This subsection of the Heralds of Valdemar Character Sheet covers the Mage Winds and Mage Storms trilogies.
Princess Elspeth and Companion Gwena
The heir to the throne of Valdemar under Queen Selenay. In Arrow's Flight
, Elspeth is Chosen by Gwena, a Grove-Born Companion.
- Abdicate the Throne: In Winds of Fury, she realizes that her responsibilities as Heir would irreconcilably conflict with her role as the first Herald-Mage since Vanyel — among other things, the Heir is explicitly forbidden to go In Harm's Way — therefore, she abdicates in favor of Selenay's twins. This has the added benefit of completely confounding Valdemar's eneimes who are so power-hungry they can't conceive of anyone doing this willingly.
- Action Girl: Those who are expecting Elspeth to be a pampered royal brat are surprised to find her quite capable with knives, and later with magic as she leads an assassination squad into Hardorn to unseat Ancar.
- Family Eye Resemblance: A song printed in the Arrows Trilogy is dedicated to the fact that she has her father's eyes.
- Knife Nut: In the Arrows trilogy, Skif teaches Elspeth how to throw knives for self-defense. She demonstrates on Lord Orthallen in Arrow's Fall, and continues to carry hidden knives on her person in subsequent books, to the point that Kerowyn tells her (at the beginning of Winds of Fate) that she shouldn't rely on them too much because everyone knows she has them.
- Magic Knight: She combines her knife skills with Adept-level magic to great effect in Winds of Fury, killing both Hulda and the Imperial envoy with them.
- Phrase Catcher: In Winds of Fury, she is repeatedly greeted with, "We thought you were dead," to the point that her traveling companions start calling it "the standard greeting".
- Royal Brat: Her nurse, Hulda, deliberately raises her as a spoiled, self-centered brat until Talia intervenes; even as an adult, people sometimes hold this period against her.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Defying her reputation as a spoiled brat, she sets out to prove that she can save Valdemar by finding a mage to aid them in their war against Hardorn.
- Secret Legacy: She's a descendant of Vanyel by way of Queen Shavri, which is not revealed until Winds of Fury and explains her mage gifts.
- Screw Destiny: Partway into Winds of Fate, Elspeth discovers that she's being railroaded by her Companion into a "Grand Destiny" — Gwena intends her to be tutored by a White Winds mage of Kethry's descent. Thanks in part to Kerowyn's training, she immediately rebels against this plan and seeks out the Hawkbrothers instead, to the ultimate benefit of all concerned.
- Tyke Bomb: Hulda intends that Elspeth depose her mother and become the pawn ruler of Valdemar. The plan fails thanks to Hulda's fundamental lack of understanding regarding the Heraldic Circle, but she later succeeds with Ancar in Hardorn.
- The Unfavorite: Starts off as this, because she strongly resembles her father. Selenay struggles on a daily basis not to hold it against her, and admits that it made the decision to leave her in Hulda's care easier to make.
- Younger Than They Look: Her Companion, Gwena, is Grove-Born, meaning that, unlike other Companions, she is relatively young in guardian spirit terms. This leads her to make mistakes out of overconfidence, such as trying to railroad Elspeth into her "Grand Destiny".
Darkwind k'Sheyna and bondbird Vree.
A Tayledras Scout for k'Sheyna Vale, which he calls his home. He is bitter and cynical, mostly because of his father.
- Byronic Hero: Can be summed up as more Byronic than Byron.
- Disney Death: In Winds of Fury, Darkwind is severely injured and apparently killed by Hulda's attack.
- Incompatible Orientation: Firesong admits that he was attracted to Darkwind when they first met, but the latter is quite heterosexual.
- Love Interest: His teeth-clenched teamwork with Elspeth becomes genuine friendship after they initially defeat Falconsbane in Winds of Fate, and eventually blossoms into love in Winds of Change. Elspeth's abdication of the throne in Winds of Fury is as much for his benefit as for hers, as he was quite resentful of having to remain in the shadows as a secret lover due to her need to preserve herself for a potential marriage of state.
