The Citadel: Concordance

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12.9. The Ghiscari Cities
  • Yunkai, Meereen, and Astapor are great slaver cities on Slaver's Bay (II: 138. III: 96)
  • The cities of Slaver's Bay are descended from Old Ghis, which was destroyed by the might of young Valyria 5,000 years ago. Its legions were shattered, its brick walls were pulled down, its streets and buildings turned to ash and cinder by dragonflame, its fields sown with salt, sulfur, and skulls (III: 257)
  • The gods of Ghis were destroyed with its fall, and so were its people. The inhabitants of the slaver cities are mongrels, and the Ghiscari tongue is largely forgotten; the slave cities speak the High Valyrian of their conquerors, or what they made of it (III: 257)
  • The harpy was the symbol of the Old Empire of Ghis, though the harpy of Ghis had a thunderbolt in her claws, unlike the harpies of the modern slavery cities (III: 257, 473)
  • The High Valyrian of the slavers twisted and thickened by the growl of Ghis, and flavored with words of slaver argot (III: 258)
  • The slavers of Astapor name themselves the Good Masters (III: 258, 262)
  • The slavers of Slaver's Bay wear oiled beards and hair (III: 258, 314)
  • Slavers wear tokars, some of them of silk fringed with gold. It is wound about the body and over a shoulder, but the left hand is used to hold it in place as one walks. It is cumbersome, its fringes carefully layered so as to be displayed. If it is wound too loose, it falls off, and if too tight, the wearer will be tangled and tripped. Walking in it requires careful, mincing steps (III: 258. V: 35)
  • Dogs and horses are favorite meats in the slaver cities. Beef is seen as a food for unwashed savages (III: 259)
  • Slaves hold up striped silk awnings to ward off the sun from their masters (III: 260)
  • The Ghiscari use their own glyphs (III: 262)
  • Old Ghis ruled an empire while the Valyrians were still savage, or so it's said (III: 265, 479)
  • Slavers consider jellied dog brains a delicacy, and eat rich stews of red octopus and unborn puppy, and honeyed dormice as well (III: 265, 649)
  • Astapor is beside the Worm River (III: 265)
  • Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen are rivals but not enemies (III: 272)
  • The Dothraki sea lies north of the slave cities (III: 272)
  • The slave cities are protected from attack by the Dothraki in part because they are a ready market for the slaves the Dothraki take in their wars (III: 272)
  • The sons of the harpy give lavishly to every passing khal (III: 272)
  • Slaves do not refer to themselves in the first person (III: 304)
  • Grazdan is a common name in the slave cities, after Grazdan the Great who founded Old Ghis at the dawn of days (III: 305)
  • Ghiscari tend to be fleshy. They have amber skin, broad noses, and dark eyes. Their wiry hair is black or dark red, or a curious mixture of red and black that is peculiar to them (III: 305)
  • Tokars are only permitted to freeborn men and women of the cities (III: 305, 311)
  • The fringe on a man's tokar proclaims a man's status. Silver, gold, and fat white pearls are among those used (III: 305, 479)
  • The Ghiscari lust for dragons. Five times had Old Ghis fought with Valyria when the world was young, and five times it lost because the Freehold of Valyria had dragons and the Empire had none (III: 307)
  • Ghiscari, the old pure tongue, is still spoken by some. "Mhysa" means mother in it (III: 487)
  • The Ghiscari inter their honored dead in crypts below their manses (III: 806)
  • There is a city on an island named New Ghis (III: 807)
  • In the Free Cities, well spoken and gently born slaves are prized. They will become tutors, scribes, bed slaves, and even healers and priests (III: 809)
  • Gorghan of Old Ghis once compared prophecy to a treacherous woman, so sweet when pleasuring a man with her mouth, until she bites down on his member (IV: 682-683)
  • A tokar of sheer white linen with a golden fringe (V: 36)
  • A tokar of maroon silk with a golden fringe (V: 37)
  • A very wealthy man's purple tokar fringed with amethysts and pearls (V: 40)
  • Men can set aside their wives in Ghis (V: 41)
  • The work of a famous weaver in one city might be highly sought in New Ghis, Astapor, and Qarth (V: 41)
