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Ghoja is the name of both a ford and a town on the south bank of the southern continent's Main river featured throughout the Books of the South and the Books of Glittering Stone. It is situated between two key cities: Taglios across the river and roughly an 8-day ride to the north, and Dejagore which is 200 miles south. Ghoja is the best of the 4 seasonal fords across the otherwise impassible Main, the others being Vehdna-Bota (the westernmost and nearest to the sea), Numa (which is typically crossable 2 days before Ghoja), and Theri (the easternmost and farthest upriver).

Ghoja featured repeatedly in the movements of the Black Company during their service to the Prahbrindrah Drah of Taglios and also during later events. Due to a great stone bridge over the Main and the Rock Road that were constructed later, Ghoja had grown so significantly that it "threatened to become a city" by the events of Soldiers Live.

Shadow Games[]

Although the Main River was the traditional southern boundary of Taglios, the villages of Ghoja and Numa were Taglian despite being on the southern shore of the river. But both became the northernmost points of the Shadowlands after the four Shadowmasters ceased their internal feuding and began consolidating their combined territories. As Willow Swan observed at the very start of the Shadowmaster wars: "the Taglians gave up their territories below the Main without a finger raised to resist". Ghoja was a staging point for the Shadowlanders who crossed the Main during the opening battles of the Shadowmaster wars called "Willow's war", that is, before the arrival of the Black Company.

After the Black Company arrived in Taglios, its Captain, Croaker, quickly realized that Ghoja was the key crossing. He and Goblin personally scouted the crossing; meanwhile he ordered Murgen and Cordy Mather to Vehdna-Bota, Shadid and Willow Swan to Numa, and Sindawe and Blade to Theri. Croaker confirmed that the Shadowlanders were fortifying Ghoja, which contained a fortress with a 70-foot watchtower. However, he and Goblin were unimpressed with the Shadowlanders there:

I had seen and watched four men while I was crouching near the ford. They had not impressed me. Neither had the design or construction of the fortifications. Clearly, these Shadowmasters had brought in no professionals to train their forces and they had not developed a good edge on what they did have. [...] undisciplined and disorderly, camped in a sprawl that began at the fortress gate and stretched back south along the road.

Croaker, now hired as "Liberator" of Taglios by the Prahbrindrah, concentrated his efforts on militarizing the Taglian population to prevent Ghoja from being crossed by the Shadowlanders. He even abdicated the defense of the other 3 fords to the religious cult leaders, with Jahamaraj Jah and his untrained 2500 Shadar protecting Numa, and a Gunni force above the Theri ford.

Battle of Ghoja Ford[]

The immensely powerful sorcerer Shapeshifter, at Lady's direction, crossed the Main and reported back to her with vital intelligence: the Shadowlanders were preparing to cross 10,000 at Ghoja ford, a thousand each at Theri and Vehdna-Bota, and the remainder at Numa. He later reported the startling revelation that the enemy was using dams to flood a plain to allow the Ghoja ford to be crossable sooner than expected.

Main article: Battle of Ghoja Ford

Before the battle at Ghoja, Lady led some Taglians in a smaller battle at Numa ford. She reconnected with Croaker at Ghoja, and together they donned their Lifetaker and Widowmaker armor rigs and crushed the Shadowlanders on the north bank. After collapsing the fortress watchtower and part of the wall at Ghoja, they seized it and the critical supplies there, then continued marching toward the fateful Battle of Dejagore.

Dreams of Steel[]

At Ghoja, Blade, Swan, and Mather rallied the Taglians who survived the Black Company's defeat at Dejagore.

The chief priest of the Shadar, Jahamaraj Jah, gathered Taglians at Ghoja in an attempt to concentrate power. Dressing and conducting himself as if he were royalty, he led an inept band of troops at the ford for a time. Meanwhile, Lady began spreading the rumor – which was quite possibly true – that Jah's cowardice had cost Taglios the battle outside the walls of Dejagore. Jah was ultimately assassinated by Lady, who used her strangling rumel and her new Deceiver allies Narayan Singh and Sindhu as arm-holders. As Lady had not yet perfected the neck-snapping technique of a veteran Stranger, Jah's strangulation was slow and required immense effort from all three of his killers.

