Volantis is the oldest, the first colony of Valyria. It is famed for its glasswork and wine, and for its role as a gateway between the east and west, especially in the trading of slaves.
- 1 Districts
- 2 Important Events
- 3 Government and Politics
- 4 Culture and Religion
- 5 Military
- 6 Places of Interest
- 7 Quotes
The Black Wall
A relic of old Valyria, two hundred feet of carved black obsidian, the Black Wall is a permanent reminder of the might of Volantis. Every year six four-horsed chariots race abreast atop the Black Wall to celebrate the founding of the city, cheered on by nobles of the Old Blood from within, and the rest without. The Tiger Cloaks maintain a watchful eye on the gates of the Black Wall, only permitting entry to those invited by the Old Blood.
A city within a city, separated from the rest of Volantis by the Black Wall. Only those who can trace their ancestry back to the hallowed age of old Valyria are permitted to take residence in one of the many exquisite manses in this portion of the city. Luxury abounds, even in the wake of the Braavosi occupation of Old Volantis, and the inhabitants want for little. This part of the city is a large labyrinth of palaces, courtyards, towers, temples dedicated to the Valyrian gods, cloisters, bridges, and cellars.
The east of the city is home to a higher class of citizens than the west, and the architecture is quaint and inspiring, rather than ramshackle. The east is also home to the Military Wharf and the Armoury building, in which the slave soldiers of the city are barracked.
A nest of depravity more tangled than a bag of snakes is West Volantis, home to sellswords, rogues, cutpurses and whores. The Merchant's House in Fishmonger's Square is the finest in the city, allegedly, despite the smell from the market stalls outside in which fishermen sell their day's catch.
Tensions between the tiger and the elephant parties of Volantis grew to an all time high, with each side hiring more and more sellswords just to escort them through the streets. The slaves labouring in a nearby mine rose in rebellion, and the triarchs argued bitterly about who among them though have the honour of suppressing it, When there was talk of triarch Helyos declaring himself triarch for life (which proved to be entirely accurate) there was outcry, and east Volantis became almost as dangerous as the west. The slave revolt was largely forgotten, for a time, as the Tiger Cloaks were recalled from all across the city to keep the peace from within the Black Walls.
Accross the Long Bridge, however, the slaves grew restless. Incited by the red priests of the city and without the Tiger Cloaks keeping a watchful eye, they began to talk of dissent. Danae Targaryen visited the city for the first time during this period, before leaving for Valyria.
Shortly after her departure, the mine slaves arrived at Volantis, and surged through the open gates to flood the city. The city erupted in full-blown slave revolt and the Trairchy, disunited, was unable to respond effectively. Each faction fought against the slaves, but as the triachs each sought to dominate, they turned on each other. The Volantene merchant fleet, anchored offshore, refrained from intervention. Instead, the ambitious Captain Doniphos and his allies plotted to take power for themselves, and, just as the admiral of the fleet was about to give orders to restore order to the city, they boarded his vessel and threw his corpse aboard.
When Danae Targaryen and her retinue returned from Valyria, Captain Doniphos solicited her help - she would help the merchant captains seize power in return for a sizeable portion of the Volantene fleet, and enough gold to see her across the Narrow Sea. She accepted. Perison struck fear into the hearts of slaves and soldiers alike, allowing the captains to take the triarchs captive. Danae had them executed in Fishmonger's Square and saw their families sold into slavery. She left the city aflame as her fleet bent its oars for Westeros.
Leaderless, Volantis was near helpless when a Dothraki khalasar under the command of Khal Joro approached the city. Unable to pay tribute or mount any meaningful defence, the city was sacked as part of the War of the New Princes.
In the aftermath of the sacking, a force of Braavosi soldiers tried to occupy the city, but where instead forced back to the Black Walls. When Braavos was defeated on the Plains of Vasyugys, Varyo Velaryon installed a Sellsword Council to govern the city, and root out the remaining Braavosi. Under their leadership, the city became even more politically unstable.
Trade revenue began to trickle in once more, allowing Volantis to fund the rebuilding of many of the damaged areas of the city, as well as new Tiger Cloaks to police the city. With Volantis weak and lacking any sizeable military force, the northern cities of Volon Therys, Valysar and Selhorys began to discuss rebellion. The Red Faith began to grow more militant, and unrest grew in the streets once more.
Diplomatic efforts on the part of Nohia Rogare helped to improve the prosperity of the city, though many grew to distrust Lysene influence. At the Concert of the Daughters, the other Free Cities validated Volantis' right to dominion over their former satellite cities. With the arrests and execution of several fractious red priests by the Tiger Cloaks, religious unrest petered out. Hugo of the Stormcrows, one of the most prominent members of the Sellsword Council, was killed by Byzos Tagaros in single combat, and many sellswords were removed from the city afterwards.
