... a cry like that of a wolf challenging the moon... At the rear of the carpet, unmoving, shunned, sat a child-sized figure concealed in layers of indigo gauze. It howled at random intervals.

–Croaker, The Black Company

The Howler was one of the original Ten Who Were Taken and one the main villains in the Black Company series. He was a tiny man covered in a bundle of dirty indigo rags, known for random outbursts of screams and as well as a formidable wizard. Despite his strength and incredible old age, Howler had little ambition and was largely driven by his wish to be cured of his affliction. He had no concept of loyalty, and above all else was driven by self-preservation. He would willingly ally with whoever held the greatest power and influence at the time.

The Howler primarily specialized in creating magical artifacts, with the flying carpet being his magnum opus, and was unrivaled in piloting them.

Before the Annals Edit

The Howler was the oldest of the Ten Who Were Taken, and was an established wizard-king "ages" even before The Lady was born. His iconic bloodcurdling howls, resulting in his moniker, were the result of a powerful curse afflicted upon him in the past. In Soldiers Live, Lady reveals the Howler looked very different in the distant past, suggesting that the curse changed him physically over the centuries. His knowledge of magic arguably rivaled that of The Lady. Despite his extensive experience with magic, he was enslaved by the vastly more powerful Dominator and became one of his Ten enforcers, and subsequently served The Lady after their liberation from the Barrowland.

The Black Company Edit

The Howler was first seen by Croaker in person after the Black Company kidnapped Feather and Journey during their honeymoon. The Howler successfully extracted the strike team and their prisoners via flying carpet. Croaker observed that the Howler was child-sized and fully wrapped in indigo cloth.

During the battle of Battle of Charm, the wizard single-handedly wiped out most the Rebel army along with allied imperial remnants, after deploying magical orbs which spread a deadly plague among the combatants. Shortly after, he was believed to have been killed when Soulcatcher sabotaged his carpet, causing him to crash into the top of the Tower at Charm at very high speed.

Rise of the Shadowmasters Edit

The Howler survived however and fled South along with several other Taken. It is later revealed he was one of the six other wizards along with Longshadow and Shadowspinner, who stole the fake key from the Nyueng Bao De Duang. They subsequently attempted to use it in order to control the Shadowgate, but failed and were assaulted by an influx of Shadows. Three of them were killed in the incident, and Howler himself was gravely injured and forced to flee. At some point before the Black Company's march South he established his own tyrannical rule over the natives residing in the swamps between Gea-Xle and Thresh.

Shadow Games Edit

Howler reappeared after the Black Company reached Gea-Xle. Their ship was ambushed by river pirates and natives when passing through the swamps between Gea-Xle and Thresh. Hearing his signature screams, the Black Company realized they had crossed paths with their old enemy in his new home.
The howler the black company by irontree-d92syj0
The Howler lost many of his swamp pirates to his enemy’s traps and the ravenous needleteeth fish. But when it came to sorcery, One-Eye and Goblin were no match for the power of the Taken, who bombarded the barge at range with small, explosive pebble-like projectiles. Croaker then forced Lady on deck to reveal the identity of Shapeshifter, who had secretly been following them. Shifter, who also was supposedly killed at Charm, chased the Howler away using his own powerful sorcery.

Dreams of Steel and Bleak Seasons Edit

Persuaded by Longshadow's emissaries, Howler entered in an alliance with the Shadowmasters and subsequently caused problems for Croaker and the Company for years to come. He secretly helped Shadowspinner recover from his wounds, seeing him as a better ally much to the distaste of Longshadow when he found out.

After Shadowspinner's death and Soulcatcher's increasingly frequent meddling, Howler was then dispatched by Longshadow to subdue Soulcatcher and return her as a prisoner to Overlook. Despite succeeding during an ambush in Taglios along with his minions from the swamps, Howler was near fatally wounded due to Soulcatcher's sorceries and Croaker stabbing him with the Lance of Passion. With few powerful allies left Longshadow was forced heal Howler, but with the intent of killing him later.

She is the Darkness Edit

Howler played a major role fighting against the Taglian offensive on the Shadowlands led by the Black Company, and was one of Longshadow's key commanders along with Mogaba, Blade and Narayan Singh. His mastery over magic and the advantage of his flying carpets caused significant damage to the invading forces, such as at the Battle of Charandaprash and the Siege of Overlook. He also led Longshadow's legions of Shadows during a night attack on the Black Company at Lake Tanji. Despite this, the reign of the Shadowmasters was to be overthrown.

When Overlook was taken by the Black Company, he stole the copies of the Books of the Dead to deny them from the Daughter of Night realising their true nature and danger, driven mostly out of self preservation. He then attempted to escape with Soulcatcher, but was severely injured when Longshadow released a Shadow from his fingernail during a face-off with the two Taken, Narayan and the Daughter of Night. They escaped, excluding Narayan using a mini carpet Howler kept in reserve in his robes. However, he was then betrayed by Soulcatcher and thrown from his own flying carpet resulting in him freezing solid in the wilderness.

He was subsequently captured and remained a prisoner, until brought onto the Plain of Glittering Stone when Croaker led a scouting mission onto it. He became a member of the Captured when Soulcatcher trapped them in the Cave of the Ancients beneath the Fortress With No Name on the Plain.

Water Sleeps Edit

The Howler was able to maintain consciousness, and even the movement of his eyes, during his time as one of the Captured. When Sleepy, Willow Swan, One-Eye, Ky Sahra, the Radisha Drah, and some others finally entered the Cave of the Ancients to free their friends among the Captured, Sleepy saw the Howler's eyes move and was frightened. She ordered that they do not liberate the Howler, or even get close to him, before they began freeing the other Captured.

Soldiers Live Edit

Howler was finally reawakened during the Company's march on Soulcatcher after their return from Hsien. He agreed to cooperate and manufacture flying carpets for them, as well as reluctantly tutor Tobo in the process of making them. In return, he was promised that Shivetya would remove the curse which afflicted him, as well as getting his revenge on Soulcatcher.

After Soulcatcher fell into a coma orchestrated by the Daughter of Night and Khadidas, during a battle along the Rock Road he was forced to help keep her alive by Lady, but could do little. Being one of the few capable of using flying carpets, he accompanied Croaker, Lady and other members of the company journey back South, in order to inter Soulcatcher in the Cave of the Ancients. Shortly after arriving, he was finally cured of the curse that afflicted him by Shivetya. However his good fortune was short lived. Howler along with Murgen, the First Father, and Nashun the Researcher were among those killed by shadows in their disastrous attempt to capture Mogaba in the palace of Taglios.

Ten Who Were Taken
Hanged ManBonegnasherNightcrawlerMoonbiterFaceless Man