Valyrian Freehold Settlement in Fourteen Flames | World Anvil

Valyrian Freehold

The Valyrian Freehold, often referred to as the Valyrian Empire, refers to land controlled by the Valyrians on the continent of Essos and beyond. It encompasses the entire Valyrian peninsula and includes territory around Slavers Bay as far as the Bone Mountains in the east, to the West as far as Westeros, to islands of the Ibbanese in the north and as far south as the Soothoryos.    


There are many theories on how the Valyrians came to master Dragons. The Valyrians were composed of several independent tribes who lay claim to lands and safeguarded their flocks and homes all along the Valyrian peninsula. Tribes had their own witches or mages who healed, protected and lived among them. It is said that one tribe in particular, whose lands encompassed the volcanic range called the Fourteen Flames, had an especially gifted mage who was able to perform the first blood rite that resulted in the bonding of a dragon to a tribesman. With blood Magic he bound forty families in total, all of them from the one tribe, tying their blood to that of Dragons in perpetuity. It wasn't long before these dragonlords began ruling over the other tribes of Valyria with the most formidable weapon of war the world had ever seen.   It took nearly a century to combine all the tribes under the dragonrider leaders. Credit should be given to the foresight of the mages at the time, in making the tribal leaders understand the strength, power and wealth that could be achieved by unity. Once united, the central location on the peninsula became the hub of activity and the colony of dragon riders founded Valyria. With mages, dragon fire, men and Slaves, Valyria took shape. This unification had upon them another effect, the strength and power of the mages was growing exponentially and by the time they began pulling lava from the earth to shape into the spires of their city, it was overdue for them to have oversight. It was thus that the Brotherhood of Mages was founded.  

Ghiscari Wars


First Ghiscari War

The Old Empire of Ghis was the first great civilization in the known world. Ghiscari written records confirm their empire was already in its earliest stages before the Long Night began, roughly 8,000 years ago. Other civilizations existed in Essos during the Dawn Age, such as the Realm of the Fisher Queens and the forebears of the Kingdom of Sarnor, but they kept no written records. Yi Ti and Asshai also claim that their civilizations extend back before the Long Night, but their written records do not extend far back enough to confirm this.   While the Old Empire was expanding and building great pyramids, across the Gulf of Grief, the new power of the Valyrian Freehold began to expand into the rest of Essos, inevitably coming into conflict with the Old Empire for dominance. Exactly when the First Ghiscari War occurred is unclear, except that it was after the Long Night and the initial rise of Valyria.

Second Ghiscari War

The Kingdom of Sarnor, a collection of independent city-states, existed in the western plains of central Essos.Their cities stretched across the plains on the northern side of the Painted Mountains, along the northern borders of the Valyrians in the west and Ghiscari to the east.   The Sarnori were close enough to the two rivals that they eventually became drawn into their conflicts. In the Second Ghiscari War, the Sarnori fought as allies of young Valyria against the might of the Ghiscari legions.

Third Ghiscari War

The Sarnori again fought as allies of the Valyrians in the Third Ghiscari War. By this time, the conflict between Valyria and Ghis spread to their far-flung colonies across the Summer Sea, in the Basilisk Isles and Sothoryos. The Ghiscari had founded the colony Gorgai on the Isle of Tears, the largest of the Basilisk Isles. Gorgai stood for some two to four centuries (there is dispute over the dating), but the Valyrian dragonlords captured the city in the Third Ghiscari War and renamed it Gogossos.

Fourth Ghiscari War

The Sarnori have rarely been politically unified, though they fought as Valyrian allies in the Second and Third Ghiscari Wars. In the Fourth Ghiscari War, however, rival Sarnori kings fought on both sides. Following the capture of Gogossos in the Basilisk Isles during the Third Ghiscari War, in the fourth war the Valyrians captured the Ghiscari colony Zamettar, the only major city on the coast of Sothoryos.

Fifth Ghiscari War

The Dragon defeats the Harpy

  The last of the Ghiscari wars took place around 4700 BC. At the end of the fifth and final war, the Ghiscari Empire was utterly defeated. The ancient brick walls of Old Ghis, erected by Grazdan the Great, were raised. The Valyrian dragonlords burned the city to ashes, and the Ghiscari pyramids, temples, and homes were razed by dragonflame. The Valyrians sowed the fields with salt, lime, and skulls so that nothing would grow again.   The Fifth Ghiscari War saw that many Ghiscari were slain, and many others were enslaved where they died laboring for their Valyrian captors. The old domains of Ghis were incorporated into the Valyrian Freehold, and the Ghiscari were assimilated into the empire.  


The surviving Ghiscari cities were reduced to colonies of Valyria, and the original Ghiscari made into slaves. As a result, Ghiscari culture and religion went extinct, and the language of Old Ghis survived only in words that entered the Valyrian spoken in cities such as Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen.  

North and Westward

Never content, the Valyrians pressed out North from the Lands of the Long Summer and west, establishing colonies as they went. The expansion north was quickest, in the space of a century or so small settlements had been established in Essaria, Qohor and Norvos. They grew over many years into city colonies of the Freehold. Ruled over by a family from those who established the colony from Valyria. Or they paid for their freedom and protection of the freehold but self governed. It was during this time that slave ships bound for Sothyros went missing and were thought initially to be lost at sea.  

The Scouring of Lorath

When Qarlon the Great led his Andals against Norvos, the Free City appealed to Valyria for aid, resulting in the destruction of Qarlon and his host near Norvos. The Valyrian dragonlords then flew to Lorath, burning Qarlon's keep at Lorassyon and settlements throughout Lorath Bay and scorching the ancient labyrinths of the mazemakers with dragonfire. According to legend none of the Lorathi Andals survived the attack. More than a century later, 4214 AD the Lorathi islands were resettled by Valyrian colonists who worshiped Boash.  

