An Oncomming Storm
History of Market Town, Four Towns upon a Hill
Market Town can rightfully claim to be as old as the Seven Brothers of Cockleswent, the towns foundation dating back to the time the Andals swept into the valley, or so most maesters agree. Ideally located for controlling the road and river both a fort was built upon Market Hill by the Andal invaders and named Arros. It played a crucial role in the wars against the First Men and late became a place of meeting and market controlled mutually by all the brothers. Yet as the Castles of the Seven Brothers rose and the legendary Wars of the Brothers raged across the Cocklesvale the fort was stormed, burned and what little remained fell abandoned. Grass grew upon the hill once more and the local smallfolk used it for celebrations and festivities.
Smallfolk aside the hill, lay unused until, a few centuries prior to the coming of the dragons, a hall was raised there by Lord Aldwyn Renfield, made a vassal of house Dannett for his actions against the Dornish. A town grew up around Renfield’s hall and soon came to be known as Hill Hall, one of the richest and most affluent in the Cocklesvale due to its strategic location. The fifth Lord Renfield, having grown fat and powerful on trade, swore his fealty directly to house Gardner and defeated the Dannetts in the ensuing hostilities, aided in part by the Cockerels of Cockletown. The Renfields, for a time, were counted as the most powerful house of the Upper Cocklesvale, rich and secure, yet never well liked.
The fortunes of Market Town changed once more with the coming of the Dragons to Westeros and the Griffon Knight to the Cocklesvale. The resurgent house Bywater, now led by Lord Aeron the Black Griff, marched on Hill Hall yet did not stormed the settlement. Instead the Griffon Knight called Lord Arryn Renfield to face his army on the field, which Arryn did, and crushed it there, sparing the town. For this the Griffon Knight is still remembered in Market Town as its most celebrated hero. Arryn Renfield was strung up on Dragon’s Justice and his family stripped off land and title, meaning Hill Hall fell to the Bywaters.
Hill Hall did not last long however for, less than a generation later, its people rose up as part of the Faith Rebellion in open revolt against house Bywater and the Iron Throne both. The town was quickly surrounded by Bywater forces and would perhaps soon have capitulated with few casualties on either side but the King himself willed it otherwise. In 44AC, a few days after Visenya’s death on Dragonstone, Hill Hall was burned to the ground by dragonfire as an example for the Cocklesvale. Those few who survived, or had fled before the siege, were forced to resettle the hill in a new town named Faith’s End, though locals knew it mostly as Dragonfyre Hill or Maegor’s Cruelty. Given as the land of house Hillard the town never really recovered, shunned by most and claimed haunted by many. It finally died, as did house Hillard, in 209AC as the Great Spring Sickness lay waste to the town and caused the survivors to flee. It was burned by house Bywater the following year.
A few decades later the site was resettled for the, as of now, last time by Tobias Stone, bastard of a disinherited daughter of house Hightower, and various ambitious smallfolk from the surrounding lands. Ever since the town has stayed nominally independent, at least for the first decades due to its unassuming status, and remains so to this day. It avoided destruction during Robert’s Rebellion by wisely supplying the Bywaters with boats and refusing all contact with Queensburry. In the years since then the town as flourished as never before in the uncertain conditions of the Cocklesvale.