A Reign of Toads
Myr is one of the Free Cities. It is known for its lace and its green nectar. Myr sits on the eastern shore of the Sea of Myrth, along the western coast of Essos. Its strategic position in the Bay of Myrth made it a natural trading partner for the peoples of the Stepstones, Stormlands, Disputed Lands and Dorne. Like its sister cities, Lys and Tyrosh, Myr is and has always been a land of trade where merchants are kings and coin kills more men than swords. Also, like its sister cities, it has, at various times, ruled large swaths of the Disputed Lands and stepstones making it all but impossible to tell apart the Myrish versus Tyroshi versus Lysene influence in any of the small towns and polities that make up those places.
Though Myrmen trace their history to a forgotten enclave of Rhoynish peoples who made their home on the Bay of Myrth, evidence is not on their side. Though there are some suggestions that an ancient settlement did exist where Myr now stands, it is unlikely that Rhoynish peoples ever lived that far west and, though the olive skin and dark eyes of the Rhoynar are common among the Myrmen, they are also common amongst the Tyroshi, Volantene and Pentoshi, none of which have any connection to the Rhoynish cultures.
The traceable histories of Myr begin with a group of Valyrian merchant adventurers who happened upon a walled Andal town and slaughtered or enslaved its residents.
After the Doom a Volantene army took Myr and a Volantene fleet took Lys, and for two generations all three cities were ruled from within the Black Walls. That ended when the tigers tried to swallow Tyrosh. Pentos came into the war on the Tyroshi side, along with the Westerosi Storm King. Aegon Targaryen flew forth from Dragonstone on Balerion the Black Dread, and Myr and Lys rose up in rebellion. Myr joined forces with Tyrosh and Lys and defeated Volantis in the Battle of the Borderland.
Roughly a century later, along with Lys and Tyrosh, Myr formed the Kingdom of the Three Daughters. Craghas Drahar was a Myrish prince-admiral who led the conquest of much of the Stepstones, earning the name Craghas Crabfeeder. After pacifying the pirates there, Craghas and his compatriots demanded tolls for safe passage, eventually leading to his death in battle against Prince Daemon Targaryen. The Three Daughters broke apart around 130 AC, brought down by internal conflict following the murder of a Lyseni admiral by a rival for the affections of the Black Swan, a famed courtesan, and, later, an alliance of Braavos, Pentos, and Lorath.
Myr is built on the West-facing coast of the Sea of Myrth, a large, gentle harbor that has given the city massive room to expand its navy. The city proper is smaller than either Pentos, Braavos, or Volantis, though it feels much larger due to the great villas and holdfasts of the trade cartels which dot the outskirts of town, almost cities in themselves, with villages, market squares and palaces. In fact, though it is relatively easy to walk from one end of Myr to the other, one can ride for two days straight and still not be clear of the estates of the nobility and there are those who claim, almost truthfully, that one cannot find an uninhabited stretch of the sea of Myrth from one end to the other.
Myr proper is organized into five major districts: the Markets, the Old Town (the seat of the magisterium as well as the townhouses of the wealthy), the shipping district, the Slave District, and the Artisans district. The Markets of Myr are a labyrinth of winding passages and endless stalls hawking their wares, where as the stately avenues of Old Town, though still crowded, are almost peaceful by comparison. It is in the Artisans district, however, where the true glories of Myr lie. Great foundries, mills, museums, and shops glitter from the influx of money and display the wonders of the city from every shelf and wall. The great Observatory sits in the center of this district, its far-eye being the largest in the world and capable, so they say, of espying Tyrosh on a clear day. The slave district does indeed contain the slave pens and poorer markets of the city, along with much of its least reputable housing, but it is also dominated by the great Red Temple, the largest in the Free Cities, where the Priests of R’hllor tend their nightfires and sing their hymns. The shipping district, in addition to the docks and warehouses that are the engine of Myrish trade, are full to bursting with brothels, flop-houses, septs, temples and other amenities for foreign sailors. Though it cannot compete with Braavos for the sheer number of houses of worship, Myr’s shipping district is a polyglot warren where half a hundred tongues may be spoke on any given day.
Whereas Lys is founded on heritage and Tyrosh on bravado, Myr has ever been the city of craftsmen. Myr is probably better known for the materials and products that bear its name than for any of its history. All but the most backwards people of Westeros and Essos readily recall Myrish lace, carpets, spices, and lenses.
Like the other Quarrelsome Daughters, Myrish law is conducive to trade, allowing magisters and merchants to become fat off of the work of their slaves and servants, unlike them, however, slaves can rise high in Myrish regard and especially artisan slaves are given far more comfortable lives than the bed-slaves of Lys or the galley-slaves of Tyrosh. Indeed, though slaves outnumber freemen three to one in Myr, many of the great Magisterial Cartels like to boast that their founders were particularly talented slaves who bought their freedom after making trade-kings of their former masters.
Myr is run by a magisterium like Pentos and Lys, though its magisterial titles are only partly hereditary. Instead of venerating lineage, the Myrmen elect their magisters from the great Trade Cartels, which may be made up primarily of a single family, but also include business partners, guard captins, fleet admirals, and head craftsmen. This results in the names of said Cartels usually being referred to by the name of the estate where the family lives, rather than the name of the current scion. A Trade Cartel will be given one seat on the Magisterial Council alongside a smattering of petty nobility, and people of influence whose seats are grandfathered in from the days of the Freehold. The current council has seventy three seats, over half of which are held by trade cartels.
The Great Trade Cartels
Archon’s Palace- confusingly not the seat of an Archon, but named for a house of Tyroshi blood that was constructed during a brief period when the Archon of the city ruled Myr. It is known for manufacturing ships and has the largest armada of any of the Great Houses. Its scion, sometimes called the Archon, is currently Cradrayo Miralyano whose coalition currently enjoys the majority in the Myrish Magisterium.
Hunter’s Throne- a powerful cartel that is almost entirely owned and operated by the Valquo family, Hunter’s Throne is known, primarily, for establishing trading posts around the world. As a result they are also heavily involved in the slave-trade, and the procurement of rarities such as great beasts or strange artifacts. Its magister is Turrato Valquo, sometimes called “The Argent Prince” for his commitment to bringing back the glory days of the cartel after they lost their majority in the magisterium a century ago.
The Court of Eyes-Though they by no means have a monopoly on such, the Court of Eyes is the largest manufacturer and trader of Myrish lenses. Their lenses are known to be the smoothest ground and the best fitted. Their magister is Adaro Skrathys, the descendant of a Mereenese artisan slave who supposedly invented their secret lens-grinding technique.
The Great Pavilion- A Myrmen cartel that dates back to the original founding by Valyrian merchants, the Great Pavilion sells textile goods such as Myrish lace, tapestries and carpets. They are the major coalition partner of the Archon’s Palace and their magister is Jaeron Veleris