  • A Ghiscari repast of flatbread, olives, figs, and cheese served with Ghiscari wine made from small, pale yellow grapes that make an inferior vintage and leave behind a metallic taste (V: 43)
12.9.1. Astapor
  • In the center of the Plaza of Pride stands a red brick fountain whose waters smell of brimstone. In the center of the fountain stands a monstrous harpy twenty feet tall made of hammered bronze, with a woman's face, gilded hair, ivory eyes, and pointed ivory teeth. Water gushes yellow from her heavy breasts. In the place of arms she had the wings of a bat or a dragon, her legs are the legs of an eagle, and behind she has a scorpion's curled tail. A heavy chain dangles from her talons, an open manacle at either end (III: 257)
  • Slaver's Bay is very hot, even in the early autumn (III: 258)
  • The Plaza of Pride is made of red brick (III: 258)
  • Astapor has stepped pyramids that have sloping triangular walls and diamond-shaped panes of colored glass for windows (III: 258, 304)
  • Astapor has fighting pits where all manner of entertainments are held, including putting girls up against bulls and small boys rolled in honey and other foods against a bear so that viewers may wager on which child the bear will eat first. The pits are named after their owners (III: 260, 265)
  • The lockstep legions of Old Ghis were disciplined (III: 260)
  • Astapori use silver coins called marks (III: 263)
  • The Astapori make use of scribes (III: 264, 269)
  • Astapor is most beautiful at dusk. The Good Masters light silk lanterns on every terrace so all the pyramdis glow with colored lights. Pleasure barges ply the river Worm, playing soft music and calling at the little islands for food and wine and other delights (III: 265)
  • All the streets, stepped pyramids, deep-dug fighting pits with their rings of descending seats, the sulfurous fountains and gloomy wine caves, and the ancient walls are made of the same red brick, old and crumbling. There is red dust everywhere, dancing down the gutters at each gust of wind (III: 266)
  • Astapori women veil their faces to keep the brick dust from their eyes, as it stings worse than sand (III: 266)
  • Astapor's streets are largely deserted in the heat of day (III: 266)
  • Elephants with latticework litters on their backs lumber about in the streets of Astapor (III: 266)
  • Wealthy young men with old names and fat purses, sons of the harpy, play at being guards, dressing up as Ghiscari scourges to pretend they still rule an empire. They wear their hairs teased, oiled, and twisted into fantastic shapes, and they have copper disks sewn to their cloaks of yellow silk. Their tunics are embroidered linen and below the waist they wear sandals and pleated linen skirts (III: 266, 271, 272)
  • Astapor is an ancient city, but not so populous as it was in its glory nor as crowded as Qarth or Pentos or Lys (III: 266)
  • Astapori slavers ride on white asses (III: 267)
  • Women wear gowns of sheer linen, sometimes decorated with things such as flakes of lapiz lazuli, and wear ivory combs in their hair (III: 267)
  • The overseers of slaves are slaves themselves, and at least some are tattooed with the harpy and chains across their chests (III: 267)
  • There is an old rhyme known to the maesters in Westeros and perhaps elsewhere that goes, "Bricks and blood built Astapor, and bricks and blood her people" (III: 267)
  • The bricks of Astapor are said to be red with the blood of the slaves who made them (III: 267)
  • Closer to the bay the city is fairer. The great brick pyramids line the shore, the largest of them some four hundred feet high (III: 268)
  • All manner of trees and vines and flowers grow on the broad terraces of the stepped pyramids (III: 268)
  • A gigantic harpy stands atop the harbor gate, made of crumbling baked red clay with no more than a stub of her scorpion's tail remaining and the chain in her hands old and rotten with rust (III: 269, 311)
  • Astapor is poorly defended, with no guards on the towers. Even a modest khalasar could take the city, but none has ever tried because of the Unsullied (III: 271, 272)
  • Every son of the harpy plays at being a high officer. On feast days they fight mock wars in the pits to demonstrate what brilliant commanders they are, but it's the eunuchs who do the dying (III: 272)
