Soulcatcher was a member of the Ten Who Were Taken, the ten most powerful servants of the Dominator during the era of the Domination. Catcher was the younger sister of the Lady, though they were not separated by many years. Catcher was also a remarkably powerful sorceress, exceeded only by the Lady at the height of her power and the buried Dominator. Her most defining feature is that she often speaks in different voices; these are no mere imitated voices or adopted accents, but truly different voices, perhaps belonging to the souls that she has 'caught' over her career.
Soulcatcher is described as short, and is also easily identifiable by her traditional garb: tight-fitting black leathers and a black morion to conceal her face. Under the mask is looks almost identical to her sister the Lady, to the degree she is capable of passing herself off as her during Dreams of Steel. She was somewhat vain and continued to enhance her beauty through the use of magic over the centuries. After falling for a pyrotechnic trap set by Goblin in Water Sleeps, Catcher looses one of her heels and subsequently wears a golden, artificial replacement of her own design.
The powerful sorceress was infamous for her unpredictability, and was perceived by everyone who had close contact with her to be insane. In She Is The Darkness, Lady explained her sister, Soulcatcher, as follows:
|“||I have never known why my sister does any of the things she does. She has never been rational. Two does not follow One in her scheme, nor does Three come before Four. She is capable of spending incredible energies and vast fortunes on the execution of a prank. She is capable of destroying cities without ever being able to explain why. You can know what she is doing but not why or you can know why she is doing something but not what. She was that way when she was three years old, before anyone knew she was cursed with the power, too.||”|
Being a member of the Senjaks, Catcher inherited the families immense natural talent for sorcery later making her the strongest of the Ten Who Were Taken and rivalling her sister the Lady. She was a powerful necromancer and master in the art of self-preservation like the Limper. This allowed her to survive outright decapitation at the hands of Croaker at the end of The Black Company.
Catcher also had the ability to use enchanting, allowing her to control people through magic. This allowed her to manipulate Willow Swan and use him to trap key members of the Company, later known as the Captured at the end of She Is The Darkness. However, in this case she partially exploited Swan's infatuation with the Lady.
Soulcatcher also had the ability to shapeshift, as well as create illusions and glamours. During the Books of the South and Books of Glittering Stone she was successful in passing herself off as a tree-stump, allowing her to spy on the Black Company and Shadowmasters. On top of this she was able to infiltrate the Black Company encampment by taking on the guise of Sleepy towards the end of She is the Darkness.
In addition, Soulcatcher had a talent for controlling animals. She held a particular preference for crows which she used as her eyes and ears throughout the course of the Black Company series. During Soldiers Live, Mogaba comments that Catcher also controlled bats and rats, due to her then depleted force of crows.
Like most of the taken, she was capable of piloting Flying carpet. However in Water Sleeps, Willow Swan states Catcher disliked flying, and it was clear she lacked the talent in comparison to the Limper and Howler. In spite of this, by Soldiers Live, she had learned enough to create her own, if somewhat crude, flying carpets.
Before the Annals Edit
Soulcatcher was one of the four daughters of Baron Senjak, originating from a western kingdom. She and her three sisters competed against one another in their beauty. Soulcatcher would go on to become an immensely powerful sorceress, one of the most formidable in the Northern Continent.
The Domination Edit
One of Soulcatcher's younger sisters, Dorotea, hid her true identity, took on the new persona of the Lady, and married the infamous sorcerer known only as the Dominator. The Dominator then began using the true names of his ten most powerful competitors and enemies in an agonizing ritual known as the Rite of Taking to enslave them. Soulcatcher would become the most powerful of these Ten Who Were Taken. Thus began the period known as the Domination. Catcher 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.
Soulcatcher, the other two female Taken (including Stormbringer), and Catcher's other two sisters, would all become the Dominator's lovers. Soulcatcher personally reveled in the "pomp and dark glory" of the Domination. Meanwhile, her sister the Lady, despite being the Dominator's wife, would remain a virgin in their unconsummated political marriage.
After a dark period of rule, they were all defeated (but not killed) by the original White Rose and her armies during a rebellion in the Great Forest. Catcher, alongside the Dominator, the Lady, the other nine Taken, and a considerable number of horrendous demons and beasts, were all imprisoned in the Barrowland. The imprisonment was meant to last for eternity.
Liberation and the Lady's empire Edit
Several decades before The Black Company (and 370 years after being interred in the Barrowland), Soulcatcher, 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. Catcher and the other Taken went on to help the Lady establish her own empire.
A few decades later, before Soulcatcher was sent by the Lady to hire the Black Company, she fought many battles against Whisper, who was the most dangerous Rebel general of the Circle of Eighteen. The battles between these two ranged from Rust to Were and even across Plain of Fear. Soulcatcher came to respect Whisper as a brilliant and worthy enemy.
