|“||...one who read and cherished sacred texts [but] also cut throats and trafficked with sorcerers, the dead and rakshasas ... the Vehdna soldier girl from Jaicur [who] had stains on her soul blacker than a shadow of all night falling.||”|
–Sleepy describes herself, Water Sleeps ch. 13
Sleepy was a young Vehdna girl who became associated with the Black Company during the infamous Siege of Dejagore. Posing as a young Shadar man, she later joined the Company, and eventually took on the distinguished roles of standard-bearer and Annalist. She was the ranking officer during the difficult 15-year-long stretch known as the Captivity, which began at the end of She Is the Darkness. Despite her youth and the incredible odds against her, she kept the band alive, even during the many dismal defeats dealt to the Company by the Protectorate in the 5-year-long Kiaulune wars (which occurred during the Captivity). She eventually rose to the Company's highest rank and proved to be a worthy opponent of two of the Company's most dangerous antagonists: Soulcatcher and Mogaba.
Before Croaker's Annals[edit | edit source]
In her birth city of Jaicur (frequently referred to as Dejagore in the Annals), Sleepy was the victim of sexual abuse by her uncles, including one named Rafi. From a very young age, she learned to mentally retreat from the world to cope with the horrible stress. Then, during the Siege of Dejagore, the Black Company sergeant named Big Bucket caught the girl being assaulted by one of the uncles. Bucket threw the man to his death from walls of the city, and afterward Sleepy gravitated to Bucket as a father figure. Once Croaker relieved the siege, the Company left the city and Sleepy followed them.
Bleak Seasons and She Is the Darkness[edit | edit source]
With everyone under the impression that she was a Taglian Shadar male, Sleepy was sworn into the Company brotherhood right before Murgen became Annalist. In addition to effectively being adopted by Big Bucket, Sleepy also gained the friendship and favor of Murgen, who was also the group's longtime standard-bearer. Murgen taught her literacy, and Sleepy became his choice to succeed him as protector of the standard and as understudy Annalist. But even Murgen would not learn about her true sex until years later, as Bucket never told a soul. When Murgen and Croaker discovered that Sleepy was a woman during a medical examination, they also chose to keep silent on the matter.
Kiaulune wars[edit | edit source]
Sleepy's sex eventually became known when she became leader of the Black Company by default, after the Captured were interred beneath the glittering plain. As Annalist, Sleepy was now the highest-ranking person in the Company. Ky Sahra, though never officially a member of the Company, took on many of the tasks normally performed by the Lieutenant. Sleepy and Sahra kept the Company alive during the disastrous, 5-year-long Kiaulune wars against the Protectorate, which was Soulcatcher's despotic regime in Taglios. The Company was repeatedly defeated by Catcher's Great General, Mogaba. They suffered a final, crippling blow by the traitor Khusavir Pete. The survivors holed up in Overlook for at least two years after their defeat in Kiaulune wars, but that structure was eventually reduced to dust by Soulcatcher's immense sorcery.
Water Sleeps[edit | edit source]
Defeated militarily, Sleepy then transformed what remained of the the Company into an underground movement within the streets of Taglios itself. Their new headquarters was a warehouse owned by their Nyueng Bao collaborator Banh Do Trang. During this period, Sleepy continued to serve as Annalist and tactician of the Company while leaving many matters of administration to Sahra, as they sought their mutual goal of releasing the Captured from beneath the plain. Sleepy depended upon the aged Company wizards One-Eye and Goblin, as well as Sahra, Uncle Doj, and other Nyueng Bao allies. But she also accumulated a strong nucleus of fiercely loyal and competent Company men, including: the Singh brothers Iqbal and Runmust; Riverwalker; Kendo Cutter; and Slink.
They resisted Soulcatcher and her regime both passively and actively as they gathered information about the Shadowgate. By day, they all had alternative identities and regular jobs. By night, they spread rumors, scribbled disturbing graffiti messages, put on magic smoke-shows... all by-blows to keep the Protectorate distracted while they searched for a way back onto the plain to release the Captured. Her day job was posing as "Dorabee Dey Banerjae", a lowly, illiterate sweeper at the Library of Taglios. Unseen by the other librarians and copyists, she gained mastery of the written Taglian language and even its rare and exclusive high-caste mode, High Taglian.
To gain access to the Palace of Taglios, Sleepy took on the fictional persona "Sawa", a retarded girl often tended to by "Minh Subredil", who was actually Ky Sahra in disguise. In these disguises they deceived one of Soulcatcher's Palace staff managers, Jaul Barundandi, for years.
