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Nicomo Cosca

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My name is Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, and I am here for dinner.

–Nicomo Cosca, Best Served Cold

Nicomo Cosca is a soldier of fortune, often to be found without it. He takes his reputations as a self-admitted scoundrel and chronic backstabber as a point of pride, and it doesn't stop him from having some likable qualities. Quite partial to a drink, a drink, a drink. He has a minor role in the trilogy, and also appears in Best Served Cold and Red Country.

Appearance and Personality Edit

Nicomo Cosca likes to project the image of a Styrian dandy, with his long moustaches, and flamboyant dress. However, he's actually almost a caricature of decrepitude, from his drinking and life-style. The skin on his pinched and pointed face is pale and soapy, eyes red-rimmed. He has greasy hair with a large bald spot on his crown, and a scabrous flaking rash on his neck.

Cosca starts off as a somewhat eccentric, lovable rogue, if self-serving and morally flawed. Leading a life of violence has made him neither happy nor rich, but he's long given up trying to be good as far too hard. He has a breadth of experience in warfare, and is a surprisingly capable fighter, especially when the odds are against him; albeit on both sides of many major conflicts all over the world. He becomes less and less likeable with every appearance, culminating in being far beyond redemption by Red Country.


Nicomo Cosca was born in Visserine in Styria. He claims to have had a happy childhood, but a wild youth, filled with ugly incidents. At seventeen, he left his birthplace to seek his fortune with only his wits, courage, and trusty blade.

Some years prior to the events in the trilogy, Cosca was serving as a mercenary in The Thousand Swords in Styria. There he met the young Monza and Benna Murcatto, gave them a home, taught her to fight, and both of them to read. He and Monza saved each other's lives many times. Eventually, he becomes Captain General of the mercenary company. He and Monza would split the company, and engage in false battles for rival employers, while earning money from both.

During this time, he turned into a neglectful drunkard. Monza, pressured by her brother Benna and employer Duke Orso of Talins, betrayed him. Her supposedly feigned charge, turned into an actual rout, and she replaced him as Captain General.

Cosca was forced into exile from Styria. In time, he again took to the drink, and ended up in Dagoska, as captain general of another mercenary company working for Carlot dan Eider, the Magister of the Guild of Spicers.

Before They Are HangedEdit

With the Gurkish preparing to lay siege to Dagoska, Nicomo Cosca gets a visit from new Superior Sand dan Glokta, and Practical Vitari. Cosca regales the Superior with his breadth of experience in siege warfare. However, Vitari knows him from Styria, and comment that the vast majority of Cosca experience is in betraying his employer. Regardless, Glokta finds the mercenary far more capable than General Vissbruck.

When Glokta receives a sizable loan from Valint & Balk, he uses some of his newfound wealth to buy Cosca's loyalty. This comes as something of a shock to Carlot dan Eider, when Cosca steps aside to allow Glokta arrest Eider and Korsten dan Vurms as traitors. Afterards, Cosca offers his appreciation for the Superior's ruthlessness.

With Dagoska now under seige and bombardment by the Gurkish forces, Cosca seems to revel in the carnage of war, despite the hopelessness of their cause. Even when Superior Glokta is ordered back to Adua, leaving General Vissbruck in charge of the defence with orders to fight to the last man, Cosca merely smiles and suggests maybe he'll see him there.

A short time later, Dagoska falls to the Gurkish through some treachery, presumably by Cosca to save his own life, although his mercenaries are all taken into slavery.

Last Argument of Kings Edit

Nicomo Cosca makes his way to Adua, where Glokta puts him on retainer, lest Arch Lector Sult reach the end of his patience with him. During the Battle of Adua, Sult has had enough of Glokta, and sends six Practicals to kill him. However, Cosca and his ragtag mercenaries easily deal with them in the dilapidated mansion.

WIth the Gurkish flooding into the inner city of Adua, Glokta, Cosca and the mercenaries are forced to make their way to the House of Questions through the sewers. There they find Superior Goyle who they force to admit that Sult is at the University, conducting occult rituals to contact The Other Side. Armed with Goyle's confession, Glokta attempts to present it to High Justice Marovia, only to find him dead. Cosca urges the despondent Inquisitor that now is the time to laughing in his enemies face. And off they march to the University.

In the University, they finds the Adepti and Arch Lector Sult calling forth some grim ritual. Fearful of entering the room, Cosca, for the first time in his life, throws a dagger and hits his target—the centre of Adeptus Silber’s forehead. He dies and with it his ritual. Glokta arrests Arch Lector Sult and the other on charges of treason against the King.

In the end, Cosca and now Arch Lector Glokta agree to keep in touch.

