his true name, Erin destroyed Slinger, slaughtering anyone who had ever lived there. A few years later, when he began forging his empire, he destroyed the kingdom of Vye as well.

Erin NoFather married a woman he knew as Ardath, one of the four beautiful daughters of Baron Senjak. It was a political marriage. Supposedly they were killed by bandits while journeying between Lathe and Ova. A few months later, a new horror declared himself "the Dominator", and his wife was called the Lady.

The Domination[edit | edit source]

Main article: Domination

During the Domination, the Dominator enslaved the immortal sorcerers known as the Ten Who Were Taken, suborning the ten of the most powerful wizards of his day as his personal servants (excepting, of course, the Lady, with whom he arranged a political marriage).

According to some disputed records unearthed in Aloe centuries after the fact, for all of the Dominator's magical power, he was only able to establish the Domination by creating a marriage pact with the formidable Senjak clan to gain their political clout and administrative skill; due to the nature of the pact, neither the Dominator nor his bride knew which of the four sisters he was married to, and the pact's existence was contingent on the bride, and to a lesser extent the other three sisters, remaining alive and unsullied. The Dominator ruled the Domination alongside the Senjaks from the Grateful Tower of his fortress Grendirft, which stood in the capital of Dusk. Towards the end of his reign, his grip on reality became increasingly tenuous, as his longstanding solipsistic delusion that he was effectively a god and the world's sole reason for existence was to be his plaything collided with an unceasing stream of revolts and rebellions that set his empire aflame. In particular, attacks launched from the Great Forest by the White Rose rebels enraged him to the point that he ordered the entire forest to be cleared. The scale of such a project would have consumed the Domination's entire financial resources for decades, but comprehending such limitations was beneath the Dominator.

The Dominator was also reviled for his aberrant sexual proclivities. Not only did he develop a reputation as the father of "ten thousand bastards" for raping women of cities that resisted him, leading to situations centuries later where it was common in certain regions to claim descent from the Dominator, regardless of whether it was true, but he also demanded a new adolescent virgin girl in his chambers every night. After abusing them, his victims were smothered by guards if they were still alive and disposed of in a waste canal adjacent to Grendirft. Historians later assumed that accusations of the Dominator's pedophilia were nothing more than mudslinging, but the Aloen records, however suspect they were in other areas, were thought to be potentially accurate on this count.

In an event which was erased from the historical record, the Dominator failed to kill or Take a sorcerer known as the Master. Although the Dominator slew all but one (Blind Emon) of the Master's own Taken, he could not conquer him. The Master escaped and remained in hiding afterward, independent for centuries after the Dominator's own downfall.

The Dominator was eventually defeated by the White Rose, a general who led a Rebellion against his rule from the Great Forest. He was captured in a final battle beneath the Great Comet during which his ability to employ sorcery was temporarily lost due to proximity to the White Rose's null field. For unspecified reasons, the White Rose did not kill the Dominator, the Lady, the Taken, and scores of his demons. Instead, she trapped them all in spell-bound, underground chambers in a place that came to be called the Barrowland. The Dominator and his wife would lay side-by-side on a pair of stone tables in the middle of the Great Barrow, each enveloped in "humming, crackling forces", for 370 years.

Attempts to escape: the Books of the North[edit | edit source]

Erin NoFather by Виталий Стрелец 

Most of the events of the Books of the North and the interquel Port of Shadows were the direct or indirect result of the Dominator's four major plots to escape from the Barrowland. In summary:

  1. The Black Company – he attempted to overthrow his wife by using the Circle of Eighteen and the three female Taken as his pawns, culminating in the climactic Battle of Charm.
  2. Port of Shadows – he attempted to cause a child to be conceived by his granddaughter, Tides Elba; this child would become the vessel into which his spirit could escape.
  3. Shadows Linger – he attempted to create a portal within the Black Castle of faraway Juniper that would allow him to escape the Barrowland directly. This was his original escape plan, as it was initiated before his imprisonment.
  4. The White Rose – he slowly flooded the Great Tragic River so its surging waters would inevitably demolish the sorcery keeping him trapped within the Great Barrow. This plan was a guaranteed success so his enemies sought to orchestrate his release on their own terms.

The Black Company[edit | edit source]

Three hundred and seventy years after his imprisonment, the Dominator was left interred in the Barrowland by the Lady, who was freed by the Resurrectionists. Betrayed by his wife, the Dominator began to seek other methods of escape from his imprisonment. First, he managed to exert his influence over the three female members of the Taken and also the many of the Circle of Eighteen. However, the Lady anticipated the influence the Dominator would have over the female Taken. With the Great Comet dominating the sky, the Dominator's agents were all defeated by the Lady at the Battle of Charm.

Port of Shadows[edit | edit source]

In Port of Shadows, it was revealed that the Dominator was orchestrating the birth of a child who would become a vessel into which his spirit could escape. He was influencing his granddaughter, Tides Elba, to mate with an unidentified male descendant in the city of Aloe. This union was prevented by the Lady with the help of the Black Company.

Shadows Linger[edit | edit source]

The Dominator's next strategy revolved around the growth of the Black Castle in Juniper, which turned out to be his oldest escape plan. The inhabitants of that castle sought to create a portal powerful enough to simply draw the Dominator, alive, whole, and in the fullness of his power, out from the shadows of the Barrowland and into the waking world. However, the scheme in Juniper was foiled by the odd customs of the region, which made it hard for the Black Castle to collect corpses needed to power its gateway. When it finally began to grow close, it drew the attention of the Lady and her instruments, the new Taken and the Black Company. In the end, the combined forces of the Lady's Empire defeated the Dominator's demonic castle creatures, and left him defeated once more.

The White Rose[edit | edit source]

The Dominator tried his escape one final time, using his power to exert influence on the weather of the region, flooding the Great Tragic River toward the Barrowland and naturally eroding his prison. Two of his powerful minions, Tracker and Toadkiller Dog, were freed from the Barrowland when Raven began to investigate the Dominator's stirrings. Raven's friend Case dispatched all of his findings and speculations to Croaker. Based on the information Raven had gathered, Croaker managed to convince the Lady of the danger. This led to an alliance between the Lady and the New White Rose Rebellion. Together, the combined forces of the Lady and Darling systematically wiped out the Dominator's pets during the Battle of the Barrowland and finally targeted him. In the end, the Dominator was killed, and his evil power was trapped inside the silver spike. However there was a great cost: the Lady lost all of her sorcery, Darling lost her null, and the Black Company was reduced to merely 10 men.

The Silver Spike[edit | edit source]

Even after death, the Dominator's shadow still had immense influence over subsequent events. His raw power, trapped within in the silver spike, was the object of a wide variety of power-hungry sorcerers... the most dangerous being the Limper, who was now reduced to simply his head. After violence across several major cities and devastating disease sourced to the spike in Oar, the spike was finally captured. It was disposed of by Father Tree in a cosmic abyss, where the spike would be forever irretrievable to anyone except those whose power already surpassed the Dominator's own.

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