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The Great Comet was a comet which typically appeared in the sky over the northern continent of the homeworld every 37 years. At least four of its appearances presaged major historical events pertaining to the Lady and the Dominator. In the fourth appearance, the comet supernaturally broke its astronomical cycle and appeared about 23 years early. These appearances were:

  1. The collapse of the Domination during the White Rose Rebellion (407 years before The Black Company)
  2. Ten passages of the comet (370 years) later: the liberation of the Lady and the Ten Who Were Taken from their subterranean prisons in the Barrowland (recounted in Bomanz's "flashback" narrative in The White Rose which took place 37 years before The Black Company).
  3. One passage of the comet later: the Lady's victory over the Dominator's agents at the Battle of Charm (climax of The Black Company).
  4. About 14 years later: the Lady's loss of her sorcery during the Battle of the Barrowland as a result of Silent's completion of the Rite of Naming (climax of The White Rose).

The Great Comet has a "unique silver scimitar shape" according to Croaker the Black Company Annalist. The Great Forest suffered bad winters after each of the comet's passages.

Before Croaker's Annals[]

The Domination[]

The first chronological appearance of the Great Comet was during the final battle of the White Rose Rebellion. It was prominent in the sky over the Great Forest when the White Rose and her armies defeated the Dominator, the Lady, the Ten Who Were Taken, and their forces.

The Lady liberated from the Barrowland[]

The Great Comet returned to the sky over the northern continent every 37 years after the White Rose Rebellion. On its ninth return, it was viewed by Bomanz and Jasmine very shortly after their move to the Barrowland from Oar.

On its tenth return, the Lady effected her escape from the Barrowland. These events constituted the "flashback" narrative of Bomanz in The White Rose. Some days earlier, Bomanz and Besand (the Monitor of the Eternal Guard) observed it together while it was still small. Its growth in the sky caused Besand a great deal of stress, and he surmised correctly that Resurrectionists would attempt to liberate the Dominator. At its closest point, it illuminated the whole Barrowland during the night when Tokar – the leader of the Resurrectionists – broke the spells of confinement that were trapping the Lady.

The Black Company[]

After the Black Company reached the Stair of Tear, Raven mentioned that the Great Comet was now visible. This was its first mention in the Annals. Croaker had learned about it beforehand, presumably from the quartermaster Pickles who shared stories of the Rebel mythos confided to him by Rebel sympathizer Flick. Raven and Croaker observed that the distant object seemed to be ominously pointing at the Tower at Charm. The Rebel leadership, the Circle of Eighteen, had prophesied for years that its appearance would be a powerful and favorable omen for their cause.

Every major event in the saga of the Lady and her husband has been presaged by a comet. Countless Rebel prophets have predicted that she will fall while a comet is in the sky... The comet hung on the horizon like a ghost of a god's scimitar. It had been in the sky so long we scarcely noticed it now. I wondered if the Rebel had become equally indifferent. For him it was one of the great portents of impending victory.

Illuminating the Battle of Charm[]

As the Company and the armies of the Lady's Empire were pushed closer and closer to the Tower by the Rebel, the comet grew brighter in the night sky. Outside the Tower, the Rebel stalled until the comet grew closest, and it illuminated some of the night fighting during the climactic Battle of Charm. But the Rebels were ultimately defeated, and the comet appeared "enfeebled" and "drained" before the battle was even over.

Shadows Linger[]

The Great Comet did not appear during Shadows Linger, but it was discussed by members of the Black Company. In Juniper, when Croaker suggested that the Company turn against the Lady and fight for Darling, the Captain forbade it:

Eight years since the comet was in the sky. You know the legends. She won't fall till the Great Comet is up there. You want to try surviving twenty-nine years on the run from the Taken?

And yet, during the Battle of Juniper, the Black Company deserted the Lady and her Empire in response to treachery from the new Taken. They were now bodyguards for Darling and fugitives from the Empire. Now aboard the stout ship originally built by Raven, they prepared to cast off from the port of Chimney. In the master cabin, Croaker offered a toast "to the twenty-nine years" with Darling and the senior Company men, including the Lieutenant, Elmo, Silent, One-Eye, and Goblin. The 29 years referred to when the comet was projected to return and prophesied to bring fortune for their new cause.

The White Rose[]

Darling, the leader of the New White Rose Rebellion, worked tirelessly to bring about the Lady's defeat without regard for the Great Comet. She was persuaded she would triumph before the comet was due to return. As Croaker wrote: "the long wait for the comet has been rendered irrelevant. We have to survive right now." Then, several months later, Darling and the Lady put aside their war and became allies against the Dominator.

Defying the astronomical cycle[]

Leading up to the Battle of the Barrowland against the Dominator, the comet defied its astronomical cycle. It approached 23 years early (roughly 14 years after the Battle of Charm). The first to see it was the Lady herself. She took Croaker up high enough to observe it, using one of her newly-designed flying carpets. She asked that he keep quiet about it, so it would not become a demoralizing symbol in favor of their common enemy the Dominator. Its illogical return caused her great consternation, and events would prove her concerns well-founded. Even though the Dominator was finally killed, the Lady lost her sorcery at the Barrowland... a devastating personal blow. Its unnatural return seemed to have been the harbinger of one of the lowest points in her long life. The Great Comet illuminated the road out of the Barrowland which Croaker and the greatly diminished Black Company rode toward the Tower at Charm.

Subsequent events[]

The comet did not appear again in the Black Company series after the Books of the North. But it was mentioned briefly one more time in the Annals, in Dreams of Steel. When asked by Lady, Narayan Singh claimed that no comet was visible in the sky over the Shadowlands (the deep southern continent) on either of the occasions when it was visible in the north in his lifetime.

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