|“||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 supernatural 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 approximately 1,800 Nyueng Bao De Duang pilgrims.
The Jaicuri, the civilians of the city, suffered immensely from disease, starvation, combat fatalities, Mogaba's executions, and looting. Also during this siege, the Nyueng Bao pilgrims were reduced to just over 600 individuals, about one-third of their previous population.
Preceding events[edit | edit source]
- 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 (though he had actually been abducted in secret by Soulcatcher). Lady, the Black Company Lieutenant (second-in-command) was separated from the rest of the Company as well, and struck at the Shadowlanders from the outside.
The siege[edit | edit source]
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 loyal 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 abusive 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 | edit source]
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 | edit source]
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 | edit source]
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 | edit source]
Eventually, Lady and a small group of companions (including Narayan Singh, Ram, at least two other Stranglers, Blade, and Willow Swan) infiltrated the Shadowlander camp. Moments after they killed the enemy general Shadowspinner, they boldly 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 streets were flooded, food remained scarce, and disease ran rampant. Lady even reinserted Murgen, who had escaped, and wiped much of his memory of his time outside the city. One-Eye and Goblin were able to determine that someone had tampered with his memory.
Departure of the Nyueng Bao and some Old Crew[edit | edit source]
Against his own wishes, Murgen wound up in the first wave of escapees from Dejagore in a careful nighttime evacuation. Others in the boats were Nyueng Bao (a majority were women and children) and a collection of Taglians answering to the general Lanore Bonharj. This wave nearly roused the attention of Mogaba himself, who was out on the rainy lake undertaking his own missions. After setting up camp on the beachhead, his man Bubba-do captured a patrol from the Shadowlander camp. But the new prisoners were not enemies: rather, the group included Willow Swan. Murgen realized that Lady was using everyone trapped in the city as political pawns and deeply resented it.
The camp grew as more and more escaped the city on the boats. However, One-Eye and Goblin refused to leave, claiming that they would be easy prey for Lisa Daele Bowalk, trapped in the form of a forvalaka, who was stalking them. Murgen suspected they were actually just covering up a collection of ill-gotten stashed goods.
Siege lifted and aftermath[edit | edit source]
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.
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 personal bodyguard, and Uncle Doj, the chief practitioner of the Path.
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 band's history, first serving Longshadow, and later, Soulcatcher.