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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.

Like Croaker, Murgen stood more than six feet tall. Murgen, introspective and taciturn, was described by Lady as "permanently sad" in Dreams of Steel and as having "[grown] up eating nothing but ugly soup" by Magadan in Soldiers Live.

Before Croaker's Annals[]

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. His family's landlord was a fair man who did not live much better than Murgen's family and the other tenants. Murgen 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, serving under one of the new Taken. Although he later regretted leaving the farm, this decision almost certainly saved his life. A few years after his departure, a Rebel army associated with the Circle of Eighteen 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. Despite his imperial service, he did not visit or even see the Tower at Charm until many years later (in Shadow Games).

Joining the Black Company[]

Murgen disliked the Imperial army, so he eventually deserted and next "joined up with the Black Company, which was the only place I could hide with the provost after me." As to when exactly this was in the Company's own history, Croaker would write two conflicting accounts. In Shadow Games, Croaker recorded that Murgen "joined the Company after our defection from the empire", which would mean he came on after the Battle of Juniper. But decades later in Soldiers Live Croaker would mention "he was almost the last man to join us while we were still in service to the Lady", placing his enlistment before that battle.

His mother and maternal grandparents were already deceased before he joined the Company.

On The Long Run short story arc[]

Murgen is not mentioned in the short stories of the On The Long Run arc. But depending upon which of the two conflicting accounts of when he enlisted is accurate, he may have been with the Company throughout these events. If he joined before the Battle of Juniper, then he participated in the seaborne skirmishes against the pirates of the Pocatose ("Cranky Bitch"); was probably bedded by one of the incarnations of the supernatural woman known as Leta ("Leta of the Thousand Sorrows"); witnessed lake mermaids ("Wet Dream Fish Story"); crossed Blind Emon's bridge over the Rip ("Shaggy Dog Bridge"); and survived the hungry ghosts and went into garrison in Rue ("Bone Eaters").

The White Rose[]

Murgen is mentioned briefly, only twice by name, in The White Rose. He was among the 10 Company survivors of the brutal 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[]

Murgen and Lisa Bowalk

Murgen and Lisa Daele Bowalk, from The Black Company Campaign Setting

After the Battle of the Barrowland, he traveled southward with the survivors of the band and the Lady. At the massive Tower at Charm – which Murgen had not seen until this point – the new Black Company Captain, Croaker, was given the rank of general in the Imperial army, and was also appointed a legate. With his newfound authority, Croaker commissioned Murgen as an imperial lieutenant. Murgen and his comrades sailed aboard The Dark Wings across the Sea of Torments from Opal in the northern continent to Beryl in the southern. Outside Beryl, he sponsored the membership of three newcomers: the siblings Cletus, Loftus, and Longinus, who would all have distinguished careers in the Company as architects and engineers.

Murgen was present throughout the rest of the long southward trek, including the bloody battle north of Thresh aboard the fortified river barge on the needleteeth-infested great river. At some point during these travels, Murgen started his training as understudy Annalist.

Their march south was halted by the Shadowmasters and their armies. The Black Company was hired by Taglios, with Croaker as "Liberator", to defeat them. Murgen fought in these early battles. At first the Company struck important victories. They defeated a significant force of Shadowlanders at the Battle of Ghoja Ford near the banks of the Main. Soon after, at the prelude to 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. The next night, 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, 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 most of Croaker's Widowmaker armor (minus the breastplate), but, he could not stem the tide of retreat. He may have been the person who brought Croaker's black bow into the city during the retreat.

Dreams of Steel and Bleak Seasons[]

At 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. Murgen's original Annals for these events were lost to flame, but he recalled (and apparently relived) some of those events in Bleak Seasons. Lady, the Black Company Lieutenant, managed to retreat far away, and she concurrently wrote the Annals of Dreams of Steel. The conditions were terrible and the mortality rate within the city 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 his fellow Nar recruits from Gea-Xle. Murgen instead led the Old Crew, who were Company veterans increasingly 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). Sahra had remarkable green eyes, an uncommon trait among 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 following a savage assault by Soulcatcher's Palace demon.

Murgen the black company by irontree-d92t00k

Murgen by Mikey Patch (Irontree)

She Is the Darkness[]

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.

After Overlook was captured, Longshadow became a Company captive but was kept alive strictly out of necessity because his life was tied by sorcery to the Shadowgate leading to the glittering plain. In the Black Company's subsequent months around Kiaulune, Murgen rediscovered One-Eye's spear and Croaker's black bow in a reinforced dugout while looking for beer. Later, the comatose wizard Smoke was assassinated by Soulcatcher, terminating Murgen's ability to "ride" Smoke's spirit throughout time and space.

The Captured[]

Murgen's Lance of Passion allowed Croaker's group to enter the lethal plain to continue their search for Khatovar. But, their long-awaited expedition was ill-fated. They fell into a trap devised by Soulcatcher. Murgen and many of the Company's leadership and allies 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[]

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 not dead, but imprisoned. She and Sleepy led the remnants of the Company against the Protectorate armies of Great General 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[]

Murgen by Виталий Стрелец 2

Fan art by Виталий Стрелец

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 who entered 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 powers. 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.

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