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Vehdna-Bota is the name of both a minor ford and a small nearby village on the south bank of the southern continent's Main river. The hamlet of Bond seems to be associated with Vehdna-Bota, and may be near it or perhaps a part of it.

Vehdna-Bota is one of the 4 seasonal fords – all found within a particular 80-mile stretch of the Main – that appear only during the dry season across the otherwise impassible river. Vehdna-Bota is remote: the westernmost and nearest to the sea, it was used mostly by locals and open only during the driest part of the year – about 3 months. The 80 miles of river between Vehdna-Bota and the sea are always impassable. Following the westward flow of the river, the other fords in order are: Theri (the easternmost and farthest upriver of all four); Numa (another minor ford); and Ghoja (by far the most important to the Black Company throughout the Annals).

The Vehdna-Bota ford was the site of a minor military movement concurrent to the Battle of Ghoja Ford in Shadow Games. Some months later in Dreams of Steel, the garrison encampment above the ford was briefly visited by Croaker and the Prahbrindrah Drah, who were trailed by Frogface. A night of hellish killings befell the associated hamlet of Bond and was supernaturally revisited by Murgen in Bleak Seasons. Finally, Vehdna-Bota was the site of another minor military movement in Soldiers Live.

Only Ghoja ford received a bridge and the sturdy Rock Road serving it. Vehdna-Bota, Numa, and Theri benefited from no such construction, so none of them experienced the natural growth and expansion that Ghoja was seen to sustain in the ~25 years after Shadow Games.

Shadow Games[]

Although the Main River was the traditional southern boundary of Taglios, the small villages of Vehdna-Bota, Ghoja, Numa, and Theri were Taglian despite being on the southern shore of the river. But they became the northernmost points of the Shadowlands after the four Shadowmasters ceased their internal feuding and began consolidating their combined territories. While the small villages of Ghoja and Numa were fortified by the Shadowlanders, Vehdna-Bota and Theri were simply abandoned and were not even repopulated with Shadowlanders later. 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".

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, now hired as "Liberator" of Taglios by the Prahbrindrah Drah, 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: Jahamaraj Jah and his untrained 2500 Shadar were sent to protect Numa; a Gunni force above the Theri ford; and apparently a Vehdna force above Vehdna-Bota.

Vehdna-Bota during the Battle of Ghoja Ford[]

The immensely powerful sorcerer Shapeshifter crossed the Main at Lady's direction and reported back to her with vital intelligence: the Shadowlanders were preparing to cross 10,000 at Ghoja ford, 3000 at Numa, and 1000 each at Vehdna-Bota and Theri. 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.

After Lady's victory at Numa and immediately before the Battle of Ghoja Ford, she sent a messenger to the apparently Vehdna force above the Vehdna-Bota ford to seize it. It is unclear if a small battle took place or if the 1000 Shadowlanders simply retreated.

Dreams of Steel[]

Some months later, Lady conducted the Massacre at Khadi Junction within Taglios. A group of loyal archers helped her slaughter almost one thousand truculent cult priests. To minimize rumors and control the narrative, she ordered these archers to relocate to the remote Vehdna-Bota ford. Not long afterward, her husband Croaker was trying to reunite with her but without being seen by Soulcatcher's crows or her imp Frogface. Croaker knew Lady would send the archers away someplace, and the Prahbrindrah Drah confirmed they were at Vehdna-Bota. Croaker and the Prahbrindrah rode black stallions to the Taglian garrison encampment above the ford, which had only one permanent structure. There, Croaker ordered complete silence about their presence, and the pair donned disguises, mixed in with the archers, crossed the ford, and rode mundane mounts toward Lady at Dejagore. However, this intricate plan failed, as Frogface materialized at Vehdna-Bota and realized the archers were missing. He spotted Croaker (seeing through his disguise or observing Croaker's black bow) and took steps to prevent the couple from reuniting.

Bleak Seasons[]

In the 4 years leading up to Bleak Seasons, a night of unsolved killings ("grotesque, horrible, senseless") befell Bond, a hamlet associated with Vehdna-Bota. Murgen described Bond as follows:

Bond is a hamlet on the south bank of the River Main, facing the Vehdna-Bota ford. For centuries the Main has been the traditional boundary of the Taglian heartland. The peoples who live below the river share the languages and religions of Taglios but are considered only tributary cousins by the Taglians themselves. The nonagrarian part of Bond's economy revolved around a small remount station for the military courier post. A minimal garrison of Shadar cavalrymen managed the station and kept watch on ford traffic. Bond was the kind of duty soldiers dream about. There were no officers and very little work. The river was low enough to ford only about three months a year. But the garrison got paid all year round.

In Bleak Seasons, when Croaker informed Murgen that his new mission was to ride Smoke's disembodied consciousness through space and time to conduct supernatural espionage, Murgen's first choice was to solve the killings at Bond. As a disembodied observer, Murgen learned that Lisa Daele Bowalk, trapped in the form of a forvalaka, was guilty of the slaughter. Spotted by terrified soldiers, Bowalk fled by swimming across the Main to the northern shore. When Murgen mentioned this again in She Is the Darkness, he simply referred to the event as "the massacre at Vehdna-Bota", perhaps suggesting that Bond is simply a subsection of the village of Vehdna-Bota.

Soldiers Live[]

After the Siege of Taglios, the Protectorate was finally overthrown by the Black Company. But two different pro-Protectorate forces were approaching Taglios nevertheless: one crossed the Main at Vehdna-Bota, and another was gathering out east near Mukhra in Ajitsthan. Croaker and Arkana soared to Vehdna-Bota aboard rheitgeistiden to reconnoiter the slow-moving enemy force north of it. They were unimpressed, and when they approached in their frightening robes from the air, the men began "scattering like startled roaches". Croaker correctly judged that they were led by "somebody covering his ass. Making a show of honoring his obligations. That bunch will never actually get to Taglios."

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