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Black Company Wiki 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 woman who joined the Black Company during the infamous Siege of Dejagore. Posing as a young Shadar man, she earned the distinguished roles of standard-bearer and Annalist. She was given her Company nickname due to a scar that made her left eyelid droop such that, when seen from that side, it appeared that she was having trouble staying awake.

Sleepy became the ranking officer during the perilous 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 Mogaba and his Protectorate forces in the 5-year-long Kiaulune wars (the first 5 years of the Captivity). A master of disguise, Sleepy created at least three alter egos – Dorabee Dey Banerjae, Sawa, and Vajra the Naga – to guide the Company and to survive undetected under the noses of her enemies. She eventually rose to the Company's Captaincy, its highest rank, and proved to be a worthy opponent of two of the Company's most dangerous antagonists: Soulcatcher and Mogaba.

Early life[]

In her birth city of Jaicur (frequently referred to with the Taglian name "Dejagore" in the Annals), Sleepy was the victim of sexual abuse by her uncles, starting with one named Rafi. From a very young age, she learned to mentally retreat from the world to cope with the horrible stress.

Bleak Seasons[]

During the Siege of Dejagore, Sleepy was 14 years of age. The Black Company sergeant named Big Bucket witnessed her being assaulted by one of her uncles. Bucket threw the man to his death from walls of the city, and afterward Sleepy gravitated to Bucket as a father figure. Before the siege was over, she presented herself as a young Shadar man, and was sworn into the Company. Sleepy took the Company oath shortly before Murgen picked up the pen as Annalist. Regarding Bucket, Sleepy stated "he never said and I never asked but I suspect he knew I was female all along". She received the nickname "Sleepy" because, as Murgen described, "he always looked like he was having trouble keeping his eyes open".

During one night of the siege, Sleepy reported to Murgen (the leader of the Old Crew) that the rival Company faction (Mogaba and his loyal Nar) were not making any effort to fight against groups of Shadowlanders who had made it over the city walls. This was simply more evidence that the split between Mogaba and the Old Crew was widening.

Once Croaker relieved the siege, she and the rest of the Company left the city.

Sleepy was one of the few Old Crew survivors of the Siege of Dejagore who did not acquire a bodyguard from among the Path of the Sword swordsmen of the Nyueng Bao De Duang. But, the Nyueng Bao as a group did keep an eye on her.

She Is the Darkness[]

Now 18 years old and with everyone still under the impression that she was a young Taglian Shadar man, Sleepy continued to earn the favor of Murgen. Murgen, the group's longtime standard-bearer, taught her literacy, and Sleepy became his choice to succeed him as protector of the standard and as understudy Annalist.

"I'm tired and hungry and beginning to wonder if being buttfucked by my uncles really was worse than this." Anybody who could sustain a sense of humor after what Sleepy had suffered was all right by me.

Murgen, She Is the Darkness, chapter 35

Sleepy satisfactorily completed exhausting assignments in She Is the Darkness. One entailed working with Big Bucket helping oversee special forces battalion which "was doing the biggest part of the work of hunting Mogaba’s partisans". This hard work was interrupted by Murgen, who sent her to travel a significant distance to deliver a personal message to Banh Do Trang at his warehouse within Taglios. But this journey was relatively swift and easy, as she rode one of the tireless black stallions and much of the route was on the newly-paved Rock Road. She enjoyed the pleasant weather of an early spring during her sojourn in Taglios that made Murgen envious.

Later, after she was found bruised and partially catatonic, Murgen and Croaker discovered that she was a woman during their examination of her injuries. They chose to keep silent on the matter. But, this turned out to be Soulcatcher masquerading as Sleepy. After Soulcatcher murdered Smoke and destroyed Lady's fireball projector factory, she was incapacitated and restrained.

With Soulcatcher's deception exposed, Murgen was eager to find the real Sleepy. Eventually, using his disembodied spirit, he discovered that Soulcatcher had her chained to a tree along with another captive, the 4-year-old Daughter of Night. During her imprisonment there, Sleepy was drugged and did not yet know the child's identity, but she took note of the child's bizarre personality. Sleepy was discovered at the same time by both Uncle Doj (who was actually hunting for Soulcatcher and "the Key") and Narayan Singh (who was rescuing the Daughter, the messiah of his cult). While restrained to the tree, she witnessed Singh's failed rumel attack on Uncle Doj. She would later remark that she was unimpressed with the filthy, skinny Narayan, and she would regret not strangling the evil Daughter when she had the chance.

Kiaulune wars[]

Sleepy was not part of the Black Company group which crossed the Shadowgate and was imprisoned beneath the glittering plain (the Captured). Instead, she became leader of the remaining Company by default: as Annalist, she was now the highest-ranking person in the band. She abandoned her false "young Shadar man" identity and her womanhood became public knowledge. Ky Sahra, though never officially a member of the group, took on many of the tasks normally performed by the Black Company 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. Defeated militarily, the survivors holed up in Overlook for at least two years after the Kiaulune wars, but that structure was eventually reduced to dust by Soulcatcher's immense sorcery.

Before Overlook was leveled, somehow Sleepy escaped undetected with a core group of veterans. She transformed what remained of the Company into a fully underground movement within the streets of Taglios itself. Meanwhile, Soulcatcher seemed genuinely satisfied that they were all dead and sponsored several public laws and decrees that the Black Company did not exist anymore.

Water Sleeps[]

Master Santaraksita

Sleepy studies with Master Santaraksita.

Underground in Taglios[]

Hiding in Taglios, Sleepy's new headquarters was a warehouse owned by their elderly 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 glittering 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 maintained her 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. Sleepy's own day job was posing as the young man "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. By night, the Black Company 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. They used the widespread public dissatisfaction with the Protectorate to their advantage as well. When the Bhodi disciples began immolating themselves in protest against the Taglian government, Sleepy's wizards escalated their fearful public illusions.

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 guises they deceived one of Soulcatcher's Palace staff managers, Jaul Barundandi, for years. Sleepy and Sahra were so persuasive in their disguises that they remained undetected by Soulcatcher, even after several moments of relatively close personal scrutiny.

The abductions[]

Sleepy eventually made her hidden war against Soulcatcher very public and very bloody. Her men executed successful, high-profile abductions: they captured the Radisha Drah, as well as top-level Taglian officials of the Privy Council: Willow Swan (commander of the Greys), 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 the oldest Company Annals. Two other important prisoners of hers during this time were Narayan Singh and the Daughter of Night. To intimidate some of these prisoners during personal interactions, Sleepy used her "Vajra the Naga" persona, named after a real Taglian gang enforcer she had eliminated previously.

Sleepy ice cave

Sleepy, at long last, enters the cave of the ancients, and examines the Captured.

Southward trek toward the Shadowgate[]

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 new prisoners, Suvrin, would develop into a trusted, if reluctant, asset.

Using the pickax, Sleepy led the Black Company through the Shadowgate. At the very last moment, an ambush she arranged on the fly with the captured traitor Khusavir Pete almost succeeded in assassinating Soulcatcher herself. With Murgen's supernatural assistance, Sleepy carefully guided the ragtag band across the profoundly dangerous glittering plain, avoiding the horrible shadows along the way. Finally at the fortress with no name, she was ultimately was successful in rescuing the Captured from the cave of the ancients.

Soldiers Live[]

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".

Sleepy by Виталий Стрелец

Sleepy by Виталий Стрелец

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[]

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[]

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[]

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.