Mags grew up a slave in the gem mine of Cole Pieters and his family on the very edge of Valdemar's newly expanded border outside the town of Blueflower Hill. He is approximately thirteen years old according to village priests at the time of the founding of the Collegia, sometime shortly after 850 AF. His early life and parents are unknown as he has been told that they were bandits, killed in a raid by the Royal Guard and latter discovered in a cradle in the bandits' camp. Initially cared for by the priests of the local Temple of the Trine, he was quickly adopted by Pieters and taken into slavery. To avoid beatings from Pieters' sons, Liem and Jarrik, Mags literally buried himself in his work, hoping to be freed if he made it to age sixteen.
Mags uncanny ability to find and carefully pry out precious stones, otherwise called "sparklies," from the gem mine earned him the name of Magpie, later shortened to Mags. Aside from the bare subsistence on soup and burned bread for their mine work, the children of the mine also learned the rudiments of reading and writing from the Pieters daughters. This was the only thing that Mags "loved, unreservedly" and considered literacy "a kind of magic."
Mags has no siblings, relatives or other relationships. However, he was noted for his kindness toward the smallest and youngest slaves, called "kiddies," and general sense of fairness. It is later revealed in Bastion that he has one living cousin.
While exiting the mine on the first day of frost, Mags sees the entire Pieters family attempting to fight off (what he would later come to realize was) a Herald and two Companions. After a heated debate between Cole Pieters and Herald Jakyr, Mags was literally thrown at the Herald and lobbed onto his Companion's back. He took Mags to a nearby Guard post, scrubbing and bathing Mags and provided real clothes, both for the first time in his life. Only then was he properly introduced to his Companion Dallen, which he had not had the chance to make eye contact yet being so terrified, falling into eyes bluer than the bluest sparkly. He would spend a few weeks at the Guard post becoming accustomed to normal food slowly before the ride to Haven.
Mags was an especially shy and private trainee but managed to make two close friends in his first year, Bardic Trainee Lena Marchand and Healer Trainee Bear Tyrell, as well as with the inner circle of Master Soren, head of the Builder's Guild. With the building of the new Herald's Collegium still underway there were not enough rooms so Mags happily lived in a room in Companions Stable. The other trainees gave him his space, but it was the guard of some unknown princes brokering a treaty with the King who attempted to beat him up once, to no avail. Also at odds around Mags were many Heralds who did not like and felt threatened by the change in herald training from one-on-one mentoring to the classroom of which he would be one of the first to benefit.
Mags struggled with more bookish subjects such as History, but excelled at Weapons and Riding. While Bard Lena provided additional tutoring on these basic topics, Mags also received special spy and observation training from the King's Own Herald Nikolas. These skills later helped Mags to discover who was creating ghost-like apparitions which tormented the supposed foreign princes and their guards, as well aid in the saving of Bear from an assassin in the Guard Archives, who had been trapped and used as bait during a killer storm shortly after Midwinter holidays.
Mags has an especially powerful Mindspeech gift and developed advanced shielding techniques with the help of his Companion Dallen early in his first year. In Intrigues, it is revealed that he also has a very minor Empathy gift.
While being trained and working with King's Own Herald Nikolas, Mags does not have an internship. It has been hinted at, however, that this training would count as one. Dallen has also let slip that Mags may be taking over Nikolas' job as spymaster. Herald Caelen, the Dean of the Heralds' Collegium, has managed to convince the Heralds' Circle to count some of the work Mags has done with Herald Nikolas towards his first year in the field. The rest of his "internship" was served under the direction of Herald Jakyr, when they were sent away from Haven for safety's sake in Bastion.
In the seriesEdit
- Foundation, The Collegium Chronicles, volume 1
- Intrigues, The Collegium Chronicles, volume 2
- Changes, The Collegium Chronicles, volume 3
- Redoubt, The Collegium Chronicles, volume 4
- Bastion, The Collegium Chronicles, volume 5
- Closer to Home, Herald Spy series, volume 1
- Closer to the Heart, Herald Spy series, volume 2
- Closer to the Chest, Herald Spy series, volume 3