- See also: Sebastian Vael
Before the Vaels came to power, Starkhaven was ruled in quick succession by a number of petty warlords; some were genuine bannorn, but others were little more than bandits. Tired of the constant petty raiding and warfare between Starkhaven and neighboring cities, the original Lord Vael organized a peaceful protest against "King Ironfist," the low-born, self-declared "king of Starkhaven." Hundreds of Starkhaven's most prominent citizens fasted for ten days and nights on the steps of the chantry, their numbers increasing every day. When his soldiers began deserting in droves at this example of piety, Ironfist surrendered his sword to the templars and left Starkhaven forever.
In gratitude, the people of Starkhaven demanded that Lord Vael be king; he refused, however, saying he had no right to that title. He was instead proclaimed prince of Starkhaven, and his family has ruled there ever since. They remain devout, dedicating at least one son or daughter per generation to become a cleric in the chantry.