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Murgen by Виталий Стрелец

The Lance, with the standard, carried by Murgen. Fan art by Виталий Стрелец.

It did not look like something that ought to excite the envy of a blacksmith, let alone great powers. It was nothing but one rusty old spearhead atop a long wooden shaft. Five feet down from the head there was a cross-piece four feet long tied to the shaft. From that hung the black banner...

Murgen, She Is the Darkness

The Lance of Passion was centuries-old artifact carried by the Black Company since the group's creation in Khatovar. It was a wooden pole 12 feet (3.6 meters) in length, with a plain, rusty spearhead of about 18 inches (45 cm). The Lance supported the Black Company standard, which hung from a crosspiece. The role of standard-bearer was a highly-respected position within the Company. Long-forgotten sorcery of tremendous potency contained within the Lance would be revealed in Dreams of Steel and the Books of Glittering Stone.

Abilities[]

Shadowgate key[]

The spearhead of the Lance was actually a Shadowgate key, which, like the golden pickax, allowed its bearer a safe passage through the glittering plain. It was a repellent against shadows, the murderous entities which infested the plain. When carried outside the plain, the Lance had a short-range shadow-repellent effect. But on the plain, it interacted with the sensitive sorcery native to that place and created a much larger barrier against shadows. All of these functionalities were utterly forgotten by the Company for hundreds of years, until the events of the Books of Glittering Stone.

As a weapon[]

The spearhead was also an incredibly effective weapon when used against sorcerers. Wounds inflicted by it delivered horrible, debilitating sorcery. The standard-bearer Murgen – unaware of its true power – used it against Lisa Daele Bowalk the forvalaka and two different Shadowmasters (Stormshadow and Moonshadow) to great effect in Shadow Games. Later, in Dreams of Steel, Croaker gave the Howler a flesh wound with the Lance. The Howler suffered excruciating agony and was barely able to escape, and his ally Longshadow spent almost a week, without sleep, removing the dangerous sorcery from Howler's body. It would finally be used by Goblin against the entity Kina in Water Sleeps.

Individuals attacked with the Lance[]

This is a list of identified individuals in the Annals who were attacked and wounded with the Lance.

Victim Lance wielder Chronicle
Stormbringer Murgen Shadow Games
Lisa Daele Bowalk Murgen Shadow Games
Moonshadow Murgen Shadow Games
Howler Croaker Dreams of Steel
Kina Goblin Water Sleeps

Origins[]

Black Company relics by Виталий Стрелец

The head of the Lance and other Black Company relics. Fan art by Виталий Стрелец.

Before the true origin of the Lance of Passion was uncovered in the Annals, old Gunni myths recorded by the librarians of Kiaulune were discussed. The myths attempted to describe the origin of the Black Company's Lance and the 7 other counterpart Lances that were carried by the other Free Companies of Khatovar. In legend, the 8 metal spearheads were said to have been forged from the sword of a demon king who was devoured by Kina. As for the shafts of the Lances, the myths claimed: one was the penis of the Regent of Shadow; two were carved from the thighbones of Kina herself after her imprisonment; and the remaining 5 were created from the wood of a tree in which was trapped the spirit of the goddess Rhavi-Lemna after her physical form was devoured by the Wolves of Shadow.

In reality, the Lance was the creation of Kina-worshipping wizards from Khatovar who were trained in the workings of Shadowgates.

The Books of the North[]

The Lance of Passion was not mentioned by Croaker in his Books of the North, but, it is known to have been carried by the group throughout those events. By the time of The White Rose, it was carried by Murgen, the Company's standard-bearer and relative newcomer who joined the Black Company sometime before the Battle of Juniper.

Generations before the Books of the North, the Black Company had already forgotten that its cherished relic was imbued with its significant sorcery. The Lance was simply used as the shaft for carrying their standard (of which there were two different designs) on a crosspiece.

Shadow Games[]

The Lance saw its most combat use during the events of Shadow Games. It was used by Murgen against 3 very powerful enemies... although at the time he had no idea of the weapon's potency against sorcerers.

Murgen used the spearhead of the Lance to inflict agonizing wounds on both Stormshadow and Lisa Daele Bowalk the forvalaka during the first night of the Battle of Dejagore. The next day, outside the city, he impaled Moonshadow with it during the Company's charge of war elephants. When the battle turned against the Company, he discarded the Lance to put on Croaker's Widowmaker suit of armor in an attempt to stop the tide of fleeing Taglian soldiers. Still with Moonshadow impaled upon it, the Lance was spirited away by Soulcatcher, who used sorcery to levitate it (and Croaker) away from the battlefield.

Dreams of Steel[]

Soulcatcher returned the Lance to Croaker during his captivity with her at the seasonally-vacant temple of the Deceivers in the Grove of Doom. He carried it with him in Taglios while he was disguised as a Shadar bodyguard of Soulcatcher, who was herself masquerading as her sister Lady. When they were attacked by the Howler (who had been sent by Longshadow to kidnap Lady), Croaker inflicted a flesh wound on the Howler with the Lance. Despite the non-threatening nature of the cut itself, the Lance infected the ancient wizard with its powerful and potentially fatal sorcery. Longshadow spent almost an entire week, without stopping, removing the agonizing sorcery from his ally's body.

She Is the Darkness[]

During the Battle of Lake Tanji, the Lance of Passion unexpectedly repelled a killer shadow that was on the verge of subjecting Murgen the standard-bearer to a hellish death:

That killer slice of hell's breath strained to get at me but could not. It was as though the thing, at the last instant, had encountered some invisible and unbreakable barrier.

This was some of the earliest evidence noted by the Company that the Lance was more than simply a mundane relic. (As a Shadowgate key, it generated a shadow-proof field.)

After the Shadowmaster wars ended, the Lance was finally used for its original purpose: as a Shadowgate key. Carried by Murgen alongside Croaker, Lady, and a procession of about 50 others, including Black Company men, Nyueng Bao bodyguards, and several high-value prisoners (Soulcatcher, the Howler, Longshadow, the Prahbrindrah Drah, and Lisa Daele Bowalk), they left the homeworld and entered the glittering plain. After they took it to the fortress with no name, Soulcatcher sprang her trap, and the Lance was sealed along with Murgen and the rest of the Captured in the cave of the ancients. For the next 15 years, the mysterious Lancehead "seemed to whisper and murmur to itself" as it lay across Murgen's lap. It would never leave the nameless fortress.

Water Sleeps[]

Once the Captured were rescued 15 years after their imprisonment, the Company found Kina's grave-like chamber deep below the structure. She attacked her unwelcome visitors with dangerous wisps of smoke-like magic from her nostrils. Goblin fought back desperately with the Lance, penetrating her upper body with it to buy time for Sleepy, Tobo, Suvrin, and Master Santaraksita to escape.

Soldiers Live[]

The Lance was never seen again after Goblin's desperate usage of the artifact against Kina. But, Shivetya would inform Tobo that the wooden pole of the Lance was incinerated, and that the spearhead remained inside Kina's body. According to Goblin, Kina slowly migrated the spearhead through her flesh to her womb (presumably to expel it). The spearhead seems to have been disintegrated during Goblin's final attack on Kina in Soldiers Live.

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