"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.
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. For a moment there is color on that spectral pla