Characters / Vows And Honor

This subsection of the Heralds of Valdemar Character Sheet covers the Vows and Honor trilogy.

Tarma shena Tale'sedrin

  • Action Girl
  • Asexuality: Not by birth, but by oath. As a Swordsworn, she has a divine mental block against sexual desire.
  • Blood Brothers: With Kethry.
  • Bond Creature: With Warrl.
  • Covered with Scars: So many that she shocks a young girl who sees her getting out of a bath, and that's relatively early in her career.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: In the Oathblood novella, she's firm but fair and all in all, a fairly kind teacher. In By the Sword, she's rather more merciless to Kerowyn and Daren, particularly when they bungle a tracking exercise because they hate each other on sight and refuse to cooperate.
  • Famed In-Story: Has an annoying bard that follows her around.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: If Tarma can't gather enough people around her to form a functioning clan, Clan Tale'sedrin will cease to exist. It's therefore up to her to accumulate enough prestige that people would be willing to join her clan.
  • Friend to All Children: Which astounds everyone who doesn't know her, considering she's quite harsh-faced by birth and is a notoriously unemotional Swordsworn, known to be as "sexless as the blades they bear." But in actuality, she has always been good with children, had wanted a large brood of children for herself, and gets one by proxy thanks to Kethry.
  • Glory Seeker: Somewhat unwillingly; Tarma isn't interested in glory for herself, but has to build up her reputation in order to attract worthwhile new members to her all-but-annihilated clan.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: In her backstory, after being gang-raped by the bandits who slaughtered her clan.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Again, with Kethry.
  • Image Song: "Advice To Would-be Heroes"
  • Important Haircut: Part of giving the oath to become Swordsworn; the cut hair indicates that the oath has been accepted (The oath is traditionally performed in a place with no sharp objects in it and made without any blades on one's person, so it isn't possible for the oathtaker to cut his/her hair unless the oath is accepted). She repeats it in The Oathbound as part of her ritual preparations to face Trial by Combat as Lady Myria's champion.
  • Older and Wiser: In By The Sword.
  • Rape as Backstory/Rape and Revenge
  • Retired Badass: In By The Sword.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge
  • Spirit Advisor: Swordsworn are taught by the spirits of past Swordsworn; several of Tarma's "teachers" appear throughout her books, and she herself is implied to have joined their number by The Mage Winds, in which a spirit-Swordsworn calls Elspeth "student of my student."
    • In Storm Breaking, a spirit-Swordsworn talking to Karal mentions that Kerowyn is the spirit's kinswoman. It's not proven to be Tarma, but it's certainly suspicious.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The sword to Kethry's sorcerer.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The tomboy to Kethry's girly girl. Though amusingly, she's far better with children than Kethry is.

Lady Kethryveris "Kethry" of House Pheregul

Warrl the Kyree


  • Bookworm
  • Heroic Suicide: He drugs himself asleep during the trip through the mountains into Valdemar, intending to let himself die of cold rather than continue to burden Tarma and Kethry if they can't find sufficient shelter. Fortunately, Roald shows up in time to keep it from being an issue.
  • Image Song: "The Archivist"
  • Non-Action Guy


  • Modest Royalty: He claims he's just another Herald and "not that important" so long as his parents are still alive and ruling.
  • You Didn't Ask: He doesn't really do anything to hide the fact that he's the heir to the throne of Valdemar, but no one actually sees fit to mention it until Kethry challenges his ability to make good on his promises.

Captain Idra

  • Driven to Suicide: After days of physical, mental, and sexual torture by her own brother and his servants, she manages to get free, get a hold of a knife, and kill herself to end the pain and deny her brother the satisfaction of killing her.
  • Image Song: "The Price of Command"
  • Lady of War: As head of a mercenary company
  • A Mother to Her Men: So much, that upon news of her death, her active company, new recruits, and retired members execute a brutal coup to avenge her.
  • Rebellious Princess: She was one before she left home to join a mercenary company.

Prince Stefansen

King Raschar

Leslac the Bard.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Tarma and Kethry get tired of his attentions fairly quickly, especially after they realize he's making it harder for them to make a living. Ironically, there's even a song about it: "There's Always a Reason (A Curse Upon All Bards)" Tarma finds him exceptionally trying, since he persists under the delusion he can defrost the ice queen by singing "That song" under her window.
  • Author Avatar: Of a sort. His name is a reference to Lackey and fellow filksinger Leslie Fish
  • Cursed with Awesome (if only from Tarma and Kethry's viewpoint): his songs are "true in the main, if wrong in the details" and make them out to be heroes. Unfortunately, they're also catchy, so now everyone expects them to work for free.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Leslac's hopes for Tarma as spelled out in the song "The Swordlady, Or: 'That Song'". He's wrong, of course; doesn't stop him from trying.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Tarma eventually bribes Stefanson to arrange one for him to get the man to leave her alone.
  • Unreliable Narrator: He is determined to turn his tales of Tarma and Kethry into heroic epics worthy of his talent — whatever it takes — despite the dubious nature of some of the actual events that inspired them. Amusingly, the most inaccurate of his songs about their deeds was about one that he actually witnessed — he couldn't bring himself to write a song about how Tarma hit a belligerent drunk (who happened to be a highly unpopular local nobleman) with a broom, resulting in him accidentally hitting the fireplace with his head and dying, so he wrote a song about how she heard about Viden's evil overlord, called him out, and cut him down in an epic duel instead.