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Ky Gota was the incarnation of dissatisfaction and complaint. Her lamentations and reproaches were of such amazing potency that it seemed she must be an avatar of some cranky old deity as yet undiscovered by man.

Sleepy, Water Sleeps

Ky Gota was a prominent member of the Nyueng Bao tribe, the mother of Sahra and Thai Dei, and the grandmother of Tobo and To Tan. Despite being a camp follower, her relationship to the Black Company was an important part of the first three Books of Glittering Stone. She and Uncle Doj often worked together to keep secrets from the Company, often refusing to volunteer insights about current events or to share details about their culture.



Mother Gota was universally notorious for her bitter personality and spiteful harangues. This was attributed to continuous physical pain on account of gout and arthritis. Also, as her father Speaker Dam openly admitted, Gota carried the guilt of the great error of hastily marrying off Sahra to an abusive man named Sam Danh Qu. She was also infamous for her horrible cooking: she was hyperbolically accused by many in the Company of being able to give water a taste that could gag anyone simply by boiling it. Many of the rare times she would reliably snap out of her offensive diatribes would be in the presence of To Tan, her grandson by her son Thai Dei.

In combat[]

Despite her advanced age, short stature, and painful physical afflictions, Ky Gota was one of Uncle Doj's students in the Path of the Sword. She used her combat training well on several occasions, including:

Bleak Seasons[]

Flashbacks to the Siege of Dejagore[]

Gota had been widowed young after the births of both children. She stayed in close proximity to her parents, the priestess Hong Tray and the Speaker Ky Dam, who were effectively the leaders of the Nyueng Bao. She was present for a significant portion of the Black Company's history in the southern continent, beginning with the harrowing Siege of Dejagore, where her parents and many of her family were slain.

Current narrative[]

Gota and Uncle Doj rejected Hong Tray's prophecies, and she deeply resented that Sahra took the foreigner Murgen as her second husband. She and Doj tricked Murgen into believing that Sahra had been murdered by Stranglers during their failed raid at the Palace of Taglios in Bleak Seasons.

She Is the Darkness[]

Ky Gota forced her daughter to live in shame, shuttered away with her newborn at the Vinh Gao Ghang Temple of Ghanghesha. She overruled the protests of her son Thai Dei in this matter. She accompanied Murgen and her son in the Black Company's southbound journey during the final months of the Shadowmaster wars, dutifully providing her reviled cooking. She did not accompany the two men onto the glittering plain.

Water Sleeps[]

Mother Gota survived the Kiaulune wars and moved with the underground Black Company into the riverfront warehouse of Banh Do Trang. By this time she had developed a relationship with the shrunken wizard One-Eye and was frequently drunk with him. They remained carefully hidden there from Soulcatcher.

The day Banh Do Trang passed away, Sleepy ordered most of the Company and their allies to begin migrating incognito to the Shadowgate. Gota was part of the first group to depart, alongside: Uncle Doj; Riverwalker; Iqbal Singh and his wife Suruvhija and their 3 children; the prisoners Willow Swan, Narayan Singh, and the Radisha Drah; and Sleepy herself. She followed them throughout their journeys in Water Sleeps, up to and including their entry into the strange new world called Hsien.

Soldiers Live[]

Ky Gota and One-Eye continued to care for each other, now having resided in the Abode of Ravens in Hsien for 4 years. The pair spent the remainder of their days together after the Captured were freed from below the glittering plain. She died happy – "drunker than three owls drowned in a wine cask" – at her home at the beginning of Soldiers Live. Before she passed away, her death was presaged by the songs of Greylings, a group of the Unknown Shadows, although it was not understood whose death they were heralding until afterward.


The Nyueng Bao place the personal name last, so Gota's family name is Ky.