Yunkai, known also as the Yellow City (Valyrian: Qeldlie Oktion), is one of the three great Ghiscari city-states of Slaver's Bay, located southwest of Meereen and north of Astapor. Bedslaves, trained in the "Way of the Seven Sighs", are Yunkai's chief export.
When Daenerys Targaryen arrives and camps near Yunkai with the army of Unsullied she acquired in Astapor, the Wise Masters send one of their own, Razdal mo Eraz, to offer her gold and ships so that she sails to Westeros and leaves them alone in their business. Daenerys spurns the offer, but she keeps their gold. Yunkai also employs a mercenary company called the Second Sons to stand against Daenerys and her Unsullied, but one of their leaders, Daario Naharis, betrays their contract, kills his colleagues and pledges his company to Daenerys. With Daario's insider knowledge, a small party of supporters, composed of the Queen's close adviser Jorah Mormont, the Unsullied commander Grey Worm and Daario himself, enter Yunkai through a back-gate and open the front-gates for her army. With the numerical advantage on their side, Yunkai falls within hours. The city then surrenders her slaves to Daenerys, who praise her as their 'Mother'.
On a council meeting atop the Great Pyramid in Meereen, Jorah Mormont reports to Daenerys that the Wise Masters have re-enslaved every free man in Yunkai. This convinces Daenerys not to march on King's Landing and remain in Meereen to rule over Slaver's Bay and enforce her abolition of slavery. In order to accomplish this, she sends Hizdahr zo Loraq, a Great Master at her service, and the Second Sons to Yunkai in order to negotiate with the Wise Masters: if they do not comply with her demands of abandoning slavery once and for all, the mercenaries will execute them all.
Hizdahr zo Loraq and Daario Naharis return successful from their diplomatic mission: the Wise Masters will comply with Daenerys Targaryen's abolition of slavery and set up a ruling council of former slaveholders and freedman as long as she allows the fighting pits to be reopened (with free and willing combatants, of course). Daenerys refuses to tolerate this condition, despite Hizdahr and Daario's repeated appeals on the matter.
After the burning of the Meereen shipyards, Varys informs Tyrion Lannister, Grey Worm, and Missandei that slavery was reinstated in Yunkai. Later, Varys strikes a deal with the Meereenese prostitute Vala, who is secretly aligned with the Sons of the Harpy, an insurgent group that seeks to restore the old "ways" in Meereen. In return for safe passage for herself and her son to Pentos, Vara reveals that Yunkai along with Astapor and the Free City of Volantis are secretly funding the Harpies. Tyrion gets Varys' "little birds" to initiate contact with the leaders of three cities.
The three cities send a diplomatic mission to Meereen to meet with Tyrion and his advisors Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm. The Wise Masters send Razdal mo Eraz to represent their city at the talks. The slave cities offer to give Daenerys Targaryen and her entourage a large pot of money to buy ships and sail away from Slaver's Bay. When Missandei defends Dany's liberation of the slaves, Razdal responds that slavery has existed for centuries. In the end, the two parties agree to a compromise solution: that slavery be outlawed over a seven-year period and that all slave masters be compensated.
However, the slave cities decide to break their peace treaty with Meereen and send a fleet to bombard the city. This attack coincides with Daenerys Targaryen's return to Meereen on her dragon Drogon. During a parley, Razdal and the other slave masters demand that Dany and Tyrion return Missandei and the Unsullied to their masters and submit her dragons for slaughter. Dany rejects their terms and orders Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal to burn the slave cities' fleet; tilting the negotiating table back in her favor. Tyrion then demands that the three slave masters submit one of their number for execution for breaking their pact. Razdal and Belicho Paenymion try to save themselves by offering up Yezzan zo Qaggaz. However, Grey Worm kills Razdal and Belicho for their cowardice.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Yunkai is located at least 163 miles from Meereen. The island of Yaros lies just off the Yunkish coast. It is sometimes called the Yellow City, for its buildings are made from yellow bricks. The city contains large, stepped pyramids - though not as large as Meereen's - and can field an army of 5,000 at short notice, though these are mostly slave-warriors of uncertain reliability. The Meereenese do not have a high opinion of the quality of Yunkai's soldiers or generals. Yunkai is ruled by an aristocracy of slavers and merchants known as the Wise Masters.
