Ambadassador By Magic's Price, Vanyel has become much in demand as a diplomat, probably because of the massive respect engendered by his magical powers and battlefield heroics.
Abusive Family: Verbally abused and shunned by his father Withen. Coddled and embarrassingly treated by his mother Tressa. Physically abused by the arm-master Jervis, to the point that the man broke his arm when Vanyel outwitted him in a training exercise and claimed that Van was cheating. Made to feel inferior and less than nothing by the family priest, who would then make regular reports to Withen about how worthless and foolish Vanyel was. And completely and utterly shunned by his own siblings and cousins because of his status as heir and because of his perceived superiority complex. And even the cousins who actually treated him like a person were too frightened to stand up for him. The only person who treated him decently was his older sister Lissa, but after she's shipped away he's left at home with nobody to defend him.
All Gays Are Promiscuous: Subverted; Vanyel could possibly count his number of lifetime lovers on one hand (no more than two hands) and is basically celibate by the time he reaches his thirties.
All Gays Are Pedophiles: Explicitly averted. People (at least Withen and anyone influenced by him) seem convinced that he's after underage and barely-legal males and view the amount of time he spends with them as suspicious. His detractors are wrong: he just has a soft spot for troubled youth (possibly due to his own miserable childhood and adolescence).
Badass Gay: He saves his country several times over, sometimes by diplomacy, sometimes with magic, and sometimes with sheer physical skill. In fact, this is the reason why homophobia isn't an issue in Valdemar as a whole: How do you condemn gays when your nation's greatest hero is openly homosexual?
Bi the Way: Considers the possibility for a while before dismissing it in Magic's Promise. May be slightly true considering the existence of his children, the twins being concieved by him precisely because both Starwind and Moondance were unable to take care of that part themselves. Then again, they are lifebonded and Vanyel notes it as a "business deal" in a fashion.
Blessed with Suck: How he feels about his gifts in between getting them and being trained in them. He still sometimes feels this way, but his sense of duty keeps him from too much despair.
Honorary Uncle: Tries to get Stefen to consider him that early in Magic's Price, due to him being good friends with (and actually slightly younger than) his actual nephew. This is also his official status to Jisa, but it slips towards actual fatherly support due to both Randale and Shavri having other issues on their plate by the time she's six and also because, due to Randale's infertility, Vanyel is Jisa's biological father.
Ice Queen: During a large chunk of the first part of Magic's Pawn, with the appropriate metaphors and everything.
Living Legend: By the second book, even Heralds are awestruck by him.
Lover and Beloved: He's twice Stefen's age, and for this reason among others tries very hard to stick strictly to a mentorship role for quite a while, only Stefen isn't having it. Van himself was a Beloved to Tylendel, which meant he depended on his lover for everything. Their closest associates quickly pointed out how unhealthy it was.
My God, What Have I Done?: He has this reaction after seeing the results of giving Tylendel Savil's spellbook, and again after killing semi-innocent people in a rage against their brutal associates.
Phrase Catcher: At the beginning of Magic's Promise, he is repeatedly told "You look like hell". Justified in that he does, having just gotten back from a year on the front lines filling in for five other Herald-Mages at once.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He goes on a couple of these: first, after a magically-altered creature kills Savil, and second, after a group of thugs rapes and tortures him, both in Magic's Price.
Safety in Indifference: At the start of Magic's Pawn Vanyel finally decides to cut himself off from all emotion as a way of dealing with his emotionally abusive father exiling him to a strange city. This is reflected by his ice dream, and eventually leads to him opening up to Tylendel.
Secret Legacy: He is the ancestor of the Valdemaran royal line and a line of mages in Clan k'Treva.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Unstated but very much there by the second book. He's on a hair trigger, shows Death Seeker tendencies, has trouble coping with the deaths of his friends and has a Guilt Complex over it. By the third book, he's started retreating into himself over untreated emotional problems.
