The King is Dead
So passes Eodred II, second of his honorable name, and with his last gasp the Crimson Throne becomes the seat of Queen Ileosa, his lady wife. Yet many would see it otherwise. Korvosa is a fickle mount, and bucks even the canniest and most ruthless from its seat of power.
Eodred II’s sudden death took the aristocracy by surprise—his health had been declining (due to the secret regimen of poison in his diet), but the sudden turn catches most of the castle off guard. Rumors quickly spread on the street—that he suffered from some disease beyond even the priesthoods of Sarenrae and Abadar’s skill to cure, and that even Asmodeus’s disciples were summoned from their pentacle temple in the deep of night to try their dark hand at restoring the king. With the king’s death, Queen Ileosa ascends the Crimson Throne, much to the displeasure of most Korvosans, who view her as a petulant gold-digger at best. Worse, the castle seneschal has vanished, supposedly slain in one of the initial riots that broke out at the base of Castle Korvosa when the grim news of Eodred’s death was proclaimed.
Desperate citizens, salty dock workers, soot-covered smiths, and all manner of tradesmen, already stifled by Eodred’s spendthrift reign, roar at the thought of Ileosa taking the throne. Dock workers abandon the seafront wards and caravan men lee Northgate. Frustrated merchant ships and wagon convoys turn around when they find no one to offload their goods, much less buy them. Food and other staples trickle into the city, while thousands vie for the last sack of flour or bundle of cook-fire timber in the market. Riots erupt throughout the streets. Entire wards plunge into chaos. Those who do not rove the streets with cudgel and torch in hand instead lock their doors against the gathering mob. The Bank of Abadar closes its gilded gates and a contingent of the Coin’s Faithful stands at the ready with halberd and crossbow to repel would-be looters.
The Acadamae closes its doors as well, shutting its students and professors within its walls and closing them to the rest of the city until order can be restored. In the space of a dozen hours, all of Korvosa’s oppression and anger explodes into chaos. The city lies perched on the
edge of anarchy.
Ill-equipped for this level of civil calamity, the military arm of Korvosa falters, and even the griffon-mounted marines of the Sable Company are pushed far past their limits. The Korvosan Guard does the best it can to quell the riots, yet its members are cut off from each other and forced to operate on their own. Several junior officers, thrust into the harrowing responsibility of command, break under the pressure and abandon their posts, or worse, become part of the problem by attempting to institute martial law. In a desperate attempt to regain control, Queen Ileosa invites the Order of the Nail into the city, paying the Hellknights in royal gold for their mercenary services. Yet the Hellknights are a greatsword brandished in a tavern brawl, and their brutal crackdowns restore order only by drowning chaos in blood, to say nothing of the fact that they bow to their own code and ignore the queen’s commands whenever they interpret the law to be at odds.
Korvosa is in desperate need of heroes to bring order—if someone doesn’t step in soon, the city might very well tear itself apart.