House Mertyns of Mistwood is one of the most venerable noble lines of the Stormlands. To their distinguished ancestry and wide possessions, they have added the advantage of close alliance with their Baratheon liege lords; sealed in the marriage between Lord Baratheon and the current Lord Mertyns’s sister, Leyne. Despite this theoretical eminence, however, for some decades now the Lords of Mistwood have preferred to dwell in relative obscurity, far from the pitfalls of court and of warfare.
The Mertyns have always kept up a reputation for learning, though not necessarily of the kind offered by Citadel or Septry. Sons of Mistwood are bred to conform to a complex ideal; warriors, but with the sort of wisdom not always to be found in books. As for the Houses daughters, they are said to prize good counsel above beauty, and even riches. Many is the suitor to a Mertyns lady who has wracked his brow with despair at her enigmatic demands; and many a husband to a Mertyns lady has later blessed her shrewdness.
The present Lord of Mistwood, Garse, is as close and careful in his dealings as any of his ancestresses. During the Dance of the Dragons, still a boy, he watched his father navigate through a delicate policy, offering harbourage and homage, but naught else, to his Baratheon overlord, a supporter of Aegon II, while resisting the pressures of his siblings, Ser Conen Mertyns and Annis Massey, to declare for Rhaenyra.
The accession of King Daeron and the declaration of war upon Dorne found Lord Garse a perfectly hale man in his middle forties, but the cunning Mertyns pled a serious illness. In this, though, he did not command the allegiance of his whole family, and many Mertyns - younger branches, bastard cousins, and even Garse’s own younger son - fell in Dorne all the same.
Whether the House will always be so willing to wait and to watch is uncertain. The heir to the lordship, Ser Elys, is a notable fighter, and took the curious step of wedding Olyria Frey, though House Frey is not ancient, rich, or very well-reputed, and an alliance with a northern Riverlord seems of limited use in the Stormlands. Rumour also has it that for a peaceful House, the Mertyns employ a strangely numerous entourage of private soldiery. Perhaps the Owls merely await the hour to hunt.