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Name: Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron
Fandom: Heralds of Valdemar - The Last Herald-Mage trilogy
Timeline Summary: Shortly after the events of Magic’s Promise. Vanyel’s been spending less time out in the field, and more time in and around the palace, filling in for various duties King Randale’s been too ill to attend to himself. As usual, he’s been working until he drops, and this morning, instead of waking up in his own quarters at Haven...
Background: Shakespeare’s tragedies have NOTHING on the tragedy that is Vanyel’s life.
Personality: Vanyel has all the earmarks of a Byronic Hero - a tendency toward depression and brooding, cynical as a result of his Dark and Troubled Past, and yet also passionate, driven, and determined... but he seems to invert a lot of the worst aspects of the type.
His cynicism and depression are the direct result of events early in his life. Sixteen years of emotional abuse from his father and physical abuse from his father’s armsmaster for most of that time led him to repress emotions and and a deeply ingrained fear of reaching out emotionally, which were only compounded when his lover Tylendel committed suicide. Even twelve years on, he has difficulties getting close to people for fear they’ll be targeted by his enemies, and has had only a few isolated flings since Tylendel’s death. He's only recently shifted his thinking to remember Tylendel as he was in life rather than dwell over his death.
He’s a very introverted person, and maintains close friendships with only a few people: his paternal aunt, Herald-Mage Savil, King Randale and Randale’s lifebonded Shavri, his daughter Jisa, nephew Medren, and his Companion, Yfandes. He’s on at least decent terms with the rest of his fellow Heralds, but not particularly close, and his only real friendships outside his family or the Heralds are the two Tayledras who trained him: Starwind k’Treva and his lifebonded, Moondance. That's not to say he's completely antisocial or socially inept he's quite capable of mingling and can be incredibly charming when he wants to - it's just that most of the time he doesn't want to.
His mistreatment at his father’s hands also seems to have given him a sort of inferiority complex, wherein he doesn’t see himself as inferior in any way so much as unimportant. He puts his own personal needs far below the needs of his country, his King, his loved ones, and his fellow Heralds and would work himself half to death if not for Savil and Yfandes running interference. IIt also doesn’t seem to quite register with him that some of the heroics his reputation’s founded on -his defeat of both a Queen Colddrake and a far more experienced mage when he’d barely begun to train, turning a Karsite mage’s own summoned demons back on him in defense of a group of helpless refugees- really are things no one else could have or necessarily would have done. To him, it was simply duty, and the attentions of the Bards and the hero-worship of the populace are more an annoyance than anything.
And all that ties in to the issue of Vanyel and his duty, both the reality and his perception of it. Though he might consider his personal welfare unimportant in the grand scheme of things, he’s well aware that he’s one of -if not the- most powerful Herald-Mages in Valdemar, and as such feels duty-bound to use his powers for the good of his country and his people. And because he’s got so much power compared to other Heralds and Herald-Mages, logic would dictate that he should do more with it - his logic would, at least. Which leads to a work ethic that, more often than not, leaves Van dead on his feet.
Powers, Skills, and Abilities: Hoo boy.
Vanyel, being both a Herald and a Mage, has Heraldic Gifts in addition to his magic. His Gifts are telepathy, referred to as Thoughtsensing, ForeSight (precognition), Fetching (telekinesis), Empathy, FarSight (clairvoyance) and “enough Firestarting to ensure that he’d never need to use a tinderbox again”, and Van seems to be most proficient with Thoughtsensing and Empathy. He also has the Bardic Gift -which lets him influence people’s emotions via music- and a small amount of Healing Gift.
In addition to all that is the harder-to-quantify Mage Gift, which lets him tap into and use the raw magical energy in and around Valdemar. Throughout the series (and in his exploits between books) he’s used the Mage Gift to: call down lightning/storm clouds, create illusions, and set up defensive shields and wards. Mage Gift is ranked by power and skill level: Apprentice, Journeyman, Master, and Adept. Vanyel is -and has been, at least power-wise, since his Gifts awakened- Adept-level.
And he’s none too shabby at fighting without his magic, most proficient with a sword, dagger, or bow, but at least capable at hand-to-hand. He’s also excellent at riding -though his Companion (read: telepathic horse with human-level intelligence and limited magical ability of her own) has thoroughly spoiled him for normal horses- and a skilled player of both the lute and the gittern.
On arrival, he’d likely be in full Heraldic Whites, carrying his sword, a dagger in his boot, and a piece of Tiger’s Eye -which acts as a focus stone for his magic.
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