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Practically ever since I met them one or both had been recovering from some kind of wound. It was what they were known for. They were icons, practically. Otto and Hagop could not be killed, only injured, and as long as they stayed alive the Black Company would survive.

Murgen, She Is the Darkness, ch. 72

Otto was one of the longest-serving members of the Black Company, surviving through the chaotic opening events of the first chronicle and several other bloody situations, including the Battle of the Barrowland, the Siege of Dejagore, and even the Captivity. He was typically found alongside his eternal sidekick Hagop; both men were well known for surviving every fight despite usually receiving at least one wound which would require the attention of Croaker the physician.

Croaker described Otto as having "very little conscience" in Shadows Linger but characterized him overall a proficient and reliable soldier. Otto carried a large ax into combat in certain situations.

Before The Black Company[]

Otto and Hagop were both born in Rebosa, a city of the southern continent several hundred miles to the south of coastal Beryl. Like Croaker who was raised in nearby Padora, Otto had a polytheistic upbringing.

The Black Company[]

Otto survived the tumultuous, bloody events in Beryl during the Company's service to the Syndic there. He was one of the original Company soldiers who sailed aboard the Imperial flagship, The Dark Wings, from Beryl, across the Sea of Torments, to Opal, in The Black Company. (About 15 years later, in Shadow Games, he would be one of the only 5 survivors to make the return trip aboard the same vessel.)

Now in the north, Otto played an important role in the assassination of Raker in Roses. He and Hagop were out drinking when Raker, for unknown reasons, blew his cover and stabbed Otto. Hagop ran back to the Company's apartment, where he told Croaker and Raven what happened. Raven found Otto, and with Croaker brought him back to the apartment to be stitched up.

Shadows Linger[]

Otto was selected to be part of the advance team of 25 Company men that were flown from the Barrowland, into the city of Juniper, by the new Taken via flying carpet. This team was led by Elmo and included the physician and Annalist Croaker; the veterans Pawnbroker, and Kingpin; and other trusted soldiers like Sharkey, Tickle, Crake, Walleye, and Stork. This elite group made the trip ahead of the rest of the Company, and were therefore spared the long march across the northern continent and through the frigid Wolander Mountains. He participated in many operations in Juniper, but failed to intercept Marron Shed and Lisa Daele Bowalk before they could deliver corpses to the black castle. Afterward, he personally subdued Lisa during her departure from the castle. He survived the violent Battle of Juniper.

Otto and Hagop (Shadows Linger) by Виталий Стрелец

Otto and Hagop (Shadows Linger) by Виталий Стрелец

On The Long Run short stories[]

Otto was mentioned in 3 of the short stories of the On The Long Run arc: "Cranky Bitch", Leta of the Thousand Sorrows", and "Bone Eaters". These events took place during the first 4 years of the 6-year gap between Shadows Linger and The White Rose. Also, at some unspecified point during these 4 years, the Black Company suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Queen's Bridge, but Otto was one of the survivors.

"Cranky Bitch"[]

Otto was present with the Black Company throughout their seafaring missions across the Gap in service to the mercantile factors of Chimney in "Cranky Bitch".

After the Pocatose pirates' third miserable attack on the Company's vessel, Otto and Elmo boarded one of the whaleboats and fished out some of the survivors for questioning on the Lieutenant's orders.

"Leta of the Thousand Sorrows"[]

The Black Company has disembarked from Cranky Bitch for the last time, and they are now traveling across the untamed landscape of the western wilderness with the new Taken on their trail. In "Leta of the Thousand Sorrows", Otto is with Darling, Croaker, Silent, and Hagop in the vanguard group more than a day's march ahead of the rest of the Company. Otto and Hagop were "pathfinding for the pathfinders" at the forefront of this group, and they were the first to discover a strange clearing. Startled, they reported back to Elmo and Croaker. Later, Otto was almost certainly one of the many men who became temporarily paired off with one of the Letas – lustful supernatural women crafted by ancient sorcery emanating from the ground of this clearing.

"Wet Dream Fish Story"[]

Otto is first mentioned in "Wet Dream Fish Story" as a leader of one of the Company scout groups pioneering through “the densest forest north of the Sea of Torments”. Other scout groups are led by Elmo and Hagop.

Later, Otto witnessed Showboy and his dog Ralf being pulled underwater by the river mermaid that was eventually identified as Dai-Li. Croaker recorded Otto's eyewitness account in his Annals. When Otto mentioned Ralf – describing the animal as a "scruffy little brown and white terrier thing" – Croaker revealed he hadn't seen or even heard about the dog before.

