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In those days, the Black Company was in service to the Paingod of Cho'n Delor.

The Pastel Wars were a series of major conflicts fought in the region surrounding the Second Cataract of the southern continent's great river, about 200 years prior to the events of The Black Company. The combatants were: the city of Cho'n Delor on the river's east bank, which was ruled by the Paingod and his enforcers the Black Company; and, a collective not far from the west bank called the Triplet Cities. Two centuries later, Croaker the Annalist estimated that the struggle was as bitter as the battles fought by the Black Company during their service to the Lady's Empire in the north, but, confined to a smaller area.[1]

Before Croaker's Annals[]

The Pastel Wars occurred two hundred years before Croaker was the Black Company Captain. The Triplet Cities were ultimately victorious over Cho'n Delor. However, the cost was horrific, as both Cho'n Delor and the Triplet Cities were reduced to ruins, and the lands so scarred and haunted even animals stayed away. Two centuries later, the locals told Willow Swan that the people of the Triplet Cities had sacrificed themselves to bring the Paingod down. [2]

During the Wars, the Black Company was in its second century, 6,000 strong, and its men were as black as its namesake. The Company was in service to the Paingod as recorded in the Book of Kette. It was a turbulent time; the Book of Kette itself went through four different Annalists: Lees, Agrip, Holm, and Straw.[3] During the conflict the early Annals were lost. Before copies of those tomes were found in Taglios, the recorded history of the Company started with the Pastel Wars.[4]

The survivors of the conflict either fled to or founded the narrow, walled city of Idon beside the Second Cataract. Even after the passage of two hundred years, and despite the city's proximity to the cataract, the descendants in Idon did not flourish. This was because all people born in Idon were somehow haunted by the violence of the Pastel Wars. They lived in such fear of the nearby ruins of the Triplet Cities and Cho'n Delor that many of them abandoned Idon as soon as possible for new homes elsewhere.

The Black Company[]

While in service to Soulcatcher in the northern continent, the Black Company was retreating through the Stair of Tear, trying to escape the clutches of the Circle of Eighteen. Croaker watched as Rebel sorcerers cast spells that reminded him of old accounts of the Pastel Wars: "Long, long, thin banners of tenuous light twisted up toward the stars, shimmering, undulating like seaweed in a gentle current. Soft pinks and greens, yellows and blues, beautiful hues." Their magic conjured aurora-like ribbons of light that threatened to float down and cover the Company. He nervously asked Soulcatcher about the sorcery, but was told not to worry, as the Ten Who Were Taken knew about the Pastel Wars and were already working to dispel the magic. The Hanged Man had been brought in specifically to counter the threat, and the banners were rendered harmless by him.[5]


  1. Shadow Games, chapter 22, "Taglios"
  2. Shadow Games, chapter 20, "Willow up the Creek"
  3. The Black Company, chapter 4, "Whisper"
  4. Shadow Games, chapter 25, "Taglios: Scouting Southward"
  5. The Black Company, chapter 5, "Harden"