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This subsection of the Heralds of Valdemar Character Sheet involves characters from the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy.

Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron and Companion Yfandes

  • The Ace: Easily the most gifted Herald of his generation, and one of the most powerful mages ever to exist. On top of that he has striking good looks, connections, musical talent, and enough diplomacy and charm to act as King Randi's official representative. But underneath the "Vanyel Demonsbane" of legend is a hurting, tired, and often very lonely man.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Vanyel has a bad habit of forgetting that he needs to open up and emotionally depend on people. All three books have him re-learn the lesson after closing himself off and nearing the brink of a mental breakdown. Partially justified due to Tylendel's death and in later books PTSD.
  • The Arch Mage: The last in Valdemar for a very long time.
  • 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.
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  • 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).
  • Almighty Janitor: Vanyel has no rank in the Circle. He's supposed to be just a Herald. But his personal power and reputation is so formidable that he can act with near Royal Authority without anyone objecting.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: He mentions once that he will protect Valdemar even after his death if he can. He does; he and Yfandes become the spirit guardians who 'haunt' the northern border, and Stefen later joins them. Centuries later, at the end of Storm Breaking, they all move on — though we're not told whether they've gone to the Havens at last or decided to come back.
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  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Vanyel operates as the de facto King's Own, mostly because his power and legend has grown so much that people naturally respect and fear him, according him respect beyond most Heralds.
  • Badass in Distress: While held captive by a group of thugs.
  • Battle Couple: Averted with both of his partners, where one of the pair would not have powers.
  • Bishounen: Vanyel is very striking and pretty, even more than some women.
  • 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.
  • Busman's Holiday: Vanyel vacations in Forst Reach for a rest and both times gets dragged into a magical conflict that ends with him nearly dead.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Vanyel and Liss deliver a much-deserved tirade to Withen in Magic's Pawn.
  • Camp Gay: Vanyel in Magic's Pawn (his father knew he was gay because he liked music and fancy clothes), and, to a lesser degree, in Magic's Promise and Magic's Price.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: He fathered several children at the adoptive parents' bequest, starting two Secret Legacies among the Tayledras and the Valdemaran royal family. In Valdemar's case, the fact that he was openly gay disguised the fact that he and Shavri were Jisa's real parents.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: Silver eyes, symbolizing his beauty and his remote nature: his power sets him apart.
  • Covered with Scars: By the beginning of Magic's Promise, he has collected numerous "decorations" from knives, swords, mage-fire, electricity, a demon trying to eat his heart, etc., uzw., and so forth.
  • Curtains Match the Window: By the end of Magic's Price his hair is more silver than black, matching his eyes.
  • Dance Battler: Based on descriptions of his combat style.
  • Deader Than Dead: Even death doesn't stop Vanyel from sticking around protecting Valdemar's northern border. He, along with Yfandes and Stef, finally burn out as part of the team that holds off the final Storm, freeing them at last from centuries of duty (though of course they can always come back).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Yfandes. She's especially snarky when dealing with Vanyel's angsting, though of course he gets her back when he can.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Thanks to Tylendel in the first book and Stefen in the third.
  • Doomed by Canon: His death was revealed in Arrows of the Queen.
  • The Dreaded:Karsites of his own generation considered him the epitome of Valdemaran witchery. Later generations have elevated "Vanyel Demonrider" to the status of legend, warning their children to behave or Vanyel will get them.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Wanted to be a Bard, but didn't have the Bardic Gift or talent for compositionnote . Tylendel (who has sources in Bardic)later tells Vanyel that if Van wasn't his father's heir the Bardic Academy would have snapped him up for minstrel training in a heartbeat.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Vanyel dreams of his battle with Leareth years before it happens.
  • Driven to Suicide: Fortunately interrupted both times.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Vanyel has pale skin and blue-black hair, and when he comes into his power, even his allies find him a little scary.
  • Famed in Story: To the point that everyone in Valdemar knows who he is, his epithets and is more than a little terrified of him.
  • Gayngst He feels it a lot in Pawn. By Promise, he's mostly concerned with the pragmatic effects of having a reputation for homosexuality in a somewhat homophobic culture.
  • Go-to Alias: Valdir the scruffy minstrel, of the Go-to Identity variation.
  • Guardian Entity: Vanyel, Yfandes and eventually Stefen become the guardians of the Forest of Sorrows, protecting Valdemar's northern border for centuries.
  • Heel Realization: When Stefan interferes with a massive Roaring Rampage of Revenge in Magic's Price.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Magic's Pawn, after Tylendel's death, and in Magic's Price after being tortured and assaulted by a gang hired by the Big Bad Leareth. The main plot of Magic's Promise is kicked off by Vanyel getting sent to Forst Reach for a holiday because almost everyone who gets a good look at him realizes he's on the verge of this from sheer exhaustion and probable PTSD.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Vanyel and Yfandes die together in a Final Strike that eliminates Leareth and his army.
    • Done again in Storm Breaking as he, Yfandes and Stef burn themselves out shielding Firesong and Sejanes from the final Storm.
  • 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.
