Lys

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Lys
City state, one of the Free Cities
Free Cities.png
Location Free Cities, Essos
Government Council of Magisters
Population More populous than Astapor, and may be one of the most populous of the Free Cities
Religion Mixed religions
Lys, known as Lys the Lovely. ©FFG

Lys, known as Lys the Lovely,[1] and according to semi-canon sources as the Perfumed Sister,[2] is one of the nine Free Cities of Essos. It is a small city clinging to rocks surrounded by stormy seas.[3] The city lies off the southern coast of the eastern continent, to the southeast of Tyrosh and to the west of Volantis.[4]

City

A mercantile city, Lys is protected by high walls and hired sellswords and dominated by wealth rather than by birth, and where trade is considered a profession more honorable than arms. Lys is ruled by conclaves of magisters, chosen from amongst the wealthiest and noblest men of the city. A slave city, in Lys the slaves outnumber the free man three to one. Lys is a port city. There is no established faith. Temples and shrines to many different gods can be found in the streets and waterfronts of the city,[1] including a temple of R'hllor.[5]

People

A Lyseni noblewoman - by Magali Villeneuve ©

The Lynesi are regarded as beautiful. More than anywhere else in the Known World, the blood of Old Valyria still runs strong. Even the smallfolk in Lys have the colouring of the dragonlords of old: pale skin, silver-gold hair, and purple, lilac, and pale blue eyes. Many of the nobility in Lys have produced (in)famous beauties, and Targaryen Kings and Princes are known to have looked at Lys for wives and paramours.[1] The people of Lys are know to curl and perfume their hair.[3]

Prince Daemon Targaryen, brother to King Viserys I Targaryen, had a paramour from Lys, a dancer named Mysaria.[6][7] King Viserys II Targaryen had been married to Lady Larra Rogare from Lys in his youth, and had three children by her, including the later King Aegon IV, and the famous Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.[8][9] King Aegon IV's last mistress, Serenei, came from Lys as well, and bore him a daughter named Shiera, whilst dying in childbirth.[10]

The Red Priests have a temple in honour of R'hllor in Lys.[5] It is also home to a love goddess, worshipped by many Lyseni;[1] it is unknown if she is the same as the Weeping Lady of Lys. This love goddess graces the Lysene coinage, naked and wanton.[1]

The Lyseni fight often with Tyrosh and Myr over the Disputed Lands, though they will not risk the lives of their citizens in this, preferring to hire free companies instead.[1]

Economy

A coin of Lys, as depicted by Nutchapol Thitinunthakorn in The World of Ice and Fire

Lys is deeply involved in the slave trade. In the city, slaves outnumber the freeborn three to one. Lys is most famous for their bed-slaves, and Lyseni are known to be famously voracious in their search for comely yougn boys and fair maids with their pillow houses. Lys is also known for the breeding of slaves, mating beauty with beauty, hoping to produce the most lovely courtesans and bedslaves.[1] Aptly, many Lyseni worship a love goddess whose naked, wanton figure graces their coinage

Lysene coins are oval in shape and have a naked woman stamped on them,[11] the native love godess of Lys.[1]

Lys makes a red wine and a white wine,[3] fine tapestries.[12] Lys is known for the alchemists who work in the city, who are known to make poisons, the strangler[13] and the tears of Lys among them.

History

Origin

Lys was founded as a direct colony by the Valyrians on an island in the Summer Sea, near the Broken Arm of Dorne and the Orange Shore or Essos.[14][15] Founded by wealthy merchants and nobles, Lys was mostly a trading colony.[15] Due to its climate, Lys soon also became a resort destination of sorts for the dragonlords of old Valyria, where they could refresh themselves with fine wines, sweet maids, and soothing musics. The island on which Lys is located is very fertile, with palms and fruit trees growing in profusion. The surrounding blue-green waters are filled with fish.[1]

After the Doom of Valyria in 114 BC, a Volantene fleet took Lys and a Volantene army took Myr, and for two generations all three cities were ruled from within the Black Walls of Volantis. That ended when Volantis tried to take Tyrosh. Pentos came into the war on the Tyroshi side, along with the Westerosi Storm King Argilac Durrandon. Lord Aegon Targaryen flew forth from Dragonstone on the dragon Balerion, and Myr and Lys rose up in rebellion.[16] The Century of Blood left the Disputed Lands a waste and freed Lys and Myr from the yoke of Volantis.[17]

The Triarchy

Main article: Triarchy

Roughly a century later, in 96 AC, Lys united with Myr and Tyrosh to form the Triarchy, also known as the Kingdom of the Three Daughters. The Triarchy would exist until the reign of King Aegon II Targaryen. Their original stated aim was to cleanse the Stepstones of pirates and corsairs, which was welcomed in Westeros and elsewhere. The Triarchy won swift victory over the pirates, but began to demand tolls of passing ships, once they had gained control of the islands and the waters. It did not take long for their greed to exceed that of the pirates they had replaced.[1]