  • The folk of the hinterlands east of Astapor are all Ghiscari (III: 272)
  • East beyond the hills about Astapor lies Lhazar (III: 272)
  • Astapor has over a hundred slave traders, but the greatest are those who sell Unsullied. They work as one when it comes to those eunuch soldiers, because in ancient times their eight families had allied in the process of making and selling them (III: 305)
  • Astapor has thousands of eunuchs (III: 307)
  • The Astapori named the tranquil Worm River a stream. It is wide, slow, and crooked, and some of its tiny wooded islands are decorated with elegant marble statues (III: 312)
  • The Plaza of Pride is not large enough to contain more than 13,000 Unsullied and trainees arrayed in their ranks (III: 312)
  • The Plaza of Punishment fronts on Astapor's main gate, and is large enough for more than 13,000 Unsullied and trainees arrayed in their ranks. There are no bronze statues there, only a wooden platform where rebellious slaves are racked, flayed, and hanged. The Good Masters place them so they will be the first thing a new slave sees upon entering the city (III: 312)
  • The slavers flay rebellious slaves, peeling them as a man might peel an apple (III: 312)
  • Flaying is the punishment for a slave who raises a hand to his onwer (III: 312)
  • In Astapor, the city takes a tenth part of the price whenever a slave changes hands (III: 809)
  • Astapor is said to be ancient (V: 26)
  • An Astapori envoy's gift of gilded leather slippers decorated with green freshwater pearls (V: 38)
12.9.1.1. The Unsullied
  • Unsullied are eunuchs used as household guards in many of the Free Cities, and can often lose their discipline and go to fat because of such soft service (I: 29. III: 96)
  • The Unsullied wear spiked bronze caps. One spike indicates a low rank, while three spikes going from front to back represent an officer (I: 29. III: 96. SSM: 1)
  • In Astapor one can buy Unsuilled, eunuch slave footsoldiers, absolutely fearless and incredibly disciplined (III: 96, 97)
  • The tale of the Three Thousand of Qohor begins four hundred or more years ago, when the Dothraki first came out of the east to sack and burn every town and city in their path. The khal who led them was named Temmo, and his khalasar numbered 50,000 at least, half of them braided warriors with bells in their hair (III: 96)
  • The Qohorik knew that Temmo came and strengthened their walls, doubled their guard, hired two free companies (the Bright Banners and the Second Sons), and bought 3,000 Unsullied. As the Three Thousand came to Qohor after their long march from Astapor, they saw that a battle had ended and the Dothraki had sent the sellsword companies to flight and defeated much of the Qohorik army. The horselords feasted to sack the city on the morrow, but when morning came the 3,000 Unsullied were drawn up before the gates with the Black Goat standard flying over them (III: 96, 97)
  • Temmo, disdaining his foes on foot, charged the Three Thousand eighteen times. The Unsullied locked their shields, lowered their spears, and stood firm against the 20,000 Dothraki screamers. Three times the khal sent his archers past, arrows raining down on the Unsullied, but they only lifted their shields. In the end only 600 Unsullied remained, but more than 12,000 Dothraki were dead upon the field, including Khal Temmo, his bloodriders, his kos, and all his sons (III: 97)
  • After the battle of the Three Thousand, on the fourth day as morning broke, the new khal led a procession of the survivors past the gates. One by one, each man cut off his braid and threw it down before the feet of the Three Thousand. Since then, the city guard of Qohor has been made solely of Unsilled, every one of whom carries a tall spear from which hangs a braid of human hair (III: 97)
  • The Unsullied are masters of spear, shield, and shortsword (III: 258)
  • The Unsullied do not feel any discomfort or pain, whether from heat or from wounds. They will stand a day and a night and more in terrible heat, with neither food nor water, and will remain so until every one of them has dropped dead if they are so commanded (III: 258-261)
  • For inspection, the Unsullied wear nothing but white linen clouts and conical bronze helms topped with a sharpened spike a foot tall (III: 258)
  • The Unsullied also wear quilted tunics (III: 258)