Sleepy's men executed successful, high-profile abductions: they captured Princess Radisha Drah, as well as top-level Taglian officials of the Privy Council: Willow Swan, Purohita Arjana Drupada, and Inspector-General of the Records Chandra Gokhale. She would also kidnap the Master of the Library, Surendranath Santaraksita, as well as an elderly copyist, Baladitya, to help translate ancient Company Annals.
Eventually, Sleepy was able to force the truth of the Nyueng Bao's past – or, at least, a version of it – from Uncle Doj. She learned that the Nyueng Bao had possessed another working key to the Shadowgate. With the benefit of Willow Swan's first-hand knowledge of the plain and Murgen's ability to leave his own body, Sleepy launched her master plan. On the day of Banh Do Trang's death, she began evacuating the Black Company and its allies from the city of Taglios, sending them south in disguised, isolated groups. She coerced Narayan Singh to turn over the Nyueng Bao's artifact, a golden pickax that doubled as one of the most significant relics of the Deceivers. Along the way, one of her prisoners, Suvrin, would develop into a trusted, if reluctant, asset. Using the pickax, Sleepy led the Black Company to the fortress with no name and ultimately was successful in rescuing the Captured from the cave of the ancients.
Soldiers Live[edit | edit source]
Even with Croaker and Lady restored to life, Sleepy still found herself thrust into a leadership position, as Croaker abdicated his office of Captain in favor of his former post as Annalist. Sleepy was therefore officially elected as Captain of the Black Company. She rallied the Company in Hsien where, over a period of several years, the Company grew from a few hundred raggedy hired killers into a professional army of well-trained and well-equipped soldiers numbering over ten thousand. They created a fortified town that would be known locally as the Abode of Ravens, or among most Company members as "Outpost".
After orchestrating the theft of Shadowgate secrets from Khang Phi, Sleepy finally led the renewed strength of the Black Company out of Hsien, across the glittering plain, and back into the homeworld. There, she could secure retribution against Soulcatcher and Mogaba. She marched inexorably northward from the Shadowgate and won a series of small, rapid victories. She disarmed the Shadowlands and crossed the Dandha Presh with little incident, and then captured noteworthy Protectorate sites like the fortress of Nijha and the manor of Gharhawnes.
Battle of the Middle Ground[edit | edit source]
Sleepy's first hard-fought victory against the Protectorate took place at the Battle of the Middle Ground. Against the Middle Army with the support of the unrivaled sorceress Soulcatcher herself, Sleepy's forces contended with Catcher's vicious battlefield sorcery. Company fatalities were mitigated when Soulcatcher was incapacitated by the Khadidas, one of her prisoners, and left in a gradually worsening comatose state. But the battle continued when the Daughter of Night took command of the Middle Army. Once the Daughter and the Khadidas were defeated and fled, Sleepy continued to advance, with the hated traitor Mogaba now at the head of the Protectorate.
Battle at the Shadowlander cemetery[edit | edit source]
While Sleepy's main force was near the Grove of Doom without sorcerers, Mogaba initiated the Battle at the Shadowlander cemetery. He struck from 3 angles and Sleepy was forced to fight Mogaba and his Second Territorial; Narenda Nath Saraswati's right-wing force; and Aridatha Singh's City Battalions. She emerged victorious from the grueling combat, but, the Company sustained many noteworthy fatalities, including most of her best men from the Kiaulune wars. Sleepy was subsequently dragged down by a horrible emotional tailspin at a critical juncture in her campaign.
Siege of Taglios[edit | edit source]
As Sleepy approached Taglios and prepared to besiege the city, she sent an ill-advised raiding party to capture Mogaba and Ghopal Singh within the sprawling Palace. Booby-traps containing Soulcatcher's last remaining shadows were accidentally triggered, and among the Company's fatalities were Murgen and three significant allies: the Howler, the First Father, and Nashun the Researcher. She suffered yet another setback when she ordered some airborne reconnaissance of the Palace. During this recon, she lost: her chief of staff General Chu, her young assistant Mihlos Sedona, and two of the Company's priceless rheitgeistiden in a gigantic explosion which flattened about an acre of the Palace.
During the main engagement of the Siege of Taglios, Sleepy was caught with a small party of her command staff and a dozen other Company men in a mechanical trap under the Southern Gate. The trap had originally been designed to assassinate Soulcatcher, but Mogaba now used it against the Company. Sleepy and her companions were all immobilized by falling stones, struck with poisoned darts, and then slain by boiling oil, without any chance of escape. Her Lieutenant, Suvrin, replaced her as Captain of the Black Company. Sleepy's body could not be identified easily, as the oil had caused extreme burns. But when it was finally found, the Company "sent Sleepy off in more style than she could have hoped for while she lived" during the enormous mass funerals which were hosted for losses of both sides in the city.