The Black Company Edit
When the Black Company was in service to the Syndic of Beryl, Soulcatcher arrived aboard her massive imperial flagship, The Dark Wings, serving as a legate from the Lady's Empire. She collaborated with the Black Company to remove the Syndic from his station — permanently — in order to facilitate an imperial takeover which would turn Beryl into just another puppet state of the northern empire. Soulcatcher also agreed to take on the Black Company's commission, bringing them into the service of the Lady.
Soulcatcher was the Black Company's sponsor during their time in service to the Lady. Its members wore Soulcatcher's emblem — a silver skull with eyes and mouth ablaze on a field of black — and primarily reported to, and received orders from, Soulcatcher herself. The Black Company discovered that the Ten Who Were Taken were endlessly feuding, and that Soulcatcher's principle foe amongst the Taken was the Limper. Repeatedly, Soulcatcher and the Black Company embarrassed the Limper both by winning victories over the Rebel which had long eluded the Limper, and also by dealing him personal injury.
During the Battle of Charm, Soulcatcher was given command of the Tower Guard and a force of soldiers from the Jewel Cities. She attempted to murder Croaker at least three times at the Tower: first, with an "out-of-control" ballista that she was actually manipulating with her sorcery; second, by sending the forvalaka to maul him; and third, by using her namesake spell to directly assault him. She was revealed to be a traitor against the Lady and the northern empire when she sabotaged the flying carpet flown by the Howler, causing him to smash at high velocity into the Tower. Lady initially thought that Soulcatcher was working to advance the cause of the Dominator, but later determined that Soulcatcher was playing her own game, hoping to usurp both the Dominator and the Lady and rule the empire in their stead. The Lady took Croaker with her in a frantic pursuit of Soulcatcher through the lines of battle, and Croaker managed to shoot Soulcatcher with an ensorcelled arrow before decapitating her with a sword stroke.
Shadow Games Edit
Thought dead for years, Soulcatcher re-emerged during the Black Company's long trek south following the disastrous Battle of the Barrowland. When she realized that her sister was in love with Croaker, she dedicated herself to striking at Lady's heart by separating her from Croaker. Initially, planted a spy amidst the Company's ranks, an imp called Frogface whom she contrived for One-Eye to acquire. With her spy in place, she stalked Croaker in particular often reminding him of a walking stump when he would occasionally glimpse her from afar. Using endless murders of crows as spies, Soulcatcher followed the Black Company all the way south of Taglios before finally making her move against Croaker and Lady during the assault on Dejagore. She struck Croaker down with an arrow that pierced his heavy armor, and then abducted him and snuck him away from the battlefield.
Dreams of Steel Edit
In Soulcatcher's custody, Croaker learned that her plan was to force him to surgically re-attach her severed head to her body, which was still very much alive and vital due to the enduring power of her sorcery. With her body restored, Soulcatcher regained her full measure of power, and began to enact her true plan. She began a long campaign to seduce Croaker, trying to force him to betray his love for Lady. In addition, she acted as a wild card in the ongoing conflict between Taglios and the Shadowmasters. In an effort to keep the siege of Dejagore from ending in a decisive victory for the Shadowmasters, Soulcatcher and Croaker appeared as the Lifetaker and Widowmaker characters devised by Lady, and Soulcatcher used her immense powers to drastically tip the tide of battle against the Shadowmaster armies as they made their first real effort to seize Dejagore.
Next, Soulcatcher dragged Croaker — now under sorcerous glamour to appear as the man Ram — to the city of Taglios proper. There, she impersonated her sister and began to worm her way into the confidences of the Prahbrindrah Drah. However, before Soulcatcher could complete her nefarious plans, she was kidnapped by the Howler under the orders of Longshadow, both of whom had mistaken Soulcatcher for Lady. Howler escaped Taglios and took Soulcatcher to Overlook, but Soulcatcher used her magic to easily escape from Longshadow's custody. She immediately began her hunt for Croaker once again.
Sometime during the events of Bleak Seasons, Soulcatcher stole the golden pickax from the Nyueng Bao priests at the Vinh Gao Ghang Temple of Ghanghesha. Using the artifact, she safely crossed the shadowgate, traversed the Plain of Glittering Stone, and entered the Fortress With No Name. There, at the feet of the immortal but immobile golem Shivetya, she tinkered haphazardly with the machinery that Shivetya used to maintain the sorcery of the Plain. Her careless activity caused the gigantic earthquake that occurred at the end of Bleak Seasons. It created fissures not only on the Plain, but also reached back into the homeworld, taking thousands of lives, most especially in the city of Kiaulune.
|Ten Who Were Taken|
| Soulcatcher • Limper • Howler • Shapeshifter • Stormbringer|
Hanged Man • Bonegnasher • Nightcrawler • Moonbiter • Faceless Man