  • Unsullied are chosen young, for size and speed and strength. They begin their training at five, practicing every day from dawn to dusk until they have mastered the shortsword, the shield, and the three spears (III: 259)
  • The training is very rigorous. Only one boy in three survives (III: 259)
  • Among the Unsullied it is said that on the day they win their spiked cap, the worst is done with, for no duty that will ever fall to them could be as hard as their training (III: 259)
  • Others may be stronger, quicker, or larger, and some few may be as skiled with sword and spear and shield, but nowhere are their warriors more disciplined or obedient (III: 259)
  • The Unsullied come in all sorts. Some are tall and some are short, ranging in ages from perhaps fourteen to twenty when they are ready for sale. More than half have the copper skin and almond eyes of Dothrak and Lhazerene, but there are men from the Free Cities among them, as well as Qartheen, Summer Islanders, and others from more far-flung places (III: 260)
  • All the Unsullied have eyes that seem dead of all emotion (III: 260, 269)
  • A eunuch who is cut young will never be as strong as an uncut man, but the cutting of the Unsullied is believed to make them more loyal, obedient, disciplined, and fearless (III: 260)
  • The Unsullied fight in the manner of the Old Empire and are considered the lockstep legions of Old Ghis come again (III: 260)
  • Death means nothing to the Unsullied, and maiming less than nothing (III: 260)
  • The shortswords othe Unsullied are made more for stabbing than for slashing, but the edge is razor-sharp nonetheless (III: 261)
  • The wine of courage, a potion made of nightshade, bloodfly larva, black lotus root, and many secret things, is the secret to the Unsullied. They drink with every meal from the day they are cut, and with each passing year feel less and less. It makes them fearless, and they cannot be tortured (III: 261)
  • The Unsullied have the entirety of their genitals removed, leaving nothing (III: 261)
  • The Unsullied are not interested in wealth or plunder. They own nothing but their weapons, and are not even permited names. Each dawn bronze name disks, engraved with Ghiscari glyphs, are pulled at random from an empty cask by the Unsullied. From dawn to dusk, the name that disk bears will be the name of the Unsullied. At dusk they replace the disks. (III: 262)
  • The names are meant to remind them that they are vermin, with colors such as Black, Red, Blue, and Brown appended to words such as Toad, Rat, Flea, and Worm (III: 262)
  • The young eunuchs training to become Unsullied are culled if they cannot remember a new name each day, run all day in a full pack, scale a mountain in the black of night, walk across a bed of coals, or slay an infant (III: 262)
  • To win his spiked cap, an Unsullied most go to the slave marts with a silver mark, find a wailing newborn, and kill it before its mother's eyes. In this way do the Astapori slavers make certain that there is no weakness left in them. Few ever fail the test The silver mark is for the owner of the slaves, and not for the mother of the slain newborn (III: 262, 263)
  • The Unsullied are not permitted to steal (III: 263)
  • A harder test than the final one for the Unsullied has to do with dogs. Each boy is given a puppy the day he is cut. At the end of the first year, he is required to strangle it. Any who cannot do so are killed and fed to the surviving dogs, making a strong lesson (III: 263)
  • If any enemy offered the Unsullied freedom from their owner, they would kill him out of hand and bring their master his head. Other slaves may steal and hoard up silver in hopes of buying their freedom, but an Unsullied would not take it if it were offered it as a gift (III: 263)
  • Unsullied are sold only by the unit, either by the thousand or the century. Once they sold by the ten, as household guards, but that proved unsound as they mingled with over slaves and even freemen, and forgot who and what they were (III: 263)
  • The Unsullied are not cheap. They are the finest foot in all the world and each represents many years of training (III: 263)
  • The Unsullied do not have any officers in their ranks. They are trained to obey, not to think (III: 264)
