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When I looked back at the toppled throne I saw the hall as it may have appeared a thousand years ago. Or more. When a band of cruel priests were making the original shadows from prisoners of war. It was there for just an instant but that moment was long enough to tell me that this had been a very ugly place once upon a time, long before the advent of the twelve Free Companies.

Murgen, She Is the Darkness

Fortress With No Name

Map of the area around the fortress with no name

The fortress with no name is a giant, prehistoric structure that sits at the very center of the glittering plain. Its vast central hall, at the heart of the fortress, is a few yards short of being 1 mile across. It was the birthplace of the notorious shadows. And, it was the home of the mysterious golem known as Shivetya, who used his supernatural powers to eternally maintain control of the plain using a scale model surrounding his throne.

The fortress was a key location in the conclusions of both She Is the Darkness and Water Sleeps, and a recurring location in Soldiers Live.

Before the Annals[]


When the original Nef first constructed the plain untold millennia in the distant past, it was a featureless landscape except for its roads. The nameless fortress was built by mysterious sorcerers much later, in an effort to bring an end to the marching of armies between the 16 linked worlds. (The golem Shivetya might be the last of the immortal guardians who originally staffed the fortress.)

Caverns created & burial of Kina[]

Despite the presence of the fortress, Kina and her contemporaries waged an epic battle on the plain. At great cost she was defeated but apparently could not be killed. The victors created a maze of caverns beneath the fortress and buried her in the lowest one in a death-like state. Shivetya was saddled with the additional duty of guarding her. Although it is uncertain, this may have been when Shivetya was nailed to his wooden throne with silver daggers.

Birthplace of the shadows[]

At some point generations later, the nameless fortress ceased being an effective preventative measure against the continual encroachment of warmongers onto the plain. A now-forgotten tyrant marched many millions of soldiers throughout the plain in an effort to conquer all 16 worlds. In response, a "band of cruel priests" from one of the victimized worlds sought to shut down the plain forever. They captured millions of the tyrant's soldiers over time and, in the main hall of the fortress, created the shadows. The horrible entities spread out from the fortress and infested the plain as planned. In response, sorcerers created the 16 Shadowgates to seal off the pre-existing entryways onto the plain, trapping the ageless shadows there for at least a millennia.

The Books of the Dead[]

The lethal shadows kept the plain, and the fortress, bereft of visitors for hundreds of years. There were few exceptions. One noteworthy exception was the cult of the Stranglers in the ancient history of the southern continent. They were hunted extensively by a king named Rhaydreynak. The survivors used the Shadowgate key known as the golden pickax and entered the fortress with no name. They stowed all three Books of the Dead in one of the caverns that was situated above their imprisoned goddess. The Books remained there, untouched and forgotten for many centuries, until the events of Water Sleeps. This may have been the time when huge stores of treasure were placed beneath the fortress as well.

Later visitors[]

All of the Free Companies of Khatovar – including the youngest, the Black Company – passed through or around the fortress with no name during their treks from Khatovar, to the homeworld, and back again. The Black Company is noteworthy here because they are the only one which did not make the return trip until more than 400 years later.

The Nyueng Bao De Duang also passed through or around the fortress during their migration from Hsien to the homeworld. Later, it is almost certain that Longshadow, Shadowspinner, and a band of shadowweavers visited the fortress as well after they were overthrown and exiled from Hsien and entered the homeworld.

Bleak Seasons[]

Soulcatcher was the next known person to visit the fortress. This occurred concurrently during the events of Bleak Seasons but were revealed only in later Annals. On several occasions, she accessed the glittering plain safely using the golden pickax to repel the shadows. None of her travels across the Shadowgate to the fortress were observed by Longshadow, despite his intense vigilance from Overlook. During one of her visits, she haphazardly tinkered with the scale model of the plain contained within the fortress. This inadvertently caused a devastating earthquake, cracking the plain, killing thousands in Kiaulune and elsewhere, toppling part of the fortress, and causing Shivetya's wooden throne to become precariously leaning over the resulting chasm.

She Is the Darkness[]

The modern Black Company first encountered the fortress during Croaker's failed search for Khatovar at the end of She Is the Darkness. In the fortress, Soulcatcher was released from her bonds by Willow Swan whom she seduced. She and Willow stowed her 35 prisoners, who would come to be called the Captured, within the cave of the ancients deep beneath the nameless structure.

Water Sleeps[]

Sleepy led a new crop of Company members and allies to the fortress to rescue the first set of 5 members of the Captured, 15 years after She Is the Darkness. During this visit, they worked to set Shivetya back upright in his throne, safely away from the chasm. They discovered that the crack in the ground had been slowly sealing itself shut: a testament to the unimaginable sorcery powering the plain. Sleepy and her people would make several more treks back and forth from Hsien to the nameless fortress to liberate the rest of the Captured.

Soldiers Live[]

Throughout the 4-year period between Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live, Shivetya granted the Black Company unfettered access to his fortress. With his blessing, they and their ally Blade cleaned out the enormous cache of ancient treasure to fund their training and the building of the Abode of Ravens. Meanwhile, the frail Gunni scholar Baladitya from Taglios busily recorded Shivetya's biography in High Taglian. Two Voroshk cowards, the First Father and Nashun the Researcher, stayed in the fortress for a time.

Croaker worked out a deal to kill Kina and to release Shivetya from his guardianship over the plain. In return, the golem swapped places with Croaker: he instilled Croaker's soul into his immortal colossus, so he could eventually expire in the physician's dying body. With Croaker now in charge of the plain, repairing the fortress became one of the many tasks for the newly-empowered trio of Nef ghosts.