Afterward, Ghoja continued to be a magnet for liberated Shadowlanders who eagerly joined the Taglian side. When Narayan Singh personally accompanied Lady northward to Taglios, he sent his enforcer Sindhu to stay with Lady's loyalist Blade who was in charge at Ghoja. By the time Blade's force of about 3000 Taglians had begun skirmishing with Shadowspinner's Shadowlanders north of Dejagore, Sindhu "was like Blade's shadow".

Frogface, the imp in the service of Soulcatcher, destroyed the timber-work of the growing bridge over the Main at Ghoja toward the end of Dreams of Steel. His reason for doing so was not a military one, but rather, simply to keep Croaker and Lady apart from one another. Keeping the two lovers separate was his prime mission, commanded by Soulcatcher, Lady's irrational and spiteful sister. With the bridge gone, and the rainy season fast approaching, the Main became completely uncrossable before the couple could reunite. Frogface's plan worked, and Croaker was unable to cross at Ghoja for months. They did communicate regularly, however, via messages hurled by catapults from the banks of the Main.

Bleak Seasons[]

During the 4 years before the current-events narrative of Bleak Seasons, One-Eye and his regiment of Taglians passed through Ghoja and many other towns. This was recounted in One-Eye's disorganized Annals which were submitted to Murgen the official Annalist.

At this point Ghoja was connected to the northern side of the Main by Lady's great stone bridge, fully completed. The bridge was built nearby but upstream from the ford. It was used frequently by the Black Company and the Taglians to move men and resources to and from Taglios throughout the Shadowmaster wars. Also, the well-built Rock Road now connected Ghoja to Dejagore.

She Is the Darkness[]

Murgen entered the fortress at Ghoja where he enjoyed "a newly taken gamecock that was so full of juice and substance my stomach nearly rebelled at taking it in".

Sleepy, riding one of Lady's giant black stallions from the deep south of the Shadowlands, passed through Ghoja and crossed its bridge over the Main to deliver a personal message from Murgen to Banh Do Trang at his warehouse within Taglios.

Water Sleeps[]

In the 15 years between She Is the Darkness and Water Sleeps, the Daughter of Night and her adoptive father Narayan Singh kept away from Taglios to avoid the dangerous attention of Soulcatcher. But, they worked diligently to rebuild the cult of the Stranglers by conducting initiation sacrifices – that is, rumel murders – for new members in places like Ghoja, Dejagore, Meldermhai, and Danjil. She may have used her primitive "love me" spell to aid in this endeavor. All of these places were now part of Soulcatcher's sprawling Protectorate empire.

In chapter 55, Sleepy and her group of disguised, fugitive Company men and allies crossed at Ghoja in an "anticlimax". They had been afraid of being spotted by a Protectorate checkpoint. She described Ghoja and the famous Rock Road connecting to it as follows:

Ghoja had grown into a small town serving those who traveled the Rock Road, which was one of the Black Company’s lasting legacies. The Captain had had the highway paved from Taglios to Jaicur during his preparations for invading the Shadowlands. Prisoners of war had provided the labor. More recently, Mogaba had used convicts to extend the road southwestward, adding tributaries, to connect the cities and territories newly taken under Taglian protection.

Sleepy also specified that travelers were required to pay a "two-copper pais toll" for the use of the bridge, a very small amount of money. Those who refused were told by soldiers to use Ghoja's natural ford nearby and downstream from the bridge... even when the ford was impassible during the rainy season.

Soldiers Live[]

By Soldiers Live, Ghoja had grown such that Croaker believed it "threatened to become a city".

The Battle of the Middle Ground took place midway between Ghoja and Dejagore. After the battle, the Daughter of Night masqueraded as Soulcatcher within the town of Ghoja itself. She used her "love me" spell to overcome any confrontations with Protectorate soldiers there and those north of the bridge.

When the Black Company arrived at Ghoja during their inexorable northward march, they encountered no Protectorate resistance. But they were forced to spend a week repairing the bridge over the Main as it had been damaged by Soulcatcher's loyalists. During that time, the Prahbrindrah Drah and the Radisha Drah preached to the people of Ghoja, winning "hearts and allegiance of the majority" to turn them against Soulcatcher's Protectorate. Afterward, the royal siblings remained at Ghoja to enjoy "a taste of independence" when the Company marched northward.

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