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Black Company Wiki

The Tower Guard – also referred to as the Lady's personal Guard and the Imperial Guard – is a special army within the Lady's Empire with a reporting line directly to the Lady herself. Headquartered at the Tower at Charm and recognizable for their "brilliant" uniforms, the Guard was distinct from the other imperial armies which reported to individual members of the Ten Who Were Taken and the new Taken.

A subset of the Guard is the cavalry division known as the Horse Guard. They are responsible for the tireless black stallions as well as traditional horses.

About 500 Guards reinforced the Black Company at the Stair of Tear, and fought alongside them against Rebel armies. The Guard next played a significant role in the defense of the Tower itself as ballista and artillery crews during the Battle of Charm (The Black Company). Years later, Croaker encountered them again during his imprisonment there as a member of the New White Rose Rebellion (The White Rose). The Tower Guard would reappear in the Annals after the Lady's return to Charm and during her trek to the southern bounds of her empire (Shadow Games).

The Black Company[]

The Stair of Tear[]

Approximately 500 Tower Guardsmen marched over the Stair of Tear to reinforce the Black Company against the Rebel armies of Harden, Moth, Sidle, and Linger. They were accompanied by the Taken known as the Hanged Man and about 500 imperial teamsters with livestock and a wagon train of supplies. The Guard's commander was openly upset that he was now subordinate to the Captain of the Black Company. At the Stair, the Guard captains were baffled by an absurd spectacle put on by the long-feuding Company wizards Goblin and One-Eye. After Harden was assassinated, the Guard presumably fought alongside the Company in their major victory at the Stair, and then returned to the Tower with them.

Guardsmen at the Tower strapped Feather and Journey to litters after they were captured by the Company and flown to the Tower by the Howler.

The Battle of Charm[]

During the vigorous, comprehensive preparations for the Battle of Charm, Tower Guards assembled ballistae on the third earthen tier, and calculated fire lanes and survivability. As they did so, one of their ballistae was knocked down from the tier and fired its missile upward, through Croaker's left arm. A Guard captain successfully applied a tourniquet to his arm, per his instructions, which kept him alive long enough for an expert sorcerer-surgeon of the Tower to mend the wound. The ballista's crew and Foster, a nearby Guard witness, could not explain the runaway weapon, but it turned out to be one of several failed attempts on Croaker's life orchestrated by Soulcatcher.

The Guard captain escorted Croaker in a wheeled chair into the inner Tower (the Lady's residence), where Croaker had his second meeting with the Lady since his first encounter with her in the Forest of Cloud. The same captain rolled him out after the Lady subjected him to the Eye but also fully healed his wound.

As the Rebel approached the Tower, the Guard was combined with allies from the Jewel Cities, and together they numbered 2,500. They were stationed on the third of three tiers beneath an earthen pyramid, and placed under Soulcatcher's command. The Guard was reportedly jealous of the Black Company, which was now stationed above them directly on the pyramid, numbering 1,000 strong, and serving as the Lady's own bodyguard.

As the battle began, the Tower Guard first used their ballistae to target the cranes that Rebel pioneers were using to build bridges over trenches. They then targeted enemy mantlets and rolling siege towers, using heavy weapons to launch fireballs. The Guard's missiles also "savaged" thousands in the lines of marching Rebels who pulled their towers forward. Later in the battle, Whisper commanded the Guard. She directed their ballista missiles to break up the heavy formations of Rebel infantry "turtles" which were impervious to archers' arrows.

The Guard fought alongside the Black Company, the Limper, and the Howler's easterners inside the Tower itself, after the Rebel masses breached the structure. On the roof, a Guard sergeant ordered Croaker to harness the Lady as she operated her damaged flying carpet.

The White Rose[]

After Croaker was subjected to the Lady's Eye at the Tower at Charm, she showed atypical concern for his well-being. She sent her best physician of the Tower Guard to help him recover from the hellish experience of the Eye. The physician gave Croaker an impressive, effective concoction which included medicine from the top four leaves of the parsifal plant. Croaker, a physician himself, inquired about the medicine's origin. The Tower physician informed him that the plant came from the Hollow Hills, and that there was "talk in council of growing it commercially after the fighting ends" as a medicinal.

Shadow Games[]

Croaker (now the Black Company Captain) and the 5 remaining brothers of the Company were guests of the Tower Guard during Shadow Games. The men of the Guard were still jealous and confused of the Company's privileged treatment by the Lady, unable to situate them in their neat, hierarchical universe. When the Lady appointed Croaker the ranks of Imperial general and legate, Croaker felt even warier around the Guard. After 2 weeks, Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Otto, Hagop, and Murgen were relieved to finally depart the place.

After the Lady departed the Tower to catch up with Croaker at Opal, the Guard began to answer to her appointed successors.

The Silver Spike[]

The Tower Guard are not mentioned specifically in The Silver Spike, but they presumably played some role during the defense of the Tower against the Limper ("the wicker man"), Toadkiller Dog, and their ragtag army of thousands of armed opportunists.

Bleak Seasons[]

Otto and Hagop would have encountered the Guard and the other functionaries of the Tower during their visit to the place in Bleak Seasons. They reported to Croaker that they received the full cooperation of the Tower staff. They did not express the sense of potential menace from the Guard which they had felt several years prior, during Shadow Games, and in fact had found their stay at the Tower to be overall quite boring.