The new Taken were ten sorcerers of immense magnitude and skill who were enslaved by the Lady using the Rite of Taking. The first three were "Taken" directly from the Circle of Eighteen to bolster the Lady's power in her war against that group in The Black Company. These were Whisper – by far the most important and dangerous of all the new Taken – as well as the newlyweds Feather and Journey. Two unidentified newcomers appeared in the short story "Shaggy Dog Bridge", in which they were killed. The last five were Taken to help lead the Lady's forces against the New White Rose Rebellion. Whisper, Journey, and three of the final 5 additions were participants in the Battle of the Barrowland, where the survivors of the group were rendered powerless due to the Rite of Naming.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The extremely powerful and sophisticated domination spells which the new Taken were subjected to constituted a ritual that takes hours, possibly days, during which the victim appears to be "broken, slain, and resurrected" as a devoted slave. The Lady's new Taken were subjected to her Eye and placed utterly and irrevocably under her power, just as the Ten Who Were Taken were originally controlled by the Dominator. However, the Limper, the last of the Ten still in the Lady's service, ranked higher than the new Taken. Like the Ten, the Lady's new Taken were not automatons – they were free to scheme against each other and even the Lady – but the Lady had the power to completely strip them of all their magical talent at will.
Each of the new Taken was skilled with flying carpets; while riding these, the sorcerers were instrumental in systematically slaying each of the Dominator's "pets" as the ancient demons were released from the Barrowland during the Battle of the Barrowland. They were also able to use weather magic. In an effort to arrest the Dominator's flooding of the Great Tragic River, they froze the western banks, albeit to little effect.
Despite their power, the new Taken were never considered to be as strong or threatening as the original Ten. Except for Whisper, they all dressed identically. Whisper proved to be the only unique one among them, and was the most characterized of the group by far.
New Taken identified by name include:
- Whisper (female)
- Journey (male)
- Feather (female)
- Benefice (male)
- Blister (female)
An apparent ninth new Taken, Mischievous Rain, was heavily involved in the Black Company's activities in the Aloe region in the years between the Battle of Charm and the Battle of Juniper, but she is not mentioned outside unreliable and fragmentary records of that time. It is also disputed by historians whether she was a Taken at all.
Two other new Taken were also known to exist, but both were killed during the events of "Shaggy Dog Bridge" and were never identified.
The Black Company[edit | edit source]
Whisper[edit | edit source]
The first three sorcerers Taken by the Lady belonged to the Circle of Eighteen, the leaders of the Rebel armies which waged war against the Lady's Empire. The first to be Taken was Whisper, the most dangerous of the entire Circle. Significantly, until the Lady enslaved Whisper, it had been universally assumed (even by the Lady's own sister Soulcatcher) that only the Dominator was able to execute the Rite of Taking. Whisper was ambushed by two Black Company men – Croaker and Raven – in the Forest of Cloud, and her Taking was witnessed and chronicled in limited detail by Croaker.
Feather and Journey[edit | edit source]
Leading up to the epic Rebel siege on the Tower at Charm, the Black Company kidnapped two more (newly-inducted) members of the Circle, Feather and Journey, and delivered them to the Lady. They were both Taken by the Lady, like Whisper. Alongside Whisper, they both fought for the Lady against the remainder of the Circle, their former allies, at Charm.
Port of Shadows[edit | edit source]
After the Black Company captured Tides Elba, a young woman with significant magic potential who had been training as a priestess in Aloe's Temple of Occupoa, she was transported by the Limper to Charm. She later returned to Aloe as Mischievous Rain, having apparently been Taken by the Lady, along with two children who she claimed were the offspring of her and Croaker: Shin and Baku. She was also accompanied by a strange, three-eyed cat named Ankou. Croaker came to believe, with good reason, that Shin, Baku, and Ankou were demons of some kind who were subservient to Mischievous Rain. The Taken was tasked with assisting the Black Company in rooting out the Port of Shadows, a prophesied individual who would give birth to the Dominator's reincarnation, but also had a surprising predilection for Croaker and went out her way to make it appear as though they were in a relationship.
Following the capture of the first encountered copies of Tides Elba at Honnoh, Mischievous Rain returned to the Tower with them, beginning an absence from Aloe that unexpectedly lasted for several months. Her long absence was never explained, and she or the Lady even went to the trouble of sending an imposter, a magically-trained Tides Elba copy disguised with a glamour, to Aloe to resume the search for the Port of Shadows. The genuine Mischievous Rain later returned to Aloe after the Company discovered several TelleKurre documents in a hidden Resurrectionist shrine, but then vanished from all records and the Company's memories after the subjugation of the Ghost Country. Croaker's last recorded memory of Mischievous Rain is when she introduces him to her sister, Laissa, as her husband using his birth name, which should not have been known to her.
