Murgen was a brother of the Black Company, and as its standard-bearer and later Annalist, one of its most important members. At the time of his first mention in Croaker's Annals, Murgen was already responsible for displaying and protecting the Company banner, which was affixed to the ancient Lance of Passion. He was the Annalist for the events of Bleak Seasons and She Is the Darkness, and was the leader of the Company's Old Crew faction during the infamous Siege of Dejagore. Murgen would gain the ability to leave his body and walk freely in spirit form, allowing him to supply priceless military intelligence. After he became one of the Captured, his dedicated wife Ky Sahra would play a pivotal role in the Company's survival. Their son Tobo would grow to become a key Company wizard in the final two Books of Glittering Stone.
Before the Annals[edit | edit source]
Murgen's maternal grandmother had been captured by his grandfather, somewhere in one of the territories that would later become part of the Lady's Empire. The grandmother spoke Groghor, a language which Murgen would partially pick up from her. His grandmother's homeland was wiped out during the consolidation wars of the Lady's new empire, and Groghor became an almost extinct tongue. Much to Murgen's surprise many years later, it would be revealed that Lady herself somehow learned it.
Murgen was born and raised on a potato farm. He was about 12 years old during the Battle of Charm and had not yet heard of the Black Company. To get away from farming, he joined one of the Lady's imperial armies. Although he later regretted leaving the farm, this decision almost certainly saved his life. A few years after his departure, a Rebel army wiped out his home and the entire surrounding region. Murgen would lament "the whole country had been turned desert in the name of freedom from the tyranny of the Lady's empire" upon recalling the memory in Bleak Seasons. Disliking the army, he deserted and joined the Black Company. His mother and maternal grandparents were already deceased before he joined the Company.
The White Rose[edit | edit source]
After serving in an imperial army, Murgen then joined the Black Company sometime after the end of Shadows Linger. He is mentioned briefly, only twice by name, in The White Rose. He was among the 10 Company survivors of the Battle of the Barrowland. At that time he was 28 years old and was the youngest among them. He set out with Croaker, Lady, One-Eye, Goblin, Otto, and Hagop southward, toward Khatovar, the fabled origin of the Company.
Shadow Games[edit | edit source]
At the Tower at Charm, the Company's new captain, Croaker, was given the rank of general in the Imperial army, and was also appointed a legate. With his newfound powers, Croaker commissioned Murgen as an imperial lieutenant. Murgen made the journey with the 6 other remaining Company members across the Sea of Torments from Opal in the northern continent to Beryl in the southern. At some point during this trek, Murgen started his training as understudy Annalist. Their march southward was halted by the Shadowmasters and their armies.
The Black Company was hired by Taglios to defeat them and Murgen fought in several battles. At first the Company was winning. They defeated a significant force of Shadowlanders at the Battle of Ghoja Ford. Soon after, at the start of the Battle of Dejagore, Murgen rode his black stallion dangerously close to the walls of Dejagore. He, Croaker, Goblin, and some others were saved from Stormshadow's lightning bolts only by the direct intervention of Shapeshifter. Immediately after the confrontation in Dejagore's citadel with Stormshadow herself, Murgen used the ancient spearhead of the Lance of Passion (affixed to the same pole as the Black Company standard) as a weapon, slashing the forvalaka Lisa Daele Bowalk. In the pitched battle the next day, Murgen impaled the Shadowmaster Moonshadow with the Lance, thus rendering the sorcerer powerless. The defeat of Moonshadow was not enough, and due to unforeseen circumstances the Black Company lost the Battle of Dejagore. Croaker was grievously wounded, so Murgen tried in vain to assume command of the army. He abandoned the standard to put on Croaker's Widowmaker armor, but, he could not stem the tide of retreat.
Dreams of Steel and Bleak Seasons[edit | edit source]
After the Battle of Dejagore, Murgen and most of the Company survivors retreated behind Dejagore's city walls, where they suffered the Siege of Dejagore at the hands of Shadowspinner for several months. This is when Murgen recorded the Annals for the events of Bleak Seasons. Lady managed to retreat far away, and she concurrently wrote the Annals of Dreams of Steel. The conditions were very harsh and the mortality rate was high. Mogaba, the highest ranking officer, was the official leader of the Company within the city. His ruthless methods, which involved executions and terror, were supported by the Nar recruits from Gea-Xle. Murgen instead led the Old Crew, who were Company veterans opposed to Mogaba's actions.
