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One-Eye was one of the Black Company's wizards during the modern Annals. With his minor sorcery supernaturally extending his life by several decades, he came to be the last survivor of the generation of black men which preceded the Company's white demographic of the Books of the North. He was a notorious drunkard, an incorrigible criminal, and a degenerate gambler who never removed his filthy, infamous black hat. When not dabbling in black marketeering, manufacturing alcohol stills, or cheating at tonk, he was often found fanning the flames of his longstanding feud with Goblin, another elderly Company wizard.

Despite the less savory aspects of his personality, the short, wizened, wrinkled One-Eye often proved to be one of the most valuable brothers of the mercenary band. With his atypically long lifetime of experience and assortment of handy wizard's abilities, he often contributed by distracting enemies with disturbing illusions or by saving his wounded brethren in risky battlefield surgery alongside Croaker the physician.

One-Eye's membership in the Company antedated that of any other member – except perhaps his younger blood brother Tom-Tom – in the modern Annals. He was already about a hundred and fifty years old by the opening of The Black Company. For about 15 years, he was the last black man in the band until the group traveled back toward its roots in the southern continent in Shadow Games.

Overview of abilities[]

It is not implied that One-Eye is more or less potent than the three other Company wizards Tom-Tom, Goblin, and Silent. But their powers were not identical. While One-Eye's knowledge of sorcery exceeded that of Goblin, they shared much of their expertise in illusions, and Goblin was considered far more creative in his sorcery. Silent is stated to have a more deadly type of magic in his employ.


One-Eye frequently employed frightening illusions to distract enemies. While his powers would be worthless against superior sorcerers like the Ten Who Were Taken, they were sufficient to save countless Company brothers in a wide variety of combat situations throughout the decades of his service. He occasionally functioned as the Company's chief interrogator and torturer. For example, after assassins sent by the Shadowmasters fail to kill the Prahbrindrah Drah in Shadow Games, One-Eye ended up killing one of the survivors of sheer terror by using overly potent illusions to extract information from him.

Healing and dentistry[]

One-Eye also possessed limited skills in healing magic, often supporting Croaker as the physician's principal assistant during battlefield surgery. As Croaker wrote in Shadows Linger, "often there was a man beyond my help who could be saved with a little magic". He also enforced Croaker's regulations for dental health among the men. The old wizard accomplished this by employing "tiny little spells" on the Company men's teeth to protect them, spells which had to be renewed every two years.

The black spear[]

One-Eye's magnum opus of sorcery was a black spear, carefully crafted and layered with spell after spell over many years. The original use for the weapon was to kill the Shadowmaster called Shadowspinner during the Siege of Dejagore, although it was not used successfully for this purpose. Upon completion, it was powerful enough to help defeat the ferocious forvalaka, Lisa Daele Bowalk, and later, to be used in a strike against the prehistoric entity known as Kina.

Before Croaker's Annals[]

One-Eye was Tom-Tom's older brother by 1 year. They were born in D'loc Aloc, a vast jungle on the southern continent. As boys, Tom-Tom and One-Eye were sold to N'Gamo, a wizard of noteworthy magnitude who wanted them as his apprentices. Shortly after, N'Gamo attempted to destroy a young male forvalaka but failed, losing an arm and a foot in the process. The brothers never forgot the experience. After that, both joined the Black Company and were present when the group visited the Temple of Travellers' Repose.

The Black Company[]

One-Eye Tom-Tom Goblin Serbian The Black Company

One-Eye, his brother Tom-Tom, and Goblin in Beryl, from the interior art of the Serbian translation The Black Company

One-Eye was traumatized by the savage killing of his brother, Tom-Tom, which took place in the Paper Tower of Beryl. The perpetrator was ostensibly the beast known as the forvalaka, but Croaker would surmise many months later the actual killer was Shapeshifter. After the Captain accepted the commission from the mysterious legate from the northSoulcatcher – the deeply hydrophobic One-Eye refused to board the vessel that would take him to The Dark Wings, and had to be forced aboard. He was subdued for the journey across the Sea of Torments.

Once in the northern continent, One-Eye took part in numerous operations for their sponsor Soulcatcher and their ultimate employer, the Lady. This included a dangerous mission in snowy Roses during which he and Goblin joined hands with Soulcatcher to lay a powerful sorcery trap for their target, Raker, one of the Rebel leaders. He was spared the pain of the direct mental link with Soulcatcher, a burden carried by Goblin. When Goblin suffered one such agonizing contact, One-Eye immediately put aside his usual feuding, exposing his true underlying friendship with his companion wizard. In most other situations, the pair continued their ceaseless bickering. This included a contest of dueling sorcery illusions at the Stair of Tear that was dramatically interrupted by the enemy general Harden.

