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.
|“||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...||”|
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Shadowgate key[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
The spearhead was also an incredibly effective weapon when used against sorcerers. Wounds inflicted by it delivered horrible, debilitating magic. 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 She Is the Darkness, Croaker would stab the Howler with the Lance. 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[edit | edit source]
This is a list of identified individuals in the Annals who were attacked and wounded with the Lance.
|Lisa Daele Bowalk||Murgen||Shadow Games|
|Howler||Croaker||She Is the Darkness|
Mythic origins[edit | edit source]
According to legend, there were eight such spears and each of the Free Companies of Khatovar were given one. The metal spearheads were said to have been forged from the sword of a demon king devoured by Kina. The shafts of the lances were also legendary. The myths held that they were created from body parts of various deities (including bones from Kina herself), and some were created from the wood of a tree which imprisoned a goddess.
The Black Company had forgotten that it possessed such a powerful artifact, and for generations it was simply used as the shaft for carrying their banner, of which there were at least two.
The Books of the North[edit | edit source]
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 deserted an army of the Lady's Empire and joined the hunted Black Company sometime after Shadows Linger.
Shadow Games[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
Soulcatcher returned the Lance to Croaker during his captivity with her at the seasonally-vacant temple of the Stranglers 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 wounds on the Howler with the Lance. Longshadow spent almost an entire week, without stopping, removing the agonizing sorcery from his ally's body.
She Is the Darkness[edit | edit source]
|“||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[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
The wooden pole of the Lance was incinerated after Goblin's struggle with Kina, but 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.