|“||We followed a spoor of violence, a swath of destruction. Ruined fields fell behind us. Burned villages. Slaughtered people and butchered livestock. Poisoned wells. The Limper left nothing but death and desolation.||”|
The Limper, later known as the Wicker Man, was a short man usually dressed in brown. He was one of the original Ten Who Were Taken and was considered the most evil and violent of them all. He was one of the major antagonists throughout the series and both the Black Company and some of his fellow taken considered him their greatest enemy.
The Limper is described as being short, and notably wears ragged, brown clothing compared to the popular black of the Taken. He wore a leather mask, and had tangled grey hair peppered with black. Beneath the mask, Croaker describes his face as an improperly preserved mummy, with patches of rotting flesh and the right corner of his mouth below the nose exposing his gums and teeth.
The Limper was considered the most sadistic and misanthropic of the Ten Who Were Taken. He was clearly mad, had a complete disregard for all life and actively promoted it under his minions. However, he had an unnatural willpower and self-preservation, much like the Howler which allowed him survive numerous attempts to kill him over the centuries. During The Lady's Empire, the provinces under his rule were characterized by lawlessness and open power grabs. The armies under his command were ill-disciplined and little more than bandits; they were easily defeated on numerous occasions, even with his monstrous killing spells in use on the field of battle.
The Limper had mastered the spells of self-preservation, allowing him to extend his life and cheat death numerous times. During the White Rose Rebellion, he survived a massive, gruesome slash wound, reportedly inflicted by the White Rose herself. Centuries later, in the events of the Annals and The Silver Spike, he survived at least six separate incidents of tremendous violence that would have killed any lesser sorcerer.
In addition to his enhanced vitality, the Limper specialized in destructive battlefield sorcery which reflected his penchant for inflicting mass death and chaos among his victims. During the The Black Company, Croaker witnesses the aftermath of one of Limper's defeats, where the remains of whole units of Rebel soldiers had been melted and fused together into perfectly circular, blackened mounds. In Shadows Linger (the Battle of Juniper), he slew numerous Black Watchers, the Dominator's supernaturally strong creatures, using a magically augmented sword and then led a charge directly into the Black Castle. During The White Rose the Limper was still capable of defeating windwhales and mantas. At the Battle of the Barrowland, like the Dominator he even survived outright decapitation within Darling's anti-magic null field. In The Silver Spike, despite his weakened state, he single-handedly fought a large enemy force, and was only defeated due to Silent's sacrifice.
Before the Annals Edit
The Domination Edit
Prior to or during the era known as the Domination, the Limper was initially an independent wizard-king. Then he was enslaved by the infamous sorcerer known only as the Dominator, becoming one of the Ten Who Were Taken. As such, the Limper was forced to become one of the Dominator's enforcers and generals, but presumably was also one of his subordinate lords with control over much territory. At some point, he had an affair with a beautiful woman who was already in a relationship with Shapeshifter. Shifter was reputed to have transformed this woman into his staff. The unmitigated hatred between Shifter and the Limper would become well-known throughout the Domination.
After a dark period of rule, they were all defeated (but not killed) by a mysterious woman known as the White Rose and her armies. The Limper's hideous slash wound was said to have been inflicted by the White Rose herself during her Rebellion, presumably during the infamous fighting within the Great Forest. The Limper, alongside the Dominator, the Dominator's wife The Lady, the other nine Taken, were all imprisoned in the Barrowland alongside a considerable number of horrendous beasts. The imprisonment was meant to last for eternity.
Several decades before The Black Company (and 370 years after being interred in the Barrowland), the Limper, the other nine Taken, and The Lady were freed from their prison by a group known as the Resurrectionists. To keep power to herself, The Lady orchestrated this event such that the Dominator and his "pet" monsters remained imprisoned. The Limper and the other Taken helped The Lady establish her own empire.
The Black CompanyEdit
When the Black Company arrived in the Northern Continent in the service of Soulcatcher, the Limper was busy laying waste to the rebellious province of Forsberg. Since the Company was in the service of his hated rival, Soulcatcher, the Limper already had reason enough to generally distrust the band of mercenaries. But the Company soon did at least four things in rapid succession to enrage him specifically.
- First, they accepted Raven into their ranks. Raven was a baronet whom the Limper's subordinates attempted to murder and whose rights and titles they stole with the help of his own wife. In full view of nobles from throughout the Lady's Empire, at the Gardens of Opal, Raven avenged this betrayal by murdering his wife and two of the Limper's subordinates.
- Soon afterward, during their trek toward Forsberg (less than a day's march from the Tower at Charm), the Company flogged a disrespectful corporal courier from the Limper's main force.