One-Eye survived the harrowing Battle of Charm. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, he spent time slowly torturing the crucified forvalaka as vengeance for its alleged killing of his brother Tom-Tom.

Shadows Linger[]

One-Eye and Goblin by Mikey Patch (Irontree)

Goblin and One-Eye fan art by Mikey Patch

One-Eye was present with the Black Company in Tally province at the start of Shadows Linger. On direct orders from the Lady, the Captain led the bulk of the Company clear across the northern continent to Juniper, a city far outside the bounds of the Lady's Empire in the frigid northwest. One-Eye crossed the Wolander Mountains with them, and was not part of the advance team (Croaker, Elmo, Goblin, et. al.) that had been flown into the city beforehand by flying carpet.

After they descended the Wolanders, One-Eye accompanied the Captain when he rode ahead of the bulk of the Company to get clarification on a confusing message that had been written by Elmo and delivered by Stork. As One-Eye approached the room where Croaker and Goblin were located, he sent ahead a stinking representation of himself into their fire.

During the Battle of Juniper, One-Eye and a sergeant called Shaky commanded a group of laborers that dug the sapper's tunnel underneath the black castle. Soon, Whisper led a group of Company men and armed laborers through the tunnel and penetrated the castle. One-Eye remained behind. Later, in the hinterland outside Meadenvil, One-Eye dodged a missile that had been thrown by castle creatures, and single-handedly disabled them with his sorcery, giving time for Kingpin, Croaker, Hagop, and Marron Shed to stab them to death.

On The Long Run short stories[]

In the six-year gap between Shadows Linger and The White Rose, One-Eye remained with the reduced and fugitive band, hunted by their former Imperial employers. They were now protecting Darling, a young deaf-mute girl with a special anti-magic null who was apparently the prophesied reincarnation of the White Rose. During the first four years (On The Long Run short stories), the Company was pursued across the northern continent by the new Taken, including Whisper and Journey, and their armies.

"Cranky Bitch"[]

Both Goblin and One-Eye were on liberty in Chimney the night a supernatural lightning storm rolled over the city. The next day, the pair were returned to Cranky Bitch, blackout drunk and reeking. The senior Sergeant, Elmo, had the wizards hauled away below deck to recover.

...Goblin and One-Eye sprawled like wet carpets in the bottom of the first boat back, so blasted they had to be slung aboard with the smaller cargo hoist.

Later, during the Black Company's time in service to the Houses of Istven and the Seamen's Guild, One-Eye participated in the three battles out on the high seas of the Gap. He, Goblin, and Silent used their sorcery to sink several hostile pirate ships attacking from the Pocatose archipelago. Of the 3 wizards, One-Eye's contributions here were the most prominent, as he worked fearlessly from the mainmast crow's nest. He also participated in the counter-ambush that killed one of the new Taken. And, despite his well-known fear of ships and water, he nimbly climbed the rigging to retrieve a pennant that had been secretly placed by the strange teenager called Luckless. To everyone's surprise, he actually overtook the experienced topmen that had been sent simultaneously by Master Sylus. But, to no one's surprise, his motivation was to make sure Goblin could not get credit for the task. He returned to form immediately afterward, and was the most vocal supporter of disembarking for a final time and fleeing on land at the end of "Cranky Bitch".

"Leta of the Thousand Sorrows"[]

One-Eye was traveling with the Lieutenant, Candy, Goblin, and the main body of the Black Company during the opening of "Leta of the Thousand Sorrows". After his group caught up with the pathfinder team ahead of them, One-Eye manipulated the sorcery of the supernatural clearing to become one of the many beneficiaries of the lustful entities known as Letas. He later bragged about knocking a pair of new Taken off their flying carpets, but Silent confirmed this had actually been accomplished by the Letas. One-Eye exorcised the possession-type sorcery of the new Taken from a "dullard" named Jago and a camp follower named Iris.

