- Jun 28, 2011
It is a time of strife and violence in the Seven Kingdoms. It has been half a year since the death of Robert Baratheon and five kings have arisen to vie for the Iron Throne. With the kingdoms torn asunder there is ample opportunity for those who seek to advance themselves...
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Braavos, known as Braavos of the Hundred Isles, is the greatest and most powerful of the Free Cities, located in a lagoon on the northwestern end of Essos, where the narrow sea and the Shivering Sea meet. The nearby mainland is mostly marshland, whilst the seaward sides of the city are protected by tall, mountainous islands which form a semi-circle around the city. Firewood is brought in by barge, while pines on the islands surrounding the city are left to act as windbreaks to protect the harbors, and are illegal to cut down.
There is only one channel large and deep enough to accommodate ocean-going ships. This channel is defended by a massive statue called the Titan of Braavos, which serves as landmark, lighthouse and defensive fortification. Just beyond the Titan lies the citadel and the vast shipyard called the Arsenal. The city proper lies beyond, a great sprawl of domes and towers and bridges in hues of grey, gold, and red. Braavos is served by two main harbors. The Purple Harbor, in the north, is used by locals only, while the Ragman's Harbor in the west is where foreign ships are moored. All ships have to submit to inspection by the Sealord's customs officers at the Chequy Port. Scattered throughout the city are small wharves and landings for the fishermen and ferries.
The ruler of Braavos is known as the Sealord and it is from the sea that the city’s power and wealth flows. The city is sometimes called the Bastard Son of Valyria. All gods are honored in Braavos. Most of the temples are located on the isle in the center of the city, known as the 'Isle of the Gods'. Among them is the Temple of the Moonsingers who led the original Braavosi refugees to the islands. Another temple of note is the temple to the Father of Waters which is rebuilt whenever he takes a new bride, as well as temples to the Many-Faced God and R'hllor, and a sept for the Seven named the Sept-Beyond-the-Sea.
The Iron Bank of Braavos is the main bank of Braavos. It is very wealthy and often lends money to outsiders, among its clients is the King of the Seven Kingdoms. The Iron Bank was founded by twenty three Braavosi: sixteen men and seven women, each of whom owned a key to the bank's great subterranean vaults. Their descendants, now numbering more than one thousand, are known as "keyholders" and proudly display their keys on formal occasions, though these keys are entirely ceremonial. Certain of these founding families have declined, with some losing their wealth entirely, yet all of them they cling to their keys and the honors that go along with them.