One of the first sources of inspiration for Hrulvir was an image of a three-headed raven. I decided that the three-headed raven is an appropriate standard for a grim, damp, city. I am not sure what the three heads symbolize, but the number three is arguably the most psychically-charged number in human culture, so it makes sense that Hrulvir would adopt a three-headed symbol.
I think the three heads represent the three branches of power in Hrulvir: the vozhd, the church, and the byzantine council of petty nobility and ambitious commerce. It is worth mentioning that the world of Hrulvir is analogous to the Middle Age society. It is certainly not a society flowering with courtly love or shining armor, but it is less brutal than The Dark Ages.
It is a mean, fractious world of city states, disease, and superstition. Hrulvir is probably larger and more populous than any city of that historical period, which is fine, because I am not interested in historical accuracy. Since I used Moorcock's Young Kingdoms as a palimpsest, some of that setting's flavor has seeped into my conception of this world. There is also a generous helping of Sanctuary, as well as The City of the Black Toga and Gormenghast.
With all this in mind, I need to remind myself that, while all these details are great, the true story and character of the city will emerge through play, which means that my players will have far more to say about the character of Hrulvir and its surroundings than I ever will.