An Aloen historian later asserted that Mischievous Rain may not have been a Taken at all, and speculated based on the evidence available to him that "Mischievous Rain" may have been an identity used by two people: the Lady at first, and then another woman after the long absence. In the historian's view, it could not have been the Lady the whole time because the Mischievous Rain who led the Ghost Country campaign was "more naive" and "thoroughly infatuated" with Croaker. The historian also claimed that "as many as five" other new Taken aside from Whisper, Journey, Feather, and Mischievous Rain were believed to have participated in the Ghost Country campaign, but noted that records were vague on this point.
Shadows Linger[edit | edit source]
Whisper and Feather secretly conspired in the far northwestern city of Juniper to harm the Black Company in some undisclosed way during the events of the second chronicle. Their treachery was not immediately known to the Lady, and it was first uncovered by the Captain, who died trying to evacuate his men from the city.
Feather was killed by the Dominator's castle creatures in the Battle of Juniper. Her outraged husband Journey wasted two priceless flying carpets (his own and the Limper's) trying to avenge her. After the battle, he then remained in Juniper when the Lady personally laid waste to the city in response to the giant uprising of the populace led by Hargadon. Meanwhile, Whisper and the Limper left on horseback to undertake an unauthorized retaliation campaign against the Black Company in Meadenvil.
"Shaggy Dog Bridge"[edit | edit source]
Whisper, Journey, and two newcomers to the Taken (both unidentified by Croaker the Annalist) appeared in "Shaggy Dog Bridge". They and their Imperial armies were still in hot pursuit of the fugitive Black Company for their desertion during the Battle of Juniper several years prior. The four Taken fought a midair battle against Blind Emon over the castle of the Master, during which the two newcomer Taken were killed. Journey and especially Whisper were badly injured during this battle but survived.
The White Rose[edit | edit source]
By the time of the events of the third chronicle, the Lady had Taken 5 new wizards: Scorn, Blister, Benefice, the Creeper, and Learned. The Lady used them to encircle the Plain of Fear to trap Darling and the Black Company – the nucleus of the New White Rose Rebellion – by stationing her new Taken and the Limper at various points outside the plain. The Limper, the only member of the original Taken still in the Lady's service, was stationed with Benefice outside Rust as commander over all. Whisper and Journey operated together out of a village called Spit, to the west of the plain. The newest five each had their own posts and unique stellae. The newest five were generally undistinguished in Croaker's Annals, and although he encountered all of them, they often went unnamed because of their identical dress.
Scorn and Blister[edit | edit source]
Blister's great talent is necromancy, which apparently includes divination; she is able to read the future and realizes that Lady is destined to disappear from the Northern Empire. Thinking she has an opportunity, Blister and fellow Taken Scorn launch a surprise attack on the Lady in the Plain of Fear, knowing she is without magic inside Darling's null. The assassination attempt is foiled by Father Tree, however, who strikes Blister and Scorn from their carpets with lightning bolts. They both plummet into venomous land-coral. Soon after, the Lady -- thinking her attackers were the usual suspects Limper and Whisper -- was somewhat surprised to discover that they were Blister and Scorn instead. She strips both of them of their powers, and they are left for dead. Scorn perishes; years later it turns out that Blister, who was also presumed dead in the coral, actually survived, although bereft of magical ability.
Benefice[edit | edit source]
Benefice was the sub-commander positioned under the Limper at Rust during the imperial encirclement of the Plain. He and the Limper are later seen on carpets fleeing Rust as Darling and the Plain creatures approached. The Lady admires him specifically for his prowess in managing multiple carpets, and even compares his riding skill to that of his great predecessor, the Howler. He was given the most responsibility of all the Taken in the airborne attack on the windwhales over Darling's army as it marched westward to Horse. In this battle, Benefice personally controlled a W-shaped formation of five massive carpets. Later, he went on a two-day journey by carpet for the Lady, and tracked down an artifact that proved useless.
The Creeper and Learned[edit | edit source]
The Creeper and Learned were the Lady's subordinates at Frost and Rue, respectively. Neither were mentioned again by name in the Annals, until a tangential reference about their survival was recorded in the sixth chronicle many years later.
Fate of the new Taken[edit | edit source]
Croaker recorded that a pair of Taken was knocked out of the sky by both a swarm of mantas and Darling's null as the Plain army marched on Rust. He implied that those two Taken could have been killed that night. Later events would prove that these two must have survived, however, as all seven remaining new Taken were mentioned by name to be alive afterward.
After the failed attempt on her life by the traitors Blister and Scorn, the Lady set up a sort of 'dead-man's trigger' as a kind of insurance policy. Should the Lady be killed or lose her own power, it would immediately strip away the powers of the new Taken. This occurred after the death of the Dominator in the aftermath of the Battle of the Barrowland, when Silent spoke the Lady's true name to fully strip away her supernatural abilities. As a result, the remaining new Taken also lost their ability to fly their carpets, and plummeted out of midair, "undone, and soon dead" as recorded by Croaker. However, only Benefice seems to have been killed during this event. Years later during Bleak Seasons, Otto and Hagop reported reliable testimony from Imperial officials that Journey, Whisper, Blister, Creeper, and Learned were all still alive... albeit still stripped of their magic abilities.
|Whisper • Journey • Feather • Benefice • Scorn • Blister • The Creeper • Learned|