  • Sword, shield, spear, sandals, quilted tunic, and spiked caps are all of the equipment that comes with each Unsullied. They will wear other armor as their owner desires, but they must be provided with it (III: 264)
  • Unsullied do not put cities to the sword or plunder save at the express command of those who lead them (III: 271)
  • On feastdays, the sons of the harpy command Unsullied in the fighting pits to show how brilliant they are as commanders (III: 272)
  • It takes at least ten years to make Unsullied (III: 305)
  • Eight great slaver families, allied from ancient times, are the only ones who produce and sell Unsullied (III: 305)
  • Three ships full of costly goods are enough to be a thousand of Unsullied. A rich and elaborate crown may be enough to buy two more centuries. Three vessels, a cog and two galleys, could suffice for another thousand or two (III: 306)
  • The Unsullied do not question orders, for all the questions have been culled from them. They will even fall upon their swords, if they are so commanded (III: 309)
  • The ownership of Unsullied is signified by a whip, sometimes very elaborate with a handle of dragonbone, carved and inlaid, with nine long thing leather lashes tipped with gilded claws and a golden pommel that's shaped as a woman's head with pointed ivory teeth. The slavers call such whips the harpy's fingers (III: 313)
  • The Unsullied will not sleep in an unfortified camp if they fear danger. They will use earthworks, such as ditches and stakes, to strengthen it (III: 474)
  • The Unsullied say they learn the way of the three spears, in contrast to the ways of pleasure of bed slaves in Yunkai and elsewhere (III: 474)
  • Some say that boiling oil feels like no more than a warm bath to the Unsullied, but it is false. The Unsullied do not feel burns as men do, but oil blinds and kills (III: 645)
  • The Unsullied are fastidious about cleanliness. They will bathe every evening garbed only in their white breechclouts even if they have marched all day, and if there is no water available they will use sand after the Dothraki fashion (III: 649)
  • The Unsullied salute their leaders, kneeling and raising clenched fists to their breasts (III: 649)
12.9.2. Yunkai
  • In Yunkai, eunuchs are often made by removing a boy's testicles, leaving the penis. This leaves them infertile, but some remain capable of erection (III: 261)
  • In Yunkai, slave swordsmen can be had for less than the price of their swords (III: 263)
  • There's a birchwood forest some three leagues south of Yunkai (III: 473, 487)
  • Yunkai can field an army of at least 4,000 men, and a 1,000 more of sellswords (III: 473)
  • Yunkai's harpy grasps a whipe and an iron collar in her talons (III: 473)
  • Yunkai has slave soldiers, but they are not equal to the Unsullied. The city is better known for training bed slaves than warriors (III: 473)
  • A slave in Yunkai learns the way of seven sighs and the sixteen seats of pleasure (III: 474)
  • The Yunkai'i speak Valyrian, but in a dialect somewhat different from that of Astapor (III: 476)
  • The slavers of Yunkai name themselves the Wise Masters (III: 476)
  • An envoy on a great white camel, escorted by fifty men on magnificent black horses (III: 479)
  • The Yunkai'i have helms twice as tall as their heads, so as not to crush the bizzar twists and towers and shapes of their oiled hair. They dye their linen skirts and tunics a deep yellow, and sew copper disks to their cloaks (III: 479)
  • Yunkish golden marks stamped with a stepped pyramid on one side and the harpy of Ghis on the other (III: 480)
  • Yunkai is made of yellow bricks, but otherwise it is very similar to Astapor with the same crumbling walls and high stepped pyramids, and a great harpy mounted above its gates (III: 487)
  • The Yunkai'i use slingers (III: 487)
12.9.3. Meereen
  • Healthy young girls and boys under ten are especially sought after as slaves to be used in brothels (I: 557)
  • One can buy hundreds of slaves from the fighting pits (II: 645. III: 96)
  • Eunuchs are often made by removing a boy's testicles, leaving the penis. This leaves them infertile, but some remain capable of erection (III: 261)
  • Slave swordsmen can be had for less than the price of their swords (III: 263)