  • Hurting Hero: Hoi... By the end of Magic's Pawn, Van has found purpose and identity as a Herald, but his own peace and happiness comes at a distant second to Duty, and he's only too aware of it. It only gets worse in the next two books.
  • Ice Queen: During a large chunk of the first part of Magic's Pawn, with the appropriate metaphors and everything.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Poor(?) Melenna.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: During Promise and Price he does his best to avoid having lovers, or even close non-Herald friends, knowing that his enemies would harm them just to get to him.
  • It's Personal: A recurring motivator.
    • In his own trilogy, he goes particularly hard after mages who have killed his fellow Heralds. This nearly backfires on him when Leareth provokes him into a rage and takes advantage of his inattention to trap him.
    • In "present-day" Valdemar, after centuries as a deterrent against enemy mages, he gets personally involved in Winds of Fury. This makes sense because Mornelithe Falconsbane, the current Big Bad, was Leareth — or more correctly, both men were the ancient sorcerer Ma'ar. Later, in Storm Breaking, he and Yfandes are among the many who help end the final Storm which Ma'ar helped start.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Much of the point of Magic's Pawn is to coax the gold out of his jerk act that he constructed to protect himself from being hurt.
  • Last of His Kind: The titular last Herald-Mage
  • Living Legend: By the second book, even Heralds are awestruck by him.
  • Lonely at the Top: Vanyel has trouble making friends partially because his legend had grown so much that even fellow Heralds are afraid of him. Most of his closest friends knew him before he became famous and the few people that get close to him after that can be counted on one hand (Jisa, Medren and Stef).
  • 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 in Pawn after seeing the results of giving Tylendel Savil's spellbook, and again in Price after killing two semi-innocent people along with their brutal associates.
  • Magic Knight: He can fight magically, physically, or both.
  • Mindlink Mates: With Tylendel and Stefen.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: When his MindSpeech first wakes up, he can't shield out anyone's thoughts, so he hears how most of the other Heralds would rather he had died and Tylendel had lived. This leads to him almost being Driven to Suicide, but luckily Yfandes and Savil stop him.
  • Mystical White Hair: Like all Adepts, Vanyel's use of node magic bleaches his hair white. It's implied that his striking white hair and silver eyes gives him a fey and otherworldly look, contributing to his air of power and unapproachability.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Vanyel's sheer effectiveness in the Karsite Border War (in particular his ability to turn the Karsite demons against their masters) is what sparks the religious upheaval in Karse, their progrom against magic and their enmity against Valdemar. He's singlehandedly responsible for current state of the Forever War between Karse and Valdemar.
  • One-Man Army: Destroys a powerful mage (who was actually Ma'ar), four of his apprentices and an entire invading army almost single-handedly. (He needs Yfandes' help to overpower Leareth but still)
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Has enough power that he could potentially level Haven (Valdemar's capital).
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • At the beginning of Magic's Promise, he is repeatedly met with "You look like hell". He does, having just gotten back from a year on the front lines filling in for five other Herald-Mages at once.
    • After the Karsite War, almost everyone who meets him for the first time starts listing his names. "Demonsbane, Shadow Stalker, Hero of Stony Tor"
  • Power Incontinence: Due to the traumatic way his Gifts were awoken, Vanyel originally had no control over his powers. He accidentally shook the palace foundations, nearly killed a friend and drove half the Collegium to tears in the space of a night.
    • During the Karsite War, Vanyel is always on edge and can easily lose control of his powers if startled. One Herald makes a semi-serious joke about him accidentally leveling the palace and he once destroyed a bathhouse in a Noodle Incident.
  • Professional Sex Ed: His father hires him a female prostitute in an attempt to cure his homosexuality.
  • Psychic Powers: He has the full slate of Heraldic Gifts along with the Mage Gift. He can even use magical energy to boost his mental abilities. On one offscreen occasion he killed a man with his mind; the experience was so traumatic that he never did it again.
  • Rape as Drama: After his capture by a sadistic gang in Magic's Price.
  • Red Baron: Demon's Bane, Shadow Stalker, The Hero of Stony Tor...
  • Reincarnation Romance: With Tylendel/Stefen.
  • 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.
    • Bounces back into this by Magic's Price as the deaths of many of his friends and lingering wounds from Tylendel's death make it too tempting for him to retreat into Duty and not let anyone get too close.
  • Secret Legacy: He is the ancestor of the Valdemaran royal line and a line of mages in Clan k'Treva. While the k'Treva mages know their heritage, the Valdemarans do not.
  • 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 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.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Savil thinks Van would be better off he were a little less pretty. He doesn't agree.
  • Superpower Lottery: He won it. But since the price of his lottery ticket was Tylendel, he would have rather have not entered at all.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When the trilogy starts, he's a fop with no manifested powers of any kind. By the second book, he's probably the most effective warrior in Valdemar. By the third, he's a Person of Mass Destruction.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: His latent Gifts are blasted open. The complications from that much psychic pain on top of everything else nearly kills him.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He's got looks... but he's such a mess of open emotional wounds that a look is all you'll get. He even tries to close himself off from those who literally share his mind — Yfandes and Stefen — because he thinks they won't understand.
  • 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.

