A Song of Ice and Fire: Blood and Stone
Sigil: Per chevron sable and vert, a lightning bolt argent.
Words: Let the Heavens Reign.
Current Lord: Lady Isobel Marsten
Region: The Mountains of the Moon
Heir: Lady Corrine Marsten
Overlord: House Arryn of the Vale
The blood of the Andals runs deep in the Vale of Arryn. The Seven live here as nowhere else in Westeros, kept ever in the minds and hearts of the Vale’s inhabitants. The Andals, the wild race that wrested the lands from the First Men, have their roots here in the Vale and in House Marsten. Of the Houses still in existence, only House Arryn has a more venerable Andal lineage, tracing back to the Kings of Mountain and Vale.
Eventually, however, Andal rule came to an end. Had House Marsten been pledged to another family, it might have meant their end. Following Aegon’s Landing, House Marsten stood with its king until the Arryns were forced to bend the knee. Even then they bowed only when their lord bade them do so. After accepting Targaryen rule, however, they stood always in House Arryn’s shadow, serving loyally for many centuries. During the Dance of the Dragons, the house distinguished itself again by working with Aegon II to wipe out the Targaryen branch in the Vale that supported Rhaenyra, a move which gained House Marsten the current seat of Hartshorn, once a Targaryen castle, along with that family’s former lands.
Most recently, House Marsten rode with Lord Jon Arryn against Prince Rhaegar and King Aerys during Robert’s Rebellion, fighting alongside the Arryn banner to overthrow Targaryen rule once and for all. Unfortunately, the most recent lord of House Marsten, Lord Corben, lost his two oldest sons and heirs in battle. This seemed the beginning of a decline for the house, as ill-fortune has dogged its heels ever since, culminating in Lord Corben’s sudden death three years later from a plague that also claimed his remaining son, young Willem, who was only five years old. He left behind his widow, Lady Isobel, and his young daughter Corrine. Lord Corben’s brother, Mikael, vanished after Robert’s Rebellion, leaving his only daughter, Gwyneth, in the care of his brother. He is presumed dead, but there are rumors that he supported the Targaryens and left Westeros rather than live under Baratheon rule
Since Lord Corben’s death, Lady Isobel Marsten has ruled the house with a firm but light hand. Although many suitors have approached her since her husband’s death, she has refused them all. As Lady Corrine is now becoming of age, however, interest in House Marsten has revived, and the western foothills are under continual siege by lords and knights young and old who see the Marsten lands, name, and bride as a potential windfall waiting for the right man to take hold of it. Lady Isobel has no intention of letting her husband’s name be wiped out, however. Her ability to retain control of this valuable burden, however, has yet to be seen..
Relation to House Tallystan
House Tallystan has always been an outlier amongst the noble houses of The Vale, doggedly rejecting the Andal influence and remaining true to their ancient, first men blood. While this position has gradually slipped over the past few centuries, Tallystan still stands very much at odds with House Marsten, mostly due to a clear clash in culture. While Marstens treat their ancient lineage as a point of pride, Tallystans shrink away from their dark past.
However, in light of recent events involving members of House Tallystan saving Lady Marsten’s life, relations between the houses have strengthened significantly, cementing into a genuine alliance. This has greatly increased the political sway of both houses, allowing them to stand amongst the most influential houses of The Vale.