World of A Song of Ice and Fire - Free Cities and Vicinity

Free Cities and Vicinity

Across the narrow sea on the western side of Essos lie the nine Free Cities, independent city-states that are mostly on islands or along the coast. They are Lys, Myr, Pentos, Braavos, Lorath, Norvos, Qohor, Volantis and Tyrosh. Although most Free Cities are named early in the first novel, the books only provide a map of this region in A Dance with Dragons. Mountains to the east separate the coast from the plains of the Dothraki Sea, though gaps in the mountain range provide the Dothraki people some access to the Free Cities. The Free Cities were colonies built by the ancient Valyrian Freehold, and later declared independence after the Doom of Valyria. An exception to this is Braavos, which was founded by refugees fleeing Valyrian expansion, escaped slaves and other rabble. The languages of the Free Cities are derivatives of High Valyrian.

The Free Cities span an area characterized by the river Rhoyne, which the local character Yandry describes as "the greatest river in the world". Its banks is the homeland of the Rhoynar, who worship the river as "Mother Rhoyne". As mapped in A Dance with Dragons, the Rhoyne originates from the conjunction of two of its tributaries, the Upper Rhoyne and the Little Rhoyne, southeast of the ruins of Ghoyan Drohe. The headwaters of the Upper Rhoyne lie in Andalos, the homeland of the Andals between Braavos and Pentos. The Rhoyne's course runs southeast to turn due south after Dagger Lake, where river pirates hide on and around the many lake islands. The Rhoyne gains in width considerably as it gets fed by more tributaries, until it opens into the Summer Sea in a delta near the Free City of Volantis.

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