The Thirteenth Throne
RACES IN KORVOSA
Look at any cross-section of the city’s population and you will f ind that for every 10 inhabitants you see, 9 are human. Humans dominate the city in every way, and comprise an overwhelming majority of the population. Yet humans are not the only denizens of Korvosa, as any visitor soon comes to learn.
Most every human ethnic group can be found in Korvosa, but the two most populous groups by far are Ryn and Khards. One are native, the other only claim to be native.
Llael has been labeled “a nation of a million-and-one princes.” If this is true, every Ryn must think himself a noble. Many Immorese folk display their hard labors on their faces; dark and worn, weathered and scarred. This is not the case in Llael, where the Rynnish majority tends to be pleasing to the eye, if not the ears, with their honeyed voices and debonair mannerisms.
Though often labeled as flippant cavaliers, foppish counts, or shameful charlatans by the dirty-nailed, soot-shoveling sods found in city commons, courtly matters are of great importance in Llael, and a man or woman’s measure is often taken based on appearance and manners. Ryn folk are witty, arrogant, charming, conceited, flirtatious, beguiling, and devil-may-care— sometimes altogether, but rarely all at once. A cunning Ryn might invite one to dinner, order the finest meals, try the newest Rhulic imports, and manage to somehow get his guest to pay for the entire engagement.
Not to say that every Ryn is a rogue; some of them serve lords and ladies throughout the kingdoms as courtiers and valets—especially those who are not particularly highborn, as they often possess an inherent gift for eloquence. In truth, most information gatherers and spies are uncovered as Ryn, using their natural skills to get into places a grim Khadoran or staunch Sul-Menite would find unattainable. These types always come at a price, and true to form, it is not unheard of for a Ryn spy to be working for opposing institutions at the same time. It’s no small wonder that the words
“lie,” “riddle,” and “game” are all the same in Llaelese. To some Ryn, all of life is but a game, and what matters most is how well one plays.
They are, in some ways, the polar opposite of the Khards of Khador. The Khardic men and women of Khador are large in stature and long in memory. It is said that—often by the Khards themselves—the bloodlines of giants run in their veins. This may well be true. Indeed, theirs is a harsh land where only the strong survive. Giants or no, the blood of the Khardic horselords of the old empire runs through them. They have a nigh mystic regard for their riding animals, and Khardic horsemen are frightening opponents.
While older values tend to outweigh newer ideals, the Khards are not against employing new skills and industries for the Motherland. They prefer a sturdy axe to a sword, and a bow to a rifle, but this isn’t to say that a heavy pistol wouldn’t be put to use if one made its way into a Khard’s possession.
Proud, pugnacious, and patriotic, these folk are easy to incite to action for their country, and they are numerous, especially in the north where a man must provide his own workforce to till the land and guard the homestead. This fierce pride and unbending tenacity, combined with a healthy dose of their infamous rage, make Khards consummate warriors.
Korvosa is a melting pot of the two cultures, and many more as well. The native Ryn folk frequently clash with the Khardic immigrants; ever since Khador conquered the city, it has seen a steady influx of immigrants from across the Empire as well as other nations. Occasionally, the local aristocracy will make moves against the newcomers, enacting ordnances designed to inconvenience rather than harm. Quasilegal evictions are often the response; the majority of the soldiers are Khadoran army through and through, and will make responses to such interference violent and quick.
Because of their contracts with the city and the noble houses, dwarven merchants from Jaldunhoff always have buyers lined up for their wares. Once their contracted buyers choose the wares they want, the dwarves sell the rest in Gold Market (in Midland). The remainder of their goods, particularly mechanika weapons and armor, they sell in the Dock Trade (in North Point). Dwarven brokers exist
in all of the city’s major markets, and dwarves in general are often held to be the most reputable and honorable of the city’s merchants and tradesmen.
Rarer than spellcasters in Korvosa, most of the elven citizens of the city originally hail from elven trading enclaves rather than Ios. The leader among these elves, Peryshyal Kalyssreavyl, serves as the Iosan ambassador. He and a handful of his aides and family members have lived peacefullywithin the city for as long as the city has existed. Meanwhile, a small enclave specifically built for the Nyss refugees (as well as the few Iosans) exists in South Shore, where they often serve as scholars, sages, and advisors for those who would seek magical or natural advice.
These small folks possess magic abilities far exceeding their size. This natural inclination toward mechanika and steam-powered technology attracts the attention of the power-hungry and reputation-minded Acadamae. As such, most of the gobbers in Korvosa have plans to attend this magical school, or are dropouts who found the methods taught there distasteful. Outside of the Acadamae, gobbers live as gobbers do, clumsily attempting to emulate the larger races and acting as menaces not to be ignored.
Despite their proximity to Korvosa and the area’s importance to their folklore, a surprisingly small number of trollkin live in the city. Part of this owes to the constant wars between the trollkin and the ethnic Khards that continue even to this day and that color the perceptions and prejudices of both peoples. Another reason comes from Trollkin cultural tradition: as a semi-nomadic people, they have little interest in permanent settlements.