"Wet Dream Fish Story"[]

At the start of "Wet Dream Fish Story", One-Eye is with the command staff (the Lieutenant, Croaker, Darling, and the wizards Goblin and Silent) during the group's continued trek through the humid, inhospitable, bug-infested, and “densest forest north of the Sea of Torments”. He is present when Showboy is sent back to them by Elmo from a vanguard group to announce the exciting discovery of an old but impressively well-engineered road ahead.

While most of the group conducts days-long renovations for a pair of bridges over a river, One-Eye is spared this toil when the Lieutenant instructs him, Goblin, and some others to spread out in various directions, armed with ballistae, to be early-warning scouts for any overhead Taken. Although Croaker cannot prove it, he later suspects that One-Eye sets up his secret still to create moonshine and wastes time with Goblin. Alongside everyone else, One-Eye observes the mute, nude, mysterious women who surface from the river, later identified as shape-shifting mermaids. He even discovers what seems to be the mermaids' favorite location: a remote spot in the center of the island with a small lake and its own tiny island, and an artificial channel linking this lake to the outside river. The old wizard brings Croaker to this spot, excitedly stating that the “water nymphs” bask in the sunlight here, but asks the Annalist not to inform Goblin about it.

One-Eye and Goblin work together to probe the memories of Showboy, a Company man who had been kidnapped from the group for a few days by the mermaid Dai-Li and who seems to be under the influence of a "love me" spell. The two wizards use a silver bowl filled with water from the mermaids’ interior lake to display images of the young man’s memories. They help sort out the double-imaged memories: what mermaids wanted him to remember (a grand palace), and what he truly saw (a muddy den).

"Shaggy Dog Bridge"[]

At the start of "Shaggy Dog Bridge", One-Eye accompanies Croaker, Robin, Whittle, Zeb the archer, and Rusty in the reconnaissance team led by Elmo the veteran sergeant. They are scouting the territory ahead of the main column of the Company while on the run from the armies of the Lady's Empire led by the new Taken general Whisper. One-Eye announces that a densely forested area is actually a magical illusion: about 70% of the apparently 500-year-old oak and chestnut trees are not real. They are a very convincing but very old glamour that was created to conceal a road and a centuries-old bridge over the massive geological cavity called the Rip. The bridge remains standing because it is maintained by very strong sorcery.

A few days after crossing the bridge and scouting ahead, they smell smoke from a settlement. Whittle volunteers to go first, but Elmo orders One-Eye to check it out since he can "make himself invisible [and can] use birds and animals to spy, given time to prepare them". One-Eye returns to report a sizable town, a farming community, complete with a river dammed in three places, a few mills, a blockhouse, and an enclosed bailey. Strangely, the inhabitants are not working, but instead are keeping close watch over the sky. They soon realize that the people are watching for Blind Emon, a powerful airborne sorceress who answers to "the Master", a terrible cannibal sorcerer who rules over this hidden region. Despite his wizardry, One-Eye is clearly frightened when he observes Emon and her sorcery.

Later, the Lieutenant adds Goblin to Elmo's group and orders them to complete the dangerous mission of rigging explosives beneath the Master's bridge over the Rip. They are almost exposed when some Imperials urinate off the bridge into the wind, unwittingly splashing One-Eye and Whittle, who are barely able to contain their rage and blame Croaker for the humiliation. One-Eye flees on foot with the rest of the group when Blind Emon triggers the firestorm that kills hundreds of Imperials.

"Bone Eaters"[]

In "Bone Eaters", One-Eye has been missing for more than one month. When he returns to the Company, he delivers a report that explains the lack of Imperial attention of late: two of the new Taken had been killed during Whisper's recent assault on the castle belonging to the Master and his minion Blind Emon. The remaining pair of new Taken (including Whisper herself) were badly injured and forced to tend to their own recovery. This left the Imperial rank-and-file vulnerable to One-Eye's spirited torments and miserable illusions, totally draining their fighting spirit. The Lady called them off and One-Eye is boastful of his success. But the threat is not gone permanently: the Lady still has the Eye on them. If Whisper recovers, she will return with "the last ounce of mercy boiled out" and if she doesn't, the Lady will send other Taken or come out personally for them. During the conversation, One-Eye notices Chasing Midnight for the first time and admires her creepily, but Darling puts a stop to that immediately.

Later, One-Eye helps Goblin, Silent, and Chasing Midnight keep the bulk of the Black Company and their train of tag-along refugees at bay while Darling and her bodyguard invade the Village of Hungry Ghosts and neutralize the evil spirits within.

