|“||We slipped into the tunnel which leads down to our warren, our stinking, moldering, damp, tight little rabbit-hole fortress. It is disgusting, but it is the heart and soul of the New White Rose Rebellion. The New Hope, as it is whispered among the captive nations. The Joke Hope to those of us who live here. It is as bad as any rat-infested dungeon - though a man can leave.||”|
The Hole, also called the Fastness, was the squalid headquarters of Darling's New White Rose Rebellion movement. It was the home of the remaining 50 members of the Black Company for two years before the opening events of The White Rose. They first arrived there after their 4-year-long trek eastward from Chimney (an odyssey which began at the end of Shadows Linger), and after suffering the Battle of Queen's Bridge and the events of both "Shaggy Dog Bridge" and "Bone Eaters".
The Hole was simply a series of caverns near the center of the Plain of Fear. Father Tree is not far from the Hole, but he is far enough away to be untouched by Darling's anti-magic null. The talking stones known as the menhirs (answering, as it turns out, to Father Tree) gave the Company permission to stay in the subterranean fortress.
The Hole was cramped and stinking at all times. Near the entrance tunnel was a reeking stable. There was only a single door in the entire place, behind which was a conference room and Darling's quarters, though there were cells for prisoners and certain areas with curtains. The Hole was referred to with the inspirational propaganda name "the Fastness" by Rebels who were embedded elsewhere, out in the Lady's Empire.
A year after his departure from the Hole, in Shadow Games, Croaker would recall that the number of human inhabitants besides himself was 50.
The White RoseEdit
The Black Company remained safe in the Hole from the new Taken, who would not venture into the Plain for at least two years after their arrival. From this place they coordinated messengers and informants who spread out throughout the empire. The Lieutenant and two others permanently camped out in the threshold to Darling's quarters; they would not leave that spot even during the rare alert situations.
In the Hole's conference room, Croaker learned the awful news from the Rebel messenger Corder that, not only had the Lady replenished her ranks with 5 additional New Taken, but that his hated enemy, the Limper, was still alive.
The Hole was finally abandoned when Darling and the Lady forged an alliance to kill the Dominator. The Hole's (human) inhabitants, and many sentient Plain races loyal to Father Tree, boarded 18 windwhales and flew toward the Barrowland (passing over Horse, the Forest of Cloud, Lords, Roses, the province of Forsberg, and Oar along the way). Years after the Battle of the Barrowland, only Darling would revisit the Hole.
The Silver SpikeEdit
Darling gave Case – a former soldier of the Imperial Eternal Guard – a tour of the abandoned Hole at the conclusion of The Silver Spike. He was amazed at the dedication of those who had stayed there for those years, finding the place to be "fascinating, and repellent".