Korvosa! The jewel of Varisia! An ancient city, full of magic and intrigue. Fantastical creatures—hippogriffs! pseudodragons! imps!—wing through the sky, while on the ground a group of stolid and dependable citizens go about their day-to-day lives, supporting the city with their trade, their loyalty, their very willpower. Above the whole town looms Castle Korvosa, a massive black edifice atop an ancient ziggurat, from which rule King Eodred Arbasti II and (more in title than in fact) his wife, Queen Ileosa Arbasti. Eodred is popular, though old, and Korvosa is a city that any would be proud to call home.

At least, that’s the perspective an outsider brings to it.

But when you go deeper—when you peel off the layers of prestige and pride like the still-crisp skin of an old onion—you find a city that is rotting at its heart, that is decayed and dying, that is stuck in its old ways, its old king, its old mind. Little has changed in Korvosa for the past several hundred years; the king rules, the Guards keep order, the people obey. Crime flourishes in semi-legal avenues, and most people accept it. Most people, after all, have a finger or two in that particular pie. Korvosan high society is morally nebulous; for every one truly honorable man, every one noble woman, there are at least a dozen who only seem so because tradition, honor, and reputation demand it of them. In secret orgies at brothels dedicated to Calistria, in the blood-soaked rites conducted by volunteers at the massive Temple of Hell, the darker side of human nature finds recourse and succor. It is the way things have been for hundreds of years.

For how long, do you think, can it continue?


The Dying City: Curse of the Crimson Throne TheNorv