Kingsdaughter613

Marsh and Kell’s Surname

Kell and Marsh’s Secret Surname   16 members have voted

  1. 1. Which High Noble House do you think Marsh and Kelsier were born to?

    • Venture
      0
    • Hasting
      3
    • Elariel
      5
    • Tekiel
      2
    • Lekal
      1
    • Erikeller
      0
    • Erikell
      2
    • Haught
      0
    • Urbain
      0
    • Buvidas
      3

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15 posts in this topic

In TFE we have this statement: His mother had been a resourceful mistress of a high nobleman, a clever woman who had managed to hide the fact that she was skaa from her lord.

Kell and Marsh’s father was a member of the High Nobility. We know of only ten High Noble houses, and the indication is that most of them had held their positions for awhile. So, which one of the ten do you think Marsh and Kell were born to?

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There's no physical resemblance in the descriptions to link Vin with Kelsier and Marsh (who are described as resembling each other), but I like to think House Tekiel (whence came Tevidian the High Prelan, Vin's father) had a pattern of being deceived about skaa women passing as noble. Now, how would that be?

It seems unlikely that this would be an easy deception, and with both their mothers (unlike with Beldre, who was raised as a "legitimate" noble with a faked origin, passing her off as the legitimate noble wife's offspring), they were women "passing" as noble mistresses, not wives but not simple prostitutes either. Mistresses bearing not just one, but multiple illegitimate children, in a long-term relationship. Children who would never have house claims (like with Zane). Why have such mistresses?

I doubt that Straff Venture was unique in his efforts to produce more Allomancers for his House beyond what legitimate marriages would allow, even if he was perhaps exceptionally dedicated. But nobody would risk Inquisitor wrath by knowingly breeding with a skaa woman. I imagine them seeking out documented noble women who were destitute or desperate, and contracting with them: setting them up with a house and income and retirement, like with a Gigi-style courtesan, while claiming rights to take the illegitimate children if they Snapped as Allomancers when tested at around age ten or so.

If Straff Venture had many more of these mistresses than others, it'd be because House Venture was the richest and most powerful House, and because Straff was willing to, ah, put in the extra effort, but probably all Houses had a few like this.

These "desperate noble women looking to become courtesan Allomantic broodmares" would be in short supply and high demand. I imagine there'd be an underground brokerage service of sorts arranging the deals, and providing the pedigree of the women. In this context, the payoff for passing off a skaa woman as noble would be enormous (there'd more likely be children). And when the Inquisitors came a-calling, it'd be the actual people involved in the illegal breeding that would be subject to the worst penalties (death), as opposed to a broker who could hope to claim they were merely misled by false paperwork provided to them (or who could more easily disappear into the underground).

For the skaa women, a brutal death would be on the line, but it would be the opportunity to live the life of a noble for a while, maybe forever (surely some got away with it for life - especially outside Luthadel), so for one trained or educated enough to pass as noble, it was probably a welcome opportunity. A normal skaa life was likely to be short and brutal anyway.

Straff would be meticulous in his verification process, but once any given House - like Tekiel, with Tevidian - had either a corrupt or gullible "vetting agent" who didn't notice a skaa woman passing, that broker would procure more while the profit window was open.

So even if it wasn't Tevidian himself who fathered both Vin and the Dynamic Duo, it seems more likely that House Tekiel got "taken in" by a procuring broker for multiple people in their House, than that two different noble Houses might have had similar breaches.

And perhaps that is what set Kar on the track of Tevidian's "policy violation" in particular. If one Tekiel had been caught this way ten years earlier (referring to Unknown Tekiel who hooked up with Marsh and Kel's mother), maybe another Tekiel with known mistresses - like Tevidian, the high prelan of the Steel Ministry they wanted to take down - would have a similar cover-up story.

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12 minutes ago, robardin said:

There's no physical resemblance in the descriptions to link Vin with Kelsier and Marsh (who are described as resembling each other), but I like to think House Tekiel (whence came Tevidian the High Prelan, Vin's father) had a pattern of being deceived about skaa women passing as noble. Now, how would that be?

It seems unlikely that this would be an easy deception, and with both their mothers (unlike with Beldre, who was raised as a "legitimate" noble with a faked origin, passing her off as the legitimate noble wife's offspring), they were women "passing" as noble mistresses, not wives but not simple prostitutes either. Mistresses bearing not just one, but multiple illegitimate children, in a long-term relationship. Children who would never have house claims (like with Zane). Why have such mistresses?