- Next, in a village that the Limper had utterly wiped out, Raven shot two of the Limper's men to death to rescue a defenseless girl from gang-rape. Raven's actions were reported up to the Limper by a captain named Lane, another personal enemy of Raven.
- In a final humiliation, the Company recaptured the fortress at Deal from the Rebel general Raker, who had seized it from the Limper earlier.
After this, the conflict between the Limper and the Black Company escalated to an armed confrontation, led the Limper's favorite enforcer, Colonel Zouad. Although Raven was badly injured, he was healed by Shapeshifter, another member of the Taken, and one who hated the Limper even more than Soulcatcher. The Company orchestrated Colonel Zouad's kidnapping by the Rebels as retaliation. When the Limper tried to free his man, he walked directly into Shapeshifter's trap. With the help of disguised Company members (including Croaker and Elmo), Shifter stunned the unsuspecting Limper and collapsed an entire building over him. While he struggled to dig himself out, the Black Company scored a major victory against the Rebels of Oar. Still trapped underground, the Limper's forces in the whole province of Forsberg were utterly routed by Raker's Rebel reinforcements.
When his true name was discovered by the enemy leader Whisper, Limper betrayed The Lady and caused numerous military disasters for the empire. Unfortunately for him, his betrayal was discovered. In the Forest of Cloud, during one of his secret meetings with Whisper, they were both ambushed and captured by Raven and Croaker. After being gruesomely tortured by The Lady, he was sent away by The Lady's gigantic luminescent dragonfly to be locked in the Tower. But his imprisonment did not last long. His treason was pardoned and he was summoned to fight during the Battle of Charm inside the Tower. He even assisted The Lady in landing her dangerously compromised flying carpet at the top of the Tower. By the end of that epic battle, the Limper was the very last of the original Ten to be in open service to The Lady.
Shadows Linger Edit
The Limper was restored to his former position. He continued to serve The Lady and demonstrated bravery and skill in Battle of Juniper, where he personally slew many of the Dominator's minions known as Black Watchers. After the Black Company abandoned The Lady, the Limper was ordered to return to the Barrowland. However, he disobeyed her, and pursued the Company to the city of Meadenvil. He sought not only to eliminate them but also to retrieve Whisper's stolen Domination-era papers, the ones which contained his name and also possibly The Lady's. However, Croaker turned the tables on the Limper. He was ambushed and suffered a broken arm, then was lured by Company wizard Goblin in front of a hidden ballista operated by Pawnbroker. After being pierced by two missiles from the ballista, the Limper was cut to pieces by several Company brothers. Croaker finally hanged him from a tree, stuffing the last Black Castle "seeds" into his mouth for The Lady to find and destroy.
The White RoseEdit
The Limper survived his dismemberment in Meadenvil, and was eventually rehabilitated by The Lady in what she reported to be a painful process. He was now reduced to "human wreckage" and was unable to physically move without the aid of a miniature flying carpet. He threatened Croaker with a slow death but was interrupted by The Lady, who made it clear if he disobeyed her one more time, she would destroy him. When The Lady ordered him to attack the Plain of Fear, he was very enthusiastic during the air battle against Darling's windwhales. Eventually the two armies made a pact and Limper had to work with his old enemies for the Battle of the Barrowland. Despite being utterly defenseless within Darling's anti-magic null field, he tried to betray The Lady once again during the battle. He attempted to name her true name (to strip her of her magic powers), and shot her with a crossbow, but he guessed the incorrect name. Croaker, flying into an insane rage, hacked what remained of his body to pieces yet again, this time slicing off his head.
The Silver SpikeEdit
His second resurrection was orchestrated by the Toadkiller Dog. The demon dug up his head and forced the wild tribes from the Barrowland to attach it to an artificial body. The Limper, now also called the wicker man, and the demon dog organized the tribes into an army which headed south and destroyed every city on their way. Some citizens of the ruined cities joined them and at some point their army reached 5,000 men.
They pillaged Opal and crossed the Sea of Torments to attack Beryl. Finally they were defeated by Darling, which put an end to their alliance. The Taken's wooden body was completely burned. After receiving another artificial body, Limper returned to Oar in order to retrieve the silver spike, which contained the power of his old master, the Dominator. Limper breached the city walls, with his magic, but was attacked by numerous enemies and was eventually killed.
|Ten Who Were Taken|
| Soulcatcher • Limper • Howler • Shapeshifter • Stormbringer|
Hanged Man • Bonegnasher • Nightcrawler • Moonbiter • Faceless Man