Lys is one of the nine Free Cities, located in the uttermost south-west. It is not on the mainland, but on an island or several neighboring islets in the Narrow Sea, south of the Stepstones. It is one of the smallest among Free Cities, but it is still very large and crowded and life here is luxurious.
Lys is famous for its exquisite cuisine, expensive incense, and affordable prostitutes – there are many “houses of pillows” and astonishing gardens, for which people come in Lys from very far. Love in Lys is considered art, and it is appreciated by skilled concubines who know the cause, such as Doreah. Lys is infamous for its poisoners and alchemists – it is here that such sinister poisons as the Strangler and Tears of Lys are made. Lys poisoners use hollow rings to discreetly add poison to wine. Red and white wine are made in Lys. An oval coin is minted here depicting a naked woman. Lys has the best climate in the world and was originally intended as a resting place for Valyrians.
After the Doom of Valyria, Lys was occupied by Volantis, but thanks to the uprising and military assistance from Braavos was able to regain its independence. During the Dance of the Dragons, Lys, together with Myr and Tyrosh, composed the Kingdom of the Three Daughters, or Triarchy. This confederation existed for a little over thirty years and collapsed as a result of the civil war. Modern Lys, despite its island position, claims the Disputed Lands and often fights for them with neighbors – Myr and Tyrosh. The city is governed by a council of masters elected from among the most wealthy and respected residents. The city is an important port and center of commerce.
Unlike the Northern Free Cities, slavery is allowed in Lys, and here slaves are willing to be bought from the Slaver’s Bay, in particular from Yunkai, the local Wise Men specialize in the cultivation of concubines trained in the “seven sighs path”, including for sale in Lys. Euron Greyjoy intended to sell prisoners from the Shield Islands into slavery in Lys or Volantis. Pirates from Lys often rob ships in the Narrow Sea.
There are very beautiful people in Lys, with fair skin, almost white “linen” hair, and blue eyes. There are many people with a Valyrian appearance, the same as the Targaryens or the inhabitants of Old Volantis. Travelers say that half of the Lys’ prostitutes have the same hair as the Valyrians. The people from Lys are found among sailors, mercenaries, and slaves at all ends of the world: for example, Asha Greyjoy of the Iron Islands lost her virginity to a Lys sailor, but the Lys were among the Unsullied in Astapor and fighting slaves in Meereen. People in Lys love bright colors and dress magnificently if they can afford it. Ships from Lys are easily recognized by the hulls painted in colored stripes: “black with yellow, pink with blue, green with white, purple with gold”. In Lys they speak their dialect of the Valyrian language, incomprehensible to foreigners.
In Lys there is a large temple of R’hllor, where, according to Salladhor Saan, “people always burn something to the deity.” In addition to the faith of the red priests, several local goddesses are worshipped here, and it was mentioned that the people from Lys revere the unnamed goddess of love, which, in particular, was worshipped by Ellaria Sand, and in the Black-White House in Braavos stands a statue and altar of the goddess of death, the Weeping Lady of Lys, especially popular among the elderly. Another statue of the Weeping Lady of Lys with silver tears on her cheeks is on the Braavos Island of the Gods.
Characters from Lys
In the service of Stannis Baratheon, there is a rich Fox pirate Salladhor Saan, commander of a large hired fleet. Khorane Sathmantes is one of his captains. Doreah, the maid to Illyrio Mopatis, was presented to Daenerys Targaryen for her wedding and served as her mentor in the art of love. Serra, the wife of Illyrio Mopatis and possibly the mother of the Young Griff, was taken from the Lys’ “house of pillows.” Lysono Maar serves as a master of the whisperers in the Golden Company. Admiral Sharako Lohar commanded the Triarchy fleet during the Battle in the Gullet.
Varys was born as a slave in Lys. Daenerys Targaryen lived in Lys for a while with her brother Vyseris, and the city made a big impression on her – she remembered it along with Pentos, Braavos, and Qarth as one of the largest and richest cities in the world, much larger than Astapor. Jorah Mormont and Lynesse Hightower, after fleeing Bear Island, went to Lys, where Sir Jorah served as a mercenary and fought on the side of Lys against Braavos, and Lyness abandoned him and went to the local merchant’s petty officer, Tregar Ormollen. Osmund Kettleblack fought for Lys – and against Lys, too – on the Disputed Lands. Originally from Lys was the wife of King Viserys II – Larra Rogare, her father Lysandro was a wealthy banker, and Drazenko’s uncle Prince-Consort of Dorn.