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Black Company Wiki

Map of the area around Gea-Xle

Gea-Xle is a large city in the southern continent. Located near the northernmost identified part of the great river, it is the home of an athletic, respected military caste called the Nar. Despite being separated by 860 miles, Gea-Xle may be a noteworthy trading partner with the city of Thresh downriver. Like other city-states in the region, Gea-Xle is comprised of a black population, with white visitors from the north being exceedingly rare.

Gea-Xle seems to hold a unique distinction as having twice been an employer of the Black Company. First, before even One-Eye joined, the Company was garrisoned there for 56 years as a hereditary bodyguard. This is apparently the longest time the Company served in a single place throughout its 4 centuries of history. More than a century later, during the group's relatively brief visit in Shadow Games, the Company was hired by the Magistrates of Gea-Xle. At this time, the Nar's chief Mogaba joined the Company with fateful consequences.


Gea-Xle is 800 miles south of the equator.

To the immediate north of the city is a mountainous desert which can be crossed in 4 days. The desert is the boundary of the high plateau savannah, which can be crossed in 14 days, and which is populated by plains peoples like the K'Hlata. (The abandoned city of Sham was found on this plateau.)

The great river flows southeast from Gea-Xle; 860 miles downriver is the Third Cataract, which is not navigable by boat. Thresh is the next major city south of Gea-Xle, located above the Third Cataract. Downriver from Gea-Xle to the Third Cataract is a journey of at least two weeks, featuring a needleteeth-infested swamp 300 miles long and, depending upon location, is 10 to 80 miles wide.

Croaker specified that Gea-Xle and distant Taglios are separated by a distance of less than 1600 miles.

Before Croaker's Annals[]

Many generations before Croaker's lifetime, the Black Company was in service to the city of Goes near the Third Cataract. After they defeated the rival city of Thresh, they departed Goes and headed 860 miles north to enter Gea-Xle. There, they remained for 56 years.

During this time, membership in the Black Company passed from father to son. This city was "one of those rare places the Company walked away from", meaning, the Company did not need to fight its way out. Even in Gea-Xle, however, they were betrayed by a prince. The Company cut his throat and "installed a new, friendly, beholden dynasty and did hang around a few years before that Captain got a wild hair and decided to go treasure hunting". Instead of renewing their commission with Gea-Xle, whoever was the Captain at the time "heard about a treasure mountain up north where the silver nuggets were supposed to weigh a pound" and took the whole group north to Sham. They left behind sons who would maintain Company traditions (including writing their own Annals and even worshiping Kina) who would become known as the Nar, the new military caste of the city.

Shadow Games[]

More than a century would pass before Gea-Xle again would appear in the Annals.

Economic downturn: pirates to the south[]

The merchants and leaders of modern Gea-Xle suffered an economic downturn when the river swamps located to their south were taken over by pirates led by a mysterious sorcerer (later revealed to be the Howler). All attempts that were made to break the new swamp pirates' hold on the region were defeated with lethal violence. But, a statement by Croaker ("Mogaba's men had seen no real combat [...] These Nar still believed they were the best that ever was, but that had not been proven on a field of blood") suggests that the Nar themselves did not challenge these pirates.

Eldon the Seer and the barge[]

The leaders of Gea-Xle were notified by a white foreigner called Eldon the Seer that the Black Company would soon arrive from the north. The merchants were happy at the prospect of throwing an expendable force of armed adventurers at the pirates to the south, so they constructed a gigantic fortified river barge for the Company's use.

The Nar join the Black Company[]

As the Black Company approached Gea-Xle, they were given the last surviving officer's baton and the tattered, original Black Company standard from their prior stay in that city generations ago. "Eldon the Seer" and his young apprentice secretly joined up with Lady. Meanwhile, One-Eye visited a bazaar and purchased an imp which resembled Goblin; he soon used the strange entity called Frogface to torment his old rival.

Mogaba and 31 other excellent Nar soldiers from Gea-Xle were enlisted as the newest Black Company members. And Croaker accepted the commission from the merchants of the city to battle the swamp pirates, making Gea-Xle apparently the only city to hire the Company twice. Other Nar were permitted to serve guard duty aboard the flotilla of smaller boats that would trail behind the main barge; after their "hadj" to the Third Cataract, these Nar would return north to Gea-Xle.

The Black Company boarded the barge and began drifting toward their bloody encounter with the Howler and his pirates on the needleteeth-infested portion of the great river.

Bleak Seasons[]

Gea-Xle must have been visited twice more by Otto and Hagop, who traveled with a Taglian delegation all the way back north to the Tower at Charm, and returned south to Taglios during Bleak Seasons.

Soldiers Live[]

Croaker, in his Annals for Soldiers Live, wrote that Mogaba could never return to Gea-Xle, because for 25 years "the Nar back home knew all about what he had done". This suggests the Black Company sent word of his treachery to Gea-Xle shortly after the Siege of Dejagore.