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Freak (real name Heart-of-the-Lion) was a member of the Black Company who joined alongside his brother, Geek, during the group's southward trek toward fabled Khatovar in Shadow Games. The brothers – tall black K'Hlata men from the savannah south of D'loc Aloc – weilded long-bladed spears, javelins, and black and white hide shields. They received their nicknames from Goblin. Both participated in Croaker the Liberator's early battles of the Shadowmaster wars and the hellish Siege of Dejagore.

Shadow Games[]

A pair of tall black men came up the road at a steady, hardy trot.

They were the sleakest, healthiest specimens I had seen in a long time. Each carried a sheaf of javelins across his back; a short-hafted, long-bladed spear in his right hand; and a shield of some white and black striped hide upon his left arm. Their limbs moved in perfect cadence, as though each man was half of some marvelous, rhythmic machine.

Freak and Geek were first seen as they approached the Black Company at the edge of their people's savannah. The Company had been waiting for six days at this location after leaving the jungles of D'loc Aloc. The brothers spoke arrogantly to Wheezer and indicated that they would confiscate any goods they wished in return for their services as guides through the savannah. This did not come to pass, however, as they were distracted by rival warriors who antagonized them. Freak and Geek struck down three of the rivals but were subdued; they were rescued only when Goblin garrotted the remaining enemy warriors with charmed rope.

Goblin now gave them the nicknames "Freak" and "Geek". Croaker was displeased with the names but they stuck. They guided the Company through the savannah for the next 14 days, then begged to permanently join the band when distant drums announced they were outlaws for their assault on the three rival warriors.

Later, Freak and Geek accompanied One-Eye and Wheezer at the bazaar in Gea-Xle where One-Eye purchased the imp Frogface. The brothers lugged the large closed basket and opened the lid, introducing Croaker to the supernatural trickster. After participating in the battle against the Howler's swamp pirates on the great river, Freak and Geek examined the stranger Blade in the city of Thresh. By this point, Croaker had learned their real names (Heart-of-the-Lion and Claw-of-Lion), and referred to them as Heart and Claw in this chapter. Heart (Freak) indicated that there might be something special about Blade, but his input is not revealed in the Annals.

Although Croaker admired the brothers for their physique and strength, he did not have a high opinion of their usefulness in other capacities. When Croaker began forming the new legions of Taglios for the Prahbrindrah Drah, he assigned Heart, Lion, and Wheezer to Mogaba for staff work, because he "not know what else to do with those three. They were willing but had little practical value." They presumably participated in the Battle of Ghoja Ford, and were survivors of the 2-day Battle of Dejagore.

Bleak Seasons[]

Throughout the months-long Siege of Dejagore (as recounted in Bleak Seasons), the brothers were part of Murgen's Old Crew faction of the Company, which was trapped in deteriorating contention against Mogaba and his Nar faction. Murgen admired the brothers, comparing them to "rubbed ebony statues"... and like Croaker he did not understand their assigned nicknames. The brothers took turns monitoring Sindhu, an outsider who was not trusted. Then, during the first bloodshed between the factions, Freak witnessed a Nar soldier spear Geek to death. In return, he immediately slew his brother's killer.

Subsequent events[]

Freak is not mentioned again in the Annals after the slaying of his brother. But due to a pair of Annalists' statements (one provided by Sleepy in Water Sleeps chapter 4, and the other by Croaker in Soldiers Live chapter 130), it is known that Freak must have died before the closure of the modern Annals. If he survived the rest of the Siege of Dejagore and the remainder of the Shadowmaster wars, he would have either served under Sleepy during the Kiaulune wars or would have become one of the Captured at the end of She Is the Darkness. If it was the former, then he died during the Kiaulune wars because Sleepy confirmed that the only Old Crew who fought in those conflicts and survived were One-Eye and Goblin. And if it was the latter, he died within five years of his liberation from the cave of the ancients, as Croaker confirmed that only he (Croaker) and Lady remained alive of the Captured.

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