During the siege Murgen fell in love with Ky Sahra, a beautiful Nyueng Bao woman who was the granddaughter of Ky Dam (their Speaker) and Hong Tray (their high priestess). She had remarkable green eyes, which was uncommon for her people. Murgen saved her and some members of her family, and she later became his wife against the loud protests of the rest of her race. After the siege ended, they went to Taglios with the Black Company. Murgen officially succeeded Croaker as Annalist and was also given his room. About a week later, several Stranglers raided the Palace of Taglios with the intention to kill Croaker, using outdated information about his lodgings. Sahra was supposedly strangled with a rumel during the attack and Murgen was completely devastated. During this time, Murgen frequently exercised "spirit walking" through space and time to gain valuable intelligence about the movements of friends and enemies alike. He was able to do this when in proximity to Smoke, a comatose wizard whose soul had lost its natural anchors to his body.
She Is the Darkness[edit | edit source]
Murgen continued as the Company's Annalist and standard-bearer throughout the rest of the Liberator's war against the last surviving Shadowmaster: Longshadow. He used his spirit-walking abilities to gather enemy intelligence, but also to collect a wide variety of details of faraway happenings to flesh out his chronicles. He eventually used this ability to confirm that his wife Sahra had not actually been murdered by the Stranglers. Instead, she had been spirited away to the Vinh Gao Ghang Temple of Ghanghesha on the orders of her mother Ky Gota, who was ashamed that her daughter married an outsider.
Murgen's Annals included detailed accounts of the last major events of the Shadowmaster wars: the Battle of Lake Tanji, the Battle of Charandaprash, and the Siege of Overlook. At Lake Tanji, Murgen was confronted by a giant killer shadow and faced down certain death. But he was spared from a horrible demise only by the long-forgotten shadow-repellent properties of the Lance of Passion:
|“||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.||”|
Longshadow, now a Company captive, was kept alive out of necessity because his life was tied to the Shadowgate leading to the glittering plain. Murgen's Lance of Passion allowed Croaker's group to enter the plain to continue the Captain's search for Khatovar, but their expedition was not successful. They fell into a trap devised by Soulcatcher. Murgen and many of the Company's members became the Captured: frozen beneath the fortress with no name at the center of the plain, within the cave of the ancients. Although the whole group was presumed dead, Murgen's disembodied spirit would be the single thread that informed Sleepy and the fugitive remnants of the Company in the homeworld of their survival. For the next 15 years, Murgen's body remained in the supernatural stasis of the Captured, with the mysterious Lancehead of the Lance of Passion seeming to "whisper and murmur to itself" across his lap.
Water Sleeps[edit | edit source]
During his imprisonment among the Captured beneath the nameless fortress on the plain, Murgen continued to manifest his spirit walking ability. Sahra felt his presence and realized he was imprisoned and in need of help. She and Sleepy led the remnants of the Company against the armies of Soulcatcher and Mogaba for 5 years, a period referred to as the Kiaulune wars. Throughout that time, and for the next 10 years as well, communication with Murgen was restricted to Sahra's private mental connection. Then, during Water Sleeps, the wizards One-Eye and Goblin created a magic apparatus called the mist projector which allowed others to see and speak with Murgen directly. His connection with reality was weak but he learned many secrets about the plain throughout this period. At the end of Water Sleeps, Murgen and the rest of the Captured were finally freed, and the period called the "Captivity" was finally over.
Soldiers Live[edit | edit source]
By the opening events of Soldiers Live, Murgen had four years with his wife Sahra and his grown son Tobo, but his reintegration with his family was not easy. Sahra had aged considerably (both mentally and physically) during the 15 years of the Captivity, whereas Murgen had not aged at all.
Murgen was part of Croaker's eclectic group of Company members and allies permitted by Sleepy (who was now officially the Captain) to enter the Voroshk world to get revenge upon Lisa Daele Bowalk. Shortly after their arrival in the strange new world, Spiff and JoJo were killed by shadows under the command of the Voroshk. With conventional weapons, specially-prepared magic fetishes, and fireball projectors, they all subdued Bowalk despite her ferocious forvalaka shape. They also defeated 3 Voroshk wizards, one of whom, Shukrat, would later become a key member of the Company. The group soon decapitated Bowalk and then incinerated her in a huge pyre. Others who were present during this operation were Lady, Willow Swan, Thai Dei, Uncle Doj, Cratch, Slobo, a group of Unknown Shadows called the Black Hounds, Goblin (possessed by the Khadidas) and the two Chu Ming brothers.
Murgen and several other valuable Company members and allies (most prominently the Howler, the First Father, and Nashun the Researcher) were all killed by shadows at the onset of the Siege of Taglios. This occurred during an ill-advised operation ordered by Sleepy to capture Mogaba in the Palace of Taglios which ended in failure and tragedy.