- Magic Knight: Darkwind gave up magic after the accident with the Heartstone that claimed his mother's life and became quite proficient with bow and hook-staff. Once he takes up magic again, he rapidly regains his former strength.
- Meaningful Rename: His name was originally Songwind, but he changed it along with giving up magic after the Heartstone accident.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Even considering that he temporarily gave up magic, he remains the strongest adept in his clan at a relatively young age. Firesong's appearance puts him in distant second and he resents this greatly.
Firesong k'Treva and bondbird Aya
A proud and arrogant young Tayledras Healing-Adept, initially called in from k'Treva Vale to k'Sheyna to assist with the Heartstone there. He becomes involved in Elspeth's training as a mage, and with the fate of Valdemar.
- The Ace: At first, his skill at magic, his handsome appearance, and his utter unflappability make him at turns fawned over and envied by everyone at k'Sheyna Vale. He later reveals some of the price he's paid for this.
- The Archmage: Falconsbane and the Eastern Empire aside, he is the strongest Adept-level mage in the known world.
- The Beard: He offers an inversion of the standard use to Darkwind and Elspeth in Winds of Fury, capitalizing on Valdemaran assumptions about the Tayledras by pretending to be the Darkwind's lover so people would think that Elspeth could be in no way involved with him.
- Bishounen: He is described as incredibly attractive, almost animesque, with flamboyant and ever changing hair and clothing styles, the pale skin and hair associated with Adept mages, and an intensely sexual presence.
- Camp Gay: He is blatantly shaych, and proud of it.
- Cool Mask: Firesong starts wearing masks, each one more elaborate than the last, when he gets his scars at the end of Storm Breaking.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: For An'desha when the mage storms start messing with his head. He considers killing Karal, An'desha's Heterosexual Life-Partner, because he thinks they are having an affair behind his back, even when there is ample evidence that Karal likes Natoli and neither he nor An'desha like each other that way.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Firesong thoroughly enjoys the attention he gets from both males and females, and even enjoys the conflicts he causes when their jealousies erupt over him.
- The Fashionista: He loves fashion, and always has to make a statement.
- Fisher Kingdom: As a Healing-Adept, the state of the environment can affect his emotions. When the mage storms start tearing up the land, they cause his mental state to deteriorate in turn.
- Happily Married: Practically married to Silverfox, and very contented with his life.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Why Firesong can make full use of Need's power in The Mage Storms, despite being male - he's balanced between masculine and feminine traits.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When he was young he could be a bit of an arrogant prick, but he always had good intentions and as he got older, he got better.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Came very close to turning into another Ma'ar, but stopped before he took the final plunge. Again, the slope was extra-greasy because of the Mage Storms.
- Lethal Chef: A Running Gag in Storm Breaking was for someone in the Tower to be horrified at the thought that it was Firesong's turn to cook.
- Older and Wiser: In Darian's Tale and even in Storm Breaking. Silverfox had a lot to do with the change, as did the mage storms.
- Power Levels: He's an Adept. A Healing-Adept to be specific.
- Scars Are Forever: The burns on his face and arms from saving the world in the last Mage-Storm wave.
- Snake Oil Salesman: He disguises himself as one when he joins the infiltration team going into Hardorn. Subverted as well, because his "Magic Cure-All" is brandy laced with medicinal herbs, and really does work on upset stomachs.
- Superpowerful Genetics: Remember these twins Vanyel sired in k'Treva? Firesong is descended from one of them.
- Yaoi Guys: With An'desha for a time, and later with Silverfox. Darkwind and him sometimes joke about something being between them.
Treyvan And Hydona kena Leshya'nay/K'Leshya
Two gryphons who live outside of k'Sheyna vale. They are surrogate parents to Darkwind k'Sheyna.
- Ambadassador: Both are excellent fighters, being both gryphons and scouts from the Silver Gryphons, and serve as ambassadors of the Kaled'a'in to K'Sheyna and Valdemar.
- Good Parents: To Jervan ad Lytha, their two little gryphlets. Indeed, Hydona's maternal instinct is seen as one of her defining characteristics by other characters, and Treyvan is just as loving a father as she is a mother.
