Istvana Ridenow is Keeper of Neskaya Tower (Exile Song) and is known as being innovative in the use of laran. Neskaya Tower and Arilinn Tower are polar opposites, Arilinn is strict and follows the tradition of "if it isn't broken don't fix it", Neskaya apparently is know for taking anyone with laran, Comyn or commoner.
Istvana is described as a small woman with grey eyes, too wide a mouth on her oval face and pale blonde hair mixed with silver. Marguerida Alton, one of her students, observed she has a deep alto voice that is strong and authoratative. She is also Diotima Ridenow 's aunt, who is stepmother to Marguerida, daughter to Kester Ridenow .