[GoT] Theme – Bravoos

[GoT] Theme – Bravoos


TYCHO: Most cities are built on stone. Braavos was built on ships. Or, more specifically, their cargo. Slaves who rose up
against their Valyrian captors and seized the helms of the convoy. Of all crimes, Valyria punished rebellion
most severely. The slaves faced not execution, but the Valyrian mines or labor camps
in the most remote and savage colonies if recaptured. And few corners of the world
can long remain hidden from dragonback. However, our histories claim
that a group of slave women prophesied the slaves would find shelter
in a distant lagoon, behind a wall of pine-clad hills
and sea stones, where the frequent fogs
would help hide the refugees from the eyes of dragon riders
passing overhead. And so it proved. Because they had risked their lives
in the name of freedom, the mothers and fathers of the new city vowed
that no man, woman or child in Braavos should ever be a slave. This is the first law of Braavos, engraved in stone on the arch
that spans the long canal. For over a hundred years,
Braavos hid itself from the eyes of the world, who called it the Secret City. Using a dye derived from a local snail, our captains stained their sails purple
to hide their stolen Valyrian ships. Our merchants carried false charts and lied
when questioned about their home port. Eventually, one sealord, our elected ruler,
decided enough time had passed, and initiated the unmasking of Braavos
to the world and to Valyria. Of course, it helped that the Iron Bank
made handsome restitution to the dragonlords for the stolen ships, whilst, of course, refusing to pay
for the value of the slaves themselves. The anniversary of the unmasking
is celebrated every year in Braavos with 10 days of feasting and masked revelry, a festival like none other in the known world, culminating at midnight on the 10th day,
when the Titan roars and tens of thousands of celebrants
remove their masks as one. Freed of the constraints of secrecy, Braavos quickly grew into the wealthiest
and most powerful of the free cities, and, one could argue, the most beautiful. From the sprawling Sealord’s Palace
with its menagerie of strange beasts and birds to the imposing Palace of Justice and the aqueduct we call the sweetwater river that bears fresh water from the mainland, Braavos is without rival in either engineering or elegance. The temples of Braavos are also famed
throughout the world and wondrous to behold. Descended from a hundred different peoples, the Braavosi honor
a hundred different gods. The Temple of the Moonsingers
is the foremost of these, being the faith of the slave women
whose prophecies lead our ancestors here. The Lord of Light has a great temple, as well, for his worshippers have grown
ever more numerous in the past hundred years. Yet, less numerous and even some forgotten faiths
still have temples deep in the heart of the city on the Isle of the Gods. But the beauty of Braavos
is not only in her buildings. Braavosi swordsmanship is renowned
throughout the world. Our bravos eschew the armor
and longswords of the Westerosi knights, preferring speed, agility, and slender blades. The greatest bravos call themselves
water dancers after the custom of dueling upon
the moon pool near the Sealord’s Palace. By tradition, the greatest of all the bravos
is the First Sword, who commands the personal guard
of the sealord and protects his person at all public events. Once chosen, sealords serve for life. Inevitably, there are always those
who wish to cut that life short to effect some change in policy. Though not even the First Swords
are the true guardians of Braavos. That honor goes to the Titan,
who protects the entrance to the harbor. With his proud head and fiery eyes
looming close to 400 feet above the sea, the Titan is a fortress of a kind
never seen before or since. His eyes are huge beacon fires lighting the way for returning ships
into the lagoon. Within his bronze body are halls
and chambers, murder holes and arrow slits. Enemy ships can be steered onto the rocks
by the watchmen inside the Titan. And stones and pots of burning pitch
can be dropped onto the decks of any that attempt to pass between
the Titan’s legs without leave. This has seldom been necessary, however. Not since the century of blood has any enemy been so rash as to attempt
to provoke the Titan’s wrath. Should an enemy break through
into the lagoon, however, he would face the walls of Braavos. Again, not of stone, like other cities,
but of ships. The arsenal of Braavos can build
one of our famous purple-hulled war galleys in a single day. All the vessels are constructed
following the same design, so that all the many parts can be prepared
in advance, and skilled ship builders work upon different
sections of the vessels simultaneously to hasten the labor. To organize such a feat of engineering
is unprecedented. One need only to look at the raucous,
confused construction in the shipyards
around the world to see the truth of this. Let us imagine that even the arsenal,
great as it is, failed us. An enemy who could defeat both the Titan
and our fleets would be strong indeed. But Braavos does not depend
only on statues and ships. We also have iron and gold.

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