"Those Who Went Before"[]

Otto and Hagop are mentioned just once in "Those Who Went Before". They accompany Croaker and Goblin into the old, sorcery-charged cemetery called the Grand Memorial to Our Honored Dead. They take the "long way" through the cemetary until they reach the portico of the huge limestone building complex where Elmo and his own group have been loitering. Otto and Hagop seem to continue onward with everyone else after Croaker is instructed by the Lieutenant to remain behind with the unconscious Spangler and one other victim who was disabled by the cemetary's sorcery.

"Bone Eaters"[]

Otto, Hagop, Croaker, Elmo, and Rusty acted as bodyguards for Darling during her incursion into the Village of Hungry Ghosts to defeat the hostile spirits there. After Croaker felled a wild ass that had been possessed by one of the spirits with his special black bow, Otto removed the beast's head with his ax. When the group discovered a similarly "haunted" woman (hopelessly possessed), all the men pitied her and no one volunteered to deliver the mercy killing. As leader, Darling borrowed Otto's ax and beheaded the woman herself, but damaged his ax blade badly in the process.

The White Rose[]

Otto was among the 50 remaining Black Company brothers who joined the New White Rose Rebellion against the Lady's Empire. They had been living in the Hole out on the Plain of Fear for two years before the opening events of The White Rose.

Otto, like everyone else in the Hole except Croaker, had no idea that the newcomer called "Ardath" was actually the Lady herself in disguise. He cornered her, and when she turned down his sexual advances, he tried to grab her. Before Croaker and the old sergeant Elmo could intervene, "Ardath" clobbered Otto "in a flurry of kicks and punches that set him down" and left him painfully bruised. He was berated harshly by Elmo for his behavior.

Otto survived the Battle of the Barrowland along with Hagop. Despite Croaker's suggestion they disband, he chose to stay. It was Otto who nominated Croaker to become the next Black Company Captain. He was among the 6 remaining Company brothers who trekked south toward their fabled origin, Khatovar.

Shadow Games[]

And Hagop and Otto were wounded. "Damn you two. Can’t you take a crap without getting hurt?" In the thirty or so years I had known them it seemed they had come up wounded about three times a year. And survived everything. I'd begun to suspect they were immortal and the blood was the price they paid.

Croaker, Shadow Games, ch. 27

At the Tower at Charm, Croaker was given the rank of general in the Imperial army, and was also appointed a legate. With his newfound powers, Croaker commissioned both Otto and Hagop as Imperial captains. Otto would be one of only five original Company survivors to sail back across the Sea of Torments aboard the The Dark Wings in Shadow Games. The others were Hagop, Croaker, One-Eye, and Goblin. Now, they were accompanied by relative newcomers: Murgen, the Lady herself, and four brand new recruits from Opal: Sparkle, Big Bucket, Red Rudy, and Candles.

Otto and Hagop were placed in charge of forming the cavalry division of the new army raised in Taglios to fight the Shadowmasters' forces. During the second, final day of the Battle of Dejagore, their cavalry struck the enemy at an unimportant location. This was one of the several factors which unintentionally contributed to the Company's defeat.

Bleak Seasons[]

Otto and Hagop survived the hellish Siege of Dejagore, and were among the "oldest" of the Old Crew led by Murgen within the beleaguered city. These events were recorded in Murgen's flashback narrative of Bleak Seasons.

Shortly after the siege, the pair was sent northward – retracing the journey they had taken roughly 5 years prior in Shadow Games – to the Tower at Charm with letters from Lady and a Taglian delegation including Lanore Bonharj. Their mission was to help identify the mysterious sorcerer known as Longshadow. They made the return trek safely with a "plunder" of items including "a coffin full of papers", northern vegetable seeds for Murgen, and at least one hair from the head of a younger Soulcatcher. Their report to Croaker and Murgen was recorded in the "current events" narrative of Bleak Seasons. Later, on orders from Murgen, Otto and Hagop perfectly executed a carefully-planned raid on the decrepit building used by Soulcatcher as her hideout.

She Is the Darkness and aftermath[]

Otto participated in the Shadowmaster wars until the Black Company led the armies of Taglios to victory. Then, at the end of She Is the Darkness, he became one of the Captured, imprisoned within the cave of the ancients by Soulcatcher. They remained in suspended animation there for 15 years until their eventual rescue by Sleepy at the end of Water Sleeps. About 3 years after his liberation – just one year before the opening events of Soldiers Live – Otto died of natural causes at the Abode of Ravens in Hsien around the same time as Hagop. [[Category:Black Company sergeants]

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