When the Black Company enters into the service of the Magistrates of Rue, the wizards' skills of One-Eye, Goblin, and Silent are put to great use in their skirmishes against Rue's rivals, the Dank. Also, One-Eye spies on Rue's Magistrates closely with rats, so he sounds the alarm after Whisper presents them with an ultimatum from the Lady to betray the Company. Before the city leaders can double-cross the Company, the Magistrates are killed and their treasure is plundered.

Before The White Rose[]

One-Eye survived the Battle of Queen's Bridge, where 100 out of 200 Company brothers fell.

With the blessing of the talking menhirs, One-Eye settled with the Company survivors in the Hole, a series of stinking caverns near the center of the Plain of Fear. For 2 mostly uneventful years before the opening of The White Rose, the old wizard supported Darling's new rebellion against the Lady's Empire alongside the rest of the Black Company.

The White Rose[]

Goblin and One-Eye by Denis Pospelov (De-Prime)

Goblin and One-Eye fan art by Denis Pospelov

The old wizard accompanies Croaker in a secret expedition northward to investigate strange letters. With them are Goblin and the rebellion's newest followers, a strong but strange man called Tracker and his mangy hound named Toadkiller Dog. Before they are dropped off outside the Plain by their soaring windwhale, the expedition witnesses Darling's dramatic, successful attack against Whisper's headquarters at Spit. This small group passes through Roses and then Oar. At the Barrowland, they discover the source of the mysterious letters is actually a deserter from the Black Company, Raven, who had recently slipped into a coma after trying to enter the Great Barrow in spirit-form using unfamiliar sorcery. More significantly, the rebels discover that continuous rainfall has caused the Great Tragic River to flood and the floodwaters are eroding the Dominator's prison away. The group is uncovered by the Monitor of the Eternal Guard, Colonel Sweet, and they are imprisoned for a brief time beneath the Guard headquarters. After One-Eye and Goblin put on a bizarre and hideous show of sorcery illusions, the Guardsmen surrender and are trapped in the basement; One-Eye collapses the structure and flees with his companions, but the group is split up. They eventually reunite on the Plain.

Later, Darling and the Lady establish an alliance, and One-Eye participates in the Battle of the Barrowland against the Dominator. After the Dominator is beheaded, One-Eye and Goblin pierce his skull with the silver spike, where the Dominator's power became imprisoned. One-Eye would be one of the only 10 Company survivors of that battle. He, Goblin, Murgen, Otto, and Hagop chose to remain with Croaker, the newly-elected Black Company Captain, while Silent and the three Torque brothers were discharged and parted ways with Darling.

Shadow Games[]

One-Eye by Alexander Sebag

Fan art by Alexander Sebag

After the Battle of the Barrowland, One-Eye and Goblin pressured Croaker to leave the menacing Tower at Charm and continue their planned migration south. When they reached Beryl, the wizards covered Croaker with frightening glamours to scare the locals. Trekking further south, it was One-Eye who disclosed that the Temple of Travellers' Repose would be a desirable resting place. After dallying there for a time, they fled when they felt an inexplicable sense of menace closing in upon them. (Unknown to them, this was actually the Limper following their trail, as detailed in The Silver Spike.)

One-Eye continued his illusions with Goblin to ostentatiously announce their arrival as they approached Gea-Xle, a major city north of the Third Cataract of the great river. Due to his foresight, their fortified river barge was loaded with the timber and supplies needed to defend the vessel. In Gea-Xle, One-Eye fell for a trap cleverly laid by Soulcatcher. She had secretly planted Frogface, an imp, in a wizard's shop in a bazaar. His appearance was made to look like a shrunken version of Goblin. As Soulcatcher predicted, this opportunity to embarrass Goblin was utterly irresistible, and One-Eye purchased the imp. Following Soulcatcher's orders, Frogface feigned to be commanded by One-Eye, and was now a source of ceaseless humiliation for Goblin.

One-Eye's new pet, Frogface, sowed mischief in the Company ranks, leading to a fight between Frogface and Goblin's own snake imp in Taglios. This resulted in a dangerous, drunken, and uncharacteristically violent duel between One-Eye and Goblin, which only ended when Croaker knocked out both wizards with his officer's baton. During this event, Willow Swan's bar was gutted by fire.

One-Eye participated in the Battle of Dejagore, where his and Goblin's tricks were rapidly cancelled by Shadowspinner, who was far superior to them in magnitude. He escaped the losing battle by retreating with the other Black Company and Taglian survivors behind the walls of the city.

