Black Company Wiki
Black Company Wiki

Piracy had been a plague in those parts fifty years ago. The Empire's prescription had been the traditional cure for plague. Fire. [...] Ten years into the program, a galleon overloaded with virgins wearing nothing but gold skivvies could make a circuit of the Sea without suffering so much as a catcall. I exaggerate, but not far much.

Croaker, "Cranky Bitch"

The Sea of Torments is a significant saltwater body that divides much of the northern continent and the southern continent. It is famous for its Jewel Cities, most notably Beryl and Opal. It is bounded to the east by the Straits of Angine, into which fresh water from the Kiril Lakes drains, and to the west by a long passage called the Strait of Vermust which itself opens somewhere south of an ocean, sea, or large bay called the Gap. The Sea of Torments appears to be no more than two to three hundred miles across at the crossing from Opal, on the northern shore, to Beryl which is located within a gulf on the southern shore. This distance can be sailed in three days of fair weather.

The Black Company's uneventful but nevertheless fateful passage across the Sea of Torments in Croaker's first chronicle was a key event in its history. More than 15 years later, in Shadow Games, a small nucleus of the Company sailed back across the sea in the same frightening vessel but under completely different circumstances.

Subjugation by the Lady[]

In "Cranky Bitch" – a chronicle of the On The Long Run short story arc – Croaker recounted that the Sea of Torments had been plagued by piracy before the establishment of the Lady's Empire. The Empire's prescription was to send marines who killed every person and animal in the pirates' hamlets and then burned them to the ground. Ten years after this bloody program began, piracy was truly eliminated from the Sea. Since the Lady's Empire was only about 45 years old at the time of "Cranky Bitch", Croaker's mention of "fifty years" seems to be an estimation, and suggests that the Empire began this program very early after its formation.

The Empire patrolled the Sea and the Strait of Vermust to its west, but no further. Ships entering the Strait from independent port cities like Juniper, Meadenvil, Chimney, Kadith, and others traveling through the Gap benefited immensely from the safety of the Lady's waters.

The Black Company[]

For decades, the Sea of Torments was the southern border of the Lady's Empire. This finally changed when Soulcatcher annexed Beryl, a major city on the sea's southern shore. Soulcatcher then returned across the sea with the entire Black Company aboard her massive galley, The Dark Wings. They disembarked on the northern shore in the city of Opal. This journey was a watershed moment in the Company's history. For years afterward, the group's most senior members would recall this passage across the Sea of Torments in reference to the ever-dwindling number of veterans who were with the Company at that time.

Shadow Games[]

The Lady accompanied Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Otto, Hagop, Murgen, and some newer Black Company members when they sailed from Opal to Beryl in The Dark Wings. Their trip south was uneventful and lasted only three days. Even the deeply aquaphobic One-Eye, who needed to be drugged to be put aboard, agreed it was an easy and swift passage. This was the first time the Lady had departed the northern continent in her life, and, was only the second time that Beryl had seen The Dark Wings in its harbor.

The Silver Spike[]

In Opal, Raven and Case paid for passage across the Sea of Torments aboard a grain ship in their quest to find Croaker. An off-season storm caught them halfway across the sea, splitting one of the sails. It continued for four days and added that much more time to their trip. Although Case had a fantasy of sailing the seas as a child, this harrowing storm made him write that he was "was cured of wanting to be a sailor". Their return trip was extremely different, as they rode on the backs of airborne windwhales under the command of Darling, right over the Sea of Torments.

Six days after the Limper, Toadkiller Dog, and their army pillaged Opal, they crossed the Sea of Torments aboard the vessel of an incautious sea captain. After the Limper's defeat at the Temple of Travellers' Repose, he returned north but he was forced to follow the land route instead of crossing the sea again. The Imperials had evacuated all ships from Beryl and the coast along the sea, and deployed The Dark Wings to block the Sea crossing. The overland route was spotted with countless traps to delay him. The Limper, in his tireless new clay body, finally crossed over to the northern continent at the narrowest part of the Straits of Angine.