Synopsis Edit

The book opens with Vanyel returning to his country Valdemar from an extensive campaign along the border with Karse, the neighboring enemy country. He checks in with Valdemar's King Randale and his lifebonded mate, Shavri, and their daughter Jisa. Only a select few know that Jisa is Vanyel's daughter. Because King Randale is impotent, he had asked Vanyel to father an heir. Now, Shavri confides in Vanyel her fear that Randale is mortally ill.

Vanyel and his mentor Savil return to Vanyel's family home at Forst Reach, where they find little rest or peace. His parents both try to change his mind about being shaych, or homosexual. Vanyel becomes somewhat confused about his own sexuality. He wonders if he is truly in love with Shavri. Yfandes, Vanyel's Companion, doesn't buy it and finds the situation amusing.

Vanyel also meets his illegitimate nephew, Medren. Medren is small for his age as Vanyel was, and like him it appears that he is often bullied by the Armsmaster, Jervis. The boy has a powerful Bardic Gift, and Vanyel sponsors him for the Bardic Collegium.

Vanyel confronts Jervis and learns that the armsmaster is not being intentionally rough. He also apologizes for beating Vanyel long ago, and explains his difficult position with Vanyel's father. He also mentions that he knew Vanyel was shay'a'chern from the beginning, but also knew from his army service that being gay does not keep men from being courageous warriors. Vanyel accepts this and they form an uneasy friendship.

The main plot focuses on how Vanyel assists young Herald-Prince Tashir. Vanyel and Yandes receive a psychic summons into the neighboring country of Lineas. Upon arrival, they find Tashir and his Companion, Ghost, being beaten by another Herald, Lores, who believes that Tashir is actually an evil sorcerer who has murdered his entire family. Vanyel immediately stops Lores and tells him to return to Valdemar.

Vanyel takes Tashir back to his home, but then returns to Lineas to gather information. In Lineas, magic is taboo; no one is supposed to perform it for any reason, so when Tashir did so, it terrified the locals. It is also rumored that Tashir is a product of brother-sister incest, because he looks almost exactly like his mother's brother, Vedric—who is also a mage. To make matters worse, Tashir's mother was from Baires, a neighboring country where magic is allowed.

French cover image

Vanyel finds that everyone living in the palace of Lineas is related, even the servants. Tashir's nervous disorders may have originated in his unstable home life, with an abusive father and a mother who tried to sexually seduce him. Returning to Forst Reach, Vanyel recruits Savil and Jervis to help. Together with Tashir, they return to Lineas, breaking through the palace's magic shields to search the place. They find a secret room which contains a heartstone, an ordinary rock with magical properties which is keeping a deep, dangerous fault sealed. As the stone was unstable and any magic done in the area could disturb it, a guardian family without magic was appointed. If the stone were to be removed, a giant earthquake would occur destroying Lineas, parts of the outlands, and the border of Valdemar. That was why magic was anthema in Lineas—and also why everyone in the palace was related.

The palace also contains a trap-spell, which targets one person and also kills the target's entire family. Tashir's family were the victims of the trap-spell, which was placed by Tashir's uncle Vedric—whose intention is to control both Lineas and Baires. Vedric tries the same trick on Vanyel, who has already caught on and sent Savil away, along with Tashir, while keeping Jervis with him. In defending himself, Vanyel ends up killing most of the Baires family as well as Vedric.

Exhausted and mortally injured, Vanyel falls unconscious, and is given a choice by the "Shadow Lover" -- i.e., Death -- of whether to die, or to continue living. Vanyel chooses to live, since his life will help others. Before he "returns" to life, he is visited by his friend Herald-Mage Jaysen, who was killed by the trap-spell demons, but tells Vanyel that he "will love again."

Now king of both Baires and Lineas, Tashir considers himself too young and inexperienced. He allows King Randale to annex the two smaller countries into Valdemar. Vanyel finally sorts out that he actually is "shaych", and that Shavri is just a good friend.

Characters in the book Edit

  • Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron
  • Companion Yfandes
  • Herald Tantras
  • Herald Regen - one of Vanyel's friends, now gone
  • Herald Dorilyn - one of Vanyel's friends, now gone
  • Herald Wulgra - one of Vanyel's friends, now gone
  • Herald Kat - one of Vanyel's friends, now gone
  • Herald Pretor - one of Vanyel's friends, now gone
  • Bard Erdane - one of Vanyel's friends
  • Snowlight - Brightstar's birthmother
  • Lord Withen Ashkevron
  • Lady Treesa Ashkevron
  • Mekeal Ashkevron
  • Deveran Remoerdis
  • Ylyna Mavelan Remoerdis
  • Herald Tashir Remoerdis
  • King Randale
  • Captain Lissa Ashkevron
  • Radevel Ashkevron
  • Guardsman Jonne
  • Vedric Mavelan
  • Jisa
  • Herald-Healer Shavri
  • Companion Taver
  • Herald-Mage Savil Ashkevron
  • Herald-Mage Jaysen Kondre
  • Companion Kellan - Companion to Herald-Mage Savil Ashkevron
  • Herald-Mage Darvi - Randale's father
  • Herald-Mage Deedre
  • Herald-Mage Justen
  • Bard Kyran - beloved of Queen Elspeth the Peacemaker
  • Herald-Courier Sofya
  • Companion Gavis
  • Roshya Ashkevron
  • Jervis
  • Father Leren Benevy
  • Charis Ashkevron - one of Vanyel's sisters
  • Deleran Ashkevron
  • Kaster Ashkevron
  • Ria Ashkevron - Kaster's wife
  • Melenna
  • Medren
  • Father Osen - the priest at Forst Reach manor before Father Leren
  • Father Heward - the priest at Forst Reach village
  • Companion Dancer - one of Yfandes' foals
  • Companion Megwyn - one of Yfandes' foals
  • Bard Chadran
  • Rolf Dawson
  • Tam - Chief stableman at Forst Reach
  • Herald Lores
  • Companion Jenna
  • Companion Leshya "Ghost"
  • Kylla Ashkevron - a baby in the family nursery
  • Nerya - Vanyel's fourteen-year-old niece
  • Valdir - Vanyel's minstrel disguise
  • Bel
  • Petar - old man who served as potboy at the Inn of the Green Man
  • Tay - kitchen help at the Inn of the Green Man
  • Ri - kitchen help at the Inn of the Green Man
  • Renfry
  • Jonny
  • Reta
  • Karis
  • Tel - cook at the Pig and Stick Tavern
  • Asra - Guardsman in Highjorune, Lineas
  • Death
  • High Prelate of Astera
  • Sondri - Forst Reach servant

Places in the book Edit

See also Edit


Japanese cover for part 1 of Magic's Promise


Japanese cover for part 2 of Magic's Promise