I doubt that Straff Venture was unique in his efforts to produce more Allomancers for his House beyond what legitimate marriages would allow, even if he was perhaps exceptionally dedicated. But nobody would risk Inquisitor wrath by knowingly breeding with a skaa woman. I imagine them seeking out documented noble women who were destitute or desperate, and contracting with them: setting them up with a house and income and retirement, like with a Gigi-style courtesan, while claiming rights to take the illegitimate children if they Snapped as Allomancers when tested at around age ten or so.

If Straff Venture had many more of these mistresses than others, it'd be because House Venture was the richest and most powerful House, and because Straff was willing to, ah, put in the extra effort, but probably all Houses had a few like this.

These "desperate noble women looking to become courtesan Allomantic broodmares" would be in short supply and high demand. I imagine there'd be an underground brokerage service of sorts arranging the deals, and providing the pedigree of the women. In this context, the payoff for passing off a skaa woman as noble would be enormous (there'd more likely be children). And when the Inquisitors came a-calling, it'd be the actual people involved in the illegal breeding that would be subject to the worst penalties (death), as opposed to a broker who could hope to claim they were merely misled by false paperwork provided to them (or who could more easily disappear into the underground).

For the skaa women, a brutal death would be on the line, but it would be the opportunity to live the life of a noble for a while, maybe forever (surely some got away with it for life - especially outside Luthadel), so for one trained or educated enough to pass as noble, it was probably a welcome opportunity. A normal skaa life was likely to be short and brutal anyway.

Straff would be meticulous in his verification process, but once any given House - like Tekiel, with Tevidian - had either a corrupt or gullible "vetting agent" who didn't notice a skaa woman passing, that broker would procure more while the profit window was open.

So even if it wasn't Tevidian himself who fathered both Vin and the Dynamic Duo, it seems more likely that House Tekiel got "taken in" by a procuring broker for multiple people in their House, than that two different noble Houses might have had similar breaches.

And perhaps that is what set Kar on the track of Tevidian's "policy violation" in particular. If one Tekiel had been caught this way ten years earlier (referring to Unknown Tekiel who hooked up with Marsh and Kel's mother), maybe another Tekiel with known mistresses - like Tevidian, the high prelan of the Steel Ministry they wanted to take down - would have a similar cover-up story.

I like your theory here. I think my biggest issue is that Kell would have told Vin if that were the case. I don’t really think he would have hidden it from her; it could have been another bond between them.

The second big issue is that Tekiel controlled the canals in the Eastern dominance, and Kell comes from the Western one. That doesn’t prevent them from being a Western house though.

There were also minor differences; K & M were raised in their noble home. Also, no one found out about them until sometime after both their parents were dead and the brothers decided to embrace their Skaa heritage. (Their backstory is terribly conflicting.)

But overall this is a really good theory! I very much enjoyed reading it!

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On 11/25/2020 at 9:56 AM, Kingsdaughter613 said:

I like your theory here. I think my biggest issue is that Kell would have told Vin if that were the case. I don’t really think he would have hidden it from her; it could have been another bond between them.

The second big issue is that Tekiel controlled the canals in the Eastern dominance, and Kell comes from the Western one. That doesn’t prevent them from being a Western house though.

There were also minor differences; K & M were raised in their noble home. Also, no one found out about them until sometime after both their parents were dead and the brothers decided to embrace their Skaa heritage. (Their backstory is terribly conflicting.)

But overall this is a really good theory! I very much enjoyed reading it!

You remember more details about K&M's past that I did :).

They weren't (necessarily) raised in the nobleman's actual home (like in the House stronghold), in TFE Ch. 8, Vin recalls Kelsier talking about his past as:

Quote

His mother had been a resourceful mistress of a high nobleman, a clever woman who had managed to hid the fact that she was skaa from her lord. Kelsier and Marsh had grown up privileged -- considered illegitimate, but still noble -- until their father had finally discovered the truth.

So the father was alive and apparently the one who called in the Ministry on their mother (and by extension, on them). They could certainly have been living in a "mistress' house" all that time (most likely, the "legitimate wife" would not want a child-bearing mistress around all the time to rub it in her face as to what was going on).