Best Served ColdEdit

In the intervening years, Nicomo Cosca has taken to the drink and squandered all his money in Sipani. Monza tracks him down to help kill Prince Ario. In Cardotti’s House of Leisure, Cosca acts as host to the event. But things go wrong, and Cardotti’s burns to the ground.

Monza and her crew tracks Ganmark to Visserine, where Duke Orso’s army lays siege to the city. However, Monza and Shivers are arrested as spies before they can execute their plan. They are tortured, before Cosca can come to rescue them, through his friendship with Salier. As Ganmark breaks into the palace he heads straight for Salier’s art collection, where they attacks him. Cosca is mortally wounded, and Monza and her crew escape without him.

In Puranti, after killing Faithful Carpi, Monza expects to take over the Thousand Swords. She is shocked to find Cosca somehow alive, and settling into the captain general’s seat. He reveals that the wound was not quite fatal; the Talinese took him for one of their own, and bore him to an excellent surgeon.

Near Ospria, at the decisive battle between Duke Orso and Duke Rogont, the Thousand Swords fail to engage for Orso; Cosca having been paid off by Ishri. After the Sipanese suddenly appear, and Monza encourages a final cavalry charge, Rogont is victorious. At the siege of Fontezarmo, Morveer poisons Cosca’s wine, but only his captain is killed. Cosca reveals that he has been tee-total since Sipani. Cosca stabs Morveer with his own poison needle.

In the end, Friendly joins Cosca as he presses his claim for the Duchy of Visserine.

Red Country Edit

In the ten or so years between the books, Nicomo Cosca is no longer Duke of Visserine nor Captain General of the Thousand Swords, instead he runs a smaller mercenary band called the Gracious Hand in Starikland. He seems to have had a slight moral decline over the years; he’s less of a loveable rogue, and more a scoundrel with no scruples.

Cosca and his mercenaries have recently participated in supressing the rebellion in Starikland. Superior Pike employs Cosca again to track down Conthus who led the rebellion, despite the reservations of his lawyer Temple. Pike insists on no entanglements with the Old Empire; the Union not wanting any more wars at the moment. Inquisitor Lorsen will accompany Cosca on the journey to the Near Country, as well as Spillion Sworbreck who is writing Cosca’s biography.

Cosca and his mercenaries wreak havoc on the towns of the Near Country. In Averstock, Temple and Sufeen attempts to talk to the townsfolk and allow them to surrender any rebels. Before they have time to talk things over, the mercenaries charge into the town and many of the townsfolk are slaughtered unnecessarily, including Sufeen. Frustrated with Cosca's actions, Temple decides to flee from the company. Meanwhile, Cosca learns that a man named Grega Cantliss has some ancient gold, and convinces Lorsen that the money is used to fund rebellion.

Cosca tracks Cantliss to Crease in the Far Country, and arrives just as Shy and Lamb prepare to go into the mountains after the children with Cantliss. Cosca convinces Cantliss to tell the Inquisitor that Conthus is with the Dragon People. On the way, they defeat an attack by the Dragon People in a village called Beacon. In Ashranc, the city carved into the mountainside and home to the Dragon People, the mercenaries kill most of the people, sack the city, and steal the massive treasury. The writer Sworbreck is horrified by the violence and greed.

Inquisitor Lorsen is furious at the lack of rebels, convinced that this was Cosca’s ruse to steal the gold. To placate the Inquisitor, Cosca claims the man Savian is Conthus. When Savian is stripped to the waist, his whole body from his pale neck to his pale hands is blue with rebel tattoos. As Lorsen’s Practicals prepare to torture Savian, Lamb comes back to rescue him. Lamb kills the Practicals but they manage to cry for help. The mercenaries surround the hut, while Shy and Temple steal the Dragon People’s gold as a distraction. Savian and Lamb fight off the mercenaries, until Cosca uses his “gift” from Superior Pike, cannons to destroy the hut and kill Savian.

Cosca tracks Shy and Temple to Crease, looking for the gold they stole from him. However, The Mayor signs a treaty with the Old Empire. Inquisitor Lorsen, not wanting to start a war between the Union and the Old Empire, has Cosca is arrested, with First Sergeant Friendly and the writer Sworbreck. The treaty is later revealed to be a sham, and Imperial Legate Sarmis was really none other than the actor Iosiv Lestek.

On the journey back to Squaredeal, Shy and Lamb encounter Cosca, having escaped imprisonment, still looking to get his gold back. Cosca orders Friendly to kill one of the children, but he confesses that he would really rather not kill them. In the end, Cosca is stabbed through the chest by Sworbreck with his own sword.

Illustrations Edit

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