Willow Swan was a long-haired blond man hailing from the northern Roses, and travel companion of Cordy Mather. Swan defected from the military after less than six months in service, then drifted south with Mather. Along the way they saved Blade, a mysterious man who had been thrown to the crocodiles by priests he had insulted. Blade became fast friends with his rescuers and a valuable military ally. The three eventually settled in Taglios, where they set up a bar. Due to the limited military experience of Swan and Cordy, the three were drafted to serve as generals by the Princess of Taglios, the Radisha Drah, at the very onset of the Shadowmaster wars. Swan would later be seduced by Soulcatcher, and he helped her entrap the Captured beneath the Plain of Glittering Stone. He became the sorceress's lover during the Captivity, and commanded her new urban police force, the Greys, while she consolidated a sprawling empire called the Protectorate.
She Is The DarknessEdit
In their roles as Royal Guards, Willow and Cordy accompanied the captive Prahbrindrah Drah when Croaker, Lady and Murgen brought him across the shadowgate using the Lance of Passion in search of Khatovar. Among them was Soulcatcher, another Company prisoner. Throughout that hazardous journey across the Plain of Glittering Stone, Willow was seduced by Soulcatcher with the aid of her immense sorcery, unknown to the others. Inside the Fortress With No Name, he removed her bonds, and she was able to spring the magic trap that disabled everyone except her. With Willow's help, she imprisoned most of her former captors in magic stasis in the Cave of the Ancients. These people would become known as the Captured. Then, using the pickax, Catcher and Willow sped back across the Plain on the backs of the tireless stallions from Charm, stolen from Croaker and Lady.
Catcher rewarded Willow, and they became lovers in the 15 year gap between She Is The Darkness and Water Sleeps.
Soulcatcher would go on to win the Kiaulune wars against the remnants of the Company and its allies, and took over Taglios. She established her own tyrannical government called the Protectorate, which included the former Shadowlands, and appointed Willow to be the leader of the Greys, the city's new police force. This appointment ended his former place in the Royal Guards but gave him a seat in the Privy Council. Willow's Greys were comprised entirely of men from the Shadar religion, alienating the majority Gunni population. But the Greys were very effective at cracking down on genuine crime and corruption of all kinds.
Willow was kidnapped in an operation orchestrated by Sleepy, the ranking member of the Black Company. She committed a large number of the Company's remaining fireball projectors to the abduction. Although the operation was a success, she underestimated the destructive power of the weapons. Sleepy was herself almost killed in the fiery carnage as fireballs melted through at least six feet of the stonework of the Palace of Taglios. Soulcatcher appeared personally but could only duck out of the way of the discharge from those lethal weapons. Willow was smuggled to the Company's secret headquarters, a warehouse owned by their collaborator Banh Do Trang. Willow played tonk with three of his captors, Slink and the Gupta brothers, until Sleepy arrived in person to join the game and interrogate him. When Swan learned that the Captured were still alive, he swore aloud. But Slink, a devout Vehdna monotheist, snapped at him not to take God's name in vain. It was later revealed that Swan's memory of his assistance to Soulcatcher on the Plain had been tampered with.
He would accompany Sleepy's group south, and finally across the shadowgate, guiding them as best as his faulty memory served. Willow helped Sleepy incinerate the Books of the Dead and free the first batch of the Captured. He accompanied them all to the strange world of Hsien, where they established a new headquarters, the fortified town called the Abode of Ravens.
Swan was part of Croaker's eclectic group of Company members and allies permitted by Sleepy (who was now officially the Captain) to enter the world of Khatovar to get revenge upon Lisa Daele Bowalk. With conventional weapons, specially-prepared magic fetishes, and fireball projectors, they all subdued Bowalk despite her ferocious forvalaka shape. They also defeated 3 Voroshk wizards. Bowalk was decapitated and then incinerated in a huge pyre. Others who were present during this operation were Lady, Murgen, Thai Dei, Uncle Doj, Cratch, Slobo, a group of Unknown Shadows called the Black Hounds, and Goblin (actually the Khadidas).
Swan participated in the combat against Mogaba's middle army, the Second Territorial, during the costly Battle for the Grove of Doom. He is killed there along with many highly valued and trustworthy Company soldiers and allies, including: Blade, Iqbal Singh, Riverwalker, Li Wan, Pham Huu Clee, the two Chun brothers, Cletus, and Loftus. Sleepy, the Captain, mourns his death after the battle. After his body was recovered, he was buried alongside his friend Blade.