The city of Korvosa began 300 years ago, in 4407 ar, when the Empire of Cheliax expanded north into Varisia. Here, the Chelaxians found a large tribe of Shoanti barbarians dwelling around an immense pyramid on the shores of a deep bay—a perfect site for a city. Much bloodshed eventually left the Shoanti defeated, driven back to the harsh Cinderlands, and the city that grew on the site was named after the field marshal who led his army to victory there.
Today, Korvosa’s reigning King Eodred Arabasti II is feared by all the right people. His rule is steady, even if his insatiate appetites drain the city’s coffers. His ability to navigate the rocks and shoals of Chelish diplomacy earned the city favorable trade agreements with the Old Empire, but rumors persisted of the king’s womanizing habits and his spendthrift ways. Despite his fondness for a soft touch, he has to date produced no heir to the throne, the latest in a line of rulers affected by the Curse of the Crimson Throne. Edicts proclaim Eodred II the Saffron King, likening his reign to one of abundance, in which honey and spice flood the markets. The city’s downtrodden have another name for Eodred, though—the Stirge King, a man whose squandering ways are slowly bleeding his city dry.
Whispers of Eodred II’s taste for scandalously young companionship have dogged the king throughout his rule, and thus when he finally wed, it was no surprise that his bride was barely a third of his age. Queen Ileosa was a woman of breathtaking beauty, with red hair like the sunset, chaste alabaster skin, and features so fetching many claimed her mother must have been a nymph queen, as surely no mortal woman could give birth to a beauty such as she. Most of Korvosa’s nobles worry of the dangers of placing a trophy wife within hands’ reach of the Crimson Throne, but Ileosa’s interest in the city seemed secondary to the life of luxury—and with the more-than-competent Seneschal Neolandus Kalepopolis guarding Castle Korvosa’s interests, these noble families feel they have little to worry about.
The two were wed after a scandalously short courtship, and, perhaps the most shocking move of all, Eodred turned out his entire harem in favor of his new queen. Barely 17 years old when she took Eodred II’s side in 4704 ar, Queen Ileosa has managed a minor miracle in the past 4 years—she’s single-handedly shifted the dislike and disapproval away from King Eodred to herself with her open distaste for Korvosa (a city she’s been heard to call “a backwater colonial village” more than once).
The last several weeks, the King has become more secluded in Castle Korvosa and his lady-wife has taken more of the ruling responsibilities in the public eye. Despite the staff’s best efforts, rumors are starting to surface that the King may not be well, and that the Curse of the Crimson Throne is finally taking its toll. If the King were to die, it would surely plunge the city onto the Edge of Anarchy.