- Happily Married: Treyvan and Hydona love each other deeply even after two gryphlets and trekking all over the continent.
- Mama Bear and Papa Wolf: Although Hydona is a bit more protective of her offspring than Treyvan, they are still willing to do anything for the sake of their gryphlets.
- Parental Substitute: For Darkwing. They take him under their wing after he loses his mother and his father starts to push him away. They refer to him as their "featherless son", and he loves them a great deal.
- Snake Talk: Because of the gryphon vocal anatomy.
- Stern Teacher: Both are somewhat this, first to Elspeth and Darkwind, and then to the various mages brought to Haven for training to fight against Ancar.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: Because of the gryphon vocal anatomy.
Darkwind k'Sheyna's father, an extremely distant man who alienates his sons in order to protect them from Mornelithe Falconsbane's influence over him.
Herald Skif and Companion Cymry
See entry on the Arrows Trilogy And Related Books
Need, aka Sister Lashan
A magical sword that has been around since before the Mage Wars
, dedicated to helping and protecting women in need. The sword previously appeared in the Vows and Honor
books and in By the Sword
, but only in Mage Winds
does she regain full sentience, revealing that she was originally a priestess who sacrificed herself to bind her own spirit to an enchanted sword
- Anti-Magic: In the hands of a non-mage, Need provides a considerable degree of protection against magic. As shown in The Oathbound, this effect is potent enough to undo the magic of a demon on the threshold of godhood. In By the Sword, Quentin magically "convinces" Need to extend some of her protection against magic not just to Kerowyn but to the rest of the Skybolts as well.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Woman's Need calls me, as Woman's Need made me. Her Need I will answer as my maker bade me. As a magic weapon specifically made to protect women, Need physically and psychically compels her bearer to come to the aid of any woman in trouble, forcing this trope upon them and usually causing them quite a bit of trouble in the process.
- Clingy MacGuffin: Once Need chooses a bearer, she's magically bonded to them until it's time to pass on to the next wielder.
- Cool Old Lady: She was at least middle-aged before she sealed herself into a sword, and has been in sword form a very long time.
- Cool Sword: Unbreakable, never loses her edge, and can bestow incredible defenses to her bearers - and this is just while she's asleep.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's noted to have a very dry wit, and will use it with impunity, much to the detriment of everyone around her.
- Empathic Weapon: Even prior to fully reawakening, Need has a will of her own, choosing her own wielders and magically compelling them to help women in distress. When Kerowyn takes her up in By the Sword, she spends quite a bit of time struggling with Need over just how much influence she's going to allow the sword to have over her, given that the sword's compulsion to save women in trouble lacks any kind of a sense of proportion or context.
- Gender-Restricted Gear: Only women can use Need. It comes as quite a surprise to everyone when Firesong is able to make use of her power in The Mage Storms, explained as Firesong being "balanced" between masculine and feminine.
- Healing Shiv: Need has a healing effect as long as she's in contact with or close proximity to her bearer or any other injured woman.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She basically burns herself up to help the heroes prevent the Second Cataclysm.
- Instant Expert: In the hands of a non-warrior, Need makes her wielder a master swordsman, allowing Squishy Wizard Kethry to fight like a Magic Knight.
- Running Gag: Kerowyn and Elspeth both threaten to drop her down a well if Need won't relinquish some of her control.
- Talking Weapon: After she fully awakens in The Mage Winds.
- Weapon Wields You: Under extreme circumstances - such as being carried into battle against an Evil Sorcerer by a bearer with no training in magic or combat - Need can and will hijack her bearer's body completely, as Kero discovers in the early chapters of By the Sword.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Before coming to full sentience, Need would not allow her bearer to harm another woman. This nearly gets Kerowyn killed at least once.
- Animal Eyes: Retains them after most of the magical modding is undone.
- Animal Motifs: Cats, specifically domesticated ones, as a contrast to her father.
- The Dog Bites Back: Morenelithe Falconsbane did not see it coming. Both times - first he didn't think it possible Nyara would lift a hand against him. The second time he assumed that she would try to run away as far as possible from him.
