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The return of the black company-RaymondSwanland

Lady in the first Lifetaker armor, art by Raymond Swanland

Lifetaker refers to either a fictitious persona created by Lady – the Lieutenant of the Black Company – or the two different sets of costume body armor associated with it. Armed with the ancient Carqui sword, Lady would take on the Lifetaker persona simultaneously when her husband donned the Widowmaker armor, a counterpart persona and corresponding armor she created for Croaker – who was both the Captain of the Company and the Liberator (hired warlord) of Taglios.

Except for a single noteworthy incident during the Siege of Dejagore when Soulcatcher (Lady's insane sister) used a duplicate Lifetaker armor, Lifetaker was used exclusively by Lady throughout the Company's movements in the Books of the South and the Books of Glittering Stone.

Mounted on the massive black stallions and crawling with frightening lights and glamours, the two larger-than-life personas of Lifetaker and Widowmaker terrorized the Shadowlanders and confused their leaders during the Shadowmaster wars. About 15 years later in Soldiers Live, both Widowmaker and Lifetaker again appeared in the homeworld, this time during Sleepy's war against the Protectorate.

Lady's first Lifetaker armor[]

Shadow Games[]

The first Lifetaker body armor created and worn by Lady during the Company's initial battles with the Shadowmasters. It was intentionally designed to instill fear, and many of the people of Taglios thought that the Lifetaker armor resembled Kina, the goddess of death and destruction. She wore it often, including during the disastrous Battle of Dejagore, where she nearly lost the priceless Carqui sword, and later at the Massacre at Khadi Junction which she orchestrated.

Dreams of Steel[]

During Dreams of Steel, the original helmet was heavily modified without Lady's permission by Ram, one of her close companions among the Stranglers. He adjusted it to more closely resemble an avatar of Kina.

Bleak Seasons[]

In Bleak Seasons, Murgen described the Lifetaker armor as follows:

...gothically ornate, black and shiny, too pretty to be much use in close combat. But her job was to fight sorcery, not soldiers. Her armor was surfaced by layer upon layer of protective spells... Threads of fire snaked along channels etched into the surface of her armor. She followed Bucket up the watchtower.

Lady rode one of her black stallions to a stockade being built by Big Bucket's advance construction team near the Loghra Hills in the Shadowlands. Bucket helped her don the Lifetaker armor, , and she took command of Shadowmaster sorcery called lines of power to kill many enemy Shadowlanders. She also attempted to strike the Howler.

Soulcatcher's copy[]

A copy of the Lifetaker armor was created later by Soulcatcher and featured prominently during Dreams of Steel. She built it at the Stranglers' temple in the Grove of Doom for her own personal use to manipulate events, impersonate her sister, and accomplish her own ends. She also sent her imp Frogface to steal the original Widowmaker armor for Croaker from Murgen's hiding spot within Dejagore. The two rode out from the hills as Lifetaker and Widowmaker during the Siege of Dejagore, and together they fought the besieging Shadowmaster army. They interrupted the siege during a critical moment when Shadowspinner was on the verge of taking the city walls from the Company. Soulcatcher engaged in a fierce sorcery duel with Shadowspinner, while Croaker simultaneously rode about and cut down many Shadowlanders. The two succeeded in breaking Shadowspinner's ability to take Dejagore, though the siege did continue.

Soulcatcher had dramatically superior sorcery at her disposal when she forged her Lifetaker copy armor, in contrast to the minimal powers available to Lady when she created the original. Croaker was duly intimidated by it, and described Soulcatcher's copy as follows:

Her armor had a subtly different look from that which Lady had created for her Lifetaker character. This was more intimidating. It radiated menace. It had the feel of an archetypal doom.

Lady's second Lifetaker armor[]

Soldiers Live[]

Lady wore a "reconstituted Lifetaker armor" in Soldiers Live, so her original armor was apparently lost by that time. It was built by armorers in Hsien. Croaker wrote that the "stuff on its exterior was less clearly defined and much more creepy [than the new Widowmaker armor] because she had insisted on being involved in its design and creation". He also noted that Lady "loves any excuse to assume the guise of Lifetaker. For a few hours she can wear the ugly armor and pretend that these are still the good old days when she was something much more wicked than this Lifetaker thing is supposed to be now."

Lady assumed the guise of Lifetaker during the following events:

  1. the re-awakening of the Howler in Gharhawnes;
  2. the bloodless capture of Dejagore from the Protectorate, where Lady also carried a burning sword and rode at the head of the invading column;
  3. in combat at the Battle of the Middle Ground;
  4. and at the disastrous raid of the Palace of Taglios that took place as a prelude to the Siege of Taglios.