Marsh, the elder brother, says that he Snapped when he was very young (and Kell would have been even younger), and that his mother being taken by obligators is what did it, "and that's when I vowed to destroy them. So, I joined the rebellion..." Which taken at face value, means all those events happened in close sequence.

So their still-living father discovers the truth about his "noble mistress", who's borne two children for him already; the mother is taken as a skaa; Marsh Snaps; and oh by the way, if their mother was outed as skaa then he and Kelsier are illegal half-breeds, better go underground. (How that was managed, or who shielded them to adulthood and how, we don't know.)

Of course, when Marsh says he was "very young" he doesn't mean a toddler, but still obviously younger than the age a noble child would have been given the ritual the Beating of the Wanting of the Snap (as the hip young kids in the Eastern Dominances would say). I don't remember if there is any mention in the Mistborn books or any WoB about what age that was, but probably around puberty (so maybe 13 years old?).

Then again, I remember a passage (I'll try to look it up later) where Kelsier reflects on how he wasn't "fond" of Marsh but did love him, despite the unspoken tension in all their goodbyes to each other while growing up as hidden half-breeds carrying an undertone of "don't do something stupid and get me killed along with you", or something to that effect. So they definitely spent at least Kelsier's adolescence growing up while knowingly posing as nobles.

ETA: found it, it was not in Mistborn (Era 1) but Secret History, Ch. 2:

Quote

The two of them had never been what one would call familial. ...they had been raised knowing that at any point they could be dragged before the Inquisitors and murdered for their half-blooded nature.
...
It had been a vast relief when, after their parents’ deaths, the two of them had agreed to give up pretense and enter the underground of Luthadel. At times Kelsier toyed with fantasies of what might have been. Could he and Marsh have integrated fully, becoming part of noble society? Could he have overcome his loathing for them and their culture?

So here, from Kelsier's POV - and by now he's dead and talking to himself in the CR, why would he lie? - he grew up with Marsh, both of them knowing they were secretly half-skaa, and after both parents had passed away they decided not to keep up the pretense (implying they could have done so) but went into the skaa underground of Luthadel. Which in turn, implies the noble father may well have been in on the secret the whole time (similar to Beldre's parents in Urteau).

Well, I don't know what to make of this very conflicting information. Someone ought to raise this to Brandon, eh?

In Kelsier's original description of his past, I guess it's possible that when "their father finally discovered the truth", that that father at least initially chose to shield them rather than betray them (I mean, Lord Ruler, they're his kids and the mother of his children, maybe even his only children if his legitimately noble wife hadn't borne any!). And then only later, when the Inquisition caught both of their parents up in their net (resulting in their deaths at basically the same time), did they go underground. And Kelsier's fantasizing of what "might have been" centered around "if we'd never been caught".

Edited by robardin
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3 hours ago, robardin said:

You remember more details about K&M's past that I did :).

They weren't (necessarily) raised in the nobleman's actual home (like in the House stronghold), in TFE Ch. 8, Vin recalls Kelsier talking about his past as:

So the father was alive and apparently the one who called in the Ministry on their mother (and by extension, on them). They could certainly have been living in a "mistress' house" all that time (most likely, the "legitimate wife" would not want a child-bearing mistress around all the time to rub it in her face as to what was going on).

Marsh, the elder brother, says that he Snapped when he was very young (and Kell would have been even younger), and that his mother being taken by obligators is what did it, "and that's when I vowed to destroy them. So, I joined the rebellion..." Which taken at face value, means all those events happened in close sequence.

So their still-living father discovers the truth about his "noble mistress", who's borne two children for him already; the mother is taken as a skaa; Marsh Snaps; and oh by the way, if their mother was outed as skaa then he and Kelsier are illegal half-breeds, better go underground. (How that was managed, or who shielded them to adulthood and how, we don't know.)

Of course, when Marsh says he was "very young" he doesn't mean a toddler, but still obviously younger than the age a noble child would have been given the ritual the Beating of the Wanting of the Snap (as the hip young kids in the Eastern Dominances would say). I don't remember if there is any mention in the Mistborn books or any WoB about what age that was, but probably around puberty (so maybe 13 years old?).

Then again, I remember a passage (I'll try to look it up later) where Kelsier reflects on how he wasn't "fond" of Marsh but did love him, despite the unspoken tension in all their goodbyes to each other while growing up as hidden half-breeds carrying an undertone of "don't do something stupid and get me killed along with you", or something to that effect. So they definitely spent at least Kelsier's adolescence growing up while knowingly posing as nobles.

