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Plain of Fear

Rust, seen to the east of the Plain of Fear

At Rust they killed their children rather than let us capture them. The hardest men in the regiment wept when they saw the mothers hurling their infants down from the walls, then jumping after them.

–Colonel Sweet, The White Rose

Rust is one of five "huge" and "formidable" cities that form an arc east of the Plain of Fear in the northern continent, the others being Frost, Thud, Ade, and Barns.

Rust was the focus of numerous, protracted, bloody Rebel uprisings against the Lady's Empire. During Whisper's uprising against the Empire (which began several years prior to The Black Company), forces on both sides resorted to cannibalism to survive. The city was subsequently reconquered for the Empire by none other than Whisper herself, after she became the first of the Lady’s new Taken. At least 12 years later, in The White Rose, the city would again take up the Rebel cause against the Lady, now as part of the New White Rose Rebellion. Croaker would record: "even after having been triply decimated in the great sieges and occupied for years, Rust remained adamant in its hatred for the Lady".

Before Croaker's Annals[]

The city of Rust was conquered during the consolidation wars of the Lady's Empire, presumably by one or more of the Ten Who Were Taken and their armies. It became part of the border arc of the empire's eastern frontier, in a line along with at least four other massive nearby cities: Frost, Thud, Ade, and Barns.

Then, sometime in the decades afterward, Rust became part of the Rebel movement headed by the Circle of Eighteen. The stubbornness of the best general in the Circle, Whisper, held the eastern front together despite the best efforts of the Taken. Whisper personally commanded the Rebel at Rust, and fought against Soulcatcher there. The city and its environs became notorious for particularly "bitter and sustained" fighting. Rust was also known for its "amazon regiments", populated solely with Rebel women.

The Black Company[]

After three very bloody years fighting for the eastern city, the Circle of Eighteen decided to let Rust fall to the Lady's empire during their change from an eastern to a northern strategy. Whisper left Rust and established a hidden base camp in the Forest of Cloud to target the city of Lords. The Black Company became aware of this valuable intelligence when they serendipitously discovered and captured Whisper's camp in the Forest and seized loads of her documents.

The struggle for Rust was three years old. Rumor had hundreds of square miles laid waste. During the winter past both sides had been reduced to eating their own dead to survive. [...] Rust has been a killing ground for years. Whisper won't break. The Lady won't back off. But if Whisper is coming here, then the Circle has decided to let Rust fall.

The Black Company

Rust was recaptured for the empire by none other than Whisper, its former Rebel champion, who had been enslaved by the Lady. News of its seizure was brought by the Hanged Man to Soulcatcher, Croaker, and the Company at the Stair of Tear. Rust was again part of the border arc of the imperial eastern frontier. Whisper would next defeat Trinket and rapidly recapture Frost for the Lady as well. But in just six years, by the time of Shadows Linger, the empire had stretched far beyond Rust and that line of other cities, into the formerly independent kingdom of Tally.

The White Rose[]

Rust became the strongest supporter of the New White Rose Rebellion by the time of The White Rose. The Rebel elements in the city were commanded by Sir Tucker, a knight whose hatred of the Lady and her Empire knew no bounds. In response, one of the new Taken called Benefice was given control of an Imperial army there, and raised his stela within the city. Nearby, in a military compound outside Rust proper, the rehabilitated Limper was stationed as commander over all of the new Taken... a clear statement of Imperial authority. This was part of the Lady's encirclement of the Plain of Fear to entrap her enemies Darling and the Black Company – the nucleus of the New White Rose Rebellion – who had been directing Rebel activity from a cavern called the Hole there for two years.

Rebel raid of the Limper's compound[]

In the Hole, Darling announced a surprise raid on Rust, with the idea that it would be a "stroke so bold it would fire the whole world" and inspire Rebels everywhere. However, Croaker vehemently and uncharacteristically opposed the idea despite his immense respect for her. He was too terrified of the presence of their "oldest and nastiest enemy" the Limper. After a period of doubt, he ultimately did accompany the raid team of about 35 men, including most prominently the Lieutenant, Elmo, Silent, Goblin, One-Eye, Tracker, and Tracker's hound Toadkiller Dog.

While Darling distracted the Taken, the raid team boarded a windwhale which dropped them off "well outside Rust proper" at the Limper's compound. Using Goblin's sleep spell, they slaughtered the unconscious imperials of the compound's entire regiment. Then they wrecked the Limper's stela, seized some documents, and torched the buildings. Their windwhale fled prematurely, however, and the much larger imperial regiment from inside Rust – consisting of hundreds of soldiers – besieged them with artillery engines. One-Eye made contact with the underground Rebels within Rust, and they distracted some of the besiegers. The Company brothers were pulled from the harrowing siege by a younger replacement windwhale, leaving behind only four men and Toadkiller Dog.

Rust presumably became peaceful when the New White Rose Rebellion allied with the Lady's Empire to defeat the Dominator.

In other media[]

  • In the PC video game Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer, there is a village called Rust.