Much of the Stepstones was lost in a war against Lord Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake, and Prince Daemon Targaryen, though once Westeros became distracted with its own quarrels, the Triarchy reasserted its power.[1]

In 129 AC, a High Council of the Triarchy accepted the offer of Hand of the King Otto Hightower for an alliance. The Triarchy supported King Aegon II Targaryen against his half-sister, Rhaenyra. A fleet of ninety ships fell upon the Gay Abandon, the ship carrying Princes Aegon and Viserys. While Prince Aegon managed to escape, Prince Viserys was taken into custody by a Tyroshi captain, though his admiral, a Lyseni named Sharako Lohar, took Viserys from him.[18]

The Triarchy did not survive for much longer, as internal conflicts brought them down, when a Lyseni admiral was murdered by a rival for the affections of the courtesan known as the Black Swan, a Westerosi member of House Swann who had been previously enslaved by the Lyseni, and who had risen high in Lys after her uncle refused to pay her ransom.[6][1] An alliance between Braavos, Pentos, and Lorath helped bring an end to the Kingdom of the Three Daughters.[1]

Involvement with House Targaryen

Around the same time as the Dance of the Dragons in the Seven Kingdoms ended, the Lyseni Rogare Bank had grown much more influential than the Iron Bank of Braavos. Thus began the Lyseni Spring. With Larra Rogare married to Prince Viserys Targaryen, the younger brother of the young King Aegon III, the Rogares became involved in the plots to control the king. Lady Larra's uncle, Drazenko Rogare was wed to Princess Aliandra Martell, the Princess of Dorne, resulting in this influential Lyseni family having ties through marriage aliances to the two major kingdoms in Westeros (the Iron Throne and independent Dorne).

The rapid rise of the Rogare family and Lys, however, was soon matched by a speedy fall. Lysandro Rogare, her father and head of the family, and his brother Drazenko, died within a day of each other, beginning the fall of the Rogares in both Lys and the Seven Kingdoms.[1] Larra eventually grew homesick, and in 139 AC moved back to Lys, where she died in 145 AC.[19] Following the death of his father Lysandro, Lysaro Rogare fell afounl with the other magisters. He was scourged to death at the Temple of Trade by those he had wronged. His siblings received less fatal punishments. One of them, Moredo Rogare, a soldier carryign the Valyrian sword Truth, would eventually lead an army against Lys.[1][8]

King Aegon IV Targaryen, half-Lyseni through his mother Larra, had a mistress from Lys towards the end of his reign: Serenei of Lys, the last daughter of an ancient but impoverished noble family of Valyrian blood. Serenei bore Aegon IV one child, the famously beautiful Shiera Seastar, whom Aegon IV legitimized on his deathbed as one of his Great Bastards.[10]

In 209 AC, Prince Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen was temporarily exiled to Lys, following his role in the Tourney at Ashford Meadow which indirectly resulted in the death of his uncle Crown Prince Baelor "Breakspear" Targaryen. Aerion stayed in Lys for a few years, and it is possible that he fathered some children while staying there.[20]

Spymaster Varys originates from Lys,[21], and according to Grand Maester Pycelle, was born a slave there.[22] Tywin Lannister went to Lys during the reign of Aerys II Targaryen.[23] Prince Oberyn Martell was sent to Lys after the death of Lord Edgar Yronwood, when it was suspected he had used poison. No one dared call it exile.[24] Jon Connington supposedly drank himself to death in Lys after being driven from the Golden Company in disgrace for stealing from the war chest.[25] When Daenerys Targaryen was a young girl she and her brother Viserys Targaryen spent some time in Lys when they were wandering from place to place.[26] Jorah Mormont fled to Lys with his wife in exile, after which he began to sell his sword to make coin. By the time Mormont returned to Lys after fighting the Braavosi on the Rhoyne, his wife, Lady Lynesse Hightower, had taken Tregar Ormollen as a lover. She now rules as his concubine.[27][28]

Hizdahr zo Loraq has visited Lys.[29]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Ser Davos Seaworth recalls that it was he who journeyed to Lys in order to recruit Salladhor Saan to King Stannis Baratheon's cause. [5]

A Storm of Swords

Tyrosh is on the verge of going to war with Lys.[30]

A Feast for Crows

Lys and Tyrosh are now on the verge of war with Myr.[31] It is later rumored that the Archon of Tyrosh has offered terms to Lys in an effort to end the trade war.[32]

A Dance with Dragons

Edric Storm is in hiding in Lys with his guardian and protectors.[33]

See also

References and Notes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  2. A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  4. A Dance with Dragons, Map of the Free Cities
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Rogue Prince.
  7. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  9. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  11. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  14. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Lys.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  17. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  18. The Princess and the Queen.
  19. The World of Ice and Fire AMA
  20. So Spake Martin: Many Questions (October 14, 1998)
  21. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Varys.
  22. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  23. The Winds of Winter, Mercy
  24. The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  28. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  31. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  32. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.

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