- Cat Girl: Magically altered, though the exact details vary from book to book.
- Heroic Willpower: Her father ordered her to seduce Darkwind so Falconsbane could get his hooks into him. She resisted despite his compulsions.
- Interspecies Romance: With Skif, in a way; she was born human, but her body was extensively modified via magic.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter
- Parental Incest: In her backstory
- Rape as Backstory: She was her father's sex toy, among other things.
Mornelithe Falconsbane, aka Ma'ar
- Animal Motifs: Cats. Unlike Nyara, he explicitly modeled himself after a lynx.
- Bad Boss: He will kill his underlings for their magical power, to relieve his temper, because they're there...
- Berserk Button: Gryphons. He views them as jumped-up constructs who should be no better than livestock (exactly how he treated his counterparts, the makaar), and their continued existence and prosperity rankles to the point that seeing a shadow of one eventually makes him enter a Berserker Rage.
- Big Bad: Of most of the stories up to Mage Winds.
- Blood Magic: "A frequent practitioner" is an understatement; he tends to default to using it simply because killing other people and using their deaths to generate power leaves his personal reserves untapped in case of emergency. And to make examples. And because he enjoys mauling people to death with his bare hands...
- Control Freak: He thinks he plans for everything, and when something disrupts his schemes he takes it very poorly. This trait even extended into the anti-gryphon monsters he created, the makaar. While gryphons can mate at will (even if it doesn't result in conception), makaar have no interest in sex until their controller triggers spells to force them into heat.
- Depraved Bisexual: To him, his body is just another weapon to use on his foes; it was carefully crafted to exude raw sex appeal regardless of the viewer.
- The Dreaded: Whenever he shows up, priority one for the heroes is disabling him and his schemes.
- Emperor Scientist: Though he retains the knowledge, he currently lacks the power to create creatures like the makaar.
- Enfant Terrible: One of his incarnations was a Shin'a'in child who destroyed the clan the body was born in to. For kicks.
- Evil Chancellor: Once Ancar has captured and placed coercions on him. Unsurprisingly, Falconsbane's immediate plans are to turn the tables.
- Eviler Than Thou: To Ancar and Hulda; they died before he could demonstrate it to them, but several of his plans involved mental and physical torture simply to show them where they stood in relation to himself. Then he would kill them, of course.
- Evil Sorceror: It's the core of his power - he has the pure magical might to make sure he is obeyed.
- Familial Body Snatcher: Uses his own descendants to prolong his life. When they try magic for the first time, it triggers a spell that causes his spirit to posses the poor mage and (usually) destroy their personality and soul in the process.
- Fantastic Racism: Humans, to him, are worth more than any mage-crafted race, which ought to exist only to serve.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Goes nude unless weather prevents it.
- The Heavy: No matter where he appears in the story, his presence is what drives the heroes to take drastic action.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Not above eating his blood magic sacrifices. He makes mental note of the "pain-spiced flesh" at one point.
- Last-Name Basis: Few, if any, call him "Mornelithe". Typically when named he goes by Falconsbane, likely because in the three books he's most prominent in, the main characters are in Hawkbrother lands, and "Falconsbane" is a greater and more understood epithet than the Kaled'a'in "Mornelithe".
- Mad Scientist: This universe's equivalent.
- Meaningful Rename: Every one of his incarnations takes a new name, typically in Kaled'a'in as an insult to the race. "Leareth" translates to "Darkness", "Mornelithe" as "Hatred-that-returns", and Falconsbane... because he killed a Tayledras bondbird falcon that was trying to harm him, as well as a more general declaration of enmity towards the Tayledras and their bondbirds.
- Mind Rape: One of his favorite pastimes. He's gotten very good at it, and particularly likes combining pleasure and pain. This is noted to be both incredibly effective and incredibly difficult to break simply because doing nearly anything will feed into the mental programming he inflicted.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: He uses the death of his body to fling his soul into a pocket dimension, where it waits to inflict Grand Theft Me on one of his descendants.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: As Ma'ar. His rise to power and hatred of the Kaled'a'in mirror Adolf Hitler
- Outside-Context Problem: None of his bodyjacked descendants knew what was coming. Valdemar had no countermeasures for his type of military strategy.