Shrouded in Myth: To the later generations. The song Demonsbane (about the battle of Stony Tor) is a good example of his folk hero status. In it he takes on a nobleman backed by a wizard, demons, and thirteen armed men single-handed and wipes the floor with them just to make a point.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Even though the stress of the job seems to be nearly killing him (and it's only a matter of time before an enemy does him in for real), he can't quit protecting Valdemar through his work as a herald.
What Beautiful Eyes!: Silver ones, which he gets from his mother, along with the rest of his good looks.
Hot-Blooded: A mild example. Tylendel is certainly intense about everything (loving Van, supporting his brother, learning magic) and also has a habit of rushing into things, against the advice of everyone around him.
I Owe You My Life: Stavan kept him sane for months after his gift awoke and before he was Chosen. Due to that, Tylendel feels like he owes Stavan a debt which is why he supports his brother even when he shouldn't.
Living Emotional Crutch: Serves as this to Vanyel. Unfortunately he's oblivious to his status as such at first, and when Savil brings it to his attention he chooses to ignore it. As as result, when he is Driven to Suicide Vanyel is unable to cope with his loss and attempts suicide as well.
Un-person: Due to the tragedies surrounding his suicide, he is never referred to by name and he is not mentioned in any records in Haven. By Magic's Price, with the exception of a few people (including Vanyel and Savil), most everyone acts like he never existed.
To be fair to the Heralds, it's not at all intentional. They're more incredibly uncomfortable with mentioning him. (which is't much better)
Savil Ashkevron and Companion Kellan
Blood Brothers: Is a Wingsister to clan K'Treva, and is especially close to Starwind.
Cassandra Truth: Realizes that the deaths of the other Herald-Mages are not accidents, but murders. Vanyel refuses to believe her until its too late.
My God, What Have I Done??: After narrowly adverting Vanyel's suicide attempt in Magic's Pawn, Savil grimly realizes that all of this could've been avoided had she realized Vanyel's deeply rooted problems as opposed to treating the boy like a nuisance, and she vows to treat him much better.
Reincarnation: A Companion named Sayvil pairs up with Kerowyn in By the Sword and is broadly hinted to be Savil reborn.
Resentful Guardian: How she treats Vanyel at first in Magic's Pawn. To Savil, she has more important things to do with her time than babysit and chaperone her "spoiled little nephew" and doesn't hide to Vanyel how much she hates having him around and how inconvenient his being there is. Unsurprisingly, when life takes a tragic turn for Vanyel, he's very reluctant to accept Savil's help.
Secret Keeper: Vanyel had to tell her about his children at the end of Magic's Promise after finding out that a spell that can kill anyone in a given bloodline with mage-potential had been set as a trap in the Lineas palace.
Cure Your Gays: He actually hires a (female) prostitute for his fifteen-year-old son in order to "cure" him. It doesn't work.
Hidden Depths: Turns out to be a decent politician when he moves to Haven.
My God, What Have I Done?: Angrily arrives at Haven to give Savil a verbal beatdown for allowing Vanyel to carry on a relationship with another boy, but his attitude does a complete one-eighty upon seeing that Tylendel's suicide, the forcible awakening of his Mage abilities, and Vanyel's own suicide attempt had turned Vanyel into a broken, sickly mess.
Absurdly Youthful Father: He's thirteen or fourteen when he gets Melenna pregant with Medren. In addition, he had six children with his wife during the twelve-year Time Skip between the two first books, so his oldest true-born child may not be that much younger than Medren.
Settled for Gay: Offers that to Vanyel after admitting to her Hopeless Suitor status so his parents will get off his back. Vanyel refuses as he has met people who had done it and told him it was a bad idea.
Out of Focus: Once Vanyel and Stefen get together, he all but drops out of the story.
Shipper on Deck: For Vanyel and Stefen. He just forgot to mention to Vanyel, who's slightly paranoid about younger fanboys making advances to him despite Incompatible Orientation, that Stefen was shaych also before they had the opportunity to meet (while Stefen knew about Vanyel).
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He terrorizes Vanyel in the early parts of the first book, but proves to be a surprisingly decent guy in the subsequent novels.
Your Days Are Numbered: Hints of it in the second book and by the third is outright dying of a terminal incurable disease.
