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Stefen is a Bard and Vanyel Ashkevron's lifebonded. He is the reincarnation of Tylendel, Vanyel's first love and lifebonded.

Life Edit

Stefen grew up on the streets. Having no memory of a mother or a father, Stefen was raised by an old woman called Berte. As a child, she used him to gain sympathy from townsfolk for coin, dressing him up in fake sores or strapping his leg so he had to hobble with a crutch. It is alluded to that she might have introduced him to selling his body for money. Once she discovered he could sing, these practices fell by the way side. With money coming in regularly, she took to the booze and the drugs heartily, becoming violent with her hangovers which led to the discovery of his wild talent, to be able to sing pain away.

At the age of 10, Stefen was snatched up by Bard Lynnell and informed he belonged to Valdemar. Believing he'd been sold, Stefen was terrified until Medren set him right.

Stefen excelled at Bardic Collegium, making journeyman at or before seventeen. When his wild talent came to light, he was quickly jumped to full Bard so he could be assigned to the King to ease Randale's ever-growing pain. Playing his fingers raw ended up drawing Vanyel's attention more so than the results of his wild talent and the two, despite Stefen's growing frustrations, became close friends and, despite Vanyel's misgivings, eventually lovers.

Though he is Tylendel's reincarnation, nothing indicates that Stefen is aware of this fact, though he unconsciously retains some of Tylendel's memories. After lifebonding to Vanyel he called Vanyel ashke without knowing what the word meant. Ashke is a Tayledras word that means 'beloved', and had always been Tylendel's nickname for Vanyel. He also feels empathy for the plight of Tylendel and righteous anger on the latter's behalf from the numerous attempts to erase his tragic life from the history of Haven. Though only Savil, Moondance K'Treva and Starwind K'Treva suspect reincarnation in Stefan at first, Vanyel comes to the realization as Stefan recalls events and places he never experienced or visited, again without realizing it.

Gifts Edit

Stefen is Bardic Gifted, possessing it along with the Talent and Creativity. He also possesses a 'Wild Gift', something akin to Healing in that he can 'play the pain away'. The person he focuses this gift on doesn't have to be consciously listening to him for the Gift to work. This Gift has not only worked to his advantage, in raising him quickly up the ranks to Master Bard, but has been much aid to the withering, pain-riddled King Randale.

Relationships Edit

Most of Stefen's relationships are professional, though he is charming and very few dislike him (aside from some jealousy over his quick elevation from apprentice to journeyman, more so when he rose to master although he received none of the privileges of that rank).

Medren - Stefen is best of friends with Bardic Trainee Medren, the nephew of renowned Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron. Knowning Stefen is openly shaych, a slang form of the Tayledras shay'a'chern which means 'one whose lover is like self' with the conotation of 'self' being genderwise, Medren had for a year tried to set up the Bardic Trainee with his uncle.

Yfandes - It is often shown that Yfandes approves of Stefen, even before her Chosen and the Bard became lovers. She often speaks fondly of Stefen to Vanyel, or stands up for the Bard when Vanyel is being cold to him.

Ashkevron Family - Stefen is both impressed and overwhelmed by Vanyel's family. He is fast taken with the Lady Treesa and spends time with her when Vanyel himself neglects his familial duties. He plays to her enjoyment of the game of courtly love, though the rules by which she plays are 30 years out of date, and acts as minstrel for her and her ladies. At the time he meets Withen, the man has become less provincial in his thinking and and while not quite ready to accept Stefen's place as Vanyel's lover, does not deny them the sharing of a room -- despite their not having become lovers quite yet at the time! Stef likes Withen, but says little on the subject.

Vanyel - Stef loves Vanyel beyond his comprehension even before they became lovers, and Vanyel's resistance to his charms and come-ons lead him to much frustration. Eventually, having been roomed together by Vanyel's family under the presumption of their relationship, Stef corners Vanyel and confesses his feelings and makes Vanyel face his own. Tylendel's appearance in Vanyel's dream the same night brings light to their lifebond.

Death Edit

A few months after Vanyel's death in Magic's Price, Stefen returns to the renamed Forest of Sorrows with a vial of argonel, intent on taking his life and joining his beloved in the here-after. However, he is stopped by none other than Vanyel himself who had been given the option, at his death, of continuing to protect Valdemar's northern border by basically haunting the Forest. Vanyel informs Stef, although Stef is a Bard he can receive the same opportunity and thus be reunited with Vanyel, but there are conditions. Stef has to use his Gift to convince the people of Valdemar that the Gifts of the Heralds are enough to keep them safe -- a veritable life's work. Only when this life's work is done is he called to join Vanyel and Yfandes in the Forest of Sorrows and take his place at his beloved's side.

In the series Edit

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