- Parental Abuse: Falconsbane used Nyara as a prototype for his own physiological alterations (a process that was excruciatingly painful), implanted compulsions so that she would be obedient to him, and twisted her mind so that she loved and loathed him in equal measure for everything he'd done to her.
- Parental Incest: He also used her for sex. Apparently simply because he could.
- Person of Mass Destruction
- Red Baron: His first incarnation was known as the "Mage of Black Fire", and his subsequent ones have kept up the trend.
- Shoot the Messenger: At a whim. He finds it amusing to watch them tremble in fear unsure if they'll be leaving his chambers alive or not.
- Smug Super: He's quite powerful, if not as powerful as he used to be, and thinks of himself as a Magnificent Bastard. While he is genuinely clever and cunning, overall he's more of a Smug Snake.
- Sorcerous Overlord: In every incarnation, he sets up his own private domain to rule over. Each one tends to be smaller than the last, which irks him to no end.
- Spanner in the Works: Valdemar knew how Ancar fought wars, and could prepare accordingly. Then Ancar got his hands on Falconsbane, and the resulting change in tactics and strategy nearly overran them.
- Villain Decay: In-universe example. The method he uses to cheat death causes his mind to deteriorate, making him slowly but increasingly less competent from one incarnation to the next. And then Falconsbane receives a case of brain damage on top of that. He himself is not unaware of this, and somewhat dourly notes that he does not equal his previous incarnations, especially Ma'ar and Leareth, but he does drastically underestimate just how much he's deteriorated in his last appearance.
- We Have Reserves: A favorite tactic of his, but he also notes that it's a bad idea to spend lives when you don't have them to spend. But if you do, he will happily walk over a mountain of corpses of his own troops to claim his goals.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Yes. And he has a very nasty tendency to change the definition of "useful" without warning... or decide that your death (and subsequent magical power generated) is of more use now than any use you could be in the future.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Make no mistake, he IS a legitimate threat. However, he's "only" a Master-rank mage who craves Adept power and status, unaware that he is literally incapable of attaining that rank, and his military strategy, while horrific, is nothing Valdemar couldn't handle.
- Blood Magic: He takes a positive delight in it.
- The Evil Prince: Who eventually takes the throne by force.
- Knight of Cerebus: Arrows of the Queen and Arrow's Flight focus on Talia's experiences coming of age at the Heraldic Collegium and growing into her powers and role as Queen's Own Herald; while she faces some serious challenges, the stakes are for the most part on a personal level. Ancar kicks off his rise to major antagonist in Arrow's Fall by murdering Kris and putting Talia through the most horrific tortures he can come up with; his presence changes the level of threat from personal to national via his war against Valdemar, which remains a primary source of conflict in the series through the conclusion of Winds of Fury.
- The Oath-Breaker: Barely an aversion, if only because he made sure to crown himself without having to make any oaths. It's exactly this that causes the people of Hardorn to ensure their next king does take them.
- Rage Against the Mentor: Against Hulda, who he blames for his inability to reach Adept status.
- Royal Brat: Never really grew out of the "I'm of royal blood, everyone else lives to serve me" phase.
- Self-Made Orphan: Leads a coup and assassinates his father
- Straw Misogynist: Believes that women are inherently inferior, which is why his army of conscripts consists only of men. It's also another lever Falconsbane uses to manipulate him, pointing out how a "lesser woman" like Hulda is still a more powerful and skilled mage than Ancar.
- Too Dumb to Live: Very nearly literally. He collected scraps of books and writings on magic and assumed that the Gate Spell would allow him to use nodes and "make" him an Adept, unaware and unknowing that a proper Gate requires more magical power than a Master can provide without dying. The only reasons it doesn't kill him are because his notes are incomplete so he can't make a "proper" Gate, and what he does create takes effect then evaporates before he suffers Life Drain.
- Tyke Bomb: Hulda actually manages to achieve this unlike with Elspeth.
