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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 remembered as being a drunk and a treacherous snake.

Appearance and Personality Edit

Cosca has pinched and pointed face, with long moustaches, and greasy hair with a large bald spot on his crown. There is a scabrous flaking rash on his neck. He generally looks ill from all the drink, with soapy pale skin and red-rimmed eyes. He dresses flamboyantly, like a Styrian dandy.

Cosca comes across as an eccentric lovable rogue, although he acknowledges that deep-down he's really more self-interested and morally flawed than lovable. He is cynical with a habit betraying his employer for money. Regardless, Cosca has breadth of experience in warfare, and is quite capable.


Cosca was born in Visserine in Styria. He claims to have had a happy childhood but a wild youth, filled with ugly incidents, and 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 First Law Trilogy, Cosca served as a mercenary in the Thousand Swords in Styria, where he met the young Monza Murcatto. He taught her to fight, they saved each other's lives many times. In time, he becomes Captain General of the mercenaries. He and Monza engaged in false fights, for rival employers; earning money all the same.

Monza, under the pressure of her employer Duke Orso of Talins and her brother Benna Murcatto, betrayed Cosca, and she replaced him as Captain General. Cosca was forced into exile. During this time, he took to the drink, and ended up in Dagoska working for the Guild of Spicers.

Before They Are HangedEdit

Cosca is in Dagoska where he controls a group of a thousand mercenaries at the service of Carlot dan Eider, Maester of the Spicers' Guild. After Sand dan Glokta received the loan from Valint and Balk in order to defend Dagoska in the Battle of Dagoska, he used part of it to hire Cosca and so the mercenary switched sides. He led the defense of the city from the Gurkish along with General Vissbruck.

Last Argument of Kings Edit

Cosca survived from the fall of Dagoska and entered once again at the service of Glokta. He led a company of mercenaries and helped Glokta to enter the Agriont as well as to arrest both Arch Lector Sult and Superior Goyle. While arresting Sult, Cosca killed the Demon Adeptus, Silber, who was conjuring the Other Side in order to put an end to Bayaz' influence over the Union. After the battle of Adua, Cosca remained some time at the side of Glokta.

Best Served ColdEdit

At the start of the book, 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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