Herald Trainee Tylendel Frelennye and Companion Gala

  • Closet Key: For Vanyel
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Like whoa.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading/Sex by Proxy: An ill-planned attempt unlocks all his psychic gifts too early.
    • Apparently he tried to do this with his Companion in a moment of loneliness. She never let him forget it.
  • Driven to Suicide: He kills himself on the same horrible night Vanyel's powers awaken and he is Chosen.
  • Feuding Families: The Frelennye family are mortal enemies with the Leshara family, locked in a cycle of revenge. Lendel even admits that the Frelennyes started it but thinks the inciting incident was too minor for the Lesharas' reprisal.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Until he met Vanyel, Tylendel shied away from lovers and relationships due to a bad first time.
  • Genki Girl: Gala, from what little we see of her, is a playful and energetic filly. It makes it all the sadder and more shocking when she coldly renounces Lendel.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gala.
  • 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. When he dies, Vanyel is left completely adrift.
  • Mindlink Mates: Lifebonded with Vanyel.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Heralds themselves seem to consider him this, especially Savil, his trainer.
    • His greatest regret after his death was leaving Vanyel all alone.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Second only to Vanyel. Before he was Chosen, Tylendel would drop into a trance, lose control of his Gifts and wake up in a massive crater. One wonders how powerful he would have been had he survived to become a full Herald-Mage and how terrifying the pair would be had they ever fought together.
  • Power Incontinence: He suffered this before he was Chosen. As he's not fully trained, it crops up in moments of emotional stress. Like when Stavan died
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against the Lesharas after Stavan is killed
  • Superpower Lottery: Second only the Vanyel. Most Heralds have one or two powerful Gifts. Tylendel had 4 or so (Mage-Gift, Mindspeech, Fetching, Empathy) all at near-equal power.
  • Thicker Than Water: Constantly excuses and supports his brother. It moves into Moral Myopia to everyone's frustration.
  • Twin Telepathy: With his brother Stavan.
  • Un-person: Zigzagged. To the Heralds he is a painful symbol of their failure, to the point where Stefen notices they won't even say his name. The Companions, on the other hand, remember him clearly — Dallen, for example, has a completely unromanticized picture of him which reminds him not to let Mags go without support the way everyone ignored Lendel.

Herald-Mage 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 it's too late.
  • Cool Old Lady
  • Deadpan Snarker: Extremely so. It can occasionally work against her as she comes across as extremely caustic to people who don't know her.
  • Foreshadowing/Idiot Ball: we don't find out Moondance's history until the third book, but if Savil had remembered it during the final stages of Tylendel's arc, she would have been a lot more prepared for, or might even have averted some of, the worst parts of Tylendel's end/Vanyel's beginning as a Herald-Mage. Noted in that it's implied to be one of the things she calls herself out on, after she gets Vanyel to the Tayledras.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Savil's Fatal Flaw. Savil cannot navigate complicated emotional scenarios and often has trouble reading people in general, rarely looking past a surface level analysis. As a result, she underestimates the problems of both Vanyel and Tylendel to disastrous consequences.
  • Mentor
  • 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.
  • No Social Skills: Savil is blunt, lacks tact and puts her foot in her mouth. Her Deadpan Snarker tendencies don't help as she can be unintentionally hurtful with her quips.
  • Reincarnation: A Companion named Sayvil pairs up with Kerowyn in By the Sword and is broadly hinted to be Savil reborn. Later confirmed by Word of God off-screen.
  • 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.

