|“||I have been to hell. I have done my time. This dark goddess Kina could not throw anything at me worse than the things I had seen already with my own eyes.||”|
–Murgen, recalling the siege
The Siege of Dejagore was a major event of the Shadowmaster wars and a historic crucible for many members of the Black Company. Eyewitness accounts were written into the Annals by Lady who was outside the city (Dreams of Steel), and by Murgen who was trapped within it (his flashbacks in Bleak Seasons).
The months-long siege began immediately after the 2-day Battle of Dejagore. Although a wide variety of actors with varying goals participated in the siege, the event can be summarized as follows: Shadowspinner and his armies of Shadowlanders laid siege to the city of Dejagore, which contained the following major groups: the Jaicuri (natives of the city); the Black Company (splintered into two rival factions: the Old Crew and the Nar); the survivors of Taglian legions commanded by the Company; and a large collection of Nyueng Bao De Duang pilgrims.
The Jaicuri, the civilians of the city, suffered immensely from combat fatalities, disease, and looting. Also during this siege, the Nyueng Bao pilgrims (initially numbering roughly 1,800 people) were reduced to just over 600 individuals, about one-third of their previous population.
Preceding events Edit
- Main article: Battle of Dejagore
The siege was preceded by the Battle of Dejagore. During that battle, the Black Company and the Taglian forces they commanded: briefly liberated the city (called "Stormgard" by its occupiers) from the Shadowlands; killed Stormshadow, one of the four Shadowmasters; and defeated another Shadowmaster, Moonshadow. However, after a relief force led by Shadowspinner maneuvered outside the city walls, the Company and the Taglians were defeated. Most Company members, including Mogaba, his Nar followers, Murgen, One-Eye, and Goblin retreated behind the walls and were trapped. Croaker, the Company Captain and the appointed commander ("Liberator") of the Taglians, was thought to have been killed on the battlefield (but in actuality he was abducted by Soulcatcher and Frogface). Lady, the Company Lieutenant (second-in-command) was separated from the rest of the Company as well, and would independently try to lift the siege from the outside.
The siege Edit
During the siege, a rift developed in the Black Company between the Old Crew (those who joined the band before Gea-Xle and held out hope that Croaker was alive) and the ambitious Mogaba with his Nar. The Old Crew had the loyalty of a reduced unit of Vehdna Taglians called the al-Khul Company and some others, whereas Mogaba commanded the respect of the more numerous Gunni survivors of the First Legion.
At some point during the siege, the Company sergeant named Big Bucket witnessed a local Jaicuri man (possibly Rafi) raping a young girl. Bucket seized the man and threw him to his death over the walls. The young victim subsequently gravitated to Bucket as a father figure. (Once the siege was lifted, the girl left what remained of her awful family and departed with the Company. This was Sleepy, who took on the guise of a Shadar boy, and who would later rise to the highest Company rank of Captain.)
Soulcatcher intervenes Edit
On the night Shadowspinner launched his strongest attack, he was on the brink of recapturing Dejagore. He was stopped when Soulcatcher, an unaligned wildcard and sorceress of extremely high magnitude, intervened in the character of Lifetaker. She arrived with her captive Croaker in his Widowmaker armor. Soulcatcher used her immense powers to drastically turn the tide of battle against the Shadowmaster, and his Shadowlanders were forced to withdraw from the city to their camp. Soulcatcher left Shadowspinner gravely injured and badly confused, and his forces depleted and demoralized. Although the siege continued, they would be unable to actually capture the city without reinforcements.
Genocide of the Nyueng Bao Edit
Meeting with two Taglian envoys (Ranjalpirindi and Chal Ghanda Ghan), Mogaba struck an alliance with the Prince of Taglios, the Prahbrindrah Drah, to support his claim as the next Captain of the Black Company. The Prince's tribune Pal Subhir led the cohort of Taglians which committed a massacre of the Nyueng Bao. An isolated minority of pilgrims initially numbering roughly 1,800 people, the Nyueng Bao were reduced to just over 600 individuals... about one-third of their previous population. The Old Crew of the Black Company, a separate faction from the Nar, fought back against the Taglians and helped the Path of the Sword warriors among the Nyueng Bao save the remainder of their population.
The flood Edit
After fending off many sorties led personally by Mogaba, Shadowspinner flooded the plain surrounding Dejagore. Mogaba's Nar destroyed the East Gate, flooding the city, causing widespread suffering and death due to disease. As the situation grew increasingly grim within the walls, Mogaba expanded his cruel occupation. The Nar and their loyalists looted throughout Dejagore, executed hundreds by hurling them from the walls, and even committed cannibalism against hapless Jaicuri victims during Mogaba's secret blood-drinking ceremonies of Kina-worship beneath the citadel.
Lady seizes the Shadowlander army; siege continues Edit
Eventually, Lady and a small group of companions infiltrated the Shadowlander camp and killed the enemy general Shadowspinner. They then tricked the Shadowlanders into accepting Lady as their new leader. She ordered them to continue to siege the city, as she already considered Mogaba her enemy, but to treat those who escaped the city with respect. The situation in Dejagore remained critical. The city was flooded, food remained scarce, and disease ran rampant. Lady even reinserted Murgen, who had escaped, and wiped his memory of his time outside the city. One-Eye and Goblin uncovered Lady's actions, and Murgen deeply resented the Old Crew being used as a political pawn against Mogaba.
Siege lifted and aftermath Edit
The siege was finally lifted when Croaker entered at enormous personal risk, and made a very public gesture of friendship to Mogaba. Mogaba relented, and departed the city with only Khucho and two other Nar following him. The remaining 13 Nar (including Sindawe, Isi, and Ochiba) rejoined the Company. In the subsequent years, the Black Company would eventually achieve victory in the remainder of the Shadowmaster wars. Mogaba survived and became the most infamous traitor in the group's history.
All survivors would bear psychological scars from the terrible siege. Several Nyueng Bao swordsmen of the Path of the Sword – deeply indebted to the Old Crew for the rescue of their people from Mogaba's genocide – would become their bodyguards for many years. The most prominent of these was Thai Dei, Murgen's bodyguard.