  • Meereen is as large as Astapor and Yunkai combined. The bricks the city are made of are of many colors, and her walls are higher and in better repair than Yunkai's, studded with bastions and anchored by great towers at every angle (III: 639)
  • The Great Pyramid is huge, 800 feet tall with a towering bronze harpy at its top. There are a score of lesser pyramids in the city, but none stand even half as high (III: 639, 803)
  • A hero of Meereen is armored in scales of copper and jet, mounted on a white charger in striped barding matching the flowing silk cloak he wears (III: 639)
  • The Meereenese have lances fourteen feet long (III: 639)
  • The slavers of Meereen call themselves the Great Masters (III: 640)
  • Meereen sits on the salt coast of Slaver's Bay beside the river Skahazadhan. Its northern wall is against the river and its western on the bay shore (III: 640, 644)
  • Armor is not worn in the fighting pits, for the crowds come to see blood (III: 642)
  • The Meereenese have crossbows (III: 643)
  • Figs, dates, and olives grow on the terraces of the city's pyramids (III: 644)
  • Meereen stands on a jut of sand and stone where the slow brown Skahazadhan river flows into Slaver's Bay (III: 644)
  • Meereen has brone heads above its gates, harpy heads with open mouths. The Meereenese can squirt boiling oil from those mouths to deter attackers (III: 644)
  • The water of the Skahazadhan is not sanitary near the city. Meereen draws its own water from deep wells instead (III: 645)
  • Great brick sewers right below the walls empty into the Skahazadhan, carrying the city's wastes. They are closed with iron grates, though some of them have rusted through. Once inside it's a long, foul climb in pitch-dark through a maze of brick. The filth is never lower than waist high, and can rise over one's head. There are huge rats there, and worse things (III: 646)
  • Near the apex of the Great Pyramid is a terrace garden with a persimmon tree growing in it, and a little bathing pool as well. A sleeping chamber with a marble floor is next to it with doors leading out. On the level below is an audience chamber, a high-ceilinged room with walls of purple marble and a fantastic throne of carved and gilded wood shaped as a savage harpy (III: 803, 805, 815, 816)
  • From the Great Pyramid much of the city of Meereen can be seen, from its twisting alleys to its wide brick streets, its temples and granaries, it hovels and palaces, its brothels and baths, its gardens and fountains, the great red circles of the fighting pits, and more (III: 803)
  • There is a plaza before the Great Pyramid (III: 805)
  • Huge rats and monstrous, man-eating pale lizards lurk in the sewers of the city (III: 810)
  • The Temple of Graces has golden domes (III: 816. V: 35)
  • Meereen is said to be ancient (V: 26)
  • There are vast estates in the hills beyond Meereen, where thousands of slaves toil at growing wheat and olives, herding sheeps and goats, and mining salt and copper (V: 34)
  • Near Meereen are a range of rounded sandstone mountains and the Khyzai Pass, beyond which is Lhazar. The Lhazarene have traded in the past with Meereen, but have no particular love of the place (V: 34)
  • The Zhak, Hazkar, Ghazeen, Merreq, Loraq, and Pahl are among the chief slaver families in Meereen (V: 37)
  • There are blood ties between some slaver families and Tolos and Elyria (V: 39)
  • The fighting pits of Meereen are privately owned (V: 39)
  • Fighting pits are said to have been a part of the slaver cities since they were founded, with the combats being profoundly religious, representing blood sacrifices to the gods. It is called the mortal art of Ghis by some, and it pleases the gods to see valor, skill, and strength. Great fighters are acclaimed and the slain are honored. The pits are famous across the world and draw trade to Meereen (V: 40)
  • Criminals are sometimes condemned to the pits, a judgment by battle and a chance to prove their innocence (V: 40)
  • It is the custom for the city to claim one-tenth of all profits from the pits, after expenses, as a tax (V: 40)
  • Large pike can be caught in the Skahazadhan (V: 43)
  • Men wishing to prove their claims may go to the Temple of Graces to swear oaths before the gods of Ghis (V: 44)
12.9.4. Legends and Beliefs
  • Meereen, at least, has many temples, including the golden domed Temple of Graces (III: 803, 816)