The square brick towers of Pentos were black silhouettes outlined against the setting sun. Dany could hear the singing of the red priests as they lit their night-fires, and the shouts of ragged children playing games beyond the walls of the estate.
— A Game of Thrones
Pentos, a coastal city of the East, is one of nine independent city-states collectively called The Free Cities. Pentos conducts brisk trade across the Narrow Sea with Westeros, while paying tribute to the Dothraki horse-lords to avoid domination. Pentos is situated near the middle of the Eastern coastline, almost directly across the Narrow Sea from King’s Landing, and far south of the sea port of Braavos.
Spreading along the shores of its bay, the city’s walls are legendary. They feature great square towers made of fused stone, relics of Valyria. These walls help to dissuade any Dothraki khalasar hungry for the plunder Pentos offers, but the Pentoshi put more faith on the rich “gifts” that they and other Free Cities give to passing khals.
Within the walls can be found bustling inhabitants, living their lives amidst the manses and brick towers of the city’s elite: the Prince of Pentos, his kin, and the wealthy magisters who provide him council. Homes and other buildings are clustered along the shore of the bay. Outside of the city walls, farmers are forced to work the estates of the magisters in the Flatlands, where the only towns are ruins left by passing Dothraki khalasars.
Unlike most of the other Free Cities, Pentos does not keep slaves — at least not officially. This was forced on the city due to a treaty with Braavos, agreed to 100 years before. Despite this, the Pentoshi pay only lip service to the terms of the treaty, keeping bronze-collared “servants” instead of slaves. Pentos largely keeps itself out of the endless wars involving the more southern Free Cities, such as those over the Disputed Lands.