Starwind k'Treva

Moondance k'Treva

Brightstar k'Treva

  • Calling the Old Man Out: A downplayed version, but definitely present in his only on-screen appearance in Magic's Price. When Starwind and Moondance are reluctant to leave the Vale to save Vanyel from Leareth's leech-blade, Brightstar steps up to shame them both into going.
  • Has Two Daddies: Actually three considering a third guy sired him.
  • Raised by Dudes: Averted.

Lord Withen Ashkevron

  • Abusive Parents: Withen has a narrow and homophobic view of what a man should be, and holds a good deal of anger and frustration towards Vanyel for not fitting the mold. He treats the teenaged Vanyel very harshly and orders Jervis to "toughen him up" by any means necessary, driving Jervis to break Vanyel's arm during a training bout. He mellows in later books, but it understandably takes years for him and Vanyel to form anything resembling a positive relationship.
  • 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.
  • Shipper on Deck: To Vanyel and Stef surprisingly. He was the one who ordered that Vanyel and Stef be roomed together.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Is notably more calm, easygoing and accepting of Vanyel in Magic's Price.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Vanyel spent most of his childhood alternately resenting and trying to win the approval of his father.

Lady Treesa Ashkevron

  • Abusive Parents: While she's not nearly as bad to Vanyel as Withen and Vanyel is in fact her favorite child, she spoils and coddles him while using him to indulge her own desire for courtly romance. None of this helps his emotional stability much, especially since Treesa is incapable of standing up to Withen's abuses of Van.
  • Hysterical Woman: Actually seems to take pride in it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Maybe. Vanyel views her as hysterical and weak willed but he's biased and the fact remains that she encouraged his interests and protected him in her own way. When Stefen meets her, she's calm, composed and polite to Yfandes. She even endures a mage attack with grace. It's up in the air whether she's Silk Hiding Steel, Obfuscating Stupidity or Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy

Mekeal Ashkevron

  • 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.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To Vanyel in Magic's Pawn.
  • Generation Xerox: Is the spitting image of Withen. It's a family trait apparently.
  • Older and Wiser: In Magic's Promise and Magic's Price.


  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After years as Hopeless Suitor for Vanyel, and almost as long as a single mother to Heroic Bastard Medren: at the end of Magic's Promise, Vanyel gives her a minor noble title in order to make her Tashir's Castellan/Housekeeper; Vanyel nearly chokes in Magic's Price on getting a letter that casually mentions that she and Jervis have married.
  • Hidden Depths: in Magic's Promise Melenna's the only one in Treesa's entourage who doesn't go into hysterics when Tashir goes into a flashback-induced fit that involves an invisible hurricane, and can therefore give Vanyel a good idea of what actually happened, including hints on what triggered it. She also says outright when making her Settled for Gay offer that it's partly because he's so good to her son.
  • Hopeless Suitor: For Vanyel.
  • Settled for Gay: Offers that to Vanyel after admitting to her Hopeless Suitor status so his parents will get off his back. Vanyel gently refuses as he has met people who had done it and told him it was a bad idea.
  • Settle for Sibling: Tried to do this. Medren showed up nine months later.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The lengths to which she goes in Magic's Promise qualify as sexual harassement.


  • The Ace: the only student at Bardic besides Stefen with all three requisite Gifts (Stefen, at least, thinks Medren's nearly as good as he is, if not definitely.)
  • Heroic Bastard
  • Magic Music
  • Out of Focus: Once Vanyel and Stefen get together, he all but drops out of the story. (But given what happens to those close to Vanyel, this is probably a good thing for him)
  • 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 also openly shaych before they had the opportunity to meet (while Stefen knew about Vanyel).


  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end of Magic's Promise it's implied that Jervis is promoted to a minor noble title in order to become part of Tashir's household. It's mentioned in Magic's Price that he and Melenna have married.
  • 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.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: He doesn't actually share Withen's homophobia, but goes along with Withen's orders to 'toughen Vanyel up' in Magic's Pawn because he's deeply loyal to Withen for giving him the position of Armsmaster at Forst Reach. Justified, as for a retired mercenary like himself with no independent resources to speak of, the position is the only thing standing between him and starvation.