- We Have Reserves: Magically binds men into his army, then uses those coercions to force them to fight, though his strategy differs heavily from Falconsbane. Unlike Falconsbane, whose strategy is to strike hard, fast, and continually advance further into enemy territory, Ancar builds up his forces, makes several feints, finally attacks, fortifies whatever he managed to take, and repeats. The slow preparations gives Valdemar plenty of time to prepare.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Knows Ancar is incapable of becoming an Adept, but claims otherwise and that she will "eventually" teach him how to become one, as a means to keep him under her thumb. This backfires eventually.
- Blood Magic: Also a practitioner, and in fact introduced Ancar to it.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The only reason she stops is because she's killed.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Hoo boy. First she's working for Orthallen to subvert or discredit Elspeth. When that fails she flees and successfully subverts Ancar to protect her own skin and gain some power for her own. Except even then she's ACTUALLY working for the Eastern Empire... and the Emperor suspects that she has other masters than himself as well...
- The Corrupter: Successfully serves as this to Ancar and is driven off before she achieves this with Elspeth.
- Older Than She Looks: Seems to be around Ancar's age, but is at least old enough to be his grandmother.
- Meaningful Name: "Hulda" means "mole" in Hebrew.
- The Mole: If she's working for you, she is not on your side.
An'desha shena Jor'ethan
The half Shin'a'in, half outblood descendant of Ma'ar. The body that Ma'ar possessed in order to become Mornelithe Falconsbane belongs to him, and thanks to the events of the Mage Winds trilogy he eventually reclaims it and his life
- Animal Eyes: As with Nyara, he still has these after being restored to his original form.
- Bad Powers, Good People: He has access to all of Ma'ar's magic and knowledge. He uses this knowledge to fight the Final Storm and prevent a second Cataclysm.
- Bi the Way: Despite starting the Mage Storms Trilogy in a relationship with Firesong, he eventually notes that he finds some women attractive as well.
- Character Development: Probably undergoes the most character development of anyone in all the books save maybe Elspeth. He goes from being a complete coward, whiny and pathetic who is co-dependent upon Firesong and becomes confident in himself and a powerful mage who will backtalk Firesong to his face, and that takes balls.
- Demonic Possession: His body is taken over by Ma'ar, which Karal equates with Demonic Possession.
- Fighting from the Inside: An'desha in Winds of Fury as he helps destroy Ma'ar while trapped in his own mind.
- Green Thumb: Shows a particular affinity and liking for growing plants.
- Hellish Pupils: Even after the Star-Eyed returns his body to how it was (mostly) before Falconsbane transformed it, he still has slitted eyes like a cats.
- Heroic BSoD: After returning to his previous form and being freed from Falconsbane, he is constantly afraid he will turn back into him somehow, basically wallowing in his own patheticness and depression.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Karal, they are best friends with no sexual attraction between them.
- Mixed Ancestry: Half Shin'a'in, half outblood.
- Pals with Jesus: He is basically best friends with his Goddess's Avatars.
- Power Levels: He's an Adept. A Sorcerer-Adept, which presumedly means he can create life or something.
- Shrinking Violet: Before meeting Karal and his character development sets in.
- Two Guys and a Girl: With Karal and Natoli.
Avatars Dawnfire K'Sheyna And Tre'valen shena Tale'sedrin
Two victims of Falconsbane who the Star-Eyed allowed to live on as her Avatars, able to appear on the Moonpaths and to take the shape of fiery vorcel-hawks. Dawnfire used to be a Tayledras scout and Tre'valen was a shaman of the Shin'a'in who fell in love with Dawnfire after she was trapped within the body of her bondbird.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Becoming Avatars.
- The Confidant: To An'desha. They consider him to be their personal friend.
- Divine Delegation: They do what Kal'enel tells them to, but they still have personalities of their own.
- Friend to All Living Things: Dawnfire was a downplayed version of this before she became an avatar; she was a relatively sweet and gentle scout with the best track record in working with K'Sheyna's non-human allies. She also had a tight bond with her bondbird, Kyrr, which ultimately lead to her transformation into Kal'enel's vorcel hawk avatar.
