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This ain't for you, to kill a man tied up. It's for work like this, you bring along a man like me.

–Black Dow, The Blade Itself

Black Dow is part of Logen Ninefingers' original crew of Named Men companions, along with Dogman, Harding Grim, Tul Duru Thunderhead, Forley the Weakest and Rudd Threetrees.

Appearance and personalityEdit

Black Dow is a hard, gaunt man, with black hair hacked short and cold flat eyes. He has a nasty scar where his ear used to be. Collem West describes him as the most evil-looking man he'd ever seen, violence itself. He often flashes a menacing grin.

Dow has a black reputation, hence the Name, and is the most savage and merciless member of the crew. He's an unrepentant killer and rapist, with no qualms about killing women or children. His humour is very abrasive and snarky, and he's often belligerent and sharp-tongued, especially with Tul Duru. Although he has a hair-trigger temper, he seems to be able to turn it off just as quickly.

It's hinted that he plays up his reputation somewhat, and helps spread the many rumours about himself; being known as a psychopath who might start killing people on the drop of a hat has its perks.

His preferred weapons are an axe and a sword.

HistoryEdit

In his youth, Black Dow was a craftsman's apprentice, and sometimes regrets leaving that life. Dow was one of the champions that Logen Ninefingers fought in single combat for Bethod, but Ninefingers let him live and join his crew.

Shortly before the start of the series, bad blood developed between Logen and Bethod. Logen and his crew, including Dow, were imprisoned in Carleon. Expecting death, Bethod inexplicitly allows them to go into exile.

The Blade Itself Edit

With Logen presumed dead after his fall from a cliff during a Shanka attack, Dow and Tul argue about who should be the new chief of the crew. Eventually, Dow sees that everyone is against him, and relents, with Threetrees becoming the new chief. He decided they will go south.

On the journey, they learn that The North is now at war with The Union. With Bethod army heading south, they fear that The North will be undefended against the Shanka. Forley the Weakest proposes warning the only person they can; Bethod himself. Bethod fears all the others in the crew, so the Forley should be the one to do it. Although, they fear for Forley’s safety, it’s the best idea they have.

Forley entered Carleon alone to deliver the warning. The crew hide away, while Threetrees stand alone on a bridge waiting for the answer. It comes in the form of Bethod’s Carls, who throw Forley’s head in a sack at Threetrees feet. At the sight of their dead friend, the crew attack and butcher all of Bethod’s men without mercy.

Threetrees says the words over Forley's grave honouring his self-sacrifice; Dogman is surprised by the amount of emotion Dow shows during the funeral. Afterwards, Threetrees makes an announcement; the enemy of my enemy is my friend; he will join with the Union to fight Bethod. Who’s coming with him?

Before They Are Hanged Edit

Crossing the river Whiteflow into Angland, Black Dow and the rest of the crew are turned away at Ostenhorm when they try to offer their services to The Union. To convince them, they ambush Lord Marshal Burr and Colonel West. Relieved to be alive, the Lord Marshal agrees and assigns them to Prince Ladisla's division, under West's command.

Colonel West sends Threetrees' crew scouting north of the river Cumnur. Despite Dow's gumbling about the futility of the task, the crew soon find one of Bethod's scouting parties. After disposing of them, they follow their tracks and discover the King of the Northmen's whole damn army, ten thousand men not five days march away from Ladisla's division. However, when Threetrees and West inform the Prince, he decides to meet the Northmen in battle. Threetrees storms off, declaring them all fools. His crew won’t fight with The Union, too blind to see they have no chance of defeating Bethod’s host.

However, the crew follows the Union's army safe in the forest, and witnesses the massacre of Ladisla's division. Amidst the chaos, Dogman finds West, Ladisla, Pike and Cathil, and brings them back to the rest of his crew. Threetrees and the others keep following Bethod's army, surprised to find they are now going north, ignoring the easypickings further south. When West catches Ladisla trying to rape Cathil, he pushes him off a cliff to his death; Black Dow claps him the on the back with approval. Eventually, the crew make it safely to the main Union Army near Dunbrec, to warn them of Bethod’s movements. More rebel Northmen soon start to join Threetrees crew against Bethod, including Caul Shivers.

As Bethod and The Union prepare for battle, Threetrees' crew are assigned to General Poulder's division tasked with flanking the enemy while Kroy diverts their attention. However Bethod lays on some surprises, first the Shanka attack, and then Fenris the Feared. During the mêlée, Threetrees finds himself facing the Feared alone. The old warrior gives it his best, but the Feared crunches him to the turf, mortally wounded. Eventually, the Feared is routed by Tul, Dow and Shivers, leaving behind him a devastated crew, its leader dead.

The crew bury Threetrees. Overcome with emotion, Dogman cannot speak for Threetrees. Nor can Tul or Dow who seem lessened with their chief’s death. To the surprise of all, Harding Grim steps forward to speak the words. Afterwards, Tul and Dow agree that neither one can be leader, so they names the Dogman as their new chief.

Last Argument of Kings Edit

Black Dow and Dogman's growing crew seize the town of Uffrith with as little bloodshed as possible, to allow The Union to use the city as a port for supplies. Dow reluctantly accepts Dogman's orders to leave the women be.

Later, when Dogman is holding a war council, Logen Ninefingers returns from his journey, to the amazement of all his old crew. Not everyone is happy at the return of the Bloody-Nine, especially Black Dow.

Soon they encounter the hillman Crummock-i-Phail, and come up with a plan to lure Bethod into a trap in the High Places, using his hatred of Logen, Crummock, and the men around them. Black Dow fights among Logen’s crew on the walls during the seven days of bloody siege. When the gate is finally breached, and all seems lost, The Union finally arrive and rout Bethod's forces. However, Tul Duru dies on the last day of the siege. To everyone’s surprise, Black Dow speaks the words over Tul’s grave, declaring himself less with the giant dead.

Bethod himself escapes the rout and takes refuge in Carleon, surrounded by the Union, the rebel Northmen, and Crummock's hillmen. To end the siege, Logen agrees to a duel with Fenris the Feared. Meanwhile, Dogman, Dow, and Grim infiltrate the city to kill the sorceress Caurib, who is using her powers to fill the Feared with strength. Dogman and Grim enter Caurib’s lair, while Dow sneaks around the back. As Dogman and Grim approach her, she takes them under her control with a word. However, Black Dow saves the day, leaping from the shadows and splitting Caurib’s head with his axe.

After Bethod's defeat in the First Northern War, new King Logen goes south to help the Union repel the Gurkish invasion of Midderland in the Battle of Adua. Dow volunteers to remain in the North to hunt down Bethod's sons. Rather than killing Calder and Scale, Dow negotiates with them instead, and the three of them agree to kill Ninefingers. When Logen realises he's been betrayed by Black Dow, and he's forced to jump from a window to save his own life.

The HeroesEdit

In The Heroes, he becomes the King of the North and wages war against the Union until he is eventually betrayed by Caul Shivers, who backhandedly kills him during a duel with Calder.

IllustrationsEdit

  • Black Dow bust by Chris Archer a.k.a. Toast-manGo to Forum thread
  • Black Dow by YapAttackGo to http://yapattack.deviantart.com/

ReferencesEdit

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