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Rite of Taking

A victim is subjected to the Rite (art from The Black Company Campaign Setting)

The fragments I retain suggest that she was shattered, slain, revived and reassembled as a devoted slave. I recall her pledge of fealty to the Lady. Her voice dripped a craven eagerness to please.

Croaker recollecting Whisper's Taking, The Black Company

The Rite of Taking is a complex, terrifying, and notoriously difficult magic process by which one sorcerer enslaves another. Croaker, who witnessed parts of a Taking, believes that death and resurrection could also be part of the ritual.

The Dominator's Taken[]

Main article: Ten Who Were Taken

It was first used by the Dominator on the Ten Who Were Taken, powerful sorcerers such as Shapeshifter, the Limper, Soulcatcher, and Howler, who served as his generals. The Dominator's Taken were by far the most powerful and infamous of all the Taken historically.

The Lady's Taken[]

Main article: new Taken

Shortly before the Battle of Charm, the Lady revealed that she was powerful enough to Take. Until then, it had only been thought the Dominator was able to perform the ritual. She used the terrible sorcery to convert at least eight sorcerers into the new Taken. The most intelligent, dangerous, and prominent of these was Whisper, who was Taken in the Forest of Cloud. A prominent part of the process involved being subjected to the Lady's Eye. The next sorcerers to be Taken – the newlyweds Feather and Journey – were subjected to the ritual inside the Tower shortly before (or possibly during) the Battle of Charm.

The Master's Taken[]

Erased from the history books was the Master, who performed his own version of the Rite of Taking on contemporary sorcerers even before the Dominator Took the Ten. The Master's most prominent and only surviving Taken was Blind Emon. The others were killed in battle defending the Master against the Dominator.

Longshadow's attempt[]

Longshadow succeeded in doing a "poor man's Taking" of the wizard Smoke in the city of Shadowcatch. According to Soulcatcher, it was sufficient enough to make him an obedient minion of Longshadow. Howler disapproved of the Taking however, seeing it as rushed and incomplete. As a result, and given Smoke's inferior magnitude, Smoke was inferior than the new Taken.

Smoke's experience after his "poor man's Taking" gives insight into how Taking works:

It was disheartening and frightening. The longer he delayed visiting his contacts the stronger Longshadow’s image grew within his mind and the more terrified he became on a level so deep it was a part of his soul. Something terrible had been done to him, something that had reached into him as deeply as a man could be reached. Somehow Longshadow had hidden a fragment of himself inside him, to drive him into executing the Shadowmaster’s will.

Dreams of Steel ch. 49