"Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive. . .
"I am Murgen, Standardbearer of the Black Company, though I bear the shame of having lost that standard in battle. I am keeping these Annals because Croaker is dead, One-Eye won't, and hardly anyone else can read or write. I will be your guide for however long it takes the Shadowlanders to force our present predicament to its inevitable end. . ."
The Return of the Black Company comprises the novels Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness—the third omnibus volume of Glen Cook's fantasy epic Chronicles of the Black Company.
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Incessant wind sweeps the plain. It mutters across grey pavements that sweepfrom horizon to horizon. It sings around scattered black pillars, a chorus ofghosts. It tumbles leaves and scatters dust come from afar. It teases the hair of acorpse that has lain undisturbed for a generation, mummifying. Impishly, thegale tosses a leaf into the cadaver’s silently screaming mouth, tugs it away again. The wind carries the breath of winter.
Lightning leaps from pillar to ebon pillar like a child skittering from base tobase in a game of tag.
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GLEN COOK lives in St. Louis, Missouri.