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Plain of Fear

A conjectural location of Rue, seen to the east of the Plain of Fear, from The Black Company Campaign Setting

Rue is a walled city situated somewhere east – and possibly southeast – of the northern continent’s notorious Plain of Fear. It was mentioned just once in 1985's The White Rose, in which no details are supplied about it other than the fact that it is part of the Lady's Empire. But Rue is explored in great detail in the 2019 short story "Chasing Midnight" which takes place a minimum of 2 years before The White Rose and during which it is not yet part of the Empire.

Rue is a sizable city with a river running through it, featuring gated walls, several bathhouses, distinct slums in which "killings were not uncommon", at least one barracks, multiple taverns like the Silent Owl, and a giant abandoned fabric mill made of brick. It was controlled by conniving magistrates looking to rip off the Black Company; city fathers familiar with putting bounties on people; and competing gangsters like Songo Songaghi and Chops. Rue has a rivalry with “neighbors” called the Dank; the soldiers of both Rue and the Dank were equally mocked by the Black Company’s Annalist, Croaker, as being “amateurs of abysmal quality”.

Rue is evidently somewhere near the arc of five apparently larger cities east of the Plain of Fear consisting of Rust, Frost, Thud, Ade, and Barns. The Black Company's eastward migration leading up to The White Rose suggests that Rue is more specifically southeast of the Plain.

"On The Long Run" short story arc[]

Rue is a location in 2 of the On The Long Run short stories, during which the city is not yet part of the Lady's Empire. It is the final location visited by the Black Company in "Bone Eaters". It is also the sole location of "Chasing Midnight: The Dark Lord as a Teen", in which it is described in significantly more detail, though the narrative only tangentially involves the Company.

"Bone Eaters"[]

In "Bone Eaters", some weeks after the Black Company departed the Village of Hungry Ghosts, they were hired by the Magistrates of Rue “to discourage the predatory behavior of their neighbors, the Dank”. Throughout their winter at Rue, the battle-hardened Company occupied a small garrison and defeated the “abysmal” soldiers of the Dank in all their skirmishes.

A clan of young newcomers to the New White Rose RebellionChasing Midnight, her brother Chasing Moonlight, and their cousins – abandoned their Company guardians in Rue and disappeared. One week later, the hated Company soldier Rusty (and the hungry ghost that haunted him) also vanished.

The new Taken sorceress Whisper secretly entered Rue and instructed the senior Magistrates to betray the Black Company. But One-Eye was spying on them with enchanted rats, so the Company was well-prepared. They killed their traitorous employers, confiscated substantial loot, and left the city via its east gate. As they departed, they learned that Rusty had been murdered by Midnight and her cousins.

"Chasing Midnight"[]

Main article: Chasing Midnight: The Dark Lord as a Teen

Rue is the sole location for all the events of "Chasing Midnight", which details the activities of the young witch after her departure from the protection of Darling and the Black Company, but before the Company itself leaves the city. Rue is beleaguered by killings and explosive violence caused by a vile sorcerer referred to as Black Shroud, and intrigues undertaken by Midnight with the help of her cousins Chick, Fade, and Haru. The Company deserter Rusty is a frequent customer at the Silent Owl tavern there.

The White Rose[]

A minimum of 2 years pass between the Black Company’s departure of Rue (the end of "Bone Eaters") and the beginning of The White Rose. During that time, Rue is incorporated into the Lady's Empire. Eventually, underground elements within Rue become significant supporters of Darling's New White Rose Rebellion, the nucleus of which is the Company. Darling and the Company direct Rebel activity from a cavern in the Plain of Fear called the Hole for two years.

In The White Rose, a New White Rose informant called Corder arrives at the Hole and reports to Darling and the Black Company leadership that the Lady's new Taken have encircled "both sides" of the Plain of Fear with armies to entrap them. He mentions Rue among cities known to be east of the Plain – namely Rust, Thud, and Frost. They learn that a new Taken called Learned has been given command of the Imperial army in Rue, and has raised his or her stele within the city.