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The Dark Wings by Didier Graffet

The Eye hovers menacingly above The Dark Wings. Art by Didier Graffet

She stood before me, one eye closed. The open eye grew bigger and bigger, reached out, devoured me... Now she would drain my mind like a spider drains a fly...

Croaker, The White Rose, ch. 39

The Eye was an advanced sorcery employed by the Lady prior to, and during, the Books of the North. While it appeared most prominently during the events of The Black Company, the threat of the Eye was a major component in the decision-making processes of many individuals throughout Shadows Linger and The White Rose as well.

Overview Edit

The Eye was a key aspect of the Lady's ability to maintain control over her sprawling northern Empire. It permitted the sorceress to accurately interrogate anyone. It ensured that the truth of any matter could not be concealed by intentional deceit. It could even be used to dispel unconscious confusion, that is, to reveal information a subject had forgotten or was not consciously aware of.

The Lady spared no one from the Eye. It was used on Rebel prisoners as well as her own Imperial functionaries – all the way up to the Ten Who Were Taken. All were under the constant threat of being subjected to its power.

Description and effects Edit

The Eye manifested as a gigantic yellow eyeball growing out from the Lady's face. It was surrounded by an all-encompassing lemon-colored glow and accompanied by an unsettling humming sound.

I wouldn't subject you to this if it wasn't important.

–The Lady, The Black Company, ch. 6

Being subjected to the Eye was unilaterally described in the Annals as being a harrowing experience. A talented Imperial physician in the Tower at Charm mentioned to Croaker in The White Rose that some people who were subjected to "the deep probe" come out listless and never recover. This official also stated that Croaker was the first person the Lady had ever expressed any concern about after her usage of the Eye.

Presumably on account of their power and closeness to the Lady, the Ten Who Were Taken seemed to be exposed to the Eye with the greatest frequency of all. Soulcatcher showed evidence of bouncing back to full capacity much more quickly than the typical non-sorcerer.

Limitations Edit

Despite its fearsome reputation, the Eye did not grant the Lady true omniscience. When she used it in the Forest of Cloud during Whisper's Rite of Taking, she did not seem to be aware of Silent's presence nearby. Also, it did not permit outright mind-reading. The Lady still had to be prepared with specific questions and a familiarity with the topics she was investigating. The Eye only ensured that the subject of the interrogation could not lie.

Examples Edit

The Lady had almost certainly been using the Eye for the 37 years which transpired between her liberation from the Barrowland and the onset of the events of The Black Company. Prior to that, she likely also used it during the Domination era. It is strongly likely that her husband the Dominator had the same ability during that time frame as well.

The following are examples of those subjected to the Eye during Croaker's Annals.

The Black CompanyEdit

Goblin was the first person in the Black Company to fall victim to the Eye. It occurred during the Company's raid on Whisper's hidden base camp in the Forest of Cloud. He had been using his mental sorcery link to contact Soulcatcher from afar, but unfortunately for him, Soulcatcher was at the Tower at Charm, in the presence of the Eye at that very moment. This caused Goblin to be likewise subjected to it. His agonized response terrified those around him, especially his old rival and friend One-Eye.

Goblin sounded like he was regressing toward childhood. "Make it stop looking at me. Make it stop. I've been good. Make it go away."

Croaker's first time with the Eye was later, elsewhere in the same forest. It occurred when the Lady subjected Whisper to the Rite of Taking. Whisper was its primary victim, and she was subjected to it more than once. In addition to Croaker, it also examined Raven. Croaker recovered much more quickly than Raven for unspecified reasons. Before the Battle of Charm, Croaker faced the eye a second time, now inside the Lady's personal lodging within the Tower. This time the Lady was actually trying to get to the bottom of a failed assassination attempt against Croaker. (The threat turned out to be her own sister, Soulcatcher.)

Shadows LingerEdit

During Shadows Linger, Croaker, Silent, the Captain, and some other senior members of the Black Company had grave misgivings about their continued service to the Lady's Empire. As events in Juniper unfolded, they dreaded the possibility that she would subject them to the Eye, because this would uncover the secret that Darling was the reincarnation of the White Rose... the prophesied enemy of the Lady. When Croaker was summoned to see the Lady in the palace called Duretile, he was absolutely terrified that he would be subjected to the Eye. It turned out to be only a meeting with Duke Zimerlan and other leaders of Juniper.

Ever seen a grown man faint? I haven’t. But I came close. I may have come close to having a stroke, too. My blood pressure must have soared. For two minutes I was vertiginous and unable to think. My heart pounded. My guts ached with fear. I knew she was going to drag me in for a session with the Eye, which sees every secret buried in a man’s mind. And yet I could do nothing to evade her. It was too late to run.

When the Captain crashed the Lady's flying carpet in the western ocean outside Juniper, Croaker and the rest of the Company were horrified. But the silver lining was that the Captain's secret knowledge about Darling and Raven could no longer be obtained by the Eye. Later, before Croaker arrived at Chimney, the Lady confided to him that she used the Eye to expose Whisper's treachery.

The White RoseEdit

In The White Rose, Croaker was again subjected to the Lady's Eye at the Tower. By this time, he had switched allegiances and was now a key member of Darling's New White Rose Rebellion. Despite being a prisoner, he was treated well afterward on the Lady's orders. His awful headache pain was reduced by an attentive Tower physician who gave him a rare medicine derived from the "parsifal" plant which grows only in the Empty Hills.

The Lady lost the ability to use the Eye at the end of the Battle of the Barrowland, when Silent performed the Rite of Naming on her.

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