Foundation is a fantasy novel written in 2008 by Mercedes Lackey. It is the first book in the The Collegium Chronicles (followed by Intrigues (2010), Changes (2011), Redoubt (2012) and Bastion (2013)). It is a depiction of the early history of Valdemar: it takes place at some point between The Last Herald Mage series and Brightly Burning. The book details a change in the training of Heralds from essentially an apprenticeship, like that of Tylendel and Vanyel, to a school based system like the one in Arrows of the Queen and Brightly Burning. Not all Heralds are in favor of this, mainly citing lack of supervision as an objection.
This novel tells the story of Mags, an orphan who was enslaved in the gem mines of Cole Pieters along with other orphans. He is Chosen, and this leads directly to the arrest of Cole Pieters. Also in this book, the Heraldic, Bardic and Healers Collegia as we later come to know them in the Arrows Trilogy are being built, and because of the disruption, the old Collegium is seriously overcrowded, causing Mags to have to sleep in a stable room in the Companion stables. Mags, who is used to sleeping in worse conditions, does not mind; however, one Herald accuses him of bringing all manner of illicit goods into his new quarters and nearly attacks him, until the Companions intervene. Because of Mags' upbringing he has few friends, as he simply does not understand many things that most people in the Collegium find to be the utmost of importance; however with Dallen's help he finds two friends in the form of the Bardic and Healer trainees Lena and Bear.
Mags is soon trained by Nikolas, the King's Own, in the art of spying, and is assigned to keep an eye on two 'dignitaries' who are visiting and causing trouble. One is revealed to be a mage when the Vrondi drive him mad.