Greetings! I am fascinated by the Tevinter Imperium, this is my take on Minrathous, taking advantage of the fact that little information is known about the city, I wrote this small text as an introduction to one of the most important cities in Thedas.
MINRATHOUS, THE HEART OF TEVINTER IMPERIUM
The Capital of Tevinter Imperium is securely nestled at the edge of Alrows Bay. Some of the first things that anyone sees upon approaching the city are the Black Spires, the ancient towers of the power hungry Magisters that once ruled Thedas. The Black Spires are basalt towers whose beautiful architecture contains all the hubris, and genius, that characterized Ancient Tevinter.
Countless caravans of slaves, led by the cruel slave masters, form the ever expanding chain that connects Minrathous to Thedas. Slaves are the pillars upon which the ambition of the Magisters is based. Those that do not have the reserves to carry on their journey are crucified at the side of the roads that lead to the fabled city. The mere presence of the rotten crucified corpses is usually enough to break the strongest of mortals, and dissuade them from either trying to escape or falling from fatigue...
Two colossal, ornate, golden statues, the Juggernauts, guard the one and only Grand Gate that leads inside the fabled city. The only alternative is climbing the 500-yards-high Cliff of the Seer. The Cliff of the Seer is a foreboding cliff that requires climbing almost vertical walls that have been magically enhanced to withstand the hardiest of punishment, as the fleet of the Qunari learned when the tried to bombard Minrathous in order to sink it to the ocean.
The city itself is divided in two circles, the Commons and the Spires, these two districts contain hundreds of lesser districts within themselves and most slaves, denizens, of the Commons never set foot inside the Spires. Amidst the slums of the Commons are born, live and die millions of slaves from all around Thedas, the force that maintains the peace in the Commons are the Red Blades, a mercenary company whose task is to provide support for the Slave Masters that enter Minrathous and their caravans. Crimes are punished in a cruel and fast way in the Commons, public executions are common and are used in order to not allow the slaves from making high thoughts of rebellion. Children that are born in the city, learn a specialized version of the Trade Language, certain words such as freedom, revolt and rights have been banned from this customized language, the wisdom of the Magisters was such that they understood this, thought is the seed of all action, the ability to express feelings and thoughts into words works sideways however, if a person does not know the context of the world freedom, the meaning behind it, he is much less likely to actually think of it and revolt. Slaves that are chosen to serve inside the Black Spires are usually chosen from a young age and are set apart from the rest of the slaves, usually the most beautiful and talented slaves are chosen for that role, then they enter a specialized program that will teach them all they have to know about how to best serve the Magisters. The rest of the slaves spend their days in public construction works, as well as in the holds and mines of the masters of the city, goods that are exported from Minrathous are created by slaves specialized in specific arts, such as ceramics or masonry.
A blood-soaked arena, called the Blood Ground, is a ground for experiments of a different sort. Here slaves are put up against the various modified creations of the Magisters in order to test their might before sending them north to join the war against the Qunari. Slaves that actually manage to win a series of matches are given the rank of captain and then removed from the Commons, although this has only happened two times since the days of ancient Tevinter. When a match between a blood-grafted abomination and a slave, or group of slaves, takes place the Blood Ground is filled with thousands of spectators. Food is thrown to the masses in these occasions, food and blood are usually enough to keep the slaves happy and oblivious to their actual condition and future…
The Underground Canals
Beneath the Commons, the Canals of Minrathous expand to encompass the entire city, they are maddening ancient tunnels which connect to the ocean, and make sure that the Spires have abundant water. Something known, but not spoken of, is that many apprentice mages, that seek to gain an edge on who gets the favor of a Magister, use the Canals for private experiments, usually on slaves from the Commons. With the rise of the Imperial Chantry, temples to the Old Gods were either destroyed or converted to the new dominant religion, however the most devout, or fanatic, followers of the Old Gods continue to worship their slumbering gods inside the Canals, under the city, away from the inquisitive eyes of the Imperial Templars.
The Black Spires
The greatest wonder of architecture of the ancient Tevinter, the Spires, are a breathtaking sight. The 200-yard-high basalt towers, decorated with ornate statues and symbols were once the heart of all of Thedas. No Red Blades are allowed to set foot in the Spires, instead the Templars of the Imperial Chantry guard the black heart of the Imperium. It is believed that over 100 towers make up the Black Spires, each one owned by a bloodline of Magisters. It is said that the occult symbols that decorate the Spires, and some claim the whole layout of Minrathous, serve more than just artistic purposes, the Spires are constructed in such a way as to allow more freely and easily the flow of magical energy, during the time of the Grand Ritual the Spires ran red with the blood of slaves, lifeblood connecting all the Towers, the Gate that shook Thedas to the core and led to the Second Sin was opened right in the heart of the Spires. The Argent Spire is the seat of the Divine of the Imperial Chantry, and the center of the faith. The Thalsian Spire is the seat of the Archon and the highest tower of the city, it rests north of the Halls of the Senate. It is said that there is a Hidden Spire, one that rests outside the city but also within, ancient magic hides that Spire from the eyes of those that do not know where to look, this nameless Spire is the seat of power for the faction called the Black Hand, an assassins guild that sells its agents to the Magisters first and to the rest of Thedas second.