King Randale

  • Determinator: By the end, he's holding himself together through sheer willpower, trying to give the new King his cousin and son-in-law time to get ready.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: variant. Most men would have issues with their lover sleeping with another man to conceive a child - even an openly gay one. But Shavri wanted a child so badly it was affecting her emotional and mental stability, and her pregnancy put paid to the nasty sterility rumours that could have affected Randale's ability to make an alliance marriage if needed.
  • Mindlink Mates: With Shavri.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Hints of it in the second book and by the third is outright dying of a terminal incurable disease (implied to be cancer, though never stated).

King's Own Herald Shavri

  • Authority in Name Only: Shavri might be Herald's Own but doesn't fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the role - that goes to Vanyel and later Jisa. Her real job is keeping Randi alive.
  • The Empath: Comes with being a Healer. (Centuries later, in Arrows, Empaths are still rare among the Heralds because they're 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)
  • Healing Hands: She is a Healer on top of being the King's Own Herald.
    • In the second book, Vanyel muses that Shavri is the first Herald-Healer in history; between Randale's sterility and the tendency for Heralds with really odd Gifts being Chosen just before they're needed, Vanyel suspects Randale's illness before he starts showing symptoms.
  • Mindlink Mates: She and Randale are Lifebonded.
  • 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. Terrified of being left alone, she opens up an unblocked link to Randi, tying their lives together. They burn out and die at the same time.


  • The Ace: Of the Bardic trainees. Medren, who was formerly the prize student, has no trouble accepting 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 (cough Vanyel) can only dream of such resilience.
  • Deader Than Dead: Stef along with Vanyel and Yfandes is finally released from his centuries long duty after his ghost burns out in Storm Breaking.
  • Driven to Suicide: Nearly, until he is stopped by Vanyel's ghost.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Literally - in order to earn a place with Vanyel after death, he must spend his life working to overcome the perception of "plain 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 loses Van.
  • Foil: To Tylendel. Tylendel is intense with a habit of acting before thinking; Stefen is very methodical and calculating. Tylendel had multiple Gifts at great power, Stefen has only the Bardic Gift. Tylendel as a Herald wants to help people; Stefen is primarily concerned with 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; Stefan recovered and divorced himself from it. Stefen comes across as a version of Tylendel who has learned from his mistakes... which of course he is.
  • Guardian Entity: Guards the Sorrows along with Vanyel after his death.
  • The Hedonist: At first.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: His hair is described as bright auburn.
  • Hourglass Plot: He's Tylendel reincarnated. 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.
  • Ladykiller in Love: A gay version.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Later books show that Stef is to the Bards what Vanyel is to Heralds — a legendary figure of great power who became the standard for all later generations.
  • Lover and Beloved: With Vanyel. In regard 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 avoid 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: Mildly... he's in his late teens when Van is in his early thirties. This helps keep Van from depending on him like he did with Tylendel.
  • Meet Cute: Runs into Vanyel after playing his fingers to bits and snaps at him in irritation.
  • Mindlink Mates: With Vanyel.
  • Morality Chain: He plays a major role in keeping Vanyel sane.
  • Only in It for the Money: Pre-Character Development, Stef constantly calculated the cost and gains to himself and would only help someone if it brought him money, goods or connections.
  • Only Sane Man: Often the most sane and stable of the Dysfunction Junction.
  • Past-Life Memories: Stef has some hints of Tylendel's past life — he calls Vanyel "ashke" and knows things about Savil and Vanyel that he shouldn't. It's mostly subconscious and serves as foreshadowing
  • Really Gets Around: Before meeting Vanyel he had quite the reputation.
  • The Reliable One: Stefan quietly supports Vanyel through various crises and mental breakdowns. Whenever Vanyel needs help, advice or just someone to talk to, Stef will be there no matter how out of depth and terrified he is.
  • Reincarnation Romance: He comes back to restore not only Van's lost love but his lifebond.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Stef is reliable, self-possessed and stable with rare hints of trauma. It's implied that this stability helped allow Stef to survive an entire lifetime alone after losing his lifebonded - a feat that Vanyel could barely manage.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Vanyel. They only get a short time together before Vanyel dies and Stef lives for 60 years without his lifebonded.
  • Street Urchin: His backstory.
  • 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.

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