Curse of the Crimson Throne
The History of Korvosa
The History of Korvosa
The Founding of Korvosa
The city of Korvosa was founded exactly 300 years ago in 4407 AR, when the Empire of Cheliax expanded north into the wild continent of Varisia. Chelish settlers found a tribe of Shoanti barbarians dwelling around the ruins of an immense Thassilonian pyramid on the shores of a deep bay – the perfect site for a city.
At first, the Shoanti were suspicious of the Chelish settlers, and allowed them only to inhabit the northern isle of Korvosa after harsh trade bargains were made. Cheliax sent ship after ship to build up the settlement until at last they struck the Shoanti with a treacherous surprise attack. Despite the predicted turn, the Shoanti did not have enough people to withstand the attack, and after much bloodshed they were driven away into the harsh Cinderlands. Triumphantly, the Chelish named their wholly-claimed city Korvosa, after a prominent field marshal who led the victorious battle.
The Fall of Cheliax
The Empire of Cheliax that Korvosa had long called its homeland fell to terrible infighting amongst the nobles a century in the past. It has struggled to regain its power, but the devil-worshiping nobles are so busy selling their souls to destroy one another that the Empire can hardly be called such a high title anymore. As a result, the many colonies it established during its centuries of hungry expansion have been left to their own devices politically. Trade with Cheliax is still rich and thriving, but lawmakers have no time to concern themselves with the backwater cities across the seas.
Thus has Korvosa flourished by its own devices, creating its own legal system and negotiating trading rights and political alliances with only its own gain to consider.
King Eodred Arabasti II took the Korvosan throne in 4683 AR, when his distant relative by marriage, King Eodred Arabasti I, died at a young age due to a crippling disease he’d been born with. After three hundred centuries, his tragic death came as little surprise to the rumormongers in Korvosa. No monarch of Korvosa has ever died of old age, and none have produced an heir while ruling. The seat of Korvosa’s power is known as the Crimson Throne – not a prize to be won, but a curse to bear.
The Chelish nobles of Korvosa have proclaimed King Eodred the Saffron King, likening his reign to abundance due to the many favorable trading rights and negotiations he has made to benefit the upper classes. The city’s downtrodden have another name for him, though – the Stirge King, a man whose spendthrift ways are slowly bleeding his city dry. And yet, despite their loathing for him, still the poor have another whom they hate even more – his young Queen, Ileosa Arabasti.
In 4704 AR, Ileosa Arvanxi shocked her noble Chelish family by abandoning the homeland to sail for Korvosa. She arrived at the head of an ominous ocean storm, her beauty glowing like the lightning that lit the sky behind her. With red hair like the sunset, chaste alabaster skin, and features so fetching many claimed her mother to be a nymph, it was no surprise to anyone who saw her that King Eodred offered his wedding proposal after a scandalously short courtship. The fact that he was thrice her age disgusted Korvosans even further. Her open distaste for the city, which she routinely refers to as a “backwater colonial village,” has earned her the equally open distaste of most of its citizens.