- Mauve Shirt: They were both introduced as their human selves. Dawnfire was Darkwind's lover and Tre'valen the Point of View character for the Shin'a'in-centered portion of Winds of Fate.
- Red String of Fate: they are a life-bonded pair.
- Spirit Advisor: To An'desha, starting from when he begins to rouse within Falconsbane in Winds of Fury.
Son Of The Sun Solaris
- Asexuality: Her religion requires her to be chaste but she's very much this. It's unclear whether she's naturally asexual or whether Vkandis rendered her asexual like Kal'enel does with her Swordsworn.
- The Chosen One: Chosen of Vkandis.
- Hero of Another Story: Solaris' political struggle against and reform of the corrupt priesthood of Karse would be worthy of its own series.
- Meaningful Name: "Solaris" is Latin for "Of the sun"
- Modest Royalty: Is this in private, would be this in public if not for the episcopal pomp required by her position. Even in public, she eats modestly to make a point - she won't feast while her people starve.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike most of her predecessors, Solaris is not prone to finding heresy everywhere she looks. She is also sympathetic to people as individuals, such as specifically granting Karal leave to go visit his family before sending him off with Ulrich on the diplomatic assignment to Valdemar. Additionally, she gets along very well with Queen Selenay and this makes it possible for Karse and Valdemar to not only make peace, but also become actual allies.
- She Is the King: Is the High Priest and Son of the Sun, not High Priestess or Daughter of the Sun.
The hero of the Mage Storm series, Karal is a young Karsite priest who was assigned to be the assistant and secretary of to the Karsite Ambassador, his mentor Sun-Priest Ulrich. He is a Channel, meaning he can act as a siphon for magical power but can't use magic himself.
- Badass Bookworm: Very much so.
- Badass Preacher: He's a priest, he saved the world. Tell me that doesn't make him a Badass Priest.
- Bond Creature: With Altra, his Firecat. They aren't bonded like companions are, but were more or less assigned ot each other by Vkandis none the less.
- The Confidant: To An'desha
- Good Shepherd: He is a very good, kind priest who walks-the-walk, talks-the-talk and actually helps people, unlike most Valdemarans' views of Sunpriests.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the second and third book, he knows that serving as a Channel will probably get him killed. He does it anyway.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With An'desha who is his best friend, and you could say Altra as well.
- Mediator: tries to be this, and it's not for lack of trying his part when he fails.
- Nice Guy: He is ridiculously nice, partly because he's a priest, partly because it's just how he is.
- Non-Action Guy: He's in the thick of everything, but he's not exactly about to whip out a sword and start slashing people, quite the opposite actually. While he does get self-defense training, it's all of the 'Keep yourself alive until you get an opportunity to run away' nature.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Referred to in story as "Karal's Lost Puppy Eyes", and used on Florian at least once.
- The Team Normal: In the third book, he's the least exceptional member of the group — and he knows it. Silverfox points out that he is an example to all of them by coping with all the weirdness despite having no real experience or abilities to deal with it.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: "Channels" had never been mentioned in magecraft before his appearance (possibly justified since magic in Valdemar had just been rediscovered), but his ability is critical at the climax of all three books.
- Two Guys and a Girl: With Natoli and An'desha.
A Firecat and hence the Karsite equivalent of a Companion, Altra was a Son of the Sun during his life and, at the order of Vkandis, was assigned to protect and guide Karal.
- Bond Creature: With Karal. After Karal becomes blind, he uses his mindlink with Altra to see.
- Cats Are Magic: Is a Master level mage, so is one step beneath Adept in power.
- Cats Are Superior: Though in this case, since Altra was previously a Son of the Sun, he does technically outrank Karal by quite a margin.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: When Tremaine triggers his assassin, Altra is not quite fast enough to save everyone, and has to focus on protecting Karal because he has divine knowledge that Karal's abilities will be needed. As a result, he blames himself for Ulrich's death.
- Intellectual Animal: Justified in that, like the Companions, he is a reincarnated former human.
