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The army is half the problem. A parade of weak, short-term Syndics let discipline lapse. The troops are beyond control now. Generally, though, they will act against riotors. They see riot suppression as license to loot.

Croaker, The Black Company

The Urban Cohorts were a police force and militia stationed in Beryl, and were headquartered at the Fork Barracks within the city. Their primary role was law enforcement and defense of the free city. However, by the time of the Black Company's arrival in the city, they had become undisciplined and prone to refuse orders after years of weak leadership. The Cohorts held a particular hatred for the Company, which had been hired by the Syndic as his bodyguard. The Cohorts saw them as rivals and would often start skirmishes with them.[1]

More than 15 years later, the Black Company would return to Beryl, and 3 men in the Urban Cohorts would desert the organization to enlist in the Company: the trio of engineer brothers Cletus, Loftus, & Longinus.[2]

The Black Company[]

The Cohorts ineffectiveness in restoring order after long term unrest in Beryl had forced the Syndic to hire the Black Company. Some time later, the populace of Beryl rebelled and the Cohorts carried out brutal riot suppression to quell the mobs. However, many of their number also exploited the situation to loot and pillage the city during the process. The Cohorts later mutinied against the Syndic after he refused to pay a 'special donative' offered to buy their loyalty. This resulted in heavy fighting in the city with the Black Company, and a large number of fatalities were inflicted on both sides, including the Company sergeant named Mercy.

After the Black Company was finally free of their contract with the Syndic, they launched a final attack on the Cohorts' base to even the score. After nightfall, the wizards Goblin and One-Eye used sorcery to put many in the garrison (now numbering between 5,000 and 6,000) to sleep. Three platoons of Company mercenaries then systematically murdered an unspecified number of the defenseless men before making their escape to the Pillar of Anguish. The remaining Urban Cohorts understood the message and did not pursue or besiege the Company afterward.

Shadow Games[]

By the time of Shadow Games, the city of Beryl had ceased being independent and was now an imperial province. The men of the Urban Cohorts, like everyone else in Beryl, were stunned to see the giant imperial warship called The Dark Wings arrive at the city's harbor for the second time. Without warning, Croaker (now an imperial general and legate) rapidly passed through the city with his handful of Company soldiers and the Lady herself. Three blood brothers serving in the Urban Cohorts – Cletus, Loftus, and Longinus – deserted the Cohorts, and, with Murgen's sponsorship, were all admitted into the Black Company.

The Silver Spike[]

The Urban Cohorts are not mentioned directly in The Silver Spike, during which Beryl was sacked by the Limper, Toadkiller Dog, and their ragtag army. But the "city's defenders put up a ferocious fight rather than bend the knee to him". The Cohorts, and the powerful wizards supporting them, presumably suffered immensely when the Limper's "fury, his insanity, then, cowed even Toadkiller Dog". If there were any Cohorts survivors, they fled with the rest of the population before the Limper's second visit (during which he found the entire city to be completely evacuated).