The Yunkai had no choice but to surrender to Daenerys and accept her terms, but they have never complied with the abolition of slavery, and never given up their rule in favor of freedmen. Daenerys keeps her word and does not sack Yunkai, nor does she leave an armed force in the city to prevent the Wise Masters from stirring up troubles - a serious mistake that she regrets about later. Soon after Daenerys's host leaves to Meereen, they start to plot against her. After the Siege of Meereen ends, a messenger from Astapor informs Daenerys that new levies have been raised and can be seen drilling outside the city walls, warships are being built, envoys have been sent to New Ghis and Volantis to make alliances and hire sellswords. The Yunkai have even dispatched riders to Vaes Dothrak to bring a khalasar down upon Daenerys. Daenerys is greatly disheartened by these news, but unlike in the show she takes no action against Yunkai.
In "A Dance with Dragons" Daenerys receives more alarming news: the Yunkai'i have formed a coalition with other cities (amoong them Qarth, Volantis, Tolos, Mantarys, New Ghis and Elyria) against her, rallied troops, destroyed Astapor and are marching to Meereen. Ser Barristan advises her to send her troops against her enemies, but she knows that as long as her ruling is insecure - her domestic foes will seize the opportunity to overthrow her. Hizdahr informs her that he reached an agreement with the Wise Masters: Yunkai will give Daenerys peace, but since they suffered losses as a result of the disruption of slave trade, they demand a compensation to be paid in gold and gemstones; Yunkai will resume slaving and rebuild Astapor, and Daenerys must not interfere; Hizdahr will marry her and become the king of Meereen. Daenerys does not like those terms at all, especially the second, but sees no other choice.
Following the wedding, Daenerys is enraged to see that the Yunkai opened a slave market within sight of Meereen - undoubtedly a deliberate provocation. Hizdahr assures her it is only for short while. To celebrate the peace, the Yunkai and the leaders of their sellsword companies are invited to festivity in the Great Pyramid hall, but to ensure their safety, Daenerys gives the Yunkai seven hostages: three relatives of Hizdahr, Daario, her bloodrider Jhogo, captain Groleo and Hero the Unsullied.
Following Daenerys's departure, Hizdahr takes over Meereen. Ser Barristan watches Hizdahr, and becomes convinced that he tried to poison Daenerys, and that he collaborates with the Yunkai, since they have a common motive: to dispose of Daenerys and restore the slave trade in Meereen. Ser Barristan throws Hizdahr to jail, and then he, Grey Worm and other Daenerys's loyalists form a ruling council to oversee the Meereeneese affairs until Daenerys returns. Their most urging missions are to find Daenerys, release the hostages and deal with the Yunkai and their sellswords.
Ser Barristan then decides to attack the Yunkish forces after then Yunkai'i begin throwing diseased corpses into Meereen using their trebuchets. During the battle, the Yunkish noble Paezhar zo Myraq ("The Little Pigeon") is killed by the Lhazarene knight known as "The Red Lamb", and Gorzhak zo Eraz ("Pudding face") is cut down by the commander of the Windblown when they change sides.
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 map, Yunkai entry
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
- ↑ "Second Sons"
- ↑ "The Rains of Castamere"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "First of His Name"
- ↑ "Mockingbird"
- ↑ "The Wars to Come"
- ↑ "The Red Woman"
- ↑ "Oathbreaker"
- ↑ "Book of the Stranger"
- ↑ "No One"
- ↑ "Battle of the Bastards"
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