Bleak Seasons[]

One-Eye by tkherraji

Fan art by tkherraji

One-Eye was trapped within Dejagore during the infamous siege of that city. He became a key member of the Old Crew, scraping by in their underground headquarters, playing tonk, and keeping up a ridiculous betting pool on which day they would finally be overrun and killed by the besieging Shadowlanders. He spent countless hours crafting a special black spear, intended to be used to kill Shadowspinner. When the weapon was fired from a ballista on the wall by Loftus, it missed, and instead passed through the shoulder of Spinner's mount, one of the stolen black stallions. Although a normal horse would have perished in moments, the sorcery in the magically-bred stallion's bones conflicted with the spells from One-Eye's spear, causing it to die an agonizing death from a wound that "glowed red, flickered" and spread across its flesh.

After the siege was lifted, and during the 4-year gap between Dreams of Steel and Bleak Seasons, One-Eye went out on campaign in the Shadowlands alongside a force of Taglian soldiers. He kept a number of poorly maintained and fragmentary notes of these events which often described his drunken exploits. This included the robbery of a minor noble's gin reserves after he offered them hospitality, and as a result the Prahbrindrah Drah was required to repay the lord for the damages. It also included a close call with the Howler. Upon his return to the rest of the Black Company in Bleak Seasons, One-Eye gave the haggard papers to Murgen upon request, and they were integrated into his own Annals with amendments.

One-Eye discovered by chance that the soul of the comatose wizard called Smoke was not tethered to his body and was not anchored in time. He and Croaker would sleep next to Smoke, and sail throughout time and space as disembodied observers to spy on their enemies, allies, and friends, gathering priceless military intelligence and insights. They taught this top-secret ability to Murgen, who used this to great effect in Bleak Seasons and also in She Is the Darkness.

She Is the Darkness[]

One-Eye participated in the later battles of the Shadowmaster wars as detailed in She Is the Darkness. He was in charge of the manufacture of Lady's fireball projectors, a new invention that cancelled the effectiveness of the lethal shadows employed by Longshadow. Despite their veteran status, both One-Eye and Murgen were kept in the dark by Croaker about the mysterious Shaded Road expedition led by Goblin. One-Eye occasionally inquired about his old friend's whereabouts, unable to conceal his concern for his missing buddy.

After the successful Siege of Overlook, neither One-Eye nor Goblin passed through the Shadowgate, so they both avoided Soulcatcher's trap which imprisoned the Captured beneath the fortress with no name out in the center of the lethal glittering plain. One-Eye scrawled a message that was visible to Murgen in his spirit-walking form, but it was not spotted in time.

Water Sleeps[]

One-Eye, Sleepy, and the underground Black Company opposed Soulcatcher's new political order in Taglios (called the Protectorate) and worked continuously to find some way to free the Captured. Although the old wizard was infirm due to his extreme age, he helped train Tobo, wove a web of skilled disorientation spells that disguised their headquarters at Banh Do Trang's warehouse, and later with Goblin created the mist projector (an important apparatus which kept Murgen's disembodied consciousness available for spying).

It took them 15 years, but Sleepy's Company finally discovered a Shadowgate key – the golden pickax – and sent a rescue mission across the glittering plain. One-Eye was instrumental in the rescue of the first 5 Captured to be freed: Croaker, Lady, Murgen, the Prahbrindrah Drah, and Thai Dei.

Soldiers Live[]

One-Eye and Lisa Daele Bowalk by Виталий Стрелец

One-Eye and Lisa Daele Bowalk fan art by Виталий Стрелец

One-Eye survived an unprecedented amount of time in the Black Company, outliving even his best friend Goblin. He spent a peaceful stretch of 4 years at the Abode of Ravens in Hsien training Tobo in wizardry and getting drunk with his elderly companion, Ky Gota. Not long after Ky Gota passed away, One-Eye was murdered by the vengeful Lisa Daele Bowalk in her forvalaka form. Despite the best efforts of Lady with her fireball projector, and Croaker with the black spear One-Eye had spent decades crafting, the old wizard was fatally mauled. His death was soon avenged by a team of his oldest friends who tracked Bowalk to the Voroshk world.

The old wizard's legacy – his sorcery-laden black spear and stinking hat – played a critical role in restoring the consciousness of his friend Goblin by temporarily cancelling Goblin's demonic possession by the Khadidas.


Black Company Wizards