The Harvest War
The Suffroch family can trace their bloodline back to the days of the Andal invasion. Landing in the Fingers of what is now the Vale of Arryn, the Andals swept across Westeros. The history of the Suffrochs is not known until they conquered the land the family still holds. With the seven pointed star carved upon their chests, Urhorn ‘The Bull’ Suffroch and his brothers and cousins cut down the First Men and children of the forest, proud to bring The Faith to the land. They fortuitously chose to build their hall and sept upon a hill where they had fought to burn a giant weirwood, the face of the local heathen gods. The hills on their lands turned out to contain gold, and bordering the forest meant good hunting even though the total lands were not overly extensive.
The family was steadily prosperous over the next few centuries and were proud to consider themselves defenders of the true faith. Once settled, the family’s coat of arms featured seven golden bulls over golden wheat on a field of red, and their words were “Peaceful Unless Provoked”.
The invasion of Aegon the Conqueror had surprisingly little effect on the family. Some warriors were lost at the Field of Fire, but the family survived and their holdings were untouched.
The family was embroiled with a scandal a generation later, however, during the rule of Aenys I. In 41 AC, Aenys arranged a marriage between his heir to his eldest daughter, an act of incest that The Faith strongly opposed. Lord Daldry Suffroch thought that if the practice was acceptable for kings and princes, why not lords as well. He planned to marry his own sister, Edith, and even changed the family words to “Charging Forward”. The militant wings of the septry, the Poor Fellows and The Warrior’s Sons were rising up against Aenys, and it was clear that Lord Daldry would have been a target soon thereafter if the wedding took place. Daldry had his family’s legendary bullheadedness and had no intention of backing down. However, the family was saved from ruin by the younger brother, Wallack. Wallack helped Edith to sneak away on the eve of the ceremony and join the faith, eventually becoming a septa. Daldry raged, but he was unable to find another marriage partner for himself and died with no choice but to make his treacherous (to his mind) brother his heir. Wallack changed the family banner to the seven pointed star in gold, with bull horns and wheat relegated to the bottom. He changed the family motto to “The Faith Renewed.” Thus the younger son turned his brother’s folly into a mere scandal.
The family was, along with the Lannisters, on the correct side of The Dance of Dragons, backing Aegon II from the beginning. Early in the war, Lord Kennald Suffroch, his brothers, knights, and his men sacked the halls of foolish lord of the Reach who declared for ‘Queen’ Rhaenyra despite their liege lords, the Tyrells, staying neutral. Lord Kennald further won honor and prestige fighting for the Westermen at the Battle at the Red Fork in 130 AC.
Baelor The Blessed visited the Suffroch lands during his barefoot walk to Dorne. He was impressed by the family’s piety, and remembered them after his journey, despite his bouts of delirium brought on by snakebites and fasting. He spoke the name of the Suffrochs from time to time back in King’s Landing as an example of properly pious nobles, bringing the family renown and influence.
Aegon the Unworthy was notoriously fickle, taking from one noble house to give to another. Mavina Suffroch, the eldest child of the lord at the time, cleverly sent the king a bust of himself made of gold. Aegon was pleased by the gift, and granted honors and lands to Suffrochs at the expense of their neighbors who hadn’t thought to offer up such fine gifts.
Not only untouched by the Blackfyre Rebellion, the Suffrochs even prospered during those years. Not wanting to hold a wedding in the lands ravaged by the war, The Grey Lion decided to hold the wedding of his heir, Tybolt Lannister on the Suffrochs’ land. The guests enjoyed a grand feast with plenty of arbor wine, a tournament, and a hunt. Lord Damon Lannister, The Grey Lion, also took the opportunity to shore up his southern border, lest the Reach take advantage of the recent fighting further north, and gifted a garrison, first as guards for the wedding and later as a gift for hosting such a spectacular event.
The Suffroch family managed to avoid becoming embroiled in the pettiness under Lord Tytos Lannister’s rule, and thus also avoided the retribution of Tytos’ son Tywin. However, the lawlessness under Tytos still greatly affected the Suffrochs. Their garrison was weakened by constantly fighting brigands, and the lack of respect for Lord Tytos resulted in a lack of faith in and respect for the nobility of the Westerlands in general. Lord Beldon Suffroch made no concessions to the peasantry whatsoever, and continued to live a lavish lifestyle and to demand ever harder work to support it. He ignored his wife, Violey, who had taken note of the unrest of the smallfolk, especially the miners. Instead, he complained that they were ungrateful for his protection and insisted that they mine more gold to buy his feasts and fancies. His final insult was a dismissive refusal for a request for a day of prayer and mourning after a tunnel collapse killed two miners. He would not allow the miners into the sept, saying that they would dirty the carpets, and even refused to light candles to the Smith, the Father, and the Stranger on behalf of the dead, saying it would be a waste of candles. Beldon’s wastefulness and excess in pursuit of his own pleasure was well known, and so it was this last remark which inspired one of the dead miners’ wives to throw manure at the lord. When Beldon ordered his garrison to kill the woman where she stood, the peasants mobbed the guards, killing them with pickaxes and shovels. The peasants burned down the tower that had housed the garrison, and would have burned Elderfaith Hall with all the Suffrochs inside if the septon had not reminded them that the sept was attached to the hall and would surely burn as well. The Suffroch family remained barred inside their hall for days. Only the intervention of the knights sent by King Aegon V to restore order in the Westerlands saved the family. Beldon was in shock, and spent the rest of his days cowering in his hall, afraid to walk among his subjects. His heir, Wallack, only 16 years old, took up effective rulership of the land, with his mother’s guidance. He had the peasants help lay the foundation for an expanded sept as penance instead of putting anyone to the sword, and he lead a prayer for the fallen miners as well as for the dead guards. He reminded the people of the House motto, “A Faith Renewed,” and asked that both sides renew their commitment to The Seven and to their lives together. He further promised that he would not share his father’s excesses. The last decade of Beldon’s life was tense, but there was no more violence.
Now ruling, Lord Wallack Suffroch has regained much of the respect his family had lost under his father’s self indulgence. He fully renovated the sept and kept his promise to live austerely until all his subjects could live with some comfort. In fact, his austerity continued well past the point when all his peasants were eating well. He married well, to the eldest daughter of Lord Crakehalls, reinforcing that trade alliance. He served with distinction under the Lannisters during the final days of Robert’s Rebellion. He has worked diligently to promote trade and to build infrastructure. His first child was a daughter, and during the many years that she was an only child, he raised her to rule. He assumed that he would end up marrying her to one of her cousins with a decent claim to succeed him, and thus leave the succession without doubt or challenge. When Wallack finally begat a son, his attention turned to the boy, and he has been grooming the boy for rulership ever since.