- Noodle Incident: Upon learning Altra's name, Karal thinks "Wasn't that the name of the Son of the Sun who—?" It is never revealed what Son of the Sun Altra did that was so significant.
- Playing with Fire: Unsurprisingly for a divine servant of a sun god, Altra can create and control fire. Especially in defense of his charge, Karal. Getting into a fight with a Firecat is even more dangerous than doing so with a Companion.
- Telepathy: Unlike the Companions, Altra is quite open about being able to mindspeak with whoever he wants to. He can also enable Karal to see through his eyes.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Altra can teleport himself as well as passengers, although he does have range and load limitations.
- Cool Horse
- Heroic Sacrifice: Burns himself out protecting Karal from the same fate in the last book.
- Intellectual Animal
- Nice Guy: Is one of the more sweet tempered and friendly Companions in the series.
- Spirit Advisor: Florian is notable among Companions in that he is the only one in the series whose advice is not tendered to his Chosen Herald, but instead a non-Herald he is "assigned" to.
The first Karsite ambassador and a (formerly) black-robed Sun-Priest, and the mentor to Karal.
- Ambadassador: Ulrich is a very self-confident and unflappable individual, not least due to the fact that he is a powerful mage whose former job involved summoning and commanding demons. It is notable that he is assassinated through the use of magical weapons concealed in his quarters, rather than by an assassin that braved confronting him face-to-face.
- Mentor Archetype: Ulrich is this to Karal. Although he is an ambassador and Karal is just his scribe and assistant, much of Ulrich's relationship with Karal is that of a wise elder teaching a student.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: He is killed in a magical assassination. Altra is quite upset because he could not protect both Karal and Ulrich.
- Genki Girl: Despite her youth, Natoli is a sort of stand-on-a-table-and-rally-the-troops figure among the artificers. She is extremely enthusiastic about not only her own work but about invention in general.
- Muggle Born of Mages: Her father is a Herald, but she herself does not have any Gifts. This does get noted by other characters. It is a point of pride for her that she still does important work, even if she is not a Herald.
- Science Hero: When Karal realizes that there's a pattern to the change-circles, he brings it to Natoli and the rest of the artificers, whose mathematical models end up saving the day in the first two books of the trilogy. Natoli herself is responsible for calculations regarding the magical breakwaters in the second.
- Two Guys and a Girl: With Karal and An'desha.
- Wrench Wench: Natoli is committed to the goal of inventing steam-powered engines.
Grand Duke Tremaine
- A Father to His Men: Cares deeply about the troops under his command. He risks treason to make sure they have supplies.
- Anti-Villain: Ruthlessly pragmatic and under the orders of The Empire but is a Noble Demon in many respects.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Inflicted by Solaris. Had he not burned his bridges at that point, this would have stripped him of any ability to function as a noble in the Eastern Empire.
- Fisher King: In order to take Hardorn's crown. Hilariously, he underestimates exactly what he's agreeing to until it's happened.
- The Good King: Especially compared to Ancar.
- Offered the Crown: Of Hardorn
Silverfox kena Leshya'nay/K'Leshya
- Rapunzel Hair: Has long black hair, down to his knees
- Camp Gay: Not as blatant as Firesong, but he does not hide it.
- Even the Guys Want Him: He is very pretty...
- Happily Married: Basically this with Firesong by the time the Owl Trilogy occurs
- High-Class Call Girl: Sort of. He's a kestra'chern, something like a cross between a mediator, entertainer, and counselor. He takes responsibility for all of the Vale closest to Erroll's Grove and someone notes that as in that role, Silverfox is the primary mediator and maintains the emotional and mental harmony in the group, including, if necessary, taking someone into his bed. Unfortunately, even the generally open-minded and sexually liberal Tayledras don't always understand what a kestra'chern is. There were tensions between Firesong and his father, Starfall, regarding Silverfox's profession. Luckily several people from k'Leshya quickly apprised Starfall of what kestra'chern were in what were described as "choice words." There was still a somewhat... awkward greeting when Firesong introduces Silverfox in person to his father in Owlsight.