The Empath: Comes with being a Healer. (Even several centuries later in Arrows, it's pointed out that Empaths are very rare among the Heralds, because they're generally needed too badly as Healers; that lack of experience is one of the reasons Talia's Gift goes rogue on her in Arrow's Flight)
in the second book, Vanyel muses that Shavri is the first Herald-Healer in history; he's Genre Savvy enough to put it together with Randale's sterility and the tendency for Heralds with really odd Gifts being Chosen just before they're needed... and articulate the Foreshadowing for the terminal illness that Randale's not yet showing symptoms of.
The Mistress: Officially insofar as those outside of court and the circle are concerned for two reasons. An outside Marriage Alliance was both possible and potentially needed, and the prospect of being co-ruler terrified Shavri.
Together in Death: Deliberately invokes this. She can't save Randi and terrified of being left behind, opens up an unblocked link to him tying their lives together. They'll burn out and die at the same time.
The Ace: Of the Bards. Medren (who Vanyel recognized as having a powerful Gift and was a prize student before Stef) acknowledges that Stef's better than him at everything on top of having a very useful, one-of-a-kind Gift.
Dark and Troubled Past: Spent his life as a beggar on the streets. Subverted in that besides making him slightly more pragmatic and selfish, Stefen has mostly overcome his childhood and has very few emotional problems from it. Many other characters (Vanyel case in point) can only dream of doing this.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Literally - in order to earn his happy ending with Vanyel after death, he's asked to spend his life working to overcome the perception of Heralds as inferior to Herald-Mages.
Everything but the Girl: Stef gains prestige, renown and the backing of very powerful patrons and friends (everything he wanted at the beginning of Magic's Price) but lost Van in the process.
Foil: Is a stark contrast to Vanyel's first love Tylendel. Tylendel is intense with a habit of acting before thinking, Stefan is very methodical and calculating. Tylendel had multiple Gifts at great power, Stefan has only the Bardic Gift. Tylendel as a Herald wants to help people, Stefan weighs the pros and cons to himself. Tylendel grew up privileged with a close family, Stefen was a street urchin who didn't know his parents. Tylendel struggles with his childhood trauma while Stefan recovered and divorced himself from it. This could be Tylendel fixing much of the Fatal Flaw of his first life
Hourglass Plot: He's a reincarnated Tylendel. In addition to now being the "weak but mentally stable" half of the lifebond, the end of Magic's Price has him follow Vanyel on a revenge quest, lose him soon after, attempt suicide, and have to live most of his life without him by his side.
I Just Want to Be Badass: Thanks mainly to sheer determination, he manages to keep up with Vanyel on a mission and actually winds up saving it from disaster.
Legendary in the Sequel: Later books show that Stef is to the Bards what Vanyel is to Heralds - a legendary figure of great power whom all later generations compare themselves to.
Lover and Beloved: With Vanyel. In regards to sex, though, this is flipped, as he has more experience than Vanyel, who's sometimes celibate for years at a time. It's how Vanyel and Stef avoided the power imbalance that Tylendel and Vanyel had. Stef brought greater mental stability and sexual experience, Vanyel greater life experience.
Magic Music: Specifically has the power to soothe pain through music.
May–December Romance: With Vanyel. The age difference is such that he's a little younger than Medren (fathered by Vanyel's younger brother) and less than five years older than Brightstar, his twin sister and Jisa.
Meet Cute: Runs into Vanyel after playing his fingers to bits and snaps at him in irritation.
Took a Level in Kindness: Mainly due to his childhood and uncertain place in life, Stefen starts out coolly pragmatic and selfish. Spending time with Vanyel teaches him to be more caring and ethical in using his power.
Wise Beyond Their Years: It's really easy to forget that Stefen is only 18 when he and Vanyel meet. In contrast to a lot of the people around him (Vanyel and Tylendel (and a lot of other Heralds) were emotional messes at that age) and in spite of his childhood, Stefen is stable, self-possessed and confident with hints of wisdom and empathy. He has growing up to do but is still miles ahead of many other characters.