With Volantis on the rise once more and the rebellious cities to the north growing ever more restless, Volantis purchased a large amount of slave soldiers and sellswords to reform their once mighty armies, under the direction of Generals Byzos Tagaros and Laryos Trevaryen. Byzos Tagaros dissolved the interim council, and was subsequently elected as one of the ruling triarchs.
Government and Politics
Volantis is ruled by three elected triarchs. The current ruling triarchs are:
- Byzos Tagaros - a tiger
- Thalasso Vogarys - an elephant
- Belicho Paenymion - an elephant
Culture and Religion
While the old gods of Valyria reign within the Black Walls, the majority of the city worships the Red God, freedholders, freedmen and slaves alike. In addition, there are lesser followings of a number of faiths.
Volantis is renowned for its sweet red wine, which it exports by the boatload. Visitors to the city are urged to try the thick purple beetroot soup that is so beloved of the citizens, as well as the exquisite seafood on offer in Fisherman's Square. Occasionally an Old Man of the River will be sighted in the depths of the Rhoyne estuary, and turtle meat will be in abundance should the fishermen succeed in dredging it up to the surface for slaughter.
It is said that there are five slaves for every free man in Volantis, but this does not account for those slaves outside of the city, who work the fields, toil in the mines, and pull the oars of the great warships.
Slaves are identified by tattoos on their faces, to denote their caste and to ensure that, should one touch a member of the Old Blood without prior permission, they are duly executed.
Coins of many different cities circulate in Volantis, from Lysene crowns to Astapori silver marks, though there are various mints that do churn out Volantene coins.
The highest denomination is the gold honour, a small gold coin stamped with a skull on one facet, and a crown on another. It is not as highly valued as gold coins of other Free Cities (or even the golden dragon) given its ubiquitous nature in any mercantile port worth its salt. Its size does have one merit, however - that it is easy to fit many into a single chest for ease of transportation. A war galley might cost in excess of forty thousand honours to finance for a year, a fine breeding stallion may fetch five hundred.
Then comes the silver will, a large coin with a pair of crossed keys on one side, the other bearing a small design of waves in a crescent surrounded by intertwined ribbon. The outside edges of each side are stamped with a series of dots. There are twelve wills to an honour. Slave prices are often discussed in honours, and the exact change sorted in wills. A middle-aged male Lhazarene, for example, may fetch one hundred and sixty-one wills.
Coppers are coppers, and are not worth any further name. They are stamped with a myriad of designs, often unique to a particular mint. There are usually eight coppers to a will, although this may vary. These are the sort of coins given to street performers. A skilled labourer may earn a dozen coppers daily.
When it comes to true wealth, however, coinage is not really worth bothering with. Nobles of the Old Blood more often measure their own vast wealth in terms of property, of precious gems or exotic stone. Coin is only really used for transactions such as the purchasing of a new horse, or for new slaves for one's palace.
The vast majority of Volantene soldiers are slaves, each with green tiger stripes tattooed on both cheeks.
In addition to the slave soldiers, a company of sellswords known as the Volantene Honour Guard serve the city, acting as flexible medium cavalry.
Young sons of the Old Blood families wear the finest armour, carry the finest weapons, and ride the finest horses. They are an elite heavy cavalry force, and all the more arrogant for it.
Volantis has few war galleys remaining after a large portion of it was gifted to Danae Targaryen for her role in suppressing the slave revolt. Enough ships remain to chase pirates away from the harbour, though Volantene navy dominance is but a distant memory. Without Volantene mastery of the seas, the Orange Coast has become a haven for pirates and less reputable sellsails.
The city watch of Volantis are the tiger cloaks, slaves wearing tiger head helms, tiger claw gauntlets, and shields painted to resemble tigers.
Places of Interest
The Palace of the Triarchs
The Palace of the Triarchs is a building that dates back to the founding of the city. Formerly the residence of the governor of the Volantene outpost, during the Century of Blood it became a meeting place for the three triarchs of the city. In recent times, it has become the seat of the city council.
The Merchant's House
The Merchant's House is run by Doreah, also known as the Gilded Lady.
The city possessed an old and worn beauty, the cracks in its facade showing the age in its once extravagant exterior like wrinkles on an aged face. - Blood and Whispers
For the first time in centuries, the first daughter of Valyria was host to a Dragonlord, and it was both frightened and awestruck. - Blood and Whispers
In Volantis, bribes flowed thicker than the mighty Rhoyne. - On describing the elections for the triarchy.