ETA: found it, it was not in Mistborn (Era 1) but Secret History, Ch. 2:

So here, from Kelsier's POV - and by now he's dead and talking to himself in the CR, why would he lie? - he grew up with Marsh, both of them knowing they were secretly half-skaa, and after both parents had passed away they decided not to keep up the pretense (implying they could have done so) but went into the skaa underground of Luthadel. Which in turn, implies the noble father may well have been in on the secret the whole time (similar to Beldre's parents in Urteau).

Well, I don't know what to make of this very conflicting information. Someone ought to raise this to Brandon, eh?

In Kelsier's original description of his past, I guess it's possible that when "their father finally discovered the truth", that that father at least initially chose to shield them rather than betray them (I mean, Lord Ruler, they're his kids and the mother of his children, maybe even his only children if his legitimately noble wife hadn't borne any!). And then only later, when the Inquisition caught both of their parents up in their net (resulting in their deaths at basically the same time), did they go underground. And Kelsier's fantasizing of what "might have been" centered around "if we'd never been caught".

To make this better, I think there’s an annotation that states their father killed their mother. I’ve theorized that their father was an Obligator who killed his wife and then himself. It’s the only thing that even remotely lines up with everything we know.

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Considering the focus House Venture gets, I doubt Kelsier and Marsh would be Ventures. It would have been noted at some point, unless it was one of the 'distant cousins we don't speak about' kind of families. Then again, given the kind of person Straff is, I could definitely imagine 'not mentioning certain relatives' would equate to 'destroy all records and threaten/actually execute any staff who might know'.

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42 minutes ago, jamesbondsmith said:

Considering the focus House Venture gets, I doubt Kelsier and Marsh would be Ventures. It would have been noted at some point, unless it was one of the 'distant cousins we don't speak about' kind of families. Then again, given the kind of person Straff is, I could definitely imagine 'not mentioning certain relatives' would equate to 'destroy all records and threaten/actually execute any staff who might know'.

Venture is actually from the Northern Dominance. Kell and Marsh are from the Western one. So yes, it’s almost impossible for them to be Ventures.

One of the reasons I go with Elariel is that the family has relatives in Fadrex City, so there is some Western connection.

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On 11/26/2020 at 10:04 AM, robardin said:

Well, I don't know what to make of this very conflicting information. Someone ought to raise this to Brandon, eh?

 

Your analysis is really great! I noticed the discrepancies in their background and there's definitely something going on. It is a question of it's purposeful or just a narrative slip (there are a few in Mistborn I think like some sliver/tin issues).

Brandon's been deliberately coy about Kelsier's/Marsh's family. I remember him having an excuse for why no noble family claims lineage from them and The only WOB about them I was able to find was: 

Quote
Quote

Kelsier’s parents? I haven’t talked a lot about Kelsier’s parents. He's obviously a half-breed. So he was raised in noble society, unlike a lot of the half-breeds. He knew his nature. He gets his skaa half from his mother, but they hid in plain sight. Like, she pretended to be noble.

This fits with what Kell says about being raised noble and implies that she told them that they were Skaa (which makes sense considering how the brothers are proud of the Skaa side, they don't read like nobles who realized they were Skaa) but doesn't really answer any questions about their past. 

Kelsier says specifically that "It had been a vast relief when, after their parents’ deaths, the two of them had agreed to give up the pretense and enter the underground of Luthadel." To me, this implies a few things. First, their parent's died together, which does fit, having children with a Skaa is a huge crime for nobles as well a Skaa either obligator murder or shame suicide (like kingsdaughter613 suggests) make sense why their dad died at the same time. Second, that they were teenagers or young adults when their parents died, "agreeing to give up the pretense" is pretty mature phrasing to me, not something a pair of recently orphaned kids (<13 years) would think. You also need time from when they were told they were skaa (it's like five-year-olds are great at keeping secrets) for the resentment about hiding would grow between them. Third, even if their parents were found out, their halfbreed status was still somehow secret, again "agreed to give up the preetense" vs. "ran away to escape the Caton of Inquisition tracking them down".