Ever Expanding

The press West and expansion was encompassed from both the North and the South. Led by the most powerful dragonlords, the Lysareons. Lys, Tyrosh and Myr were established on the South Western coasts and Pentos on the North western coast. Skirmishes were fought and as the cities grew and the wealth of the Lysareons grew, their dragon numbers dwindled. It wasn't long before they were superseded by the Calareons and their more powerful dragons. The Lysareons spread their influence too thin. Too few dragons at their disposal and at the disposal of their outposts, lost them colonies of Myr and Tyrosh who bought their independence to govern and seek more powerful patrons in the Freehold. Lys remained under Lysareon control and continues to do so.   There was no love lost between the Calareon Family and the Valcoran Family, both believing that they were the natural successors to the Lysareon. Much manipulation and payoffs were done in the Council of Freemen and Calareon prevailed, rising to the pinnacle of power among the great dragonlords.  

The First Turtle War

The First Turtle War was a bloody, but short war, lasting less than a moon's turn. It was mainly instigated by the Lysareon Family and their allies a few short years after the founding of Volon Therys.   The war was fought between Volon Therys and Sar Mell, a Roynish city-state. According to accounts, the war began when the people of Volon Therys killed a gigantic turtle, one of those called the Old Men of the River by the Rhoynar. The Rhoynar hold these turtles sacred, viewing them as the consorts of Mother Rhoyne herself.   During the course of the war, Sar Mell was raided and burned. They emerged victorious when Rhoynish water wizards called up the power of the river, and proceeded to flood Volon Therys. If the tales can be believed, half the city was washed away.  


This war and the defeat reflected badly on the Lysareon family, and with the hatching of a new, unusually quick growing dragon to the Valcoran Family caused some to question their allegiances. Over the next fifty years the freehold and its cities continued to prosper. The mines were working to capacity and trade in slaves and goods were booming. The freehold was approaching the height of its power.  

Zamettar and The Rise of the Shadow

In 4832 AD word came from Zamettar of raids upon a large number of slave ships that were burned after the slaves aboard were taken, by a pirate fleet. The Council of Freemen sent three dragonlords to deal with this threat. Venys Calareon and his brother Corryx on their dragons Morise and Terrilyx, plus the eldest of the three, Taeron Valcoran on the young but massive Curose.   The pirate fleet was found on the Sothyros coast trying to land the captured slaves. Vanys ordered Taeron to scorch the fleet first. The shadow of Curose was said to have blacked out the sun as his fires burned a hundred ships. It was then that treachery struck and the Calareon brothers attacked Taeron. A short but terrifying battle raged in the skies over Sothyros. But both the dragons and riders of the Calareon Family were torn apart by the much larger Curose. After escorting the remaining ships back to Zamettar, Taeron and Curose returned to Valyria and told their account of what had transpired.   There was much doubt and argument in the council chamber over the validity of the story told by the young Valcoran. But reason, testimony, fear and the fact that Curose was now undoubtedly the largest dragon in the world tipped the scales and Taeron was hailed a hero. Curose was henceforth known as "The Shadow".   The Valcoran family ascended above the other families in power, much to the chagrin of the Calareon family and the sting of losing two dragons has not yet subsided.  

The Loss of Mhysa Faer

  Mhysa Faer was the northernmost outpost of the Valcoran family. It was a jewel of a city with pink stone walls and lush gardens. In their hubris the Valcorans chose to not have a permanent dragonlord Archon rule the city despite protestations and pleas from the Vibius Family. They thought themselves untouchable so left the city in the charge of their clients in this venture, a noble from the Vibius family to oversee and run the city whilst still taking their lion's share of the profits. What they did not count on was the proximity of the city to the Dothraki and the threat that they would pose. In 4837 AD that came to a cataclysmic pinnacle when a khalasar destroyed the city. The fighting was hard and without the support of a dragon the city was burned to the ground and the Vibius family loss far more than just rank and file men. Those not taken captive were put to the sword. Including their mage but first he managed to send a message to the Inaugrion. Taeron was summoned by the Arch Mage and informed of this destruction. In a rage he took to the air with five dragons. His wives and brothers flew with him. The khalasar were not difficult to find and the contingent of riders and their dragons destroyed the enemy to the last warrior. The Dothraki sea was set ablaze, plumes rising above the horizon that could be seen for hundreds of miles.   Three things came of this devastation, one was that there would always leave a dragon in cities of great importance to the Valcoran Family, two that the Dothraki never again came near a Valyrian city. Lastly there was a schism between the Valcoran and Vibius families. The two most powerful families in their rank in what could be called a blood feud.  

Present Day

Valyria is presently led by the Council of Freemen and three Archons. This council has an unwritten heirarchy where the forty rival Dragonlords sit at the highest echellons and are continually vying for power. Every family who holds land either in Valyria or in broader Essos, has a voice in the Council and in the decisions made there. The Council elects Archons for temporary leadership. These three Archons are placed by votes from all of the council. The Arch Mage has no place within the archons but his guidance and consultations are regularly sought. His position holds great sway over the council as a whole.   The Valyrians are more than dragonlords. They practice blood magic and other dark arts, delving deep into the earth for secrets and twisting the flesh of beasts and men to fashion monstrous and unnatural chimeras. They are soldiers, sailors and merchants. Some of the wealthiest families in Valyria are merchant families. Though all families aspire to have dragons to ride.   Seeking slaves for their Valyrian mines, seeking knowledge of all things archane and magical, believing in their superiority over all others, they are driven to conquor and establish colonies, to exploit and to subdue in their desire for more land, wealth and power.   Will this desire ever be sated?

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