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The Rock Road is a major paved highway in the southern continent built by Croaker of the Black Company during the Books of Glittering Stone. Also called the Stone Road, it would be remembered as "one of the Black Company's lasting legacies". It first connected Taglios and Dejagore by crossing the great stone bridge built over the Main by Lady at Ghoja, and was next expanded to service the prosperous city Tragevec. The road was constructed to permit Croaker – in his capacity as Liberator (hired warlord) of Taglios – to march Taglian armies and supplies southward, into the Shadowlands, to prosecute the Shadowmaster wars. Prisoners of war provided the labor. After the Shadowmaster wars, Mogaba expanded it to reach additional cities in subsequent years.

Bleak Seasons[]

The first stretch of the Rock Road was started sometime after the Siege of Dejagore and completed before the current events narrative of Bleak Seasons. Its northernmost portion replaced the "snake of mud" originally found between Taglios and the small hamlet and ford called Ghoja on the Main River, which is about an 8-day journey south. It next extended to the huge, walled city of Dejagore (also called Jaicur) 200 miles south of Ghoja. It must have been built right up to an older paved road that had already been constructed some distance outside Dejagore's north gate in preceding years by the Shadowmaster called Stormshadow.

In Overlook, the Howler informed his ally Longshadow about the Company's completion of the Rock Road between Taglios and Dejagore, and also shared the news that they were nearly finished paving a new extension from Dejagore to Shadowlight. Murgen, floating in his disembodied spirit-form, spied on this meeting. Murgen correctly suspected this new extension of the road was a diversion, intended to distract his enemies: "Croaker's strategic plan did not require [the road]. He had no intention of besieging Shadowlight. That would tie up too many men for far too long."

She Is the Darkness[]

In She Is the Darkness, Croaker and Murgen left the Palace of Taglios after several years in garrison there, and rode the Rock Road astride black stallions to begin the major invasion of the Shadowlands. They briefly reminisced about the miserable conditions of the route before the Rock Road was paved.

Later, Sleepy traveled the Rock Road on one of the black stallions "that covered the distance between Taglios and Ghoja on the River Main in a day and a night without hurrying", but in the opposite direction, to deliver a message from Murgen to Banh Do Trang destined for Ky Sahra.

Before Water Sleeps[]

The road remained in continual use after its change in ownership from the Prahbrindrah Drah and the Radisha Drah (the native royals) to Soulcatcher (a foreign sorceress) and her Protectorate during and after the Kiaulune wars. Soulcatcher's Great General, Mogaba, subsequently "used convicts to extend the road southwestward, adding tributaries, to connect the cities and territories newly taken under Taglian protection". This brought the Rock Road deeper into the Shadowlands.

Water Sleeps[]

About 15 years after She Is the Darkness, in Water Sleeps, Sleepy and her disguised group of allies, Black Company men, and prisoners traveled on the Rock Road, heading toward the distant Shadowgate. Incognito as peasants, they traveled slowly: "four days after leaving the city we were still at least that long from the bridge at Ghoja". In contrast to this, Sleepy recalled the speed with which her black stallion had once covered that same distance effortlessly. Her group consisted of Riverwalker; Iqbal Singh with his wife Suruvhija and two children and baby, and his brother Runmust; Ky Gota; Uncle Doj; and the captives Narayan Singh, Willow Swan, and the Radisha Drah herself. They paid the "two-copper pais toll" (a very small fee) to use the bridge at Ghoja and continued south, drawing no notice from Protectorate soldiers and blending in perfectly with the heavy traffic on the road.

Soldiers Live[]

The Rock Road figured prominently in the military movements and schemes of both the Black Company and the Protectorate in their war against one another in Soldiers Live.

Soulcatcher and her Great General Mogaba divided their Taglian forces into 3 armies, all near the Rock Road: one army at Taglios proper; the Middle Army "astride the Rock Road in lightly settled country midway between Dejagore and the fortified crossings over the River Main at Ghoja"; and the Southern Army, a less powerful force, consisting of troops from the southern provinces, assembled outside Dejagore. Mogaba expected the northbound Company to avoid the Rock Road entirely. He surmised they would first shift west after their descent from the highlands, then push northward perhaps along the Naghir River and finally to cross the Main at the Vehdna-Bota ford.

In a small clearing off the Rock Road near the Middle Army, one of the gigantic feline Unknown Shadows sent by Tobo delivered a message from Croaker to Soulcatcher. Although Catcher was the Company’s chief enemy at this time, Catcher treated with the entity (possibly Big Ears or Cat Sith) because the message was regarding her dangerous niece, the Daughter of Night, who was a mutual enemy. The Daughter was in the hands of Catcher’s own Protectorate soldiers on the Rock Road south of Dejagore. Tobo’s Black Hounds were instructed to ensure that the Daughter did not escape from Catcher’s men.

Later, Mogaba’s Taglian cavalry started numerous skirmishes with Sleepy’s Black Company forces near the Rock Road not far from the Grove of Doom. This caused commercial traffic to dwindle on the road, but it did not cease entirely. Both armies "relied heavily on questioning civilians passing through" the Rock Road. Soon, a major battle developed: the Battle at the Shadowlander cemetery. One of Mogaba’s subordinate officers, Aridatha Singh, had orders to march directly northward on the Rock Road during this battle.

After a failed ambush at the Palace of Taglios, Croaker found himself suspended above the Rock Road, hanging by a tether from his flying post and "barely clearing the heads of travelers" before passing out.

Leading up to the Siege of Taglios, the Black Company captured Lal Mindrat’s fort, "that big, nameless hilltop stronghold which broods over the Rock Road approach" to the city. Mogaba’s horsemen harried the Company throughout their entire approach along the road toward Taglio’s South Gate. After the battle, Suvrin presumably marched the Company back south down the Rock Road on his trip toward Hsien.

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