Basically, none of that works with Marsh's claim that he snapped young. Like you said young has to be pre-teen (I imagine the Beating of the Wanting of the Snap to be somewhere between 10-16, likely around 13) but it could be younger, Spook snapped at 5 and doesn't comment on being young. Also would just knowing that their mother was taken away be enough to snap Marsh? I got the vibe that he was there/saw it, in which case how did he avoid being revealed as half-Skaa?

On 11/27/2020 at 2:33 AM, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Venture is actually from the Northern Dominance. Kell and Marsh are from the Western one. So yes, it’s almost impossible for them to be Ventures.

 

Do we know they're actually from the Western dominance. The blonde hair is a Western thing, but couldn't their mom be from there originally and then moved to find their father? It would honestly make more sense if they didn't grow up in the west if their mom was one of the richer Skaa from the edges of the empire and then moved somewhere else to pretend to be noble (like lighter-skinned Black people moving states and pretending to be white post Civil War). 

 

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21 minutes ago, Could Be Fire said:

Your analysis is really great! I noticed the discrepancies in their background and there's definitely something going on. It is a question of it's purposeful or just a narrative slip (there are a few in Mistborn I think like some sliver/tin issues).

Brandon's been deliberately coy about Kelsier's/Marsh's family. I remember him having an excuse for why no noble family claims lineage from them and The only WOB about them I was able to find was: 

This fits with what Kell says about being raised noble and implies that she told them that they were Skaa (which makes sense considering how the brothers are proud of the Skaa side, they don't read like nobles who realized they were Skaa) but doesn't really answer any questions about their past. 

Kelsier says specifically that "It had been a vast relief when, after their parents’ deaths, the two of them had agreed to give up the pretense and enter the underground of Luthadel." To me, this implies a few things. First, their parent's died together, which does fit, having children with a Skaa is a huge crime for nobles as well a Skaa either obligator murder or shame suicide (like kingsdaughter613 suggests) make sense why their dad died at the same time. Second, that they were teenagers or young adults when their parents died, "agreeing to give up the pretense" is pretty mature phrasing to me, not something a pair of recently orphaned kids (<13 years) would think. You also need time from when they were told they were skaa (it's like five-year-olds are great at keeping secrets) for the resentment about hiding would grow between them. Third, even if their parents were found out, their halfbreed status was still somehow secret, again "agreed to give up the preetense" vs. "ran away to escape the Caton of Inquisition tracking them down".

Basically, none of that works with Marsh's claim that he snapped young. Like you said young has to be pre-teen (I imagine the Beating of the Wanting of the Snap to be somewhere between 10-16, likely around 13) but it could be younger, Spook snapped at 5 and doesn't comment on being young. Also would just knowing that their mother was taken away be enough to snap Marsh? I got the vibe that he was there/saw it, in which case how did he avoid being revealed as half-Skaa?

Do we know they're actually from the Western dominance. The blonde hair is a Western thing, but couldn't their mom be from there originally and then moved to find their father? It would honestly make more sense if they didn't grow up in the west if their mom was one of the richer Skaa from the edges of the empire and then moved somewhere else to pretend to be noble (like lighter-skinned Black people moving states and pretending to be white post Civil War). 

 

We do know Kelsier is from the Western Dominance. (Crafty games, which we know is canon until the books say otherwise.) We also know his father was a High Noble.

Yes, Marsh saw his mother killed. (WoB.) And he was young enough that he hadn’t snapped the regular way.

That’s why I thought their father might be an Obligator who found out. Only he ended up killing himself as well as his lover, rather than kill their children. And he was the only Obligator to know...

Once they were both old enough the brothers left the noble life. Marsh blamed the Obligators for their father’s actions. Kelsier blamed the system. And so they went their separate ways...

You don’t need to go to the Civil War for examples. My blonde haired, blue eyed great-grandmother escaped the Nazis on occasion by passing for ‘Aryan.’ And my grandfather hid his ethnicity at work for years because it wasn’t safe to be Jewish. This isn’t limited to one population during one event centuries ago. People who can pass for the dominant culture have done so for centuries.

Edited by Kingsdaughter613
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8 hours ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

That’s why I thought their father might be an Obligator who found out. Only he ended up killing himself as well as his lover, rather than kill their children. And he was the only Obligator to know...

I like this! It explains how an obligator could have killed their mother without their secret being revealed. And having an obligator high noble father highlights how Marsh and Kelsier take very different approaches to the same problem (hating the Ministry vs hating all nobility). The only issue I still sort of have is the time. If the obligator (their father) killed their mother when Marsh was very young (and Kelsier was even younger) then did they leave for the Luthendal underground as pre-teens/teens? Maybe their father kept them around for a while, having no other heirs and Marsh being a misting, but eventually killed himself/was murderered. I don't know, I'm deep into aluminum foil hat territory. 

I even remember a WoB that Obligators can (and did) marry, which is another point in evidence of your theory. 

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2 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

I like this! It explains how an obligator could have killed their mother without their secret being revealed. And having an obligator high noble father highlights how Marsh and Kelsier take very different approaches to the same problem (hating the Ministry vs hating all nobility). The only issue I still sort of have is the time. If the obligator (their father) killed their mother when Marsh was very young (and Kelsier was even younger) then did they leave for the Luthendal underground as pre-teens/teens? Maybe their father kept them around for a while, having no other heirs and Marsh being a misting, but eventually killed himself/was murderered. I don't know, I'm deep into aluminum foil hat territory. 

I even remember a WoB that Obligators can (and did) marry, which is another point in evidence of your theory. 

I would think they’d be raised by their grandparents, actually. So still raised in that life, but with only each other to hold the secret. Which would explain a lot about both their natures, really.

Also explains the ‘better part of four decades’ that Kelsier says his noble family spent trying to kill him.

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Not gonna lie, straight up forget about the existence of grandparents.

He did say that they joined the underground once their parents had died, so they wouldn't have been with them long. That's what I was trying to get at. Kel says they move to Luthadel/joined the underground when their parents died, Marsh implies his mother died young. 

You're right about the family quote. I missed that one. It def implies that Kelsier meant that he could pass successfully as a noble not that he'd never been caught when he talked about giving up the charade. 

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22 minutes ago, Could Be Fire said:

Not gonna lie, straight up forget about the existence of grandparents.

He did say that they joined the underground once their parents had died, so they wouldn't have been with them long. That's what I was trying to get at. Kel says they move to Luthadel/joined the underground when their parents died, Marsh implies his mother died young. 

You're right about the family quote. I missed that one. It def implies that Kelsier meant that he could pass successfully as a noble not that he'd never been caught when he talked about giving up the charade. 

Like I said: their past really doesn’t add up at all. We know Marsh snapped young, but the brothers clearly had choices. My guess is they left the noble life when Kell was 16 and Marsh 20, or a minimum of 8 years after their parents should have died.

And my best explanation for why Kell makes those two events sound close together is that, even in his own mind, he’s not acknowledging the years he spent as a noble child. Which is in character for him - he’s a rather unreliable narrator. When he doesn’t want to think about something he doesn’t. But it’s not a great answer and there are too many holes.

We really need Brandon to give us a timeline of their history.

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41 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

We really need Brandon to give us a timeline of their history.

IKR? Unfortunately, it seems there are major future cosmere plans for the brothers (or at least Kelsier), so it'll probably all be RAFO'd or deliberately vague like the Herald's backstory timeline questions (which is also a mess).

In Brandon's defense, timelines are really hard and he might not even have a definitive answer in his own head yet. The Marsh story is Mistborn 1, while the Kelsier answers are all more recent and blend better with the WoBs. Maybe he originally had Marsh snapping very young but reorganized what he wanted their background to be as he plotted out more of the cosmere. Like Elhokar's eye color shifting when he wanted to highlight the Gavilar resemblance for emotional impact. 

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2 minutes ago, Could Be Fire said:

IKR? Unfortunately, it seems there are major future cosmere plans for the brothers (or at least Kelsier), so it'll probably all be RAFO'd or deliberately vague like the Herald's backstory timeline questions (which is also a mess).

In Brandon's defense, timelines are really hard and he might not even have a definitive answer in his own head yet. The Marsh story is Mistborn 1, while the Kelsier answers are all more recent and blend better with the WoBs. Maybe he originally had Marsh snapping very young but reorganized what he wanted their background to be as he plotted out more of the cosmere. Like Elhokar's eye color shifting when he wanted to highlight the Gavilar resemblance for emotional impact. 

The problem is that text overrides WoB. If Marsh says in-text he snapped young then that remains canon.

New thought: if the brothers were adopted young they could have had two sets of parents.

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