The Lady's Taken, also called the New Taken, were eight sorcerers of immense strength and skill who were enslaved by The Lady using the Rite of Taking. They were "Taken" to serve as replacements for the nine of the original Ten Who Were Taken who were killed or who fled The Lady's Empire during the time of Croaker's first chronicle.
The extremely powerful and sophisticated domination spells which the New Taken were subjected to constituted a ritual that takes hours, possibly days, during which the victim appears to be "broken, slain, and resurrected" as a devoted slave. The Lady's Taken were placed utterly and irrevocably under her power, just as the Ten Who Were Taken were under the power of the Dominator. However, the Limper, the last of the Ten still in The Lady's service, ranked higher than the New Taken. Like the Ten, the Lady's Taken were not automatons - they were free to scheme against each other and even the Lady - but the Lady had the power to completely strip them of all their magical talent at will.
Each of the New Taken was skilled with flying carpets; while riding these, the sorcerers were instrumental in systematically slaying each of the Dominator's "pets" as the ancient monsters were released from the Barrowland during the Battle of the Barrowland. They were also able to use weather magic. In an effort to prevent the Dominator from re-routing the Great Tragic River, they froze the western banks, albeit to little effect.
Despite their power, the New Taken were never considered to be as strong or threatening as the original Ten. Except for Whisper, they all dressed identically. Whisper proves to be the only unique one among them, and is the most characterized of the group.
The Lady's Taken were:
- Whisper (female)
- Journey (male)
- Feather (female)
- Benefice (male)
- Blister (female)
The Black Company Edit
The first three sorcerers Taken by The Lady belonged to the Circle of Eighteen, the leaders of the Rebel armies which waged war against The Lady's Empire. The first to be Taken was Whisper, the most dangerous of the entire Circle. Significantly, until The Lady enslaved Whisper, it had been universally assumed, even by the Lady's own sister Soulcatcher, that only the Dominator was able to execute the Rite of Taking. Whisper was ambushed by two Black Company men, Croaker and Raven, in the Forest of Cloud, and her Taking was witnessed and chronicled in limited detail by Croaker.
Feather and Journey Edit
Leading up to the epic Rebel siege on the Tower at Charm, the Black Company kidnapped two more (newly-inducted) members of the Circle, Feather and Journey, and delivered them to The Lady. They were both Taken by the Lady, like Whisper. Alongside Whisper, they both fought for the Lady against the remainder of the Circle, their former allies, at Charm.
The White RoseEdit
By the time of the events of the third chronicle, the Lady had also Taken 5 new wizards: Scorn, Blister, Benefice, the Creeper, and Learned. The Lady began to encircle the Plain of Fear to trap Darling by stationing her New Taken and Limper at various points outside the plain. The Limper, the only member of the original Taken still in the Lady's service, was stationed outside Rust as commander over all. Whisper and Journey operated together out of a village called Spit, to the west of the plain. The newest five each had their own posts and unique stellae. These five were generally undistinguished in Croaker's Annals, and although he encountered several of them, they often went unnamed because of their identical dress.
Scorn and BlisterEdit
Blister's great talent is necromancy, which apparently includes divination; she is able to read the future and realizes that Lady is destined to disappear from the Northern Empire. Thinking she has an opportunity, Blister and fellow Taken Scorn launch a surprise attack on the Lady in the Plain of Fear, knowing she is without magic inside Darling's null. The assassination attempt is foiled by Father Tree, however, who strikes Blister and Scorn from their carpets with lightning bolts. They both plummet into venomous land-coral. Soon after, the Lady -- thinking her attackers were the usual suspects Limper and Whisper -- was somewhat surprised to discover that they were Blister and Scorn instead. She strips both of them of their powers, and they are left for dead. Scorn perishes; years later it turns out that Blister, who was also presumed dead in the coral, actually survived, although bereft of magical ability.
Benefice was the sub-commander positioned under the Limper at Rust during the imperial encirclement of the Plain. He and the Limper are later seen on carpets fleeing Rust as Darling and the Plain creatures approached. The Lady admires him specifically for his prowess in managing multiple carpets, and even compares his riding skill to that of his great predecessor, the Howler. He was given the most responsibility of all the Taken in the airborne attack on the windwhales over Darling's army as it marched westward to Horse. In this battle, Benefice personally controlled a W-shaped formation of five massive carpets. Later, he went on a two-day journey by carpet for the Lady, and tracked down an artifact that proved useless.
The Creeper and LearnedEdit
The Creeper and Learned were the Lady's subordinates at Frost and Rue, respectively. Neither were mentioned again by name in the Annals, until a tangential reference about their survival was recorded in the sixth chronicle many years later.
Fate of the new TakenEdit
Croaker recorded that a pair of Taken was knocked out of the sky by both a swarm of mantas and Darling's null as the Plain army marched on Rust. He implied that those two Taken were killed that night. Later events would prove that these two must have survived, however, as all six remaining New Taken were mentioned by name to be alive afterward.
After the failed attempt on her life by the traitors Blister and Scorn, The Lady set up a sort of 'dead-man's trigger' as a kind of insurance policy. Should The Lady be killed or lose her own power, it would immediately strip away the powers of the New Taken. This occurred after the death of the Dominator in the aftermath of the Battle of the Barrowland, when Silent spoke The Lady's true name to fully strip away her supernatural abilities. As a result, the remaining New Taken also lost their ability to fly their carpets, and plummeted out of midair, "undone, and soon dead" as recorded by Croaker. However, only Benefice seems to have been killed during this event. Years later during the sixth chronicle, Otto and Hagop reported reliable testimony from Imperial officials that Journey, Whisper, Blister, Creeper, and Learned were all still alive... albeit stripped of their magic powers.
|The Lady's Taken|
|Whisper • Journey • Feather • Benefice • Blister • Creeper • Learned • Scorn|