A Brief History of House Tallystan

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House Tallystan has its origins thousands of years ago, during the Age of Heroes. In the ancient times House Tallystan was no house, but merely a disorganised band of smallfolk living in the lands surrounding a great fortress in the Mountains of the Moon. United by no cause or creed but survival, these smallfolk made a reasonable, meagre living off of the land. That was until the Long Night began. When the freezing cold and the wandering dead came to the Mountains of the Moon, the smallfolk sought shelter. And they claimed it in the only way they knew; through bloodshed. The architects of the tremendous fort that would later be known as Hammerstone were overwhelmed in a bloody assault from the smallfolk, and in a matter of hours the vicious founders of House Tallystan had found their home.

Once the cold subsided and the terror of the Long Night had passed, the violent smallfolk, now envisioning themselves as nobles, acted as if nothing was amiss. The corpses of the castle’s architects were long burned, their blood scrubbed from the masonry. For a time the surrounding tribes thought nothing of it; they were far too focused on recovering what had been lost in the winter. House Tallystan expanded in this time of peace, claiming their surrounding lands and building a civilisation in their holdings. This period of prosperity wasn’t to last, however. No amount of scrubbing could erase all signs of the treachery in the Long Night, and soon word spread, the other houses of the region shunning the Tallystans for their butchery.

The house did not have the bear the shame of their actions for long, however. When the Andals made landfall in the Mountains of the Moon, those who had shunned House Tallystan were eradicated in short order by the Andals, reducing the tales of Tallystan’s atrocities to mere rumours. Standing strong behind the walls of Hammerstone, House Tallystan stood strong against the Andals’ bloody campaign, remaining the last bastion of the First Men outside of the North. To this day, Hammerstone maintains one of the few Weirwood Trees south of The Neck.

Eventually, when the Andals gave up any hope of conquering the Tallystans, there was a brief period of peace. However, the years of weathering the Andal assaults had led to rampant inbreeding within the walls of Hammerstone, and before long the effects of such behaviour began to rear their ugly head. When Royous Tallystan, second of his name rose to power, his madness drove the family’s name into the ground. Obsessed with a misbegotten quest for purity, Roy the Ravenous turned his sword on his own banners, destroying them in a religious fervour that quickly eradicated any respect Westeros once had for the house. Soon enough the other houses of the Vale of Arryn struck back, tearing through Tallystan’s holdings until they were nothing more than a lonely castle containing a deranged noble and his terrified underlings.

The house would likely have been snuffed out entirely, were it not for the actions of Fendrel Tallystan, younger brother to Royous. Not wanting to see his father’s house go down in flames, Fendrel took up arms against his own brother, beheading him and claiming lordship over the house. In short order Lord Fendrel bent the knee to the Arryns, hoping to avoid further bloodshed. House Tallystan was granted pardon, and the House continued to exist in a shadow of its former glory.

For centuries Tallystan remained a minor house of no significance, a mistrusted, shamed family with no allies. It was only in the age of Targaryen rule, during the Blackfyre Rebellion, that House Tallystan finally returned to glory. Still commanding a competent and well armed military, Rowan Tallystan lead his forces into the fray at The Battle of the Redgrass Field, helping to secure victory for Daeron the Good. In reward for their valiant services, King Daeron rewarded House Tallystan with riches and respect, and slowly the house began to regain their former glory, fighting battles alongside their Targaryen masters. A strong bond grew between the lords of Hammerstone and the Targaryens, and it was rare to see a major Targaryen conflict without Tallystan bannermen leading the charge.

Decades later, House Tallystan was called to fight as one of Jon Arryn’s banners, in the War of the Usurper. Many feared that Tallystan’s allegiance to the Targaryens would hold fast, but the house was quick to turn their back on the Targaryens, fighting viciously under Jon Arryn’s banner. Tallystan’s involvement in the conflict lead to many resounding victories in the rebellion, and once the dust had settled, Lord Cedric Tallystan had earned great favour with Robert Baratheron and Jon Arryn alike. The house now commanded more respect than ever before, and in short order a marriage was arranged between Cedric’s heir and a lady of House Baratheon, tying the two houses together.

In the modern day House Tallystan is a powerful, influential house, commanding some of the greatest troops in the seven kingdoms. Rumours still persist of the house’s penchant for treachery and violence, and many remain suspicious of how quickly Lord Cedric turned his back on his long-standing allegiance to the Targaryens, but there’s no denying the house’s valiant actions in securing the realm’s freedom from the Mad King.

A Song of Ice and Fire: Blood and Stone

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