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Heralds of Valdemar series

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There are three books in the Heralds of Valdemar series: Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall.

General series descriptionEdit

Long ago- so long ago that the details of the conflict are lost and only the merest legends remain- the world of Velgarth was wracked by sorcerous wars. The population was decimated. The land quickly turned to wilderness and was given over to the forest and the magically-engendered creatures that had been used to fight those wars, while the people who remained fled to the eastern coastline, there to resume their shattered lives. Humans are resilient creatures, however, and it was not overlong before the population once again was on the increase, and folk began to move westward again, building new kingdoms out of the wilderness. One such kingdom was Valdemar. Founded by the once-Baron Valdemar and those of his people who had chosen exile with him rather than facing the wrath of a selfish and cruel monarch, it lay on the very western-and-northernmost edge of the civilized world. In part due to the nature of its founders, the monarchs of Valdemar welcomed fugitives and fellow exiles, and the customs and habits of its people had over the years become a polyglot patchwork. In point of fact, the one rule by which the monarchs of Valdemar governed their people was "There is no 'one, true way.'" Governing such an ill-assorted lot of subjects might have been impossible- had it not been for the Heralds of Valdemar. The Heralds served many functions; they were administrative overseers, dispensers of justice, information gatherers, even temporary military advisors; answerable only to the Monarch and their own circle of peers. Such a system might have seemed ripe for abuse- it would have been, but for the Companions.

Arrows of the Queen Edit

Talia, a young runaway, is made a herald at the royal court after she rescues one of the legendary Companions. When she uncovers a plot to seize the throne, Talia must use her empathic powers to save the queen.

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queens's own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason which could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the queen's heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen's own foes.

The first section of the book describes the Choosing of Talia by the Companion Rolan, and subsequent journey to Haven, capital of Valdemar. Talia is a farm girl from the southern border of Valdemar. She lives with a clan of Holderkin, a socially and religiously strict group which believes in female submission and polygymous marriage. On her 13th birthday, she heretically rejects an offer of marriage, declaring her desire to be a Herald. She is in hiding from her family when she encounters a horse-like being -- a Companion, who Chooses her and takes her away from the Holderkin. Because she does not know anything about the Heralds, Rolan places a temporary block on her memory until he can get her to people who can explain everything. Talia and Rolan travel to Haven. Upon reaching Haven, Talia is introduced to Princess Elspeth (the Heir-presumptive and a spoiled brat), and Queen Selenay. She is delighted to find that she will be allowed to stay and become a Herald. She tours the Collegium, meets the rest of the trainees, and starts to attend classes at the Collegium.

The second section details the torment to which Talia is subjected by a group of "Blues;" Collegium students not affiliated with the Healers, Bards or Heralds. The group of Blues intimidate Talia in both physical (including carefully timed trips and shoves) and psychologically, including the use of disappearing ink designed to make Talia question her sanity. The torment is quieted by the Midwinter holiday as well as Talia's blossoming friendship with Herald Jadus. However, the calm is not to last. The Blues ambush Talia and throw her into an ice-covered river, intending to drown her. Talia survives, though she is hospitalized for a few weeks with pneumonia, and the experience awakens her Gift of Empathy. Because of her Gift, Talia begins to take on the responsibilities of being the Queen's Own Herald, including the role of councilor to the Royal Family.

The third section describes Talia's dealings with Princess Elspeth. Known as "The Brat" in the Heraldic Circle, the Heir-presumptive lives up to her nickname. Talia attempts to spend time with Elspeth in hopes of reforming her behavior; she is turned away a number of times by Hulda, the child's caretaker. With the help of Herald-trainee Skif (this has also been spelled 'Skiff'), a former thief and pickpocket, Talia learns that Hulda is acting on orders from a mysterious man who wants Elspeth to remain a brat so that she will never be Chosen as a Herald--and thus never take the throne. She passes the information on to Selenay, but Hulda is warned and flees before being captured by the authorities. Without Hulda's influence, Talia turns Elspeth from her bratly ways, and within a year the young Princess becomes the pet of the Collegium.

The fourth and final section of the book deals with Talia learning to use her Gift. She attends a training class and also demonstrates the strength of her Gift and her bond with Rolan. She is exploring the range of her new senses when she empathically 'witnesses' the murder of Herald Ylsa several miles north of Haven. Ylsa was on assignment gathering information and was carrying several important documents. Talia saves Ylsa's life-mate, Herald Keren, from committing suicide, then psychically leads Herald Kris and Herald Dirk out to the murder site. Kris is able to See the place at a distance, while Dirk can Fetch the documents with his mind. After this ordeal, Talia feels she has finally earned the respect which had been given her.

Arrow's Flight Edit

Arrow's Flight opens with two major events: Herald Talia earns her Whites (the white uniform worn by full Heralds) and Princess Elspeth, the Heir-presumptive, is chosen by the Companion Gwena.

Also in the opening section is a reminder of the distrust and animosity between Herald Talia and Lord Orthallen, a high-ranking councilor and advisor to Queen Selenay.

Shortly after Elspeth's confirmation as Heir-in-right, news reaches Haven that the Herald on patrol in a northern sector is out of commission due to injury. Herald Kyril assigns the sector to Talia for her year-and-a-half Field internship with the handsome Herald Kris, who is Orthallen's nephew. Before they leave, Orthallen tells Kris that he is afraid Talia is misusing her Gift of Empathy (the ability to read and influence the emotions of others).

Once they are on the road, Kris asks Talia about the rumor. She vigorously denies any use of her Gift to influence Elspeth or others, but the rumor nevertheless undermines her self-confidence. This, combined with a hitherto-unnoticed lapse in her training, results in a steady decline in her level of control over her Gift. She finds herself scarcely able to control how much emotion she is receiving or projecting, and she is afraid to ask Kris for help. Rolan, her Companion, assists her as much as he can.

About three months into the internship, the two Heralds, their Companions, and their pack animals are trapped by a severe winter storm in a Waystation located in the Forest of Sorrows. Talia's Gift goes rogue in a spectacular manner, projecting feelings of intense rage at Kris and both Companions. After a startled moment, Kris realizes what has happened, and he begins teaching Talia how to properly shield and control her power. The winter storm traps them for almost a month, during which time Talia gets the basics of control back, and she and Kris become lovers. They are also confronted by the mysterious force which inhabits the Forest, which perceives Talia as a threat.

The Heralds are soon met by a rescue party, and they resume the internship. Talia finds that the rumor that she misuses her Gift has reached this far, and she and Kris feel they must continue the circuit so that the Heralds won't lose face. As the book concludes, she has recovered mastery of her Gift, but she remains troubled by the ethics of using it. She is also worried about what effect her relationship with Kris will have on the relationship she wants to have with Kris' best friend, Herald Dirk.

Arrow's Fall Edit

With Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future. But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by the Queen to investigate the worth of a marriage proposal from Prince Ancar. And to her horror, Talia soon discovers there is far more going on at Prince Ancar's court than just preparation for a hoped-for royal wedding. For a different magic than that of the Heralds is loose in Ancar's realm-an evil and ancient sorcery that may destroy all of Valdemar unless Talia can send warning to her Queen in time!

Having completed her year and a half interning in the field, Talia returns to Haven as Queen's Own Herald in right. In her absence, the Council of Valdemar has been considering an offer of an alliance marriage between Princess Elspeth and the Prince of Hardorn, a young man named Ancar. While the Council is generally in favor, Queen Selenay has her suspicions about the idea, and she and Talia overrule the Council. Meanwhile, the budding lifebond between Talia and Herald Dirk is frustrated due to a misunderstanding - Dirk thinks Talia is in love with his best friend, the handsome Herald Kris. The problems of the kingdom occupy Talia's time so completely that she cannot speak to him, nor spend as much time with the young Princess as she used to. As a result, Dirk falls into depression (worsened by the death of a young Herald who was his special pupil) and begins drinking heavily. Elspeth, through the work of a trusted Councilor, Lord Orthallen, begins spending time with unsavory young men.

Dirk is falsely accused by Orthallen, and when Kris (Orthallen's nephew) does not immediately believe his innocence, the two have a falling-out. Dirk's slide into depression continues, and he neglects his health until he collapses from pneumonia.

Talia becomes caught up in all of these seemingly unsolvable problems and briefly loses her emotional footing, but her friends reassure her that the lifebond will work itself out in time. Then things fall apart again; Elspeth's new circle of male friends plan to seduce and then disgrace the Princess. Talia arrives just in time; she drives off the young cad, and then she and Elspeth have an argument. Afterwards, Talia confesses what she has done to Queen Selenay, who reassures her that she did the right thing by scolding Elspeth. The Queen then sends Talia and Kris on a mission to Hardorn to investigate Prince Ancar, in case the alliance marriage could be pursued after all.

Talia and Kris (who has resolved his quarrel with Dirk) arrive in Hardorn, and witness Ancar murdering his own father and the Hardornen court. As they themselves are trying to escape, Kris and his Companion are killed, and Talia, wounded, is taken prisoner. Rolan, Talia's Companion, escapes, and Talia is able to use him to deliver a message to Selenay and her retinue, who would otherwise have come into the city. Warned, the Queen stops at the border between Hardorn and Valdemar.

Talia has managed to convey to them that Kris is dead and that there is no hope for her. In desperation, Dirk and Elspeth use their Gifts (she is able to see at great distances, he is able to lift and move objects with his mind) and the strength of the Companion herd to pull her out of Ancar's dungeon. She is severely injured, for Ancar has tortured and raped her, and she drank a large amount of poison as a suicide attempt. The impossible feat leaves both Elspeth and Dirk incapacitated for some time.

Talia revives and remembers some information Ancar has told her; Orthallen is a secret agent who is working for Hardorn because Ancar has promised to give him the throne. Through his manipulations, he has been working in various ways to see to it that Elspeth never becomes Queen. The Princess and Talia set up a trap to reveal his guilt; when he attacks the two women, Elspeth executes him. While still in recovery, Talia makes Dirk understand that she loves him. Ancar's army marches against Selenay, but she defeats them, and the two countries settle into an uneasy standstill. The hostile situation is not completely resolved until the end of the Mage Winds trilogy.

The conclusion of the book is the wedding between Talia and Dirk. Even Kris gives a cryptic blessing to their union.

Characters in the series Edit

  • Ahrodie (Companion) - Herald Dirk
  • Alberich (Herald) - weaponsmaster, Companion Kantor
  • Aldon (Father) - Selenay's councilor
  • Alessandar (King) - King of Hardorn
  • Anberg - Karsite military
  • Ancar (Prince/King) - mage, King of Hardorn
  • Andrean Senson - Talia's brother
  • Arawell (Guildmistress) - Selenay's councilor
  • Ardatha (Companion) - Grove-Born, King Valdemar's Companion
  • Aren (Herald) - Companion Zaleka
  • Baern
  • Beltren (Herald) - Grove Born Companion Kyrith, King Valdemar's Herald
  • Beryl (Herald)
  • Bessa (Underwife) - Holderkin
  • Cariodoc (Lord) - Selenay's councilor
  • Caryo (Companion) - Queen Selenay's companion
  • Cathan (Lady) - Selenay's councilor
  • Christa (Herald) - fetching Gift
  • Cordoc (Herald)
  • Cymry (Companion) - Herald Skif's Companion
  • Dantris (Companion) - Herald Kris's Companion
  • Daro - Innmaster
  • Darowife - Daro's wife
  • Davan (Herald) - farseeing Gift
  • Delphor (Lord)
  • Destria (Herald) - Companion Sofi
  • Devan - Master Healer
  • Dirk (Herald) - fetching Gift, Companion Ahrodie, lifebonded and later married to Talia
  • Drake (Herald) - thoughtsensing Gift
  • Edric - Herald trainee
  • Elcarth (Dean) - Dean of the Collegium, historian
  • Elders - Holderkin title
  • Elize - palace servant
  • Elspeth (Princess) - Grove-Born Companion Gwena
  • Evalie - Talia's imaginary Companion
  • Evan - trader
  • Falthern (Lord)
  • Faramentha Jadrevalyn - King of Rethwellan
  • Farnherd - Healer
  • Father's Mother - Holderkin title
  • Felara (Companion) - Herald Ylsa's Companion
  • Fess - Guard
  • Fiona (Lady)
  • Firstwife - Holderkin title
  • Fletcher - Holderkin
  • Fortunea (Companion) - Herald Bard Jadus' Companion
  • Gartheser (Lord) - Selenay's councilor
  • Gaytha - servant, housekeeper
  • Geoffrey of Helmpscarp
  • Herald Gerick
  • Gerond - Herald trainee
  • Gildas (Lord) - Selenay's councilor
  • Gwena (Companion) - Grove-Born, Princess Elspeth's Companion
  • Goodwife Hardaxe
  • Harevis (Companion) - Herald Griffon's Companion
  • Harthen (Herald)
  • Hedric (Lord Marshal)
  • Herdahl (Leftenant) - Karsite military
  • Hulda - mage
  • Hyron (Bard) - Selenay's councilor
  • Igan Horstfel - trader
  • Indra (Lady)
  • Jadus (Herald Bard) - Companion Fortunea
  • Jan - palace servant
  • Jelthan (Lord) - Selenay's councilor
  • Jeri (Herald) - weaponsmaster's second
  • Jethry
  • Jillian (Herald)
  • Jon - palace Guard
  • Jon Hapkins - Inn
  • Joserlin Corby
  • Justus - Talia's brother
  • Kantor (Companion) - Herald Alberich
  • Karathanelan Jadrevalyn - married to Queen Selenay, prince of Rethwellan
  • Karli
  • Keighvin (Herald) - Grove-Born Companion Taver, Monarch's Own
  • Keldar (Firstwife) - Holderkin
  • Kellev - Holderkin
  • Kemoc (Herald)
  • Keren (Herald) - mindspeech, lifebonded to Herald Ylsa and then Herald Sherrill, Collegium teacher, twin sister of Herald Teren
  • Kerithwyn - Healer
  • Kernos - deity
  • Kester (Lady) - Selenay's councilor
  • Kindas Sun-Kindler - Hardorn deity
  • Klaus (Leftenant) - Karsite military
  • Kris (Herald) - Gifts of farsight and mindspeech, Companion Dantris
  • Kyldathar (Companion) - Herald trainee Neave
  • Kyril (Seneschal's Herald) - farspeaking
  • Kyrith (Companion) - Herald Beltran
  • Levris - Guard
  • Loris - Healer
  • Loschal (Mayor)
  • Maeven - weatherwitch
  • Mavry (Herald)
  • Medren - palace servant
  • Melidy - palace servant, Elspeth's nurse
  • Mero - palace cook
  • Myrim - Healer, Selenay's councilor
  • Nada - Holderkin
  • Naril (Lady)
  • Nathen (Herald)
  • Neave (Herald) - Companion Kyyldathar, projector
  • Nerissa (Herald)
  • Nestor (Lord)
  • Orthallen (Lord) - Kris' uncle, Selenay's councilor
  • Osten Deveral
  • Palinor (Lord) - Seneschal, Selenay's councilor
  • Patris - mindHealer
  • Pelsin (Herald)
  • Peregrin (Lord)
  • Peter Ringwright
  • Ralf - palace servant
  • Relnethar (Lord) - Karsite noble
  • Restil (Prince) - Herald, Grove Born Companion Steladar, son of King Valdemar
  • Robin - page
  • Rolan (Companion)- Grove-Born, Companion of Queen's Own Herald Talamir until his death, then Chose Herald Talia
  • Rynee - mindhealer
  • Selenay (Queen) - Herald, Companion Caryo, married Karathanelan Jadrevalyn, mother of princess Elspeth
  • Sen - Holderkin
  • Sendar (King) - Queen Selenay's father
  • Lythe Shadowdancer - legendary Herald
  • Sherrill (Herald) - Companion Silkswift, lifebonded to Herald Keren
  • Silkswift (Companion) - Herald Sherrill
  • Skif (Herald) - Companion Cymry
  • Sofi (Companion) - Herald Destria
  • Solan - Hardornen military
  • Steladar (Companion) - Prince Restil, son of King Valdemar
  • Rothas Sunsinger - legendary Herald
  • Sylvan (Herald) - Collegium teacher
  • Talamir (Herald) - Grove-Born Companions Taver and Rolan, Queen's Own, chosen by Rolan when his Companion Taver died, grandfather to Keren and Teren
  • Talia (Herald) - Companion Rolan, Queen's Own, gift of empathy, lifebonded and married to Herald Dirk
  • Tantris (Companion) - Herald Kris' Companion
  • Taver (Companion) - Herald Talamir's Grove-Born Companion
  • Tavis of Brengard
  • Tedric (Herald)
  • Tembor Earth-Shaker - Hardornen deity
  • Thesa - healer
  • Teren (Herald) - Collegium teacher and later Dean, twin of Herald Keren, Companion Wythra
  • Tuli - Herald trainee
  • Varanis
  • Vostel (Herald)
  • Vrisa Sensdaughter - Talia's sister
  • Werda (Herald) - Collegium teacher
  • Wulf - Herald trainee
  • Wyrist (Lady) - Selenay's councilor
  • Wythra (Companion) - Herald Teren
  • Yfandes (Companion) - Herald Mage Vanyel
  • Ylsa (Herald) - Companion Felara, Herald Courier, lifebonded to Herald Keren
  • Zaleka (Companion) - Herald Arven

Terms in the Series Edit

  • Argonel - drug
  • Arrow Code - A code marked into the feathers of an arrow to convey a message, a combination of colored bands and the feathers enable Heralds to leave encoded messages for each other.  The colored bands indicate the message sent, for example, that a healer is needed, and the code in the feathers indicates which Herald is leaving the message.
  • Blues - students at the Collegium that are not a part of the Bardic, Healers or Heraldic students
  • Briar burl - a plant the Collegium cook tries to get Talia to cook
  • Chirras - creature used as a pack animal in winter areas
  • Cloister
  • Firebird
  • Gathering - Holderkin event
  • Goatsfoot mushroom - poisonous mushroom
  • Goddess's Servants - Holderkin group
  • Goldenoak - plant
  • Handmaidens of the Goddess - Holderkin group
  • Hicanth - plant
  • Hiring Fairs
  • Internship
  • Iron oak - plant
  • Jacinth - plant
  • Jays - birds
  • Maiden's Hope - plant
  • Snow fever - disease
  • Soap root -plant
  • Spongetoad
  • Tedrel Wars
  • Truth Spell

Places in the Series Edit

  • Berrybay
  • Breakneedle Street - a street in Haven
  • Burning Pines
  • Cordor
  • Crown and Candle - an Inn in Hardorn
  • Darkfell Peak - a mountain to the north of Valdemar
  • Dellcrag - mountain in Valdemar
  • Lake Evendim
  • Fivepenny Street - a street in Haven
  • Fivetree
  • Forest of Sorrows
  • Great Hall of Valdemar - part of the Palace complex in Haven
  • Greenhaven
  • Griffin's Egg - tavern in Haven
  • Gyrfalcon's Marches
  • Hardorn
  • Hevenbeck
  • Hostel
  • House of Healing - located on the Palace/Collegium grounds in Haven
  • Ice Wall Mountains
  • Ilderhaven - town in Hardorn
  • Keeper's Crossing
  • Kettlesmith
  • Knowles Crossing
  • Lady Fountain - place, Haven
  • Langenfield
  • Menmellith - country
  • Mount Thurlos
  • Ravenscroft
  • Sensholding
  • Southford
  • Steading
  • Sunsdale - Karsite town
  • Sweetsprings
  • Tailor's Court - place in Haven
  • Terilee River - river that runs through Haven and Valdemar
  • Three Rivers
  • Trevale
  • Triumph Gate - place, Hardorn
  • Virgin and Stars